Another long ago Saturday night in Clanton (community correspondent)

Published 5:15 pm Friday, June 10, 2016

Along about the late 1940s or the early 1950s, Clanton began to see a sensational new invention: the television.

To advertise the fact that Clanton had some television sets to sell, Tiffin Furniture Company owner Gabby Tiffin, in the building where Junior Baker now has his furniture store, displayed a fully operating television set in his store’s front display window.

The screen of the television was maybe about 5 inches by 7 inches. If programming was actually on the screen, the picture—in black and white, of course—was very jumpy and looked as if it was snowing.

I did not witness this, but my husband did, as he lived nearby and I suspect was one of the bicyclers.

He told me that when the television set was displayed and on, the street and the sidewalk in front of the store would be full of people, cars, bicycles and dogs from the neighborhood. The people lined up in front of the window to watch the television, regardless of what was displayed.

At that time, programming was not on all the time, but when it came on, for some time before the program started, a “test pattern” was displayed on the snowy screen and then the National Anthem was played.

The National Anthem was played again at night when the programming ended. I can just see this scene in my mind: the bicycles weaving in and out while the neighborhood dogs ran with the bicycles and barked.

Those that were truly interested were straining to see and hear what the tiny white snowy screen had to offer—even if it was only the “test pattern!”

The television industry has truly come a long way.

Scarlett Teel is a community correspondent for The Clanton Advertiser. Look for the next installment of her column in a future edition of the newspaper.