by Joan Kayse
I am a child of television.
I confess, I do watch or at least listen to a fair amount of it. What can I say? I was raised in the era of programming expansion. My parents had just gotten used to grainy black and white pictures of Milton Berle when Panavision was invented. They never dreamed they’d be able to watch programs in color and to get reception from the moon? Unthinkable.
I still remember how my parents let my brother and I stay up to watch the broadcast of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon. History was being made and I saw it live.
Television brought world events to my living room in Kentucky..nightly broadcasts of the Vietnam War, the protests, the bra burning. The cultural revolution was unfolding on our small screen. I was a kid. I didn't understand what all that was about but it impacted me.
But I also remember curling up every Sunday night, after my bath, snug in my jammies to watch “Wild Kingdom” and “The Wonderful World of Disney”. I was safe and secure in my living room while Marlin Perkins wrestled giant anacondas to the ground….or rather sent his trusty sidekick Jim in to do it. (Wonder if ‘ole Jim got extra pay??)
Miniseries were big for a time. “Roots”, “The Winds of War”, “North and South” (minus Richard Armitage). Sagas told over the span of five days. Books brought to life, given faces, making an impact, leaving impressions.
Then Cable TV was invented. The first thing I watched when my parents got it was “The Blue Lagoon”. Pretty risqué business in the early eighties to see semi nude Brooke Shields flinging around that lagoon. Now you can access hundreds of stations and lots more skin if you have the money to pay for all that opulence. I could and have watched The Food Network for hours! Yes, I learned the art of cheesecake making from Good Eats.
Even with all the choices out there I still find myself gravitating toward the classics: I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke. Not a lot of meaning or deep psychological implications in these simple but entertaining shows (save for the AG episode with Opie and Winkin, Blinkin and Nod...sniff). Barney Fife was one of a kind. Watch the "Checkpoint Chickie" episode and not laugh. I dare you! Nobody has neighbors like Ethel and Fred and a boss as hilarious as Alan Brady? Thank goodness for TVLand!
What about you? What were some of your favorite shows? Which was the funniest? Golden Girls? Wings? The Cosby Show?