Friday, March 16, 2012

The Lost Art of Television Repair

by Pa Rock

While my friend Murphy and I were out running up and down the island today, I told him that I had taken my malfunctioning computer in for repairs earlier in the day, and, right on cue, the problem disappeared as soon as the repairman touched the machine.  That led to another story - about how my printer quit two weeks ago.  I went to the Post Exchange on Camp Foster and bought a new one.  After cutting open the box on the new printer, I suddenly thought of something that I hadn't tried with the old one.  So I picked it up a couple of inches off of the table and dropped it - and, of course, the printer resumed working.

Murphy responded with, "Do you remember when we used to fix televisions by hitting them?"

Of course I remembered that.  Often all it would take to get the picture or sound back - or to get the blasted picture to quit rolling - was to slam a hand up against the side of the television.  Then, if that didn't work, a person could call a repairman who would come to the house and fix the offending television right on the spot.  The worst case scenario was that he would cart it off to his repair shop for a week or two.

My Dad had an appliance store in Noel, Missouri, while I was growing up.   One of the major items that he handled was televisions - small ones called portables that might weigh anywhere from twenty pounds to well over a hundred, console televisions which were big pieces of furniture - and entertainment centers that would have a large television, a phonograph, and an AM-FM radio.  The entertainment centers would often take up an entire wall in the living room.  (So you can see why repairmen tried to fix the sets in the house rather than lugging them to the shop.)

Dad had a repairman, Kenneth Headlee, who ran a television repair shop right in Dad's store - so he could honor the warranty on every set that he sold.

Now, of course, when a television quits working we throw it away and buy another - but my Dad never progressed that far.  When his television quit, he  would grumble around for a month or two and claim that he was looking for a repairman, and then eventually give up and buy a smaller model to put on top of the one that had quit.  At one point he had a tower of three televisions!

And I am sure that my Dad hit every one of the offending televisions!

Then Murphy started talking about television rabbit ears, and tying tin foil to rabbit ears - and I was overwhelmed with nostalgia.  And that led me to remembering cars that I would have to jump on in order to get them to start - but that's a whole other story!

No comments: