Watching TV In Yesteryear


Normally, tv watching around here consists of three flavours: kids channel #1, kids channel #2, or kids channel #3. I don’t watch.  If it weren’t for BabyGirl, I wouldn’t even own a tv. The tv is considered hers. Not that I voice that to her. The truth is, most weekends when she’s gone, the tv doesn’t even get a glance, let alone get turned on.

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“Retro Vintage Television” by Stoonn

When I was growing up, tv was geared mostly towards adults and specialty channels, like kids channels, were unheard of. Our tv was a piece of furniture which Mom polished on the weekends. And it was firmly grounded in the adult world. The remote was definitely controlled by my parents. I watched whatever they watched: the news, game shows, sports, travel and cooking shows, musicals, romantic comedies, westerns and war movies. I didn’t understand the adult world much, but I was very aware of it. I knew people could be as beautiful as they could be ugly.

There were a couple of  hours of kids shows after school and cartoons were on Saturday mornings. As a child, Sunday seemed like THE worst day of the week. Not only was there nothing to do because most stores were closed and most people hung out with their family, but tv programming consisted of a variety of fishing shows or a variety of Sunday sermons brought to tv land courtesy of the multiple Christian denominations out there. Sunday was truly the most boring day of all until supper time when the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom came on. After a day of playing with imaginary friends, watching wild animals tear each other apart (At least, that’s how I remember it.) came as a relief. Of course, such violence was then followed by a Walt Disney Presents movie.

I wonder what BabyGirl will remember about tv watching. She’ll probably say something like: “My mom used to say it was our tv, but really it was mine.”

What do you remember about watching tv as a kid? What’s your favorite specialty channel? Were Sundays as dull for you as they were for me? 

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  1. #1 by Joan Leacott on June 16, 2013 - 10:10 AM

    Specialty channel? No such thing back in my day. We had six channels to choose from, three Canadian and three American. The first show I remember watching as an eight-year old was Don Messer’s Jubilee, a CBC variety show. I really loved Andy of Mayberry in all of it’s variants. Maybe that’s why I write small-town contemporary romance. But the highlight of my youthful TV watching was The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and Topo Gigio. “Good night, Eddy.” 😀

    • #2 by Patricia Caviglia on June 19, 2013 - 1:24 AM

      I’ll bet those six channels were courtesy of a big antenna.

  2. #3 by Helen McMullin on June 14, 2013 - 10:39 PM

    We didn’t have a tv in our house until I was 16. Several neighbors had them earlier(mid 1950’s) and all the kids in our small town would gather at one place or another to watch cartoons like “Crusader Rabbit” and various westerns, our favorites being The Cisco Kid, The Lone Ranger and anything with Roy Rogers. The one station we could get was in black & white of course, and didn’t broadcast all the time but we’d watch the test pattern if nothing else was on. One of the earliest evening shows I remember was Liberace’s variety show. He was weird, not as flamboyant as in later years but we loved to watch him play the piano.

    • #4 by Patricia Caviglia on June 19, 2013 - 1:26 AM

      OMG! I remember Liberace’s show. He was still on when I was a kid.

      I like the idea that tv brought you and your friends together. We all seem to watch independently these days.

  3. #5 by Matthew Wright on June 14, 2013 - 1:57 AM

    New Zealand got TV in the early 1960s – my home town in Hawke’s Bay, not until 1965. I still remember, as a kid, my father bringing in this box with a screen , turning it on, fiddling with rabbit ears – and there was the programe. The Flintstones.

    Awesome, but I think I was too young then to realise just HOW awesome that was to my parents generation.

    Later, I remember watching Thunderbirds. In black-and-white – we didn’t get colour in NZ until 1973. The impression it made? Well, a few years ago I found the Thunderbirds DVD box set. I bought it and watched the episodes again. In colour.

    They were wood-and-glass contraptions then. The earliest ones in NZ had armour glass across the front of the box, because the tubes weren’t made of safety glass. Later they were. And I remember the Philips K9 – the best colour TV ever made. Another veneer box. The cost of these things was colossal for the day. But people bought or hired them.

    Today they seem to be a disposable commodity, like everything else. But ain’t that the way of things?

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