That's it. Click on those big pink letters at the top! Because if you DO, you'll be able to hear something I can't describe to anybody. Something I've been trying to find out about since some time in the late 1950s. A . . . ding.
Yes, it's a ding.
That's all it is. But it's a ding I often heard. A ding that happened during those TV station breaks, those top-of-the-hour things between shows, except I don't know what network it was. I don't think it was connected to that weird CBS aperture/eye or the NBC chimes or any of that. ABC? Who knows. A local station, something in Detroit? WJBK, perhaps?
But this is the ding. I recognized it at once and was amazed, because it proved to me I WASN'T crazy after all, though people had been looking at me that way for decades whenever I brought it up (maybe twice in 50 years). When I first stumbled on TV Party many, many moons ago, it was the first video site I ever found and seemed magical. I watched half-minute snippets of old TV shows, things I hadn't seen since I was ten, and wept as if I had found the Holy Grail. That was before YouTube came along and wiped the whole thing off the map.
But! This site, this TV Party which is now known as Classic TV because somebody else (TWO somebody elses, in fact) stole their name, still has this weird, almost eerie "ding" sound when you first go on the page. It's an opening salvo, or a greeting, or something like that. It's an old sound, probably a '50s sound from when I was really little and didn't understand anything, and nobody would explain it to me. So it got stored in the back of my brain along with a thousand other bits of broken information.
The ding was never entirely forgotten. Though it lasts about a tenth of a second, somebody was able to find the ding on some tape somewhere and reproduce it, so that each time you go on the Classic TV site, you get the ding. 90% of people, even boomers like me, won't know what the hell they're listening to. I didn't either, until I got that creeping, squicked-out, time machine feeling I get when the 1950s come back to me, and once again I sit in the middle of the living room floor with my fat little legs splayed out in front of me. Three years old, and trying to figure out Ernie Kovacs.