Tune In, Stay Tuned, or Tune Out.

A lot can be said about Television.

Today, I’ll say this. It is the Inventor’s Birthday. I’d never looked this up before. He’s a Scottish guy.

John Logie Baird is his name, and he was born on August 14th, 1888. That’s a good year, by the way. For a Logie.

He grew up in a religious family. His father was a Reverend. It seems like there were a lot of inventors and scientists who had ministers for dads. I’m not sure why this might be. Eventually, though, he went to college in Glasgow. While he was there, he undertook a series of engineering apprentice jobs as part of his courses. I bet he learned some helpful skills there.

He developed some strong Socialist convictions along the way. They say this was caused by the conditions in Industrial Glasgow at that time. That Industrial Glasgow must have been pretty sketchy, as it also contributed to his ill health. Maybe all of this had something to do with him becoming an Agnostic, because he was one. Anyway, while he was in school, the First World War broke out, and John Logie Baird never returned to graduate.

Baird volunteered for service in the British Army but was classified as unfit for active duty. I guess his poor health was the reason. Since he wasn’t allowed to go to the Front, he took a job with an Electrical Power Company. They did munitions work during the war.

But it was after all those happenings, that he got into the development of television. Overall, there were a lot of people working on it, at the time. But Baird was the prominent pioneer. He made some marked and major advances in the field.

Many historians credit Baird with being “the first to produce a live, moving, greyscale television image from reflected light.” So I am giving him credit here too. Way to go Johnny. Way to go. Apparently, Baird achieved this, where other inventors had failed. It all had something to do with his spiffy photoelectric cell, which was way better than all the others. It improved the signaling between the different parts of his TV concoction.

By 1926 Baird invited some fellow scientists over to his lab. I think it was the first TV party. They might have had Nachos, and those little tiny hotdogs wrapped in blankets. Anyway, he was able to demonstrate the first true television. Probably Scooby Doo and the Snow Ghost was the show. He would also go on to demonstrate other firsts. There was the televised display between London and Glasgow in 1927 and between London and New York in 1928. He was also the first to show color on a television. Same Scooby Doo episode, but in color this time. Except for the Snow Ghost, who was still white.

Baird worked with the BBC, where they initially used his television system. However in 1937 the BBC switched to the Marconi-EMI system. I have no idea what kind of TV Systems we use now, but it has probably changed since then.

John Logie Baird died in 1946. He suffered a stroke at age 57.

Television has changed the lives of many people, that is for sure. I know it had an impact on mine. I have scads of fond memories where TV is concerned. It was a gem of my youth, and I still watch it to this day.

I’d like to tell you that the most watched TV show of all time was something like The Flintstones, or All in the Family, or something like that. But the top 20 shows of all time, are The Super Bowls, with the exception of number 9, the final episode of MAS*H.

One things for certain.  The television has changed in numerous ways over the years. And I expect it will continue to do so, for a long time to come.

Remember, though. Through all of this, you can always change the channel.


“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx


“If television’s a babysitter, the Internet is a drunk librarian who won’t shut up.”
― Dorothy Gambrell, Cat and Girl Volume I


“Most people gaze neither into the past nor the future; they explore neither truth nor lies. They gaze at the television.”
― Radiohead