Tag: September 2019 Group Writing

The Colors of Autumn Break My Heart


It is fall at Toad Hall. The summer growth of weeds has slowed down and I can finally get ahead of them. The lawn no longer needs to be mowed every five days. The peaches have all been harvested and either eaten or frozen. The sunflowers loom at every corner, many still in flower but others laden with their massive ripening seed-heads that will feed many birds this winter.

The day-old chicks we brought home in April began laying eggs a week or so ago. Although they are glorious looking birds, we all agree they are the stupidest flock of chickens we have kept in more than a decade of keeping chickens. Their eggs are on the small side, but at least a quarter of them have been double-yokers.

TV’s Color Wars: Autumn 1946, ‘49, ‘51 and ‘53


The colorful autumn leaves had fallen and the season’s final tourists all packed and left, weeks ago. In the early chill of the fall of 1946, in one of New York’s once-numerous plush summer resorts north of the city a group of CBS executives were hosting a lavish, no-limits private dinner for a selected number of officials of the Federal Communications Commission. After brandy and cigars, they went to see the secret purpose of their out of town meeting: the first over the air demonstration of color television. It was on a private frequency, not for broadcasting. By all accounts, it went over smashingly well, making instant converts of technical skeptics, who were unanimous: It looked gorgeous. Looking especially gorgeous in color was the hostess, the official Miss CBS Color Girl, with the chromatically charmed name of Patty Painter. The FCC men, who seem to have been respectable married middle-aged men with lively eyes too easily tempted to roam, were smitten. The CBS man shrewdly lifted a phone handset and told them to talk to her. They watched, as transfixed as corrupt Biblical judges, as the polychrome angel in a Manhattan studio thirty miles away answered their questions with a gentle smile.

The demonstration included film clips and a fashion show. The men from Washington all but stood up and cheered. Color TV had arrived and no one could doubt it now. The early color was finicky, and it would be Patty’s job and that of other women for the next seven years to continue to sit under the hot lights, letting CBS technicians adjust the equipment to transmit (Caucasian) skin tones properly and attractively.