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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old October 6 2013, 12:07 AM   #1
LMFAOschwarz
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Nostalgia of old tv sets

In an age of blu-ray quality expectations, it's worth pointing out to those who don't remember just what kind of television images we often had back then.

When I discovered Star Trek in the early 70's, it was broadcast weekday afternoon at 4 o'clock on WWLP in Springfield, Massachsetts. (I can still remember the announcer saying, "WWLP, Springfield...WRLP, Greenfield).I was more or less living on the edge of their broadcast range, so every weekday afternoon at 4 o'clock I watched Star Trek on our black-and-white tv. Gaze upon these simulated images:





Some time later, we had gotten a color tv, and an adjustable uhf antenna. The difference to my young eyes was astounding:




The show was a grabber regardless if picture quality. I sometimes wonder if had been, in fact, a strange kind of enhancement. It was almost like looking through some kind of haze, and as color was revealed, so were more unnoticed details. With every increase in quality, there seemed to be no end to the discoveries. Funny to think back to it being a revelation that the crew different color shirts!

The special effects, also, were much more amazing on that snowy screen of yore. That's not a knock on the work: the imagery was perfectly suited to the typical broadcast standards of the time. Heck, even these guys looked good:



While I'm at it, this is the very first scene I saw of Star Trek:



I envied you guys who lived closer to the station!
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Old October 6 2013, 12:25 AM   #2
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

As much as I love my TOS Blu-ray discs, I think I appreciated the show more back in the seventies and eighties when I suffered through picture quality much like you show above.

Nostalgia is a funny thing.
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Old October 6 2013, 12:39 AM   #3
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Compared to the other shows that were on in 1966, TOS was a marvel. We'd gotten a color set the year before, so I didn't go through the b/w to color experience with it, but I did with other shows I watched, like Man from UNCLE and Wild Wild West, and Lost in Space, all of their first seasons were in black and white. Fortunately, I was only 20 miles from a local station, so picture quality was fine with an indoor antenna. I think we went from a 19" black and white Admiral television set that you put on a tv stand, to a 25" Sears Silvertone (made by RCA) console model.
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Old October 6 2013, 01:05 AM   #4
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

I first watched TOS in b&w then in colour about a year later. We did have decent picture quality, though, because in the GTA area we were getting about a dozen stations (on antenna) and TOS was being broadcast by CTV or CBC and they were relatively near in Toronto.
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Old October 6 2013, 01:16 AM   #5
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Nostagia is a funny thing, indeed. It's the thing that tells me that despite the fact we got less than a dozen channels way back in the day, TV was far better then than it is now with the multi channel universe. And Star Trek really was glorious.
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Old October 6 2013, 01:28 AM   #6
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Boo! Did I scare ya? wrote: View Post
Nostagia is a funny thing, indeed. It's the thing that tells me that despite the fact we got less than a dozen channels way back in the day, TV was far better then than it is now with the multi channel universe. And Star Trek really was glorious.
Nostalgia can make things seem better, the Boston area we had about 10 channels between UHF and VHF, which mostly went off the air around midnight and came back about 6am. The plethora of channels all 24 hours available now sure make it seem like there is more useless TV today, but I doubt the percentage of good to bad is really that different. These days, in Seoul at least, there is a resurgence of LPs because the sound is being rediscovered. I wouldn't be shocked if the something similar was done for shows of the early days which were not made with such visual detail made possible by current technology. Not that I need ghosts and grain for my TV. Besides, the old screen were fun to play with themselves.
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Old October 6 2013, 02:02 AM   #7
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

There was a lot of crap back in the day that we tend to forget. That said I definitely watch a lot less television today then I did back then.
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Old October 6 2013, 04:55 AM   #8
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Gov Karnstein wrote: View Post
the old screen were fun to play with themselves.

The vertical hold control was also a source of considerable amusement.
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Old October 6 2013, 05:30 AM   #9
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Green Shirt wrote: View Post
Gov Karnstein wrote: View Post
the old screen were fun to play with themselves.

The vertical hold control was also a source of considerable amusement.
Which brings to mind Vic Perrin's famous...
There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.
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Old October 6 2013, 06:01 AM   #10
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Warped9 wrote: View Post
I first watched TOS in b&w then in colour about a year later. We did have decent picture quality, though, because in the GTA area we were getting about a dozen stations (on antenna) and TOS was being broadcast by CTV or CBC and they were relatively near in Toronto.
I grew up in the London/St. Thomas area and I don't remember any Canadian channels carrying it. For me is was the blurred signal of WSEE 35 Erie, coming across Lake Erie. And I think WUAB 43 Cleveland showed it too.

I still remember taping episodes on our Beta (since my folks opted for that instead of VHS) when VCRs hit the market.
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Old October 6 2013, 06:39 AM   #11
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

^^ Although Sept. 8th, 1966 is the premiere date for TOS in the U.S. the Canadian premiere actually aired two days earlier on Sept. 6th on CTV. And CTV Toronto station CFTO was broadcasting TOS reruns when I started watching Star Trek in 1970. In later years CKVR out of Barrie, Ontario would broadcast TOS often at late night hours or even in the early a.m. time slots. This would go on for many years.

More recently Space (presently owned by Bell Media) has been airing TOS (and now TOS-R) since Space first began broadcasting in 1997.
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Old October 6 2013, 07:58 AM   #12
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Great topic! I started out seeing Star Trek in syndication on a small B&W set with rabbit ears, trying to pull in a Canadian TV station across the border. The snowy images you posted are reminiscent of what I'd get on a very good day.

When my father finally got us a 19-inch color set and a huge roof antenna to go with it, it was a dream come true. Up to that point, the only place I could see the show in color was on the back cover of The Making of Star Trek. This was my only glimpse of what the show was supposed to look like:



Then that gigantic roof antenna with its motorized rotor brought in the Canadian stations beautifully, and they all showed Star Trek at one time or another. Later when we got cable, they were dropped one by one in favor of American stations only, probably to satisfy the demands of our local network affiliates. It was a loss.

So I haven't seen Canadian TV in a couple of decades now, and I miss having that window on another country. The stations were CBLT-5, CFTO-9, and CHCH-11.

The thrill of suddenly watching Star Trek clear and in color, I will never forget.
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Old October 6 2013, 08:48 AM   #13
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

Wow, Zap, that back cover brings back the memories, for sure!

(I always did wonder what Publishers Weekly meant by "polished but non-varnished", though... )
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Old October 6 2013, 08:56 AM   #14
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
Wow, Zap, that back cover brings back the memories, for sure!

(I always did wonder what Publishers Weekly meant by "polished but non-varnished", though... )
I was just thinking about that when I reduced the size of my scan for posting. I think it means smoothly written but honest.
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Old October 6 2013, 11:42 AM   #15
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Re: Nostalgia of old tv sets

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
The thrill of suddenly watching Star Trek clear and in color, I will never forget.

Before we got our first color TV in 1975, the only time I saw the show in color was Saturday mornings at the Two Guys store, or the Holiday Inn on family vacations.
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