My First Experience with Television
Echoes of my childhood...
In the early to middle 1950’s, television was mostly – unheard of in my hometown. Oh we were familiar with sounds transmitted by radio, some even had phonographs. We had two radios. A Hallicrafter short wave in a big cabinet for dad to listen to prize fights beamed in from larger cities, and a small Crosley brand with an external antennae that was nothing more than a coil of wire that you unwound and laid above the door frames for better reception. The Crosley had a metal case and must have had a short in it because you could really get shocked handling it while it was plugged up. We used the Crosley to listen to the Hayes & Reynolds Gospel Show, Queen for a Day, and the Green Hornet. The Chuck Wagon Gang aired each evening after supper and after that I listened to The Phantom. Saturday mornings were special for kids when we listened to the B-Bar B Ranch Show, Howdy Doody and Sky King. Both radios were tube type because that’s all there was in the early days. Diodes wouldn’t come on the scene for at least 10 years.
It was called the Adventures of Davy Crockett
My oldest brother Jim had a good friend named Freddie Kilday and his folks had a television set. No, I had never even heard of one at that time. They say that moving pictures showed up on a screen inside a cabinet and were calling it a television set. I believe I heard them say the programs came from Knoxville or Charlotte NC. Freddies’ parents had invited all the boys over to see a special Walt Disney show that came on each Tuesday night at 7 PM. It was called the Adventures of Davy Crockett, and mom said I could go and see it if I would be sure and thank Mr. & Mrs. Kilday for inviting me.
the Ballad of Davy Crockett became number one...
I must have set there spellbound, noticing every thing that moved. “A deer in the headlights” would probably best describe how I looked as I watched my first show on a television set. Even though everything was in black and white it was still pretty amazing. Fess Parker stared as Davy Crockett and Buddy Ebson played his sidekick. The show became so popular that the theme song; the Ballad of Davy Crockett became number one on the Hit Parade. Many of us boys memorized the words and would sing it at school so much that the teachers would tell us to be quite.
Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier
I think I visited the Kildays every Tuesday evening after that even if my brother and Freddie had something else to do. I must have seen the whole series. At least until the program changed to Cinderella and I didn’t really care much for that, but I was thankful that they allowed me to come each week. Sometimes Mrs. Kilday would make popcorn and that seemed to make the watchin’ more enjoyable.
A few years later a local television station started operation within about twenty-five miles of where I lived, and dad broke down and got us boys a TV to watch. We couldn’t get a good signal though because we lived in a valley and the hills where we played Fox and Hound blocked the signal. Eventually the signal got stronger and the picture quality improved but the station still didn’t start broadcasting until 3 PM each day and signed off at 10 PM with the national anthem and a test pattern that stayed on the screen until the programming started again the next day.
Before long each of the Tri-Cities had their own affiliation with each of the networks, and it was sometime later that I saw re-runs of that original series that always began “Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier”…
© 2010 SamSonS