'Ghosts Of Television' That Made Me The Man I Am Today

(from left) SAMMY DAVIS, JR., CHUCK CONNORS, (LUCAS MCCAIN) AND JOHNNY CRAWFORD (MARK MCCAIN), MADE FOR GREAT WESTERN TELEVISION.
(from left) SAMMY DAVIS, JR., CHUCK CONNORS, (LUCAS MCCAIN) AND JOHNNY CRAWFORD (MARK MCCAIN), MADE FOR GREAT WESTERN TELEVISION.
BOB KEESHAN, AS CAPTAIN KANGAROO, A MAN OF PEACE WITH A PEACEFUL SHOW THAT TOUCHED THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN.
BOB KEESHAN, AS CAPTAIN KANGAROO, A MAN OF PEACE WITH A PEACEFUL SHOW THAT TOUCHED THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN.
A MASTER OF LAUGHTER, BOZO THE CLOWN. OFTEN IMITATED, BUT NEVER DUPLICATED.
A MASTER OF LAUGHTER, BOZO THE CLOWN. OFTEN IMITATED, BUT NEVER DUPLICATED.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY WITH JOHN ASTIN AS GOMEZ, CAROLYN JONES AS MORTICIA, JACKIE COOGAN AS FESTER AND TED CASSIDY AS LURCH ENTERTAINED ME AND THE ALL OF AMERICA WITH THEIR DRY SENSE OF HUMOR.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY WITH JOHN ASTIN AS GOMEZ, CAROLYN JONES AS MORTICIA, JACKIE COOGAN AS FESTER AND TED CASSIDY AS LURCH ENTERTAINED ME AND THE ALL OF AMERICA WITH THEIR DRY SENSE OF HUMOR.
"YOU'RE TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME. A DIMENSION OF SIGHT, SOUND AND OF MIND. THE KEY OF IMAGINATION UNLOCKS THIS DOOR. YOUR NEXT STOP, THE TWILIGHT ZONE."
"YOU'RE TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME. A DIMENSION OF SIGHT, SOUND AND OF MIND. THE KEY OF IMAGINATION UNLOCKS THIS DOOR. YOUR NEXT STOP, THE TWILIGHT ZONE."
ROD SERLING, ULTRA-CREATIVE WRITER, PRODUCER OF THE TWILIGHT ZONE AND THE NIGHT GALLERY.
ROD SERLING, ULTRA-CREATIVE WRITER, PRODUCER OF THE TWILIGHT ZONE AND THE NIGHT GALLERY.
BURGESS MEREDITH WITH AN OSCAR-WINNING PERFORMANCE WITH "TIME ENOUGH," EPISODE. MEREDITH, A MEEK BANK TELLER WHO LOVED TO READ FINDS HIMSELF THE ONLY HUMAN ON EARTH AND FINDS A LIBRARY.
BURGESS MEREDITH WITH AN OSCAR-WINNING PERFORMANCE WITH "TIME ENOUGH," EPISODE. MEREDITH, A MEEK BANK TELLER WHO LOVED TO READ FINDS HIMSELF THE ONLY HUMAN ON EARTH AND FINDS A LIBRARY.
"THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR TELEVISION SET. WE HAVE TAKEN CONTROL AND FOR THE NEXT HOUR, YOU WILL BE TOLD WHAT TO SAY AND WHAT TO THINK." LOVED THE OUTER LIMITS.
"THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR TELEVISION SET. WE HAVE TAKEN CONTROL AND FOR THE NEXT HOUR, YOU WILL BE TOLD WHAT TO SAY AND WHAT TO THINK." LOVED THE OUTER LIMITS.
THE WEEKLY ADVENTURES OF THE NUCLEAR-POWERED SUB, THE SEAVIEW, GAVE ME CHILLS BY THE THOUSAND. I MISS THIS HOW. WISH SOMEONE IN HOLLYWOOD WOULD FILM A REMAKE OF THIS CLASSIC.
THE WEEKLY ADVENTURES OF THE NUCLEAR-POWERED SUB, THE SEAVIEW, GAVE ME CHILLS BY THE THOUSAND. I MISS THIS HOW. WISH SOMEONE IN HOLLYWOOD WOULD FILM A REMAKE OF THIS CLASSIC.

When I look in the mirror, I really do not see myself, but some who, throughout the course of his life has been shaped, molded by mostly-famous television celebrities. That can be a good thing. And a bad thing at the same time. To explain. The good thing is being molded by famous television celebrities has been a harmless, safe area of my life while the bad thing, if you can label it a bad thing, is that sometimes I have to wonder if I haven’t lost who I really was, or am, in this journey that started for me in 1961, when I viewed my first black and white television.

What did watching my favorite heroes on television do for me personally? Well, watching television gave me dreams. My dreams reached to the highest heavens. And I would dream day and night about the people in my favorite shows and how I would love to trade places with them if only for one day. Truly. Honestly, I didn’t have that much going for me in 1961, so by trading places with one or all of these television icons was a ‘win win’ situation for yours truly.

I am going to present my story, “Ghosts Of Television Who Made Me What I Am Today,” in a different format. Instead of taking each show and and talking in length about each one, I will give you the name of the show and tell you which star I appreciated the most. Why I wanted to trade places with them and what I took away from the show.

First off, THE RIFLEMAN:

This show was ahead of its time by way of black and white television westerns. This was not your garden-variety western by any means. The Rifleman starred Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, a widower raising his son, Mark on the plains near a town called North Fork. McCain’s past was sketchy. Some viewers thought that maybe he had once rode with an outlaw gang before marrying and settling down. All in all, the Rifleman was a fantastic show for someone (like me) who had an over-active imagination.

I appreciated Johnny “Mark” Crawford the most. I wanted to be like “Mark,” protected by a dad who could sling his specially-modified Winchester rifle into action at anytime to ward off any evildoer’s who were after me.

What I took away from The Rifleman was the blending of the two ingredients: Old West good versus bad with good always winning and that rifle that belonged to Lucas McCain. I always dreamed of having a toy rifle like this when I was a boy.

Now we have, CAPTAIN KANGAROO:

If you needed an hour of peace, nothing but peace and tranquility, then Captain Kangaroo was the show for you. I loved Robert “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan on and off of his long-running children’s show. Millions of youngsters grew up watching Captain Kangaroo in his Treasure House with daily adventures with Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose (and his ping pong tricks), Dancing Bear, Grandfather Clock and of course, Captain’s loyal sidekick, Mr. Green Jeans played by Lumpy Branum.

I appreciated Bob Keeshan’s teachings on peace and how to live peacefully with neighbors and friends. Keeshan’s natural gentile demeanor made him a natural for the role of Captain Kangaroo. Trivia fact: Bob Keeshan was the first Bozo The Clown.

What I took away from Captain Kangaroo was the fun, of course, but during the Vietnam war, Keeshan signed off each show with, “Parents, teach you children to play with toys of peace,” that stuck with me. Even through today.

Say hello to, THE ADDAMS FAMILY starring John Astin as “Gomez,” Carolyn Jones as “Morticia,” Jackie Coogan as “Fester,” and Ted Cassidy as “Lurch.” This was a delightful ‘horror’ sitcom with a reverse plot. The Addams Family were not that frightening, but humorous. From Gomez’ weekly toy train wrecks in the basement to Lurch’s golden catch phrase, “You rang,” I loved this show. I never missed an episode.

I appreciated Jackie Coogan who played “Uncle Fester,” for Coogan’s versatile acting abilities. And his trick of making a light bulb shine by placing it his mouth, well, you guessed it. I tried that once. When I was alone. It didn’t work.

What I took from the Addams Family was learning to accept people in real-life no matter how they looked, acted or expressed themselves.

I loved, with a passion, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, as millions of other Americans. From the show’s creator, Rod Serling’s opening voice-over, “You’re traveling through time--to another dimension. A dimension of sight and of sound. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone,” to the virtual parade of Hollywood celebrities who appeared on this hit show for CBS, I loved every spine-chilling minute.

I appreciated, of all the show’s characters, screen-legend, Burgess Meredith’s portrayal of a meek, quiet bank teller who loved to read. Even on his lunch break inside the bank’s vault. One day, “the bomb” in that era, went off while Meredith was safely closed off in the vault. When he opened the door, civilization as he knew it was gone. Vanished. No more. He was so happy to find the remains of the public library and his famous line, “Time. I’ve got plenty of time to read,” made this episode stand up. And when he dropped his glasses preventing him from seeing clearly, Meredith’s fine-hewn acting talents let you feel his pain and anguish at being where one wants to be but cannot enjoy themselves.

I took from The Twilight Zone, my love for writing. Rod Serling was an early hero of mine. And still is. Loved his dry-but-sensational style of telling a story. His other project, Night Gallery, was equally entertaining, but not as good as The Twilight Zone.

While we are here with the ‘mysterious’ shows, let me tell you about THE OUTER LIMITS. For the early sixties, this show was very sophisticated for it’s time. Unlike The Twilight Zone with a emcee narrating the opening of the show, you heard a serious, voice of authority who told us, “There is nothing wrong with your set. We have taken over and for the next hour, we will tell you what to do and what to think,” I fell in love with this show at the first episode.

I appreciated the special effects technicians who designed the way our television screens would look blurry, then wavy and then a sensor wave, like those you see on medical heart monitors, would appear making us hold our breath in anticipation to see what creature would appear on this episode to scare out of our wits.

What I took away from The Outer Limits was one episode which made me cry. This creature from the fifth dimension, shaped like a star, with bad eyesight, came to our world and was befriended by a compassionate man. The star creature used a huge magnifying glass in order to see. When it was time for the creature to leave our world and go back to his place in the universe, he was unable to take his magnifying glass with him on his trip. The last scene of this episode let us hear him crying as his arm kept trying to bring the magnifying glass through the time door over and over and failing each time. This was the saddest of all the episodes of The Outer Limits.

Go with me as we take a VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA starring Richard Basehart as “Admiral Nelson,” and David Hedison as “Lieutenant Crane,” and Robert Dowdell as “Chip,” the operations officer. This show created by Irwin Allen, was a high-budget show that easily paid for its keep each week by facing giant squids that attacked the nuclear-powered Seaview and mysterious creatures that literally tore through the futuristic vessel’s hull like aluminum. There was never a dull moment on Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea.

I appreciated Robert Dowdell, “Skip,” for his character’s level-headed and calm demeanor in the face of dangers with many forms and faces.

I took from Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea, was my fascination about the future. And that, friends, was in 1964, with three-years of watching television. And I loved the theme music for the show. There were no words, but then again, none were needed.

I am now reminded of the old adage, “We are what we eat,” but in my case, “I am what I watched on television.”

That in itself should explain a lot about why I think the way I do and write the way I write. But I do not run from giant squids and star creatures who cannot get back home. I can say with a clear conscience, that watching television hasn’t affected me that much even today in 2011.

Most days I spend my time trying to make a light bulb light up in my mouth.




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Comments 14 comments

poshcoffeeco profile image

poshcoffeeco 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

Some of these old shows bring back good memories of childhood, Adams family, Voyage to the bottom of the sea.

Thanks for rminding me. Good hub


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, man! poshcoffeeco, THANK YOU, MY FRIEND, for taking the time to commen on this, which is JUST A FEW of the shows that shaped my life. Personally, Voyage to The Bottom of The Sea was my favorite. Or was that Batman with Adam West and Burt Ward? Never mind. Too long ago to think about. THANKS SO MUCH!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I was grown and caring for my own children when TV came along for me in the mid 1950s. Tiny round black and white screen, so dim I had to pull the draperies to see it in the daytime when I sat down with my newborn to nurse him.

Johnny Carson was among the first names I recall, not on the "Tonight Show" but that skinny kid with a game show called "Do You Trust Your Wife?" haha

I, too, loved "The Rifleman" when it cam along and I think "Twilight Zone" was one of the best-ever. I still recall some of the episodes on it. Rod Serling was a creative genius who could foresee the future!

Thanks for sharing your early TV experiences and how they imprinted some of your ideals on you!

Good one, Kenneth! Very entertaining!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Memories are made of this....


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, Nellieanna, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KIND REMARK. You made me realize how blessed we are in 2011 with digital TV, cable, satellites, but the timeframe this was taken from, around 1961-1966, I thought that that time was the future--even with wide-screen, yeah, right, black and white televisions. Loved the remarks about Johnny Carson, always going to be the "King of Late Night," and the Rifleman. Your comments are so nice and sweet and I thank you so much.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello to you, Breakfastpop, YES, you are so right. Memories are made of this...and other things in life. Mostly the things that I overlook at the present, then in looking back, I realize how important they were. Thanks for the comment.


Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi Kenneth,

Thank you for sharing your memories of the old television shows.

I remember such shows as the Ed Sullivan Show, Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Dragnet, Carol Burnett. I could go on an on.

I wish we had shows like that nowadays instead of the reality crap they show now. I do like Dancing with the Stars though.

Voted up and awesome.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

DEAR Sueswan, how are YOU? Good, I hope. THANK YOU for this lovely comment. I do remember Ed Sullivan and the rest on your list. I should have thrown them into this hub too. Maybe in the future, another tv-show related hub about CBS comedies. Or you can do that one. And thanks for the Votes..Appreciate YOU!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Yep, those were fantastic brand-new things then! And really, some of those early shows were possibly superior to those now. For one thing, they were usually performed "live" in front of a live audience! Hard to imagine. Though some of the themes seem sort of corny, they had a lot of charm and some even taught good lessons.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi there, Nellieanna. You are right. Live television was something I wish now that I had included in this hub. Live and learn. Thank you, dear friend, for making me feel good. God bless YOU!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

You brought made great old memories of my childhood. Life sure seemed simpler then. Great hub.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Pamela, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your comment. That is the aim of my hubs--to make some laughter, maybe a tear from a serious real-life personal drama, or a look back to a gentler time that you and I remember. Thanks so much. I appreciate this very much.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Thumbs up!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Nellieanna..."Thank YOU, from my heart!" If the world's peoples were just a smidgen as good as you are, we wouldn't have wars, hatred or violence. Peace and thanks.

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