Television shows

Eagle Archives, January 3, 1948: TV Shows Boost Business in Pittsfield Coffee Shops, Survey Finds | Story

The television is here to stay, and the nightly crowds in Pittsfield’s bars with sets installed are the best testimony to this.

Three local cafes report a marked increase in activity since installing television equipment about a month ago. The new profession does not come only from young people and “marginal drinkers”.

A spot check at the Hollywood Grill on New West Street last night found around 50 customers staring at the screen. Co-manager Louis Sibbio looked over the door and remarked, “It’s a good crowd, but it’s like that most nights. People come every night to see the shows. They come from Dalton and other towns as well as Pittsfield. I think it will be about six months before people really get to know this set, but I see no reason to complain about the conditions as they are now.

The other two television centers, Tim Ryan’s Place and Mooney’s Cafe, were doing well as well. Both had sizable crowds, with most of the guests focused on Friday night’s boxing matches at Madison Square Garden.

There were no complaints from anywhere about the “TV”. This is the new group of barflies that has sprung up in New York and other major cities. The Television Set is said to be characterized by an interest in pictures and a reluctance to hoard coins for food and drink. Every local cafe has its share of this business, but it is more than offset by the increase in the number of repeat customers. And cash registers ring as long as waitresses are on the alert and don’t let customers forget about their more expensive needs.

The Hollywood Grill, the first café to install a television set for the public, is also the first to have a large “newspaper-size” screen measuring 19 by 25 inches. In fact, it’s even bigger than The Eagle – or the New York Times, for that matter. The image is reflected off this screen after being projected from a tube hidden at its base, something like a miniature film installation. It is naturally much easier to see than the standard 8×10 inch screen type. It also costs $ 2,400, according to Sibbio, which is more than four times the price of a regular household set.

The television was installed at Tim Ryan’s Place and Mooney’s Cafe shortly after the Louis-Walcott fight on December 5. Both have 8×10 inch screens, showing clearly visible images. It was possible last night, for example, to say that the two heavyweights in the first fight were inflicting brutal punishment on each other.

The latest Pittsfield fashions are in effect nightly at all three locations, from around 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. It will undergo another critical test tomorrow night, when the Rose Bowl game movies are released, around 9:15 p.m.

This story within history is selected from the archives of Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.