Skip to comments.A thread about--test pattern instrumentals.
Posted on 05/30/2008 10:32:58 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator
Those of you of a certain age will recall a time when TV stations didn't stay on the air constantly but signed off late at night (with the National Anthem) and signed on again early in the morning. And in those days televisions had tuning buttons on them that had to be adjusted by hand so the snowy signals from far away could come in as clearly as possible.
Each morning the station would begin the day with a "test pattern" (usually with an Indian's head somewhere about for whatever reason) so the viewer could tune his set for the day (including getting the color right). Anyway, during these fifteen minutes or so of the test pattern the station would play the most beautiful, delightful music--always instrumental and perhaps what would be called "easy listening."
Ever since getting on the Internet I've been trying to find material on these test pattern instrumentals. Unfortunately, their title and performers were never given so it's very hard to search for them on YouTube or Napster. Just by accident I know a couple of them: Java by Al Hirt and That Happy Feeling by Bert Kaempfert (the holy grail of all test pattern instrumentals, available on YouTube), but there are so many more that I can remember but whose titles or performers I am totally ignorant of.
One in particular I've been thinking of lately is one that was (I believe) featured on an episode of "I Love Lucy" when Ricky sang in in full "native" costume (of course, the test patterns only used the instrumental version). I've tried to find that episode of "I Love Lucy" online just so I could get an idea of the title and look for it.
Is there anyone else out there who has a nostalgia for these long-departed phenomena of those days? Does anyone else know any specific titles or performers?
Maybe you have knowledge on this subject?
I only vaguely remember those from early childhood as the stations went to different formats quickly afterwards to the color bars.
I used to get up on Saturdays mornings very early because the first thing that came on was the Creature Feature. I would set the TV right, get some cereal and juice and curl up with the dog ready for Boris or Lon or Godzilla.
But where is the music? I want my music!
I’m 66 and I recall staring at the TV and at this exact test pattern for long periods of time, waiting for the Houston TV station to come online with a program from the “network”.
Is THAT what the test pattern was for? I never knew till now, thanks.
I always thought they were as the name implied, to “test” that the broadcast equipment was working; I never thought that it was to fine tune the TV.
Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy
Here is a YouTube video set to Kaempfert's That Happy Feeling, the greatest test pattern instrumental of them all. Does anyone out there know any of the titles or performers of others?
I’m not nostalgic for test patterns but I do miss local television.
People bemoan the end of local radio and local newspapers.
But local television came to an end first.
Believe it or not, Smilin’ Ed (and even Andy) were before my time.
Well, excuuuuuuuse me.
No. I think it was in the episode where Lucy gave birth to Little Ricky and Ricky came to the hospital in full costume, but I'm not sure.
You could calibrate your tv picture tube to a black and white test pattern.
Few people ever color calibrate to the color test patterns.
But I got one of David Lynch’s self-released DVDs and he had several screens of calibration settings so you could get your equipment close to the calibration he intended.
Criterion laserdiscs used to also come with color calibration test patterns at the end of the disc (I think a green contrast/sharpness screen as well as the color bars).
The music could be literally anything. I’m quite sure the music was simply selected by somebody at each local TV station, so there are as many answers to your question as there are TV stations in the US.
I did not know that that was the purpose of the test patterns. Thanks, I learned something.
BTW, I don’t remember an Indian. I just remember one bid circle with lines forming a kind of cross. Also, I never remember hearing music — just an annoying, electronic whine. (I grew up in Maryland, and our TV stations were in Baltimore.)
I would guess that a lot of this music wound up on compilations by now-defunct labels like Pacific Jazz.
There is a UK reissue house called Proper that is taking advantage of the disparities between US and UK intellectual property law to pronounce lots of 50+ year old music as "public domain" and to sell it at a very low price (US$14.99-19.99 for a 4 disc set).
They have, for example, a cheap box set of more than 120 recordings by Artie Shaw's orchestra.
Slam Bam Theater?