My first color TV set.

zenith tv 1974
Here are my two brothers, me and my mother standing side by side at our new Zenith Chromacolor II TV set. It was bought at The Polk Brothers Appliance Store at Ford City Shopping Center in the fall of 1974. The program on the TV screen is Bozo’s Circus with The Grand Prize Game shown on WGN-TV Channel 9 at noon.

Hello everyone. Today is my story will about my first color TV set. When I was growing up in South Shore, I was about three years old and remembered watching TV for the first time. It was a black and white TV set and it was manufactured by Motorola. The first TV show I remembered watching was a rerun of I Love Lucy that aired on WGN-TV Channel 9 at 9 a.m. I remembered the commercials for Bozo’s Circus and Garfield Goose and Friends. When I started kindergarten at Myra Bradwell Elementary School in the fall of 1968, I came home from school at lunchtime, I watched Bozo’s Circus at noon and then watched Hazel at 1 p.m. I took a nap in the afternoon and later, I watched Garfield Goose and Friends. When we moved to Roseland in the spring of 1969, we hung to the TV set for a couple of years. The only channels it had were 2, 5,7, 9, and 11. My father bought another set at Legion Magnavox, which was located on the corner of E 113th St & S Michigan Ave. That building has been demolished for years. It was much better with the added channels 26, 32, and 44. It was still a black and white set but deep down, I wanted a color TV set. When we decided to move to the Ashburn neighborhood in the fall of 1974, my brothers and my mother begged my father to buy a color set. He was stubborn at first because they were very expensive at the time. With us living in a new house, my mother told him a new color set would look very nice in the living room. He finally agreed, So my parents went to Polk Brothers at The Ford City Shopping Center and selected a Zenith Chromacolor II. When it was delivered, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The first thing I saw in color was the movie The Long, Long Trailer that starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It was gorgeous. Eventually, we bought another set to put in the basement. My brothers and I hung out with our friends, and we watched all kinds of TV programs. In 1984, we bought our first VCR and connected it to the TV set in the living room. Cable TV was available in our neighborhood around 1985 or 1986. In 1995, we decided to move to Oak Lawn, IL. That beautiful Zenith TV we bought 1974 was still operating, and we left it behind. Zenith television sets were high-quality in its time. TV sets and stereos back then were like pieces of furniture. I still miss it, because it was my first color TV set and I enjoyed watching my favorite TV shows and movies. Thank you. Pete Kastanes, Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.

2 thoughts on “My first color TV set.

  1. I have that set (same chassis/CRT, slightly different cabinet) downstairs. It was last used for Nintendo/Sega duty when my daughter had friends over. I bought it new (actually, a display model, deeply discounted) in 1978. It’s a K2316, one of three (K2312, K2314, K2316) that Zenith made specially for Kmart as Bicentennial models. It had been playing in the showroom for two years and it served us daily until a few years ago. Seems to me it retailed somewhere around $450. It has no cable connection, just screw terminals for the old, flat antenna wire. The CRT is dot-matrix, not the more modern ‘in-line’ CRT with the rectangular matrix pattern. The electronic chassis featured plug-in modules instead of one or two monolithic circuit boards. The idea was to save time (money) in assembly and repair.

    I also recall when my dad abandoned the world of black and white. He bought a Zenith 23″ hybrid set (tubes and transistors) from the first major appliance superstore chain in Detroit, Highland Appliance. Seems to me it was about $400-$500…if you compare that to the $1995 sticker price of a ’69 Ford Maverick, it highlights how cheap tvs are today. Two guys delivered it on Dec. 5th, 1968, around 7:30 pm. One of them told my dad to let the set sit for an hour before using it. When it was switched on, Daniel Boone was on. Yes, I remember the scene… an angry mob with torches, pounding on the door of a tiny log cabin. That following Saturday, I had a sensory overload when the cartoons came on.

  2. He mentions at the end that cable arrived around 1985 to his neighborhood. I lived in Panama City, Panama as a boy and remember that we got cable in 1982. It’s very odd that a Latin American third world country would get cable before a suburb or City in the United States. I coincidentally now live in the Illinois suburbs. Two years after we got cable in 1984 I moved to the United States.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.