Filed under: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History
Week 6: Radio and Television. What was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?
I grew up in the middle of the United States during the 50’s and 60’s. Living on a farm, the radio was used to provide the news of the world. My father would listen to the farm reports, and grain prices. I am sure there were other programs, but the one I remember most was “Gangbusters” the show about the FBI & hunting down Public Enemies. The radio was in the living room on a washstand, used for storage, next to it was my mother’s rocking chair. I would settle into the rocker, and listen to the exciting episode, catching the bad guy.
We lived in an area where most stations were Country & Western, so I grew up listening to C &W of the 60’s. As a teenager late at night, if you held your tongue just right, we might pick up KOMA out of Oklahoma City. That was clear across the state.
Until we had our own television, I only watched television when we visited neighbors. My parents would play Canasta with our neighbors on Saturday nights. I would get to watch “The Hit Parade”, early MTV. My father bought our first TV in the mid-sixties. It wasn’t watched much during the day, but if my father was in the house at 6, we would have the 6 o’clock news on. Our choice of programming was very limited. We had 2 stations one was a hybrid with NBC and a few CBS programs. The “World of Disney” and “Bonanza” were Sunday night favorites. The TV was turned off after the 10 o’clock news. It was on very rare occasions that I would get to watch anything past 10:30. Back then the stations signed off at the end of the programming day, and always played the National Anthem.
I remember being very disappointed when I saw my first color TV, in a store window. The colors were so pastel; I was not impressed at all. It wasn’t until after 1976 and I was married, that a color TV became a part of our life.
Always looked forward to the new seasons, and the specials, like the “Miss America Pageant.” Shows I enjoyed over the years were: “The Flintstones”, “Dr. Kildare”, (although “Ben Casey” was more popular, we couldn’t get it), and “Bonanza”. Even read the book it was based upon.
But when it comes to a favorite show, you can’t top “DICK VAN DYKE”. My favorite episode was the one where you don’t see much of Laura, because she has her big toe caught in the bathtub faucet. Another show, I always enjoyed was “Hec Ramsey”, an early forensic detective. It was set in the old west and he used, what we would call forensics to help solve the crime each week.
In those days you watched the shows from September to May, and in the summer you had the reruns. They didn’t bounce around from time slot-time slot, and there weren’t mid-season replacements. You could depend on this, for example Sunday night, was the Magic Castle lit up with fireworks, “Walt Disney” would come on to introduce the weeks episode, and it was followed with (wish I could have the intro music), Adam, Ben, Hoss and Little Joe riding up to defend the Ponderosa on “Bonanza.”
Remember Radio and Television were our entertainment. The screen wasn’t 32-54″+, if you were lucky maybe 24” across. There was no remote. If you wanted to change the channel, or adjust the volume, you had to get out of your chair or couch, walk across the room, make the adjustment, and then sit down again. Or if there were children, you could have them do it for you.
Over the years many, many shows have come across the airways, and many stations, have come and gone. The advent of cable, and the dish, have all had an impact on what the world of television is like today.
Thanks to Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (http://wetree.blogspot.com/) for her successful 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History (http://www.geneabloggers.com/52-weeks-personal-genealogy-history/).
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