TV Watching Nostalgia

Sadly, I am old enough to remember a time when our family did not own a television. This cartoon reminded me of that day in the mid-fifties when that gigantic blonde-wooded console TV arrived in our house. Back then there were five TV stations in New York - ABC, CBS, NBC and two independent stations. Everything was black and white.. and would be until I left home in 1968 for military service. Of course nobody in my neighborhood had color TV.

Initially the TV shows I loved to watch were all on Saturday morning.. there was My Friend Flicka (Peter Graves first TV show - way before Mission Impossible).. Sky King (a show about a rancher that flew airplanes).. Roy Rogers (ever heard of Gabby Hayes?).. Gene Autry (the singing cowboy).. and the Lone Ranger (I loved this one the most). During the week my sister and I loved to watch the Mickey Mouse Club.. I remember liking the Mouseketeers and having a Mickey Mouse hat with the big ears.

On Sunday afternoons I can remember watching Shirley Temple movies.. yes, this 6 year old really loved watching her.. I did not realize how old those movies were and how old she actually was when I was watching those movies on TV. The big Sunday evening event in our house was the Ed Sullivan Show - wow, does that bring back memories of Beatlemania.. I can still hear my sister screaming at the TV.

The 1960s brought a few memorable shows.. The Twilight Zone was a favorite - my sister and I would watch it every Friday night.. American bandstand came on every weekday after school - Dick Clark never seemed to age. Sitcoms like I Love Lucy, the Dick Van Dyke Show, Dobie Gillis, the Danny Thomas Show, Leave It To Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best.. to name a few.. reflected a simpler and more naive time in America.

I think that I could go on and on regaling of life before cable TV. Life seemed simpler.. maybe the fewer channels on the TV is reflective of that simplicity? Maybe color TV and UHF stations brought a bit of complexity with them? Not that I would trade where we are today.. but it would be interesting to know what life would be like if we only had 10 TV stations.

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me. What are your earliest TV memories?


  1. I'd settle for ten stations if they all had quality memorable shows.

    My earliest Saturday morning TV memories involve Captain Kangaroo, Rocky and Bullwinkle (in syndication it turns out), and Schoolhouse Rock.

    Throughout the week we'd watch The Love Boat, The Dukes of Hazard, and Battelstar Galactica.

  2. @Scott - How did I ever forget the Captain and Mr Green Jeans. I'll bet it was in color when you watched it?

  3. I used to watch Combat with Vic Morrow, Bonanza, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, the Donna Reed Show, the Lone Ranger, and such.

    We got a color console around 1968 or 1969; prior to that it was black and white. We didn't get 10 stations, we got CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS. Oh, wait a minute, I guess we did get 2 or three UHF channels.

    I am like Scott Roche, give me 10 channels that had something worth watching.

    We may watch the news, but we now watch DVD's and a couple of cable shows like Royal Pains and Burn Notice. Our TV watching is pretty much history.

  4. @Gregg - Forgot about the Donna Reed show.. loved that one.. and who could ever forget Gomer singing like an operatic star on Andy. We currently DVR Royal Pains.. kind of a fun show. One of these days I will try Burn Notice (probably on DVD) as I have heard good things about it.

  5. This post and the comments bring back some good memories. :)

    I like having so many choices, because the quality on the networks has gone downhill. Now it's easier to find something good.

  6. @co_heir - Good thought about quality.

  7. Ha! Ha! Ha! Only 10 stations! I can remember when only one family on our block had a TV and we only got one channel. channel 5 from Los Angeles.

  8. Hmmmm... i do not remember much from my childhood, but do remember Friday night Batman, Partridge Family, Captain Kangaroo, Wonderama, plus a show Winky Dink ( i think i got in trouble drawing on the TV without the "magic drawing screen")


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.