Monday, July 15, 2019
LINKS FOR NEWS, WEATHER, AND MORE:
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City Of Pocomoke
Worcester County Public Schools
Delmarva Discovery Center
Pocomoke Fire Company
Worcester County Humane Society
Worcester County Recreation & Parks
Pocomoke Area Chamber Of Commerce
Note: WBOC-TV broadcasts a special 30-minute program Monday evening (July 15) celebrating 65 years on the air. The following is a Pocomoke Public Eye posting from a couple of years ago looking back at the Eastern Shore's early TV history.
(By tk for PPE)
Prior to local television arriving on the Eastern Shore, TV viewing was quite a novelty for those who owned a television set and the friends, neighbors, or relatives whom they invited for a visit to watch TV.
It didn't matter so much what the program was but whether reception was available. Those were the days prior to a local TV station or cable/satellite service and a VHF antenna on your rooftop was your TV's connection..maybe.. to a signal from Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Norfolk, or sometimes Richmond.
Occasionally there would be a clear picture coming in on one or more of the available channels. In these rather rare instances a telephone call might go out to those without a TV (and these folks were in the majority) to come over and watch. There was no certainty, however, that the picture would still be there when the visitors arrived.
Sometimes reception was simply not viewable at all; at other times there was a viewable, although "snowy" picture but you couldn't count on it to last. Reception might fade during the last five or ten minutes of a program, leaving the viewer without a clue as to the program's ending.
Depending on the location of the originating signal the rooftop antenna would have to be adjusted to point toward the geographical location of the signal source. My dad would go outside our home in Pocomoke and turn a hand crank, similar to an awning crank, to point the direction of the antenna while he was watching from outside through the living room window to monitor the reception. We would assist by communicating to him from inside.
We eventually graduated to the luxury of a motorized antenna. You simply turned a knob on a little box that sat on top of your TV to the direction you desired your antenna to point.
Television was gaining popularity around the country and here on the lower Eastern Shore hopes for the availability of a clear, dependable picture were raised with word in 1953 that Salisbury's WBOC (radio) was making plans to put a UHF television station on the air, and that came to fruition on July 15, 1954.
Standard TV sets were equipped to receive VHF channels 2 through 13. The new UHF (Ultra High Frequency) technology was broadcast on channels 14 through 83.The Salisbury station was operating on channel 16. So if you wanted to tune in you needed a UHF converter box (first ad below) as well as an antenna that could receive a UHF signal. New TV's (second ad below) began to include the UHF channels in their sets.
Those who were around to view WBOC-TV in the 1950's and 60's might recall...
**The trio of Ralph Pennewell with weather, John B. Greenberger with news, and Ron Weber with sports ("Good evening sport.. you, too, mam") holding rein for many years. Weather, sponsored by Atlantic gasoline, lead off at 11PM with their musical jingle, "For business, for pleasure, in any kind of weather, Atlantic Keeps Your Car On The Go." Ralph wore an Atlantic service station uniform for the weather presentation, and during the 5-minute program he drew the weather fronts on a paper outline map of the U.S.
**During the early years Claire Beach, Nancy Allen, Carol Lee Anderson, Nancy Pigman ("Weather Fashions" sponsored by Benjamin's ladies apparel store), and Ann Gladding from Pocomoke were among those who presented the weather during the 7PM evening news. In later years Kelly Rouse was a weather host for her sponsor- Wharton & Barnard auto supplies. Later, Kelly went on to a long career in local television news at WMDT and then at WBOC.
**Club 16," a live production from the studio each weekday evening, was hosted by staff announcer John Rahe.
**Poultry auctioneer Carol Long, leading off his program with an auction chant, had a daily evening report on the day's activity at the Selbyville poultry auction exchange.
**George Hack initiated and hosted a weekly Saturday afternoon teen dance program live from the studio.
**At Christmas time the Jolly Jack show, sponsored by the White & Leonard store's "Jolly Jack's Toyland," was popular with the youngsters.
**For many years The "Miss 16" contest selected a 16-year-old young lady to represent the station for a year, along with winning a host of prizes.
** Phil Adams, Tom Maguire, and Jack Downing were familiar local TV faces to viewers.
Tom Maguire (later era photo)
Morning and noon news updates of several minutes were not on-camera from the studio but read from an audio booth while the viewer would see a WBOC news logo on screen.
The station's art director, Ed Parsons, hand-painted material used for commercial ads; it was long before the age of computer graphics. He designed the in-studio sets for local programs. At election time he'd prepare the visual materials needed for the presentation of election results.
The Polaroid camera was a staple of the news department for covering spot news happenings. Some news events were filmed on 16mm black and white film and developed in the station's dark room. The newsroom staff of one full time member grew to three full timers by the mid-1960's (today's news staff numbers in the dozens).
Sometimes commercials were broadcast live from the studio. A classic recollection that was passed along by veteran employees from that early era of local TV recalled the demonstration of features of a new refrigerator. Everything went well at rehearsal. But when the announcer opened the refrigerator door during the live on-air broadcast during the 11PM news, inside the refrigerator to his surprise and for the viewers to see..... was a boot! The fellow co-workers of the prankster who pulled this off remained tight lipped and his identity was never known to management which would have had a strong reprimand, or maybe worse, in store for him.
And so goes a glimpse of the early days of TV on the Eastern Shore.
(Visuals from the Salisbury Times and WBOC.)
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Footnote: The spelling is "Klej Grange," the first word reportedly representing the first name initials of Drexel's daughters.
The Capital (Annapolis)
Footnote: A son and grandson of Sartorius were physicians who had longtime practices in Pocomoke City.
1955.. 12-year-old Judy Tarr is the Delmarva Spelling Bee champion and will compete in the national competition.
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
Note: WBOC-TV broadcasts a special 30-minute program Monday evening (July 15) celebrating 65 years on the air. On Monday we'll republish a Pocomoke Public Eye article from a couple of years ago looking back at the Eastern Shore's early TV history.
The Time Machine is a weekly feature I've enjoyed researching and compiling on The Pocomoke Public Eye since 2011. I have fond memories of growing up in Pocomoke City and welcome reader contributions we can share about things you've read, remember, or were told relating to our Pocomoke/Eastern shore area...a sentence, a paragraph, or more all fine. Just email it.
Friday, July 12, 2019
This Sunday on The Pocomoke Public Eye..
Melody Manor, early 1900's photo.
1971.. Pocomoke City Jr. Womens Club luncheon planners picture.
1880.. Worcester County's Klej Grange settlement.
1949.. Ocean Downs opens.
1936.. Pocomoke City's oldest merchant retiring. Some today will remember his son and grandson who pursued medical professions.
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Cheered on by thousands Wednesday U.S. Women's Soccer team star and co-captain Megan Rapinoe speaks following a ticker tape parade in New York. Under-reported, maybe not reported by much of the press, was her ushered profanities during her rousing speech. The profanities were certainly offensive to some and grossly inappropriate for the ears of children in attendance.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Former Pocomoke police chief sentenced for misconduct: Prosecutors
A former Pocomoke City police chief was given a three-year suspended sentence and probation in connection with a misconduct in office conviction, prosecutors said Tuesday.
A judge sentenced Kelvin Sewell to three years of incarceration which was suspended in favor of three years of supervised probation, according to the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor.
Sewell, who served as Pocomoke City police chief from 2011-15, was convicted in May on the charge, which stemmed from a 2014 incident involving a Maryland correctional officer and fellow local Masonic lodge member and a traffic crash.
Prosecutors alleged that Sewell and another former officer, also a Mason, conspired to resolve the incident without charging or citing the driver.
Sewell was initially convicted in 2016, but an appeals court overturned Sewell's conviction in 2018, saying the judge erred in excluding expert testimony Sewell said would have supported his claim that he acted reasonably.