Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Television . . . yesterday & today

It’s incredible how your life can flash before your eyes by simply reading down a list of television shows you use to watch when you were a kid, a teen, a young adult, a parent, as an intellectual, sports jock, mystery lover, Hollywood groupie, doctor, lawyer and Indian chief.  I didn’t expect this trip down memory lane to bring back more than recalling the show, but it did. It brought back the people who watched them, with or without me.  Every family member had their favorites shows, but unlike today where there are multiple TVs in a home and other devices such as computers, DVRs, cell phones, etc., fifty plus years ago, only one television per household was to be had and we all watched the same shows together. Almost! I should add.
I started this journey be Googling I started to scan down each page and finding the shows logo for this post. It was then it hit me; these shows played a very important part in shaping who I am today. From the first shows like Captain Kangaroo and Looney Tunes. One show my mom told me to watch was Romper Room.

Each program would open with the Pledge of Allegiance and then 30 minutes of games, exercises, songs and moral lessons. But I was always disappointment when my name was never called to look through the Magic Mirror. Soon, new shows like Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood reached out to kids teaching all kinds of lessons in artistic ways.
Mickey Mouse Club was my favorite until I became a teenager. Then it was all those family shows like Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Lassie and Real McCoy’s. During my teen years, I couldn’t get home fast enough to watch American Band Stand. I also love all the beauty pageants and dreamt of being a contestant. 

I could go on and on, but after reaching #441 on the list and reading about 40 shows, I gave up. But it was fun! Yet more than the shows it was remembering the people who watched them with me. My father loved Candid Camera. He would laugh so hard he would get tears in his eyes. 
My mom loved variety shows like Ed Sullivan and the comedy show I Love Lucy. What I recall the most is Saturdays nights and watching the Lawrence Welk Show. Little did I know that 25 years later my family and I would see his show live in Florida.  My mom even got to dance with Lawrence.
Television yesterday and today is embedded into our consciousness and can effect people's behavior. The shows and their stories influence us with good, bad and otherwise thoughts and feelings. What I see in shows today is a dumbing down of respect in family sitcoms, variety and reality shows. There is far too much violence and unethical messaging. But we are all different and like different things in different ways, especially when it comes to television. 

One more thing. Remember this? It is the Zenith Space Command 600 television remote control, circa 1960. Made of metal and plastic and manufactured by Zenith Electric Company, Chicago, Illinois. This old remote has tiny bars of metal in it and when you pressed the buttons you hear a sharp snapping sound while the channel changes. It is small compared to today’s complicated remotes. Pictured here is the one my family had for years and when my father found it buried in some box packed long ago, all the memories of early TV watching came back to be with one click. What a sound! I miss it. Anyway, enjoy the new shows and don’t forget about all the great reruns you can still see on television and thru Netflix. 

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