Harvey Tucker began repairing televisions before North Carolina even had a television station. Now out of business, Tucker gave his televisions to Southern Environmental Solutions of the Carolinas for safe disposal, saving only one that he claims is the oldest television in Anson County.
“I went to Chicago to take an electrical course, and while there saw a TV,” Tucker said. “There was no TV here at that time. And I came back home and got a card from Louisville Kentucky United Television in Louisville, Ky., so I took off to school. People thought I was crazy; they’d never seen a TV here.” WBT, the first station in North Carolina, didn’t come on air until 1948, a year after Tucker built his first television.
Tucker and a relative decided to open up a TV shop together about 60 years ago on Jan. 3, 1951 on Camden Road. “I came home for Christmas and we decided we’d do it, so we opened up on the third of January then,” he said. “It started off as T&T Television, and one of the Ts died, so I changed the name to Tucker Television.” Later, he moved to Morven Road in about 1975.
As the years went by, televisions changed, and Tucker adapted with the upgrades. “Usually, each manufacturer had new schooling on the model each year,” he said.
Tucker went out of business two years ago following an accident. “I got hurt when I ran myself over with my truck, so I couldn’t work,” Tucker said. Thinking he had put the truck in park, he stepped out and it ran over part of him, making it impossible for him to lift the televisions to work with them. “A year ago I couldn’t lift that,” Tucker said, indicating the television he’d made. “I can now, so I’m coming back, but it’s slow. But it’s a miracle I’m here.”
Now, Tucker is clearing the televisions out. He may sell the building, but wanted to do repairs on it first. “Now, I guess I’ll work on my bees and make clocks.”
An avid beekeeper, Tucker recently heard about his supposed admittance to a nursing home. Tucker missed a meeting at the Anson Beekeepers Association and a few days later a fellow beekeeper stopped by and asked when he’d been released. Tucker was stumped and the woman asked when he’d left the nursing home. A friend of Tucker’s explained that Tucker had been mistaken for Ed McBride, who ran a radio and sign shop and began a TV shop when Tucker came to Wadesboro. “He’s out [of the nursing home] now, though he had an advantage on me because if he couldn’t fix the TV he could paint one,” Tucker joked.
Tucker, who has 15 bee hives, is looking forward to the time he can invest in beekeeping. “I think I can keep BEE busy in Anson County.”
With what he guesses to be around 150 televisions, cleaning the sets out was a daunting task. “I needed to get rid of them but can’t donate them anymore,” he said. After reading an article on SESC in a previous issue of The Anson Record, Tucker contacted SESC about safe disposal of the televisions, since dumping them in a landfill is illegal. SESC agreed to haul the televisions — all except for Tucker’s oldest television, which will be donated to a museum in Oakboro.
“I wondered what to do with them since I couldn’t them away anymore. Anyway, these fellows are mighty nice,” Tucker said of SESC.
As SESC employees cleared out the televisions Tucker talked about his store and future plans with his clocks and beekeeping. “I want to thank all the people who have helped me through the years,” Tucker said. He looked around the shop and chuckled. “It’s the end of an era, a lifetime.”