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Three channels and nothing's on

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Screen shot 2010-11-14 at 4.20.09 PM.pngOur elders had the hardships of the Great Depression and the Second World War, and they weren't shy about telling us how soft we had it. My generation had civil unrest (race riots, Vietnam protests, the Generation Gap), the Cold War, and only three television channels. And while it's hard to scare kids going through today's Depression with stories of Kent State and the Watts riots, I'm not shy about telling how hard life was with only three television channels. (Yes, you could say there were four, if you counted what was still called "educational televsion," and if you could stand in just the right spot, holding onto the UHF antenna in just the perfect way to would bring in what looked like a signal, if you squinted just right.) Why, in my day . . .

 
This schedule from October 12, 1966, shows the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area channels. Channel 6 was WRGB in Schenectady, the NBC affiliate since television and networks were invented. Channel 10 was WTEN in Albany, the CBS affiliate. Channel 13 was WAST (Albany Schenectady Troy) in Menands, the ABC affiliate and the channel with the worst signal when I was growing up. Except for Channel 17, WMHT, on the UHF band, which required special pliers to adjust the tuning knob and a contortionist to get the antenna into the right arrangement. (Channel 2 here is a Utica station; Channel 3 must have been in Bennington. Neither one could be picked up in our area but the Schenectady Gazette, source of this listing, was widely distributed.)

Raised by Geese

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Every now and then it's important that we remember the first nursery school teacher ever raised by geese.

Weird and felty

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We tend to remember TV of the '70s as safe and formulaic. Overall, that was true, but there was some real weirdness to be had, too. Recently ran across this clip of Alice Cooper, at the height of his parent-freaking-out powers ("He wears makeup! He calls himself Alice!"), prancing about with The Muppets. Even 35 years later, it's kinda strange.

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