In the Twenty-First Century when you have trouble with your television you toss it in the hazardous waste trash. There was a time when a repairman would come to your house and fix your television. A relic now, like a uniformed service station attendant saluting you in gratitude after you said “Fill it up with regular”, there were television repairmen back then. When our TV “went on the fritz” we called Joe.
Joe Warner would come to our house in his DeSoto that had fins that would turn a windmill turbine. He carried a large box, about three feet square. He’d offer a warm greeting, wipe off his boots, and inquire about the problem and begin to troubleshoot. I would stand behind his shoulder and watch with wide eyes. First – if I remember correctly – he checked to see if any of the tubes were blown. Tubes “blew” or “burned out” all the time. He could replace these tubes if needed for he carried a stock in that huge box. Next he would fiddle with the small knobs at the back of the set that were labeled “horizontal hold”, “vertical hold” and the like. He would position his great box facing the TV screen and open it so that a large mirror allowed him to see what was going on as he adjusted these settings from the rear. There was a magic about his labor that reminded me of the young boy in Robert Lewis Stevenson’s poem who loved to watch the lamp lighter.
Eventually the TV (featuring a Sylvania “halo” light border that was supposed to address the concern of mothers who feared their kids would go blind watching TV) would be back in service and we’d be able to pull in all three networks and “educational TV” from Pittsburgh. A quick test revealed a clear reception from WJAC in Johnstown. They were showing an episode of “Industry on Parade” explaining how they made pencils. Mister Rogers and the Mickey Mouse Club would be seen this afternoon. I sure was glad when the TV was put back in order! Thanks Joe.