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.

5 Replies to “Nobody But Daddy Touches It”

  1. My dad worked for Davis Electric as a tool and die maker. He designed the tools to make the yolks for the Zenith televisions. I remember getting our first TV. It was about this time of year, and I went to school and told my friends I received a TV for my birthday!! Wow, they were so impressed, and I was such a liar. I’m sure Mr. Davis had something to do with us having a television, because we could not afford one.

  2. We lived on 1414 Mississippi Street and we go good reception from a fixed antenna on the roof. I do remember that setting it up required the usual one guy on the roof and one guy watching the channels and saying back and forth…”back the other way” several times…. Channel 3 Harrisburg, channel 6 Paducah Kentucky and channel 12 was Cape. At times we could get 22 which was the educational channel over in Carbondale but not often, it was UHF channel and had a shorter range. I remember our first TV a RCA,21 incher Black and white of course with a BLACK case with gold trim, way cool….

  3. Our first TV was an RCA also and we had rabbit ears that sat on top.Black and white screen and sometimes a little snowy but thought it was just great! Hee Haw,Beverly Hillbilly’s Dragnet if I remember correctly were some of the programs that we watched. In “The good ole days “.

  4. How many times I rode my bike past that house.

    Used to be some character, kid show, we used to watch from a station in Harrisburg Ill. Uncle somebody, can’t remember. Seem to tell more jokes to the adults than the kids. Or at least ones they would understand?!?

  5. David, That was the Uncle Briggs show! His name was Briggs Gordon. My brothers loved his show! Remember his “cartoon eyes”? He made a personal appearance at the Kelso Summerfest in Kelso, MO once in the late 70s. Google “Uncle Briggs” or “Michael Briggs Gordon.” He’s even listed in Wikipedia.

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