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My First Experience with Television

Updated on January 20, 2012

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


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  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks WillStarr for your visit, your friendship and your comments. No, I meant Sky King - he came on Saturday mornings after the cartoons. Yes, Straight Arrow was sponsored by Nabisco Shredded Wheat...

  • WillStarr profile image


    8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    Do you mean Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B riders? Do you also remember Sky King and Straight Arrow?

    For you youngsters, those were all old radio shows for kids.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Don for your friendship, your visit and your encouraging remarks...

  • Don Simkovich profile image

    Don Simkovich 

    8 years ago from Pasadena, CA

    This is poignant Hub and it shows the rapid march that communication technology has taken during the past 60 years compared to the previous 1,000 years! My parents got their first color TV in 1968. One of the first programs I remember seeing in color was Nixon's inauguration.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Morgan F, for your friendship, your visit and your encouraging comments...

  • Morgan F profile image

    Morgan F 

    8 years ago from USA

    Great hub! I'm part of that generation that can only really talk about life before facebook lol. I've watched the Davy Crockett series when I was a kid too, I still love black and white movies.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Susan for your visit and comments...

  • susanlang profile image


    8 years ago

    Very..very good read!

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thank you Bob, for your friendship, your visit, and your fine reflections...

  • no body profile image

    Robert E Smith 

    8 years ago from Rochester, New York

    When I was a boy my dad worked in a factory and didn't make much money. We had an old b/w TV given to us and it got 4 stations, only two clearly. My uncle Jack had a nice Civil Service job and my aunt also worked and I remember when they got this brand new giant entertainment console. It had a color TV and AM radio and a record player built right in! That was something. Our TV was tiny, about 3'x4' but this one uncle Jack had was 8' long and was walnut and I looked at the wood as much as I looked at the TV. I was invited to see Jackie Gleason and Walt Disney presents. It was almost like they were actually in the room with us. I also remember seeing cartoons in color the first time. I really didn't like it. I guess as far as toons I am a purist. Color seemed to detract from them. (No offence to Ted Turner). Anyway, I am grateful to the memories that were stirred up. My childhood was weird and you touched one of the good ones. Thank you, Bob.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks maggs224 & Granny's House for your encouraging comments and for being true friends...

  • Granny's House profile image

    Granny's House 

    8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

    samsons, what great memories you have. I wish children these days could live simple. I love reading your stories. Will rate up. Also thank you for being a great hubber friend. You are the best!

  • maggs224 profile image


    8 years ago from Sunny Spain

    Hi Samsons1, if 50 says we have something in common you can bet he is right. I am glad that he has put me in touch with your hubs and I really enjoyed this hub about your first experience of television.

    My first sight of a TV took place on the 2nd of June 1953. How do I know this and how can I be so sure of the date? It is easy, I know this because that was the day that Queen Elizabeth was crowned.

    Most folk back then did not have a TV set so when the Coronation was televised and broadcast those that did have a TV opened their homes to the neighbours so that they could watch with them this momentous event.

    I lived in a working class area on a long street that consisted of two up two down terraced houses. My Uncle lived about forty houses down from us and he had a 10 or 12 inch TV that was housed in a huge cabinet.

    I remember that he had some sort of magnifier in front of the screen to make the picture look bigger. The picture quality back then was poor and grainy but we stood and watched in wonder none the less.

    On that day I remember that many of the neighbours crowded in to watch the Queen being crowned and this of course was the first time I caught sight of a television.

    There was huge street parties that day all over the country in celebration of the Coronation, I remember that it also rained a little but that didn’t dampen our day.

    Oh and I can remember my brother and his friend having Davy Crockett hats and the song was a big hit in the UK as well I can still remember quite a lot of the words lol…

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks cristina327, for your friendship, your visit and your nice comments...

  • cristina327 profile image

    Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

    8 years ago from Manila

    Great hub, very interesting. Thank you for sharing your unforgettable experience with television. Blessings to you and your family.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks billy, yes, times have really changed over the years...

  • billyaustindillon profile image


    8 years ago

    Great story Sam - I had a Davey Crockett hat didn't everyone? :) Amazing now we can watch TV on an iPad or mobile phone.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks again Prasetui30, you're more than gracious with your comments...

  • prasetio30 profile image


    8 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Good information, my friend. Thanks for share your first experience with television. It must be wonderful moment in your life. It good to remember. I love this hub. Vote this up.


  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks drpastorcarlotta, for your friendship, your visit, and your kind remarks...

  • drpastorcarlotta profile image

    Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 

    8 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

    Memories are very pleasant, thank you for them!!! GREAT HUB! Voted Up!

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Kristeen, for your visit and your nice comments...

  • Kristeen profile image


    8 years ago from Michigan


    Your hubs always bring a smile to my face. I remember well the 50's and getting our first TV. I was 5 years old and we were so excited. I remember also a few years later when the color TV's started coming out and how people didn't really like them because the color was so bad. Those were the good old days.


  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Judicastro and dreamreachout for your encouraging remarks and comments...

    thanks for the ratings Judicastro-

    yes dreamreachout, it was just like that, ever try foil on the antennae leads? and no remotes, someone had to get up and go turn the set up or down and later change the channel...

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    You remind me of those days when we use to crowd around the black and white television set, which were very few in a neighbourhood, watch the world cup matches and olympics or other great events!! It use to be high decibel atmosphere with so many people talking away and passing comments!! The place use to be jam packed with people who didnt get a place on the sofa cramming up every inch of the floor space!!

    Good one mate!! Cheers!!

  • Judicastro profile image


    8 years ago from birmingham, Alabama

    Love these Sam! Voted up.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks 50, always good to hear from you and thanks for the referral, I'll check it out...

  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 

    8 years ago from Arizona

    I remember the kid with the first TV was one popular guy, and I bet his parents wished they had kept the secret. Later I remember the kid with the new color TV. Our first was an Admiral and much, much later with the invention of remote controls Americans really got lazy. My dad didn't buy a color set until after I had went on tour with the Marines. I like these hubs of yore. There is another hubber, maggs224 that covers the working class folks of the 40s and 50s and is from Britain I really enjoyed her take on the old days.

    I think you might like them as well.

    Thanks for the memories, 50

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    Hi bayoulady, thank you for you kind remembrances--

    those were the days...

  • bayoulady profile image


    8 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

    That's when all the boys had a fake coon skin hats like Davy! And remember the first westerns? Sugarfoot, Hoppalong Cassidy,Roy Rogers......We all just loved Jack Benny.(Now I wonder why....)

    Fun hub!


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