In color where available

This dates to about 1965, or nine years before our thrifty-or-else family actually got a color TV. And yes, it was an RCA Victor.

1965 advertisement for RCA Victor color TV

Most of those sets were 21-inchers; the console with the stereo system says specifically it’s 25 inches. As always, the screen measurement is taken along a diagonal, since Pythagoras promised them it would be a bigger number.

And if you were alive in ’65, you might have seen these on the Big Three networks:

Of course, I got to see them in black and white.


  1. nightfly »

    28 August 2017 · 12:36 pm

    All things considered, it was brilliant work by NBC using the colorful plumage of the peacock as a sales gimmick for color programming. They even kept using it (“Proud as a peacock”) when it was about the relative quality of the programming rather than its chromatics.

  2. Roy »

    28 August 2017 · 4:27 pm

    Actually, in those early color TV sets the screen of the picture tube was circular and not a rectangle. A bezel was used to make it look more rectangular but, in this ad, if you look close at the sides you can see it. I don’t know when RCA first started making rectangular color picture tubes but I believe it was sometime in the middle 60’s.

  3. McG »

    28 August 2017 · 5:16 pm

    Kids these days would wonder why the TV Guide logo used to have that funny shape.

  4. Dan T. »

    28 August 2017 · 6:10 pm

    It was well into the ’70s before my family had a color TV. Lots of people we visited, from our next door neighbors to my grandparents, had them before us. A notable thing on the occasions I got to see color TV pictures in the early ’70s was how garishly colored the sets of some of the shows (especially daytime game and talk shows) were, which I didn’t get to see that often at all (given I was usually at school when they were on) but saw in black and white on the few occasions I did, except when visiting others. So when I got to see what they looked like in color, I found that the sets were full of bright day-glo colors, with the producers apparently going out of their way to take advantage of the newfangled color broadcasting.

  5. CGHill »

    28 August 2017 · 6:32 pm

    Just like early ping-pong stereo: they didn’t want anyone to miss out on this New Amazing Breakthrough.

  6. jsallison »

    28 August 2017 · 7:52 pm

    Reading about behind the scenes of Star Trek, the original series, they purposely used garish contrasting colors on the sets so that you could tell the difference while watching with B&W tv’s as those were still the norm at the time.

  7. Roger O Green »

    1 September 2017 · 11:13 am

    We got a color TV Xmas 1970. Of course, NBC had color well before the other two. The next door neighbor to my grandma had color TV in 1962! They were rich, and we’d go over to see Disney and Bonanza on Sunday nights.

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