Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Mean, It Happened HERE?

Well, everything had to happen somewhere, right? Very few of them came from The Big Cities. And some of it even happened right here.

HBO, for instance. Yes, HBO, Home Box Office. The first transmission went to Service Electric Cable here in Wilkes-Barre PA and there is a plaque on Public Square attesting to that fact. I think there were 365 subscribers in 1972, or whenever. Why here? Why not here? We are a heavily-wired cable city, if that was a reason.

Speaking of cable, Service Electric is the oldest cable tv company in the country. It all began here, folks. When you are surrounded by mountains and there are no tv stations in the area (there was a “freeze” on new licenses until 1953), someone found a way to get signals into town. We have tv here now, but only 10 percent watch it over the air.

What do you watch the games with? Peanuts? Planters Peanuts was located just down South Main Street for many years, since Amadeo Obici founded it. Want to keep score? Eberhard Faber started his pencil factory up the hill in Mountaintop and we’ve all used his product at one time or another over the years.

Scientist and priest Fr. Josef Murgas made a discovery so vital in 1906 that no radios of any type (including cell phones or two-way sets) and tv stations could transmit beyond a mile without it. He discovered the ground system and Marconi takes all the credit for inventing radio. Not by a long shot. His church was in the North End.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when HBO first came to the area. In my neighborhood, it was very common to hear the question, "Hey - you got da Haich B.O.?

January 29, 2010 9:44 AM  

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