TV and ME – some STORIES


I entered puberty before I watched TV for the first time! In fact, I was about sixteen when TV came into my life. It came about as a result of my Father’s purchase of a Motorola brand 7″ TV set. In 1948; The TV set was one of the first ones in our small town of Norwalk. It was so new in our Town, our neighbors would come to our house to watch the new set. Our neighbors would sit in a semi-circle in front of the TV set and look intently at the 7″ diagonal rectangular black and white screen. It was marvelous to watch TV then even though the experience was a bit like looking through a keyhole! The “keyhole” got bigger after my Father brought home a 10″ “bubble”. The “bubble” was a 10″, fluid filled, lens-shaped, plastic container that functioned as a screen magnifier. It worked great for the people sitting in front, but not so great for those on the sidelines; they saw nothing! Winners and losers, as usual, with “new and improved”.

Not long after we started watching the TV set at our home, a very tragic event occurred in Southern California. A young girl, named Kathy Fiscus, fell down an uncovered well shaft and became trapped in the pipe’s interior over fifty feet down. She survived the fall but the first attempts at rescue failed to bring her to the surface. It was decided that the only way to rescue Kathy was to dig down beside her location in the pipe and cut her out. The medical people warned time was short. The digging began at once. Besides being a very tragic event, the drama made it into what became known as “the first made for TV event”. A local TV station, KTLA, began 24 hour coverage. Our 7″ TV set stayed on 24 hours as well. There was no shortage of people to watch! The vigil took a toll from the TV set as well. It produced a lot of heat from the vacuum tubes which soonfried the wooden top of the set. However, the TV image never failed. This went on for several days.  The drama ended when Kathy died as the diggers were very close to her. Her death was witnessed by the greatest number of people ever up to that time. Of course, we did not know this at the time; we were just crushed by Kathy’s death. This tragic event was the first to demonstrate the powerful impact that TV would have on our lives in the future.

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