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Television, How I Remember It Before Cable, Video Recorder's, Internet And Apple

Updated on July 10, 2016

The Original Star Trek

TV Console

Inside an old TV

Rabbit ears wrapped in tin foil

Growing up with TV before cable

I was born in Denver, Colorado in 1960 and in a golden era of limited but magical TV.

Growing up in Denver during those times we only had 4 TV stations to choose from, KWGN channel 2, NBC channel 4, CBS channel 7 and ABC channel 9.

We got our TV signals from pull out rabbit ear antenna's that every family I knew of wrapped them in tin foil to boost the signal.

Back in those day's television's were huge, I mean really huge, weighing in the hundred's of pounds in some cases. They were built in wooden cabinets and were a piece of furniture that would take two strong men to move. If your family was wealthy, there would be a built in LP record player and the combo was called a TV Console. The new fangled audio system of the day was called "Stereo". I was like most people and did not have a clue what "Stereo" meant, but we knew it sounded better that the old "Mono" audio.

I cannot remember not having a television in the house, but of course it was a black and white variety. The first time I ever saw color TV was at my grandpa and grandma's house on the farm in Western Kansas. The first TV show I ever saw in color was Carroll O'Conner as Archie Bunker in "All In The Family". My Grandpa Dale was sacked out asleep in his recliner and I was mystified how he could sleep during a "Color TV" program. I think my folks finally got a color television when I was 11 or 12 years old.

Of course, being a child in the 60's and 70's meant we saw a lot of TV reruns from the 50's and a lot of movies from the 40's and 50's on our family television. It truly was a golden age of television and being able to grow up with the glowing box.

Before school TV

When I was in elementary school and if I was able to get ready in time for school I could eat my cereal watching TV and my favorite show was 50's rerun "Leave it to Beaver" starring Jerry Mathers. The Beaver was a sensitive dumb kid growing up in a suburban neighborhood. I could relate to all his short comings because he reminded me of myself. My next favorite in the morning was the "Andy Griffith Show" with Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bea, Gomer, Floyd, Otis and my favorite character on the show was rock throwing Ernest T. Bass.

The best part of growing up in those days if you were sick or could convince your mom you were sick you could watch all the reruns all day.

Leave it to Beaver intro

After school TV

After school we would rush home to watch the reruns of all the TV shows that were available starting at 3 pm and ending at 5 pm before the nightly news. Who could forget "Gilligan's Island" with big hearted and bungling Gilligan making us laugh. What I could never figure out was how the professor could make a radio out of a coconut but never figure out how to fix the boat.

Depending on the station and the year we could also choose from "I Dream of Jeannie", "Hazel". "Brady Bunch", "I Love Lucy", "The Beverly Hillbillies", "Flying Nun", "Family Affair", "My Three Sons", "Dark Shadows", "Sea Hunt", "Flipper", "Lassie", "Gomer Pyle, USMC", "Bewitched", "Green Acres", "Adam 12", "Petticoat Junction", "Father Knows Best", "The Addams Family". "The Munsters" "Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Get Smart" I am sure I missed a few of your favorites. With the ones mentioned above, I still remember their theme songs and have been known to break out in singing a few of them from time to time. If you grew up in those days I bet you can still carry a tune from one of your favorite shows.

I also enjoyed a couple of comedies based in World War II called "Hogan's Hero's", and "McHale's Navy". I remember getting a lecture from my 6th grade geography teacher Mr. Hinds when he heard me telling one of my classmates about a recent episode of "Hogan's Hero's" about how World War II was not a laughing matter. Of course he was correct, but if you are still alive Mr. Hinds and happen to be reading this you needed to lighten up some I was just a kid. Needless to say I never mentioned "Hogan's Hero's" or McHale's Navy in my geography class ever again.

Between 4pm and 5pm the ultimate show "Star Trek" was in reruns and I have watched every episode countless times and probably know most of the dialogue from the show. Just for the record and you can hang me if you want, but I hated the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode.

Opening theme from Gilligan's Island

Westerns on TV in the 60's and 70's

Of course growing up in Colorado with my roots in western Kansas the TV cowboy was always my favorite. Be it James Arness as Marshall Dillion of "Gunsmoke" or a young Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates in "Rawhide".

Other notable westerns of the time on TV were "High Chaparral", "Have Gun Will Travel", "The Virginian", "Bonanza", "The Rifleman", "Branded", "The Big Valley", Wagon Train", "Wanted: Dead Or Alive", "Cheyenne", "The Lone Ranger", "Zorro", "Laramie" and of course the comedy of the bunch was "F-Troop"

My all time favorite was of course Robert Conrad in the "The Wild, Wild, West" I loved how every time they went to a commercial how they took the last scene and made it into a drawing and tucked into a corner of a square. If you happened to get into the show late you could always tell how much time was left by looking at the square if one corner was filled, then you were a quarter of the way through the show if 2 squares were full then you were half way through the show and so on. Of course you could have always looked at your watch but where was the fun in that.

Wild Wild West TV Show Intro:

Si-Fi and horror on TV in the 60's and 70's

Si-Fi and the unexplainable has always fascinated me also when I was growing up. Here are some notable examples of that golden era of television.

Have already spoke of the original "Star Trek", "Lost in Space", "Land of Giants", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", "The Time Tunnel", "One Step Beyond", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "The Outer Limits", and of course, who could ever forget the Rod Sterling's voice and his narrations of "The Twilight Zone" and his follow up master of TV history "The Night Gallery".

Even with those great TV shows mentioned, my favorite all time was "The Invaders" starring Roy Thinnes who plays an architect David Vincent, after an exhausting day he park's his car in an abandon ghost town to catch some zzzz's before continuing home. He was suddenly awaken in the middle of the night when a flying saucer not of this earth is landing just a few hundred yards away from his car. From that moment on he will be trying to persuade a skeptical world that the invasion of our planet is going on, that the nightmare has just begun...

The Invaders Intro

War, Spy and Adventure in the golden era of TV

TV during the 60's was always filled with some awesome action adventure programing and series. Some of my best were as follows: "Hawaii Five-0", "Mission Impossible", "The Fugitive", "The Saint", "Ironside", "Perry Mason", "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", "The Avengers", "Route 66", "Combat", "I Spy", "The Mod Squad", "Mannix", "The Green Hornet", and "Honey West".

But, my favorite all time action adventure TV series was called "The Rat Patrol". My buddies and I would wear Army helmets and we would pretend our stingray bikes with banana seats were jeeps and we would use tape to mount toy guns to the handle bars. Back in those days nobody was politically correct and to my knowledge, none of my buddies turned out to be serial killers or anything. The "Rat Patrol" was simply awesome for young boys to vent a little imagination as we would rid our neighborhood of the dreaded Nazi's.

The Rat Patrol FULL Opening With Sponsor ID: Camel Cigarettes

Final thoughts

Growing up in the 60's and 70's life in general was simpler, we didn't have the hustle and bustle of instant information that kids do nowadays. We rode our bikes to school and we swam in the nearby creeks, we played outdoors in the sun and the snow. We thought our neighborhoods and our tiny little bit of the world was enormous and vast. On Grove Street were I spent my youth we didn't think twice about playing on the neighbor's lawn and the street was our territory for playing army, football, kick the can and hide and seek. We usually didn't get called home until after it was dark and that was when mom yelled down the street for us. When we were home, we got to watch our favorite TV programs for a couple of hours until bedtime. I grew up in the golden era of TV and sometimes I feel sorry for the kids today, they will never know that feeling.


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      3 years ago

      I was born in 1965 and grew up in that era in Australia. Everything your wrote is just as applicable here as it was in the USA. I remember watching many of those TV shows here after school. A few others are F Troop, The Ghost and Mrs Muir, Johnny Socko's Flying Robot (called Giant Robot in America I believe), Space Patrol, Astro Boy and Doctor Who. My children today have no idea of life before Internet and mobile phones. I was recently walking with my daughter and she started up an app to log our walking speed, distance etc. I said to her how I never cease to be amazed at a satellite navigation device that fits in your pocket. She doesn't think it's any big deal. I don't consider myself technically challenged, actually quite the opposite. I am an electronics technician by trade, spent a lot of my youth building electronic equipment, at one time was the youngest licensed amateur radio operator in Australia and nowadays do a lot of programming. I think one has to know where one came from to appreciate where one is now. All the old gear I worked on... a lot of that can be implemented using digital techniques on a chip the size of your fingernail.

      At the end of the day I don't think we're any happier now than then just a lot more stressed and insecure about employment and our future. Society has evolved to make it necessary for both husband and wife to work. That fact alone has had a massive impact on the traditional family and woe betide anyone who supports the concept of the traditional family these days. And then there's the concept of "political correctness" another scourge. But that's another story.

    • kurtreifschneider profile imageAUTHOR

      Kurt James 

      3 years ago from Loveland Colorado

      I agree Peggy, I miss those days when life was so simple....

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Watched them all...TV was so much better back then. Miss those days! Great article

    • thegecko profile image

      Warren Samu 

      3 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I don't know if I agree. Some of the shows over the past 15 years are pretty complex, with 5 or more storylines to keep track of. Combine that with the binge watching trend and I'd argue people have to be more focused and involved with TV just to keep up ☺

    • kurtreifschneider profile imageAUTHOR

      Kurt James 

      3 years ago from Loveland Colorado

      Jodah it was a fun Hub to write for sure. I was reminiscing the whole time I was writing it. Sometimes that is what we all need. Thanks for taking the time to read my Hub.

    • kurtreifschneider profile imageAUTHOR

      Kurt James 

      3 years ago from Loveland Colorado

      Sometimes thegecko I think today the kids have to many choices and in turn this has caused a short attention span. My theory anyway, what the hell do I know? Thanks for stopping by.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      A wonderful hub that brought back great childhood memories. It was almost like I could have written this hub myself, as I grew up through the 60s and 70s also and my favourite TV shows were among those you mentioned. You even reminded me of a few I'd forgotten. Oh reminiscing..I loved the read.

    • thegecko profile image

      Warren Samu 

      3 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Our childhood experiences end up as relics of an era, unique to those who lived it. I think every modern generation can speak to fond memories of watching television :)

      It will never be the same, but there's always TV Land!

      Good read. Growing up in the 80s, I enjoyed quite a few of these shows myself!


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