Call 442-7000.......... and you'll see Muntz TV!

A. Joseph Ross
Fri May 4 00:37:54 EDT 2007

On 3 May 2007 at 8:04, Peter Q. George wrote:

> God, you'd have to be within the visual sight of the transmitters
> to get a good picture. For all intents and purposes, Muntz TV's had
> virtually no front end.  The color ones (yes, there WERE Muntz
> color TV sets) were even worse. (Yuck!) 

Well, having lived with one of them, I don't think they were all that 
bad.  My parents bought the Muntz TV in 1949, when we were living in 
Allston.  We got both Boston stations (4 and 7) fine.  In those days, 
Channel 4 transmitted from the tall tower on Soldiers Field Road that 
could be seen all over Allston until it was destroyed by Hurricane 
Carol in 1954.  But channel 7 was somewhere around the Medford-Malden 
line.  We got both stations fine on the built-in antenna (which, as 
I've said, was a length of wire that ran across the inside top of the 
cabinet.  I still have that wire and use it today as an FM antenna).  
When WJAR-TV in Providence moved from channel 11 to channel 10, I 
tried it and got sound, but no picture.

It did break down now and then, usually a tube.  Eventually my father 
got a book called "Telefixit," which explained in lay terms how to do 
the adjustments and replace tubes yourself.  For awhile in the 50s 
and 60s, every drugstore had a tube tester and a supply of the most 
common types of tubes for sale.
As the on-line article notes, there was no fine-tuning control.  I 
didn't understand why other TV sets needed them, since our TV was 
always tuned, at least until new stations came on.  I also never saw 
our TV picture slip horizontally.

When we moved to Albany in 1953, there was only one VHF station, WRGB 
in Schenectady, which was then on channel 4.  The apartment building 
we were in had a building antenna, which we used.  When WRGB moved 
from channel 4 to channel 6, we got lousy reception because the tuner 
needed adjustment.  Apparently this was happening all over the area, 
and there was a long wait for a serviceman to adjust it.  One day my 
father called me into the livingroom, and when I saw the clear, sharp 
picture on the TV, he was my hero for the next couple of days at 
least.  I was 8 years old at the time.  He had wrapped electric tape 
around a screwdriver and done the adjustment himself.

The next year we moved to a suburban house, and the TV again got 
channel 6 fine on its built-in antenna.  The picture-positioning 
adjustments, which consisted of some coils around the picture tube, 
tended to need adjustment after each move.

When we moved to Bedford in 1957, we found that it got only channel 
4, and sound on channel 2.  My parents decided to get a new Philco 
TV, and I, at age 12, read Telefixit to figure out how to fix it up.  
Eventually, I replaced a tube in the tuner section, and it got 
channel 7 again, as well as channel 9 in Manchester.  With a rabbit 
ears, it got both of them quite well.  It also got a picture on 
channel 2.

When Channel 5 came on in November 1957, I did the tuner adjustment 
myself.  You had to remove the three front knobs and then remove a 
metal panel behind the knobs to get access to the screw adjustment.  
It really wasn't that difficult an adjustment.

The set died around 1960, when suddenly the screen was dark.  One of 
the tubes in the high voltage power section had gone, as I verified 
at a drugstore tube tester.  But I didn't have the money to replace 
it, and my parents didn't want to spend any more money on that TV.  
By that time, we had two newer TVs.  So we eventually gave the 
innards to the electronics lab at the VA Hospital, where my mother 
worked, and my father and I made a couple of bookcases from the 

Anyway, that was my experience with a Muntz TV.  It did manage to get 
Channel 9 in Manchester, from Bedford, MA.  It didn't get the 
Providence stations, which did come in rather snowy on our other TVs.

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
 15 Court Square, Suite 210                 Fax 617.742.7581
Boston, MA 02108-2503           

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