The Happy Little Color TV

The Happy Little Color TV

Second in a series

The little color television should have been happy. For the first time since leaving the television shop, he was hooked up to an antenna once again and could see all the world in living color. As he opened his great green eye, he saw the eager faces of his new family staring at him in delight.

But Mother, Father, Sister and Brother had been his sister’s family, and they had watched her just as eagerly. His sister, the brave little television, had tried so hard to make them happy, to show them the world wasn’t just black and white, but also shades of gray.

But the world had become too gray, too sad. There were wars and riots and deaths. Even Mister Rogers, who had come to television to show children that they are loved and cared for, was trying to explain assassination.

Wonderful world of color

The little color television wasn’t the first of his kind, oh, no. Color televisions were almost as old as his sister, the brave little television. But color television broadcasting — that took longer.

Why should people buy expensive new color televisions unless there were color programs to watch? And why should the big networks spend the money to change programs to color until people were ready to buy the televisions to watch them?

The Tournament of Roses Parade — that was in color, but no one really knew or cared. The President made a speech that was broadcast in color, but to most people he looked the same as he always had: black and white and shades of gray. Mostly gray. All the presidents had looked like that.

Then, one September Sunday, his sister’s family gathered around her to watch the soft-spoken host of Walt Disney Presents. This time he was presenting something new: Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

Boys and girls and mothers and fathers across the country saw that they were missing something, and they were sad. That’s when they went out and bought the happy little color TV.

All things bright and beautiful

For a while, Brother, Sister, Mother and Father were happy, too. They saw a wonderful world of color, but not only for Walt Disney’s wonders. They saw parades and cartoons, football and baseball, hillbillies and Gilligans. They saw Neverland and Oz as they never had before. They finally saw Lucy’s red hair. It was all so beautiful!

Then the novelty wore off. People again saw the world as it was, this time in gritty color: a bloody, disastrous war; a President who was “not a crook;” poverty and race riots and drugs.

The little color TV watched as Brother and Sister grew up and moved out to school, then homes of their own. Mother watched soap operas. It distracted her from when she and Father watched news with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite and Howard K. Smith and Harry Reasoner. The news was not good. The news was never good, except when Americans landed on the moon. Even then, the world watched it in black and white.

“We must do better!” the little color TV cried out to his brothers and sisters. “What can we do to bring people together again?”

Then he closed his great green eye and dreamed of happier times.

Tune in tomorrow …

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