Hmm, that's strange, it sounds like maybe echoing was turned off.
For example, on the box where it works, if you try
it should disable echoing (tail won't print anything until you exit (Control-D)).
That's unusual though, normally echoing should be enabled.
will show you the current terminal settings. On the last line, you should see various echo options, (echo, echoe, echok etc). A preceding '-' indicates that the option is turned off.