Friday, September 10, 2010

Flashback Friday - Turn on the TV!

Tell about TV when you were growing up. Did your family have a TV? Was it color or b&w? How many TVs did your family have? Did you have one in your room? Did your family leave the TV on most of the day or turn it on for specific programs? Was the TV on or off when you ate meals as a family? Were there rules about watching TV? What were your favorite shows? Are there any particular memories you have of TV in your younger years?

The TV in the above picture is fairly similar to the one we had when I was little, right down to the blonde finish that was popular in the 1950's. It was a black & white TV, of course, and there certainly wasn't a remote control! In those days, you had to turn on the TV a minimum of five minutes before your program started so the TV could warm up and the picture be clear. And when you turned it off, the screen went dark except for the little white dot in the middle that stayed for a minute or two! I was probably in junior high when my grandparents replaced their TV and gave us their old RCA. It was a monstrosity, but it was a color TV so we were pretty happy!

Memories flood my mind as I think back to TV shows I enjoyed as a child. My folks were never one to keep the TV on all day; it was turned on for specific shows and then turned back off. We also weren't allowed to watch cartoons after school or on Saturday mornings; my mom thought they were just "silliness."

Some of my very earliest TV memories contain just brief snatches of shows; I was so young that, on some of them, I only remember the theme (I always connect with the songs!) as I rarely watched the entire show. These shows include The Dick Van Dyke Show(I loved when he tripped over the ottoman in the opening!), Petticoat Junction, The Flying Nun, That Girl, My Three Sons (loved the opening with the hands and the feet!), I Dream of Jeannie, and a western called The Guns of Will Sonnett. As far as shows I enjoyed, one of the earliest is Captain Kangaroo, but that one's a faint memory. There was also a local Houston show called Miss Kitterick, that had a variety of area kids on it who performed some talent, and the host was a woman who had her face painted like a cat and wore kitten ears. Again, there's just sort of a vague "snapshot" memory; I do remember that one of the kids who lived next door was on it once, and he sang "Hey There, Georgy Girl." (I forgot about that song when we did the music flashback!)

Then as I reached elementary school days, there were several shows that were my favorites that I got to watch. One of these was Family Affair. I thought that was the coolest show. I loved Sebastian Cabot's voice, and always associate it with this show and with the TV specials of Winnie the Pooh. And the other thing I remember thinking was so cool was the front door of their apartment, with the doorknob in the middle. I just loved Buffy who usually carried her doll Mrs. Beasley. When Anissa Jones died of a drug overdose in 1976, it made me so sad, and it was the first time that a celebrity that I had enjoyed watching died. Here's a really brief clip of Buffy & Jody's first day of school that's really cute:

Friday nights at 7:00 always found me plopped on the floor in front of our TV ("not too close or it will hurt your eyes!") to watch The Brady Bunch. I loved that show! Alice was a hoot In the opening shown below, which ran for several seasons, I always got tickled at the look Jan gives Alice right at the end. It's like she is saying, "What will you come up with now!" I also remember that show being one of the first to show a married couple sharing the same bed. Of course, Mike and Carol Brady were very circumspect - usually they were sitting in bed reading, and then they would give each other a perfunctory good-night kiss!

We occasionally got to watch Leave it to Beaver, and I always laughed at Mrs. Cleaver's pearls and high heels and the fact that Mr. Cleaver kept his suit on in the evenings while he read the paper. A fun show that my mom didn't really like but which she occasionally let us watch was The Addams Family. I loved the opening song, loved when Gomez would kiss Morticia all the way up her arm, and loved Thing! In fact, my granddad had a Thing bank - you put a coin in the slot and the top opened and a hand reached out and took the coin! I thought that was incredibly cool.

When I was about ten, I remember one Thursday night that my dad turned on a show that was new that season. I watched The Waltons that night and every week after that for years. My mom just loved John-Boy, but I thought he was too sweet. I liked some of the other characters better; I can even remember all their names: Jason, Mary Ellen, Ben, Erin, Jim-Bob, and Elizabeth! But I think my favorites were the grandparents. They were a great portrayal of a couple who had been married forever and could drive the other one nuts but also loved each other deeply. (And I loved Ike Godsey down at the General Store, but his wife Corabeth drove me nuts!) And who could forget the Baldwin Sisters, with their clandestine drink, The Recipe! One of my favorite episodes was when Ellen Corby, who played Grandma, came back after her stroke. Here's the sweet end of that episode.

But probably my all-time favorite TV series was Little House on the Prairie. I faithfully watched that every Monday night for years. I loved most of the characters - with the exception of nasty Nellie Olson and her snooty mom! I had read the books over and over, and even though the series wasn't much like the books, I still enjoyed it.

I don't remember watching too many programs in high school; I never cared much for Happy Days or Laverne & Shirley; I did like Mork and Mindy ("nanu, nanu!") I do remember watching Love Boat and Fantasy Island ("de plane! de plane!") on Saturday nights. There was also a mini-series one year that I absolutely loved, Backstairs at the White House. I always wished they would repeat it.

My TV memories are defined as much by what we didn't watch as what we did! We only rarely got to watch Gilligan's Island. When we were sick and missed school, we could watch TV, and I remember watching Bewitched. My folks didn't care for Johnny Carson and always went to bed as soon as the 10:00 pm news was over. They thought All in the Family was atrocious. And I never saw a M*A*S*H* episode until my junior year in college. (I loved it!) My mom never watched soap operas, but my grandmother faithfully watched General Hospital. When I was a freshman in college, General Hospital was hugely popular. Those were the days of the Luke & Laura drama, but although I watched a few episodes, I just didn't care for it. My senior year in college, the big draw was All My Children. Again, I watched it a few times, but soaps have never been my cup of mocha! (My college years were also when Dallas was big, with the whole "Who Shot J.R.?" cliffhanger, but I didn't watch it much.

It's been fun looking through all these on YouTube. I know there are a million repeats of many of these on cable, but we don't have cable so I haven't seen most of them since they were originally shown other than here and there in a hotel or hospital.

What about you? Post your memories and link up here!


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Jim said...

You did really good again, Linda. It was a fun read.

Some I knew, some I didn't. I never watched Family Affair although I knew who Sebastian Cabot was. Ditto Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons.

I picked up in my second marriage with Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork and Mindy, Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

To bad I am first tonight but it is my bedtime. It is all ready so I did.

Barbara H. said...

I had forgotten about waiting for the TV to warm up and then seeing that white dot in the center for a while after turning it off. I also remember blond finishes on furniture. Oh, and all the warnings not to sit too close!

We remember many of the same shows!

Kathy said...

Once again, this was fun, Linda. I forgot about a lot of the shows that you listed, but I watched those, too. I guess most families were the same, as your family routines sounded like mine growing up. Thanks for another fun walk down memory lane :) Kathy

Joyce said...

Oh you just reminded me that I had a Mrs. Beasley doll. I loved that show too.

This was a fun one to read today!

Christine said...

I don't know how I could have forgotten Little House on the Prairie. That was one of our favorites. We hated Nellie.

Thena said...

I forgot about Family Affair, there's so many though. Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, the list could go on and on.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

We have a lot of the same shows highlighted!

Hands down LHOTP is one of my all time fav showes!

Great prompt this week!



I loved this post and had to participate. I am amazed at how much it made me think. Thanks for the memories.

bp said...

Great memories! It made me laugh to think of having to turn on the TV to warm it up before your show was coming on!

I will get mine up later today. I had some book reviews to post first this morning!

sara said...

You listed many of my favorites. but one that wasn't mentioned was Hogan's Heroes. My brother and I never missed an episode of that!! And of course we were big Star Trek fans.

Craig Weeks said...

Pam Dawber made "Mork & Mindy" much more than a TV show. For this single man in his 20s it was an emotional experience.

Kim said...


And you know what? We still watch the Waltons, Hogan's Heroes, Andy Griffith, Gomer's shows don't hold a candle the the ones we grew up with!

And did you have a Ms. Beasley doll?! I did!!

Susan said...

My two favorite shows growing up were Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons. My dad, even before he was saved, hated All in the Family! LOL He wouldn't let me watch MASH either, and I felt so guilty watching it after I was grown (late at night, waiting for my husband to come home from work), but it became one of my favorites during that time.

I just didn't have time to participate this week, but hopefully I'll be back next week. We've been out of town and getting started with homeschool again this week - it's been a whirlwind!