Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

TV Land Adventures: Green People, Knobs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

TV Land Adventures: Green People, Knobs

Article excerpt

KNOW it can be told -- up until a few weeks ago, I had a television set with knobs.

I never tried to hide it. I didn't drape the set when people came over or anything, but neither did I talk much about it.

One night, I was sitting in the living room with a friend. Casually - way too casually, now that I think about it - he remarked, "Your television set has knobs."

"Yes," I replied. "Also, all the people on it are green." I turned on the set and showed him.

The people had been green for some time. This wasn't altogether a new problem. The people were green when I first bought the TV, back in 1983.

As I recall, I had developed a great need to own a television so I could watch the miniseries "Shogun," based on James Clavell's book. I loved the book. I figured I would hate the TV version, but still, I wanted to see it, and I didn't own a TV.

I whined about this one day to Eric Mink, then the newspaper's television critic. He said he had an old TV in his basement that was perfectly good except that the people were green. I offered him some modest fee. He accepted. I took the set to a repair shop, and for another modest fee, I had the green people removed.

We got along just fine, my TV with knobs and I - probably because we spent little time together. Remember "Cheers"? Remember how sad everybody was when it went off the air? I didn't care a bit, as I'd never seen it. I worked nights for five years and was therefore protected from weekly sitcoms, but even before that, I rarely turned on the TV.

Call me a TV snob; I don't mind. I watched television constantly for about a dozen years, from the day Daddy brought home our first set to the day, sometime in high school, when I realized that I could guess what everybody in the sitcoms would say next. More important, I could come up with funnier lines.

That's when I went off TV cold turkey. Years passed, and except for a brief fling with assorted versions of "Star Trek," I didn't watch much television.

At my son's urging, I succumbed to cable during his last year in high school. …

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