“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. ”

Last night I finally gave up and turned on the AC. I was sweating in the humidity which made little sense so on went the AC, and within a short time both Gracie and I were nice and cool. Today is much the same as yesterday though the humidity is a bit lower: no clouds, no possibility of rain, but my resistance is also lower so the AC may be on shortly.

I was awake until four this morning. It was just one of those can’t get to sleep nights. I went upstairs at two after having watched Carrier, a series about an aircraft carrier in the Gulf in 2008. I watched two installments. The pickings for TV watching are lean in the wee hours. Syfy was offering sharks again, but I just couldn’t face the two-headed shark and Sharknado again with all the craziness and mayhem. Given the choices, Carrier was pretty interesting.

When I was young, all the channels stopping airing around midnight. Each had a different sign off but each sign off included the national anthem. One channel had the Blue Angels flying in formation and doing maneuvers while the anthem playing in the background. I remember the trails of smoke behind the planes as they turned in unison, an image that has stuck in my head all these years. I also remember when the anthem was finished. The test pattern then took over for the rest of the night into the late morning. The pattern which sticks in my head was the Indian wearing a full headdress. He was at the top of circles and boxes which I guess was the actual test pattern. I never thought about those test patterns. I just figured they were there to fill the empty spaces where programs should be. Come to find out they were meant to help calibrate and align the cameras.

TV never goes off now, but I still feel a bit of nostalgia about the Indian. Given a preference, I’d choose that or any test pattern over the infomercials which crowd the airways after midnight. Some of the gimmicks being sold are intriguing, but I haven’t yet been tempted to buy one and get a second free if I just pay shipping and handling!

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25 Comments on ““An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. ””

  1. im6 Says:

    You’re getting sleepy… very sleepy…

    • katry Says:

      I am now going to take a shower hoping to wake up as I have to drive my friends to the bus stop for ride to Logan. If I dared nap, I’d sleep right through my time. You didn’t help!!

  2. Hedley Says:

    Kat, you must have been psycho this morning. David Jacobs passed away and he chaired a very popular TV-music show called Juke Box Jury, which, based on an American program, ran on a Saturday night during the 60s. “Hit” or “Miss” said the card and at least one artist would come out from behind the screen to hear the verdict of Pete Murray and chums. Somehow they got the Beatles and the Stones to appear.

    I also wondered if you knew of Joe Moran’s new book “Armchair Nation, an intimate history of Britain in front of the TV”

    Two channels, valves, BBC licensing vans, zero daytime TV, but boy did we love it…RSG, Thank your lucky stars, Morecambe and Wise, Thunderbirds, Richard the Lion Heart, the Daleks, it was great. It turned off around 11.30 pm with a rousing version of God Save the Queen.

    Great reflection today Kemosabe

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I a always just a bit close to psycho!

      I know nothing of the book and its author. I used to envy British TV with no commercials though as a kid I loved Saturday mornings commercials because they were directed at my age group.

      That program doesn’t ring any bells with me. I wonder what its American name was. It must have been quite popular to get “the” groups of the day to appear.

      I was a Thunderbird fan as we also saw it here.F.A.B. was always confounding to me. “Thunderbirds are go!”

      Since the 60’s I have watched Dr. Who. The Boston PBS channel, WGBH, started showing it in its B&W days with the dog, the army guy and I don’t know which number doctor. It disappeared for a while then returned in all its glory. “Exterminate. Exterminate!”

      Thank you!

      • Hedley Says:

        FAB was just the use of the word by Gerry Anderson and not intended to be initials or for that matter anything other than an acknowledgement. Of course “back in them there days” everything was fab, hence my tendency to throw out “fab-gear” every now and again which I would credit to the fab wonderful incredible Ms Cathy McGowan

        Anderson was omni present with his talented wife Sylvia. Our early days were entertained with the likes of Four Feather Falls, Torchy and Twizzle. We moved through Fireball XL5, Stingray and my fav, Supercar until the cult and skill of their marionettes became a Saturday night staple with The Tracy Family and their arch nemesis The Hood (think im6). Lady Penelope drove a shocking pink Rolls Royce and Parker was always woofing on “yes m’lady”

        A rather nice corgi model of Thunderbird 2 sits in my library with a pod that contains Thunderbird 4.

        International Rescue – THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO

      • Hedley Says:

        and the license plate of Lady Penelope’s car ? …..FAB1

      • katry Says:

        I also watched Space 1999 which was a Gerry and Sylvia Anderson program. Lord only knows why I remember that.

        I loved Absolutely Fabulous-there’s that Fab again!

        I remember Lady Penelope’s Rolls and how it could also go in water. Parker was quite the talented chauffeur, and she was quite the lady of high fashion. I remember her wonderful pink coat!

        I also watched Fireball XL5, but I think that was the only other program shown here.

      • katry Says:

        I’d forgotten her license!

  3. olof1 Says:

    It was much the same here back in the days but no anthem. Even today only one channel plays the anthem when they stop the regular broadcasting before infomercials start. I have however bought a wook and two fantastic bread knifes. Now days they only show Zumba or some exercising series, rather boring in the long run 🙂

    Wonderful weather here today after the frost in the morning. Clouds have arrived so I think the night will be rather warm, just typical when I connected the engine heater earlier this evening 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      TV never stops anymore. It is a 24/7 infernal machine which I always watch.

      I saw you had the first frost of the season. Too soon!! I have my AC going now as it is humid. I still don’t think it will rain though.

      Have a great evening!

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat
    I had forgotten all about the Indian Head test pattern. Here’s the link to the Wiki history about it.

    I remember the Blue Angels, too. It had a voice over of that poem about putting out one’s hand and touching the face of God. I had a thought one time while listening to it that at those speeds one was more likely to be slapping the face of God. After that, I couldn’t hear that poem without snickering.

    Today’s errand was to the Genius Bar. Little Mac is doing something weird and no one can figure out what it is. For $280 they will fix whatever they find wrong but that might not fix this because they don’t know what it is. Little Mac is over 5 years old. Perhaps it is time to retire him?

    The sun came out bright and nice this morning. Now it’s gone again and it looks just like yesterday.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Thanks for the link. It is as I remembered it. I used to like to look at that Indian. He reminded me of the Big Chief blocks of paper we used to get. In my head, the feathers were all in colors.

      I also remember that poem and the clouds and flying high enough to touch the face of God. I sometimes wished I could fly that fast.

      That seems like a dog trying to catch his tail as it goes futilely in circle. I hated to think that 5 years will do it as I think that’s about how old my Mac is.

      The sun came out twice for the shortest time and has been gone for good the whole day. I wish it would rain or not as the dampness and humidity is so uncomfortable.

      • Caryn Says:

        Technology ages faster than dogs, I guess. Five years old in technology years is practically prehistoric.
        My cell phone is almost 7 years old. It’s as old as Methuselah. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        It is so true about technology. It’s like buying a car. Take it out of the lot, and it has already depreciated.

  5. Birgit Says:

    I have to think about the title quote… Am I excused as an Old World snob? 😉
    TV test pattern reminds me of beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Did you also have an annoying beep to wake you up when the program finished?

    • katry Says:

      I don’t think we had the beep or maybe I just forget.

      Start humming The William Tell Overture and people, my age anyway, here will continue with,” The Lone Ranger! A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi-yo Silver” – the Lone Ranger! With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early West. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!”

      It is now on a new channel called Cosi. I watched several of the old shows during a Lone Ranger marathon. I still remembered those intro words.

  6. Bob Says:

    I remember that TV stations didn’t broadcast during the day until the early 1950s. When I was about four or five I remember that the TV stations in NYC would run the test pattern until about five in the evening. Then they would run some kid shows like Captain Video and Howdy Doody.

    Our first TV was a 10 inch screen Crosley table model that had a radio type tuner, it could also receive FM radio, and had several knobs on the front for focus, oval, volume and a couple that I couldn’t tell you what they did. When you turned on the TV it had to warm up for several minutes before the picture appeared. When you turned it off the picture collapsed to the center of the screen and remained as a white dot for a couple of minutes.

    My parents bought the TV in 1947 the year of I was born. I remember all the neighbors in our apartment building in Brooklyn coming to our house on Tuesday nights to watch ‘Uncle Miltie’, Milton Berle show. It was sponsored by Texico and the commercials were a live jingle done by men dressed in gas station attendant uniforms. My kids have no idea what a gas station attendant was.


    Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. It wasn’t until 1963 that the evening news became a half hour program. Before 1963 it was a 15 minute show.

    Today we had another sunny warm day. It only got to 100 degrees. Hot I have decided is 100 degrees plus 🙂

    • katry Says:

      I remember Superman in the afternoon, around 4:30. It was about when we had to go into the house.

      Our first TV was in a giant console far larger than the TV. I also now remember that white dot staying a while after the set was turned off-I’d forgotten about that.

      One of my parents’ neighbors in the apartment building bought a TV and, as with your parents, all the neighbors brought chairs over to sit on while they watched.

      We had tremendous thunder, lightning and rain last night. It poured and poured. The news said it was cloud to cloud lightning and there was lightning which hit the ground further down cape.

  7. Beto Says:

    Okay, funny anecdote Re: William Tell Overture
    I was living in San Francisco and had a night shift. All my neighbors had day jobs so it was quiet by 10am and I could sleep. My married next door neighbor started cheating with her boss and they would use her apartment at lunch. They were very loud. I borrowed a friends 1000 watt PA system and hooked it up to my turntable. The next day I waited up til they got really loud and dropped the needle on the stereo about two thirds of the way through the final movement, at about 180 decibels. Rossini is so romantic.

    • katry Says:

      I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when the music first started! Just the decibels must have knocked them out of bed.

      • Hedley Says:

        In a similar spirit the schoolboy lyrics to Rossini’s work were

        “Come away, come away with William Tell
        Stick a Banger up his a**e and run like hell”

        No second verse but the humour was always enjoyed by the young thugs who were singing it.

      • katry Says:

        My Dear Hedley,
        I can hear the laughter of the boys as this sing this. The humor of boys confounded me, sometimes still does!

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