The Golden Age of Televisions

The Golden Age of Televisions
By Philip Collins


From Antique Radio Classified

With its excellent colorful graphics and photo layouts, The Golden Age of Televisionsdefinitely can be added to the Collins coffee-table classic list. This reader couldn't wait to obtain a second "reference" copy.

TV's history is covered chronologically from 1925 to 1995 on its 131 pages. The Golden Age of Televisionstaught me that not only has TV been a treat to watch due to its many technological advances, but that its cabinets have been stylish, not just box-shaped plywood. The book depicts these stylish sets, right from TV's early years to the present.

In addition to the technical and design aspects of early TV, Collins also touches upon some interesting social notes. For example, in its early years, TV was considered an intrusion on daily life. As a result, it was essential to be able to rearrange the furniture in a living room quickly for TV watching, and then to return the room to its normal order for daily functions. Collins also points out that early TV fans were urged to figure the correct viewing distance from the TV based on the screen's size.

Some rather humorous facts are brought out, such the banning of TVs in cars in 1949! Or the 1965 uproar about WNEW-TV's Soupy Sales, who got kids to "rob" their daddies' wallets and send the money to him in exchange for a postcard from Puerto Rico!

We get the scoop on the emergence of color TV and the concern that the old black and white TVs be compatible with the new color transmissions. We also learn how the radio and film industries were affected by TV.

A major bonus is the coverage of all those great old original, classic shows aired on early TV -- Bonanza, Leave It to Beaver, I Love Lucy, the Honeymooners, etc.

Overall, there seem to be only a few minor errors in the book, and they may have been typographical. If you are at all interested in TV history, The Golden Age of Televisionsshould be on your bookshelf.

The Golden Age of Televisionsby Philip Collins is available in 8 1/2" x 9 3/4" glossy format for $15.95 ($21.95 Canada) from A.R.C. and other A.R.C. advertisers. Be sure to check these sources for shipping information.

(Irene Ripley, Box 9374, No. St. Paul, MN 55109)

Some Additional Comments


I requested and received a Christmas gift of Philip Collins' new book, The Golden Age of Televisions. While the book does present an excellent series of photographs of television sets from the 1930s through 1970, I am sorry to say that there are some errors in the text, and the serious television collector and historian should note them.

For example, the manufacturer of the "Hofman" set, depicted on page 58, was "Hoffman" with two "fs." Hoffman was a California pioneer in television design and lived in Mr. Collins' area. On page 61, the top set on the pyramid of 7" sets is a Montgomery Ward Airline, not a Firestone. The Firestone brand is shown on the right side of the next row. The set to the left of the Firestone is not a Truetone brand.

The set identified on page 98 as an RCA is clearly a General Electric. The book makes little reference, in text or pictures, to the second "Golden Age" of television, namely color television.

The Golden Age of Televisions is indeed a "celebration of nostalgia," but perhaps the production and editing crews needed a bit more time to check for possible errors.

(Charles Harper, 2000 Jackstown Rd., Paris KY 40361-9344)

As noted in Irene Ripley's review, some of the errors are typographical. The photo caption of page 11 should read "RCA TRK-12," not "RCA TKR-12." This error is repeated on page 118. Except for this caption, the TV sets shown in the book are not identified by model number. The addition of model numbers would have enhanced the utility of the book.

Another example of an editing problem appears on page 63 where the set shown is unlikely to be a Radiola as stated.

In spite of a few editorial shortcomings "The Golden Age of Televisions" is full of striking photos and commentary. (Editor)


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