Nobody But Daddy Touches It

Steinhoff TV remote 09-25-2015When we bought our first Zenith TV set, the dealer offered to throw in a black ceramic panther with eyes that lit up for the top of the set. That must have been a standard promotion because I saw a score of them over the years.

Mother thought they looked tacky, so Dad traded it in for credit on an Alliance Antenna Rotor and antenna.

We kids were given strict instructions that “NOBODY but daddy touches it.”

It made satisfying noises

Turning the dial caused a motor at the top of the antenna mast to turn the big antenna to bring in the least worst signal of a distant station. It couldn’t turn all the way around or it would twist off the antenna wire, so you would run it all the way in one direction, then reverse it.

There was some kind of big relay or something hiding in the innards that caused a very satisfying CLUNK-CLUNK-CLUNK! as the rotor was turning. That’s one of the reasons we didn’t mess with it. Dad could have heard the thing all over the house.

That’s it on the left

Steinhoff home 1618 Kingsway Dr June 1970

If you look closely, you can see the antenna sticking above the roof on the left side of the house. If you click on the 1970ish photo to make it larger, you can see Brother Mark’s Sears Spyder bicycle with its fake leopard-skin banana seat in front of the porch.

I figured Laurie Evertt would tell us to toss the gizmo in the dumpster, but she put it in the Keep Pile. Turns out that ones in good condition are going for about 25 bucks on the Internet. (It’s even got the motor and a stub of antenna mast, although it hasn’t been turned on it years. Check it out at Annie Laurie’s Antiques on Broadway if your life has been empty without an Alliance Antenna Rotor.

Dad died in 1977, so I guess it’s OK for you to touch it. If you get hit by lightning, though, I guess the curse is still attached.

Glued to the Zenith

Albert Underwood, Bill Hopkins, Linda Folsom watch TV in Steinhoff basementThere are some things I know about this photo, and a lot of stuff I don’t know.

What I think I know

  1. It was taken in the Steinhoff family basement.
  2. That’s our Zenith television. You can see the antenna rotor control on the top left of the set.
  3. We’re probably watching KFVS because the picture looks reasonably sharp.
  4. I’m pretty sure that’s Albert Underwood on the left, Bill Hopkins on the floor and Linda Folsom on the right.
  5. It’s probably 1963 or 1964.

What I don’t know

  1. Who the girl on the left is. I sort of want to say Margaret Randol, based on the hairstyle, but that’s a wild guess.
  2. Why they are watching TV at my house. Underwood was a year or more ahead of me and was on the school’s photo staff, but we didn’t run around together. Hopkins was the ineffective (or corrupt) campaign manager who handled / mishandled my unsuccessful student body presidential run. Linda Folsom and I dated briefly (her choice). It’s a strange combination of people to be engrossed in a TV show.
  3. What they are watching so intently. It doesn’t appear to be a news program.