With the new fall tv season upon us I'm sure there are people rushing out to buy new televisions just as they do around the Super Bowl. My tv is over 20 years old and works fine and dandy thank you very much so I won't be out hunting for a new one. But if I were to go looking...take a gander at this one from the March 1949 Holiday magazine. 

Oh sure, you've got a huge screen and you can hang it on your wall because it's only an inch and a half thick (I think mine is 6 feet deep), but does yours look like a porthole? I mean, how cool is this? I remember all in ones like this. And I remember my grandfather watching Groucho Marxs on "You Bet Your Life" on a tiny screen in a piece of furniture about this big. 

Loved Groucho. Loved the Secret Word with the duck coming down from the top of the screen. I got to see Groucho near the end of his life on a Merv Griffin show in Hollywood. I had a front row seat even though I came in midway in the line. Yes, they pack those audiences with what you look like and it the time I was young with long blond hair. Charo was also on the show and during a commercial break I felt the woman behind me pulling on my hair, then she turned to her companion and said, "Yes, it's real." Charo's didn't all look real so I guess mine was better than Charo's. My hair, I'm talking about my hair. Other than that Charo beat me hands down.

Zenith tv 1949_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

And now, sit back and enjoy "You Bet Your Life" and try to imagine watching a tv smaller than your computer screen. Stick with it because at the 9 minute mark it gets very funny!! Don't skip to the second one. Start with the first one.


  1. I don't remember much TV - we didn't have one and my grandparents didn't have one. We lived in a house which had been split into two 'apartments', and the other couple had a TV. Problem was, we lived closer to Canada than we did to the nearest TV station. I knew all the rules for two sports - Hockey and Curling. Does that tell you something about what they got for reception?

  2. Anonymous9/16/2009

    I've never seen a circle screen before (and I was around when TV's from the late 40's were still in use) . It actually looks both retro and futuristic at the same time. With a record player, AM/FM and this circular tube, I'd bet this was a *major* purchase back in the day.

  3. Frank: I've never seen one like this either. I remember the ones with the small rounded screens, but they were basically square screens with rounded corners. Never a completely round one. It looks like a nice piece of furniture.

    And MrCachet: This still has me laughing. Learning rules to Curling is just so darn useful down here in the lower 48! I imagine you could use it in Minnesota but not many other places. Would there have been enough people in North Dakota to even start a team? Very funny.

  4. Growing up in Scotland televisions were rare things in the fifties. We finally got one when I was ten. I remember "The Lone Ranger" which I didn't like. The "Black and White Minstrel Show", which was horrible. And "Andy Pandy" and "The Flowerpot men" which were okay.

    Your descriptions are very funny.

  5. I have not heard of any of those shows other than "The Lone Ranger" so I'm wondering what I missed out on. Pretty safe to say I'm betting the minstrel show was indeed awful, but I've got to say the title "The Flowerpot Men" has me intrigued. This one I'm going to have to google.

    You know, I'm not sure my Scottish grandparents had a tv and they lived in Northern California. I'll have to ask my dad about that.