A Lifetime Of Watching Television
The Evolution Of the TV
My Early Memories of Television
My first decade of life was in the 1960s. A luxury in a typical household was the television. Back then it was a huge box with two knobs in the front, a glass screen within a hard plastic frame in the front, a huge protrusion sticking out in the back which to me looked like a humpback, and it stood on 4 wooden legs and had an antenna stuck to the top of it. When you turn it on it was capable of color pictures or would just black and white, depending on the program. Another kind of television I can remember in my youth was a smaller more portable box, that was created out of metal, with a glass screen, and two or three knobs in front, a little panel compartment you could open up containing more little knobs, and an antenna on the top. This particular tv model could sit on a stand or table. The picture from this particular model was only black and white.
I can remember being mesmerized with the images I saw from the television screen. My Mom enjoyed this form of entertainment very much, so I paid attention to what she was watching, because I was fascinated by what I saw and what I heard. Not until around 1965 did they expand the television programming for children, and I remember that my Saturdays changed drastically after that time because of the new animated programs that we could watch and listen to. My favorite early children's programming included: Captain Kangaroo, Professor Kool's Fun School (which was a program locally produced in my city in which local children could be on television. I was amongst many children who got to be on that show at the age of eight. It was an experience I will never forget.) Other shows I enjoyed watching were The Flintstones, The Archies, The Jetsons, Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and Friends, and Sesame Street. Other non animated programs I remember enjoying were The Three Stooges, The Wild Kingdom, Lost In Space, The Courtship Of Eddie's Father, Dennis the Menace, and Leave It To Beaver.
My parents were pretty liberal with my television watching. Back in the day of analog televisions, there were only three major networks, and two local channels, public television channels ( which we call PBS) and on a good weather day, our tv antenna could pick up the local channels from our neighboring states. Mom and Dad wanted to include us in the watching of the news, so as a very little girl, I remember seeing President Kennedy being shot in Texas, I remember when they announced on the news that Senator Robert Kennedy was shot, when Martin Luther King gave his speech, and when they announced that he got shot and killed, and I remember the night that Mom let me stay up late to watch the first astronauts who walked on the moon.
Sporting events on television was always popular to watch in my household. So I can remember watching those events as well on television. I was excited about watching the best sporting events with my family, including the World Series Games, The Olympics, and The Super Bowl.
My Own Television
I was almost eleven and my parents gave me a little black and white television for my bedroom. Being the only girl in the house, I did not have to share this with anyone. My two brothers shared a bedroom, but they did not have a tv because they did not want one. As I reflect on those younger days of having a tv, I realize that it was as important to me as this computer that I am using now. I loved television so much, that I made a point to memorize the daily television watching guide. My Dad would come home from work and never did he have to look in the tv guide because I would always know. Now you have to remember back in the late 1960's and 1970's television was analog and the numbers of channels were limited. So memorizing what was viewing on 3 major networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS was easy for me to do.
I have a fond memory of staying up late and falling asleep in front of the big television in the basement and my Daddy picking me up and carrying me to bed almost nightly. I guess Daddy got tired of carrying me up those stairs every night, which makes me understand why he let me have a television of my own.
My Early Favorite Night time Programs
I would get excited every Saturday night because the "Andy Williams Show" was on. I particularly loved this show because he loved having children on his show, such as The Osmond Brothers and his own nephews, Andy and David Williams. Andy Williams also had a Bear who was very entertaining.(The man in the bear costume is whom my Mom told me was my Uncle Bob- I believed her all my life until Uncle Bob died a few years ago, when I found out she was only joking. I was not happy to know that I had been fooled all my life.)
Another favorite program on Saturday night I watched was "The Carol Burnett Show". I learned how to laugh at really funny comedy when I watched this program. Other shows I enjoyed watching on Saturday nights were The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Love, American Style.
My Favorite Teenage Programs
I loved to watch television. I would plan my social life around my television schedule. When I was around twelve and thirteen, my Mom had to be really strict with me because I would never come out of my room, or I would do my chores in the house really slow because the the tv was on. When I was watching, I was glued to the set when I saw David Cassidy in the Partridge Family , and as I was a little older, I watched Happy Days and Three's Company. I didn't mind getting my homework done early so I could watch.
I tried to be on television again (around age thirteen) when I was accepted for an audition on a local talent program called "Showcase Thirteen". I had hoped to be on there singing and playing my guitar an original song called "When I Find A Friend". I was a little disappointed, but not discouraged even though I did not get picked to be on the show.
When I got to be a senior in high school, I learned about the soap operas. A family favorite was General Hospital, with the best avid fan, my paternal grandmother. Grandma used to hold her rosary, and her breath whenever someone on that program was in trouble. So I watched it with her and enjoyed watching this program well into my twenties.
Cable TV For The First Time
The year was 1981. How exciting! My parents and I were very excitied that television was never going to be the same again! Of course, memorizing the TV Guide was the thing of the past. I was doing well if I could just remember what the sequence of new channels were.
At the age of 21, I would not ever have to go to the movie theater again, since my Dad had ordered all the premium channels. I loved the fact that I had the choice of watching any kind of movie at any given time. Of course, by now, I was quite busy with Nursing school career ongoing. So television, even though it was cable, was not so important to me as if I was younger again. But still the choices were found to be wonderful.
High Definition, BluRay, and Digital
I think the industry of computerized television is really a complicated business to the busy career, family, church going woman as I am. It is great to know what exists out there. I know that the cost of all these new kinds of televisions are expensive, and putting these things in a family budget is a luxury to me now. Ever since I started writing on the internet last year, sitting in front of a widescreen, satellite television is not first in my plans. Major events like the snowstorm reports, presidential speeches, and world news events that are intriguing could be the only things that get me in front of the television at home these days.
Paying for satellite digital service is a necessity now due to the death of analog, so it is a part of my financial budget I deal with. But what if I didn't have it? I would feel concerned, like I have no access to vital information, and I would totally miss it. What if I do have time for a movie on that particular night I can't sleep, or there is a program I just need to watch because it is linked to a particular subject we are studying in Ministry? It seems to be good to have a television around, like an important part of the household, right?
I am glad television is there. It is like the Internet, a window to the world, a place to escape, be free, have choices, be happy, get inspiration, and something just to enjoy!
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