Speaking of changes, if you were brought up in the 50’s you remember the funny shaped large cabinet box that was standard equipment in a modern upscale home. The black and white TV. When you turned it on, it took what seemed forever to warm up the many large tubes in the back. It pinpointed a beam of light on the front of the screen and slowly it began to come alive. Our home had one, complete with rabbit ears antenna. (See later chapter on satellite).
You would adjust the antenna for the station, the weather, the time of day and your mood to get a good picture. You watched the shows in increments of 30 minutes. There were three main stations, Networks, and they mostly ceased operating then about 1030 pm. The news was always on and only on at 10 pm.
If there was a huge news story, you might hear Walter Cronkite break in and announce a huge breaking news story. Since this rarely happened, you would start to gather around to find out what was so momentous an occasion as to interrupt something so stable as the popular western show called “Bonanza”.
Since there were so few shows, you knew your favorite show times and planned your week and night accordingly.
Family dinners were always served together in the dining room or dining table, if you lacked a ‘special’ room. On some very special occasions you might have dinner in front of the television with special trays designed and named as such.
The youngest child was the television’s remote control. When Dad commanded a change in channel, you would carefully approach the box; careful not to disturb the special space around the TV for fear of gaining recriminations for messing up the signal. You would rotate a dial, which would and could mess up the signal. This was especially bad, because you might be stuck holding the rabbit ears, thereby missing the show. This was in order that everyone else could sit around and watch.
Houses were actually designed and constructed to accommodate this new and changing family lifestyle. Many homes today still actually build a special room called a dining room, but it is not nearly so essential as designing in the space for the family theater.