Friday, January 30, 2009

Three Channels

I took this Thursday morning at about 7:30 from the Sea Breeze restaurant as people driving by wondered what on Earth I was doing. Speaking of wondering, I often wonder why I can never find anything decent on television when I have approximately 5,362 channels to choose from. How is that possible?

Every now and then I like to reminisce about the good old days, before cable TV and microwavable pancakes, but right around the time of 8-track cassettes, Tang and Space Food Sticks. (I loved the chocolate ones and swore I was turning into an astronaut with every bite I took.)

Yes, I often reflect back to the days when all television sets had aerials and rarely picked up more than three channels, which of course were ABC, NBC and CBS. There was no network devoted to food; no 24-hour cartoons; and no movies on demand. To watch a movie, you looked up the show times in the paper and drove to the theater. Before Gloucester's Hillside Theater and after Donk's stopped showing movies, that would entail a 40-50 mile drive for those of us in Mathews. You also didn't have to take out a second mortgage to buy popcorn, but that's a topic for another day.

Back during the 1970’s, the closest thing to Reality TV was the news, which was actually about The News, rather than what Katie Holmes wore to the Screen Actor Guild Awards or how a one-eyed grandmother in North Dakota gave birth to a flounder. For instance.

Here's a random list of some of the programs we watched and/or I remember from that decade:

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (Was this chick weird or what? She looked like an aging Pippy Longstocking, never happy, whiny, always in the midst of some crisis or drama....Wait a minute. I resemble some of these remarks.)
The Carol Burnett Show
Hee Haw (Yes, we did watch this, and we may have even liked it, but you're not going to get me to admit that here.)
Sonny and Cher
Flip Wilson
Lawrence Welk (We were forced to watch this. It was painful.)
Glen Campbell (I really wanted him to be my Rhinestone Cowboy; I had a huge crush, until I saw Medical Center's Chad Everett, who was later replaced by KC Royals baseball player George Brett, who has been replaced by my current boyfriend, Harry Connick, Jr.)
Captain Kangaroo
Romper Room
Schoolhouse Rock
Sesame Street
Electric Company
All in the Family
Mary Tyler Moore
Happy Days
Laverne and Shirley
Mork and Mindy
Barney Miller
Petticoat Junction
Green Acres
Dukes of Hazard
Charlie's Angels (I actually hated this show. Hated it! Also a topic for another day.)
The Waltons (I might have had a teeny tiny minuscule crush on John Boy back then, although that mole was very distracting, and he was a tad too gaunt.)
Little House on the Prairie (Tears, anyone?)
Walt Disney (on Sunday nights, preceded by Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, of course)
Hawaii Five-O (a Chesapeake Bay Mother’s favorite, I could take it or leave it except for the theme song).
Six Million Dollar Man (I also wanted to marry him for about a day, but I quickly snapped out of it.)
Wonder Woman
Bionic Woman
Fahn-tuh-see Island
Love Boat
Buggs Bunny-the all-time best in the cartoon category. Ever.
Josie and the Pussycats
Grape Ape (What kind of a person thinks up a character called Grape Ape? How much money does this person get paid? Are there currently any openings for the creative sort who spawns ideas like a ginormous purple ape who says two words, "Grape Ape?" I'd really, really like to apply.)
Scooby Doo (I might have had a crush on the blond-haired guy. Yes, I had a crush on a cartoon character. It was his broad shoulders.)
HR Puffenstuff....Who's your friend when things get rough. (Ummmm. Hello? Puffin' what?)
...and tons more I'm sure you will remember.

Yes, those were the good old days of television. Today we have hundreds of channels and rarely can find anything worth watching. In the days of three channels it seemed like everything was entertaining, even if it was a show featuring a midget dressed in a tuxedo living on an island where Ricardo Montalban granted people’s every wish.

Right now, I wish I was coming in for a landing in Ze Plane sitting next to George Brett. Or Chad Everett.

But definitely not John Boy or that cartoon character, just to be clear.


Anonymous said...

A first! I'm first.
Loved your list. Made me smile at the memories. And I watched The Smurfs. Loved it! but HELLO Smurfette? the only woman in the entire village?

Scooby Doo scares me.

Annie said...

Gosh...I really am old enough to be your mother!

I remember 77 Sunset Strip...and maybe um..Perry Mason...and things like that...not that I ever watched them...maybe the mouseketeers...

and we still only have about 3 channels on my tv here...well ok, I am lying, maybe 5 then..! And I do mean FIVE!!

I might have broadband computer...but you certainly beat me in the television stakes!!


Mental P Mama said...

I got Chad Everett's autograph in a Nashville Red Lobster. Oh yes I did. He was with Wayne Rogers. And Hee Haw was must-see-TV when you were a Tennessee kid;) Our babysitter loved it.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Phyl - I confess I never watched the Smurfs..although I believe Baby Sister did.

Annie - Perry Mason was always on around here. Chesapeake Bay Mother loved it. I actually miss the days of fewer choices, because I believe it made the networks concentrate on quality rather than quantity. Enjoy your 5 channels, you're better off.

MPM - And the rest of your comment is, "Also, I'm bringing Chad Everett's autograph to Virginia in July to give to you, Chesapeake Bay Woman." Right?

Icey said...

I too had a crush on Glen Campbell. Also the dark haired guy on Emergency (Randolph Mantooth or some horrible name like that?). I coulld comment on this all day ... but instead i will share a story of Lawrence Welk torture. My brother and I had an old babysitter, Mrs. Donahue, who was 75 yrs old if she was a day. She would force us to watch. One night in desperate boredom and to avoid the Lennon Sisters (or whichever sisters they were), we went in the bathroom. I grunted and groaned like I was dying and my brother made loud farting noises. Mrs. Donahue was either deaf or too engrossed in Lawrence Welk ... or maybe she was expereienced enough to identify a fake. Anyway we got absolutely no reaction out of her so we gave up and had to watch the champagne bubbles. HORRIBLE!

Anonymous said...

Gilligan's Island anyone?


Ellen said...

Chad Everett was my early childhood crush. Medical Center was my favorite show. He was such a hunk.

Reading your list was like walking down memory lane. I watched most of the same shows, except Hee-Haw. Country music was not a favorite in my house.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Icey, you are too funny. Knowing you and your brother as I do makes the story even funnier. Our grandmother forced us to watch Lawrence Welk, on a TV about the size of a postage stamp. Sheer torture. She also forced us to watch every beauty pageant that ever came on. Excruciating.

MMM - Gilligan, definitely a good one. (Sometimes I'm tempted to call Gwynn's Island Gilligan's Island because of all the many characters running around over there. I mean that as a compliment even though it doesn't sound like one.)

Ellen - Yes, Chad was heavenly. My sisters and I likely would not have elected to watch Hee Haw if we had a choice in the matter, but my father liked it, and before you knew it we were hooked. I liken it to craning your neck as you pass by a car accident. You know it's not good, but yet you have to look.

Speaking of Hee Haw, I bought a dVD of it about a year ago thinking it would be good. Oh, how very mistaken I was. It wasn't just bad, it was horrid.

Anonymous said...

I liked all of those shows. I also enjoyed Wide World of Sports, and Lancelot Link:) Ahhh, the good old days!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE - Lancelot Link is truly a blast from the past. Great one. (Also, I need to stop dillydallying on this announcement. I want to scrap what I sent you and start over. I'll send you something tonight or tomorrow.)

Anonymous said...

(music playing in the backround)

Bonanza and GunSmoke, The Rifleman and Flipper. F-Troop and Laugh-In really made me twitter.... (fill in your own lyrics here)....these are a few of my favorite shows.

Sharon Day said...

You have to be the luckiest person in the world to see that kind of view of a sunrise. Of course, the desert is known for endless sky and sunsets, but the water...that's lifegiving. It makes all the difference. Lucky girl! Oh, and, I have to admit that my life revolved around reruns of "I Love Lucy" at lunchtime, "Let's Make a Deal" (on sick days when I stayed home), and Friday evenings when they'd play "The Brady Bunch" new episodes!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

RC - Yes, Gunsmoke was a CB Mother favorite. Oh, Flipper. Now you've gone and done it.

A certain Mathews County native named JEFFREY bestowed me with the nickname of Flipper in 7th grade. I will have to write about that. Maybe. Maybe not.

Autumnforest - I'll bet you do get some killer sunsets. Lucy was awesome, I could always relate to her clumsy antics. Let's Make a Deal was another good one. I also liked Truth or Consequences with Bob Barker.

Anonymous said...

and how could I forget Andy Griffith and Dick VanDyke...maybe cause I still watch them?

Sad, I know.

A drawback of only haveing 3 TV stations was that I didn't know how many other wonderful shows existed. Not until I visited relatives in the 'big city' did I ever hear of Monty Python and Dr.Who.

foolery said...

We had three channels, too -- only one of them was PBS (can you say Mr. Rogers? I think ya can). We couldn't get NBC for several years, until my dad had a 60-foot tower antenna installed behind the house. It's still there, just begging to be hit by lightning.

I find it odd that the first show on your list was "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman."

Chas was on "Romper Room" when he was a tot. He burned the studio down, or something like that.

Katie Holmes has a lot in common with the one-eyed grandmother in North Dakota, only she didn't give birth TO a flounder, she gave birth FROM a flounder.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to figure out how to whistle the Andy Griffith in this comment box.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

RC - I still watch those old ones too, when I can.

Foolery - PBS would have been about the only other station available around here, but it didn't come in clearly on our aerial, so unless the stars and planets were aligned just so, we were outta luck. Re Marty Hartman, Mary Hartman, I have no explanation that would make any sense, because it's definitely not the first show i think of, in fact I really didn't care for it much, but CB Mother loved it, so once again that meant we had to watch it. When I was originally writing this, I had grouped things by category (I even had a game show category, which I later scrapped), but then I decided against grouping and just started free flow brainstorming. I suppose that somewhere in the grouping/ungrouping, Mary H., Mary H. somehow landed on top. Serendipity, I guess.

Anonymous - You just did. And now I'll have that whistle in my head the rest of the night.

Ann Marie said...

I was watching Young and the Restless by the age of 5 .. maybe that explains things.

Liz said...

Beautiful photo - beautiful place!

It speaks serenity - nice way to start the weekend!

Anonymous said...

I am still amazed that you can blow through that list of shows. I can only remember Charlie’s Angels. I guess it’s because I thought Farrah Fawcett was sooooo hot. TV reception was not the greatest in those days either. Many a day I climbed out the window onto the roof, hoping that if I turned the antenna just right “the fuzz” would go away. How about the Reynolds Wrap that you put around the UHF Antenna so you could pick up channel 27. It would not have been so bad if we had not lived right across from a swamp or should I say in the swamp. Those Black Mathews Swamp Mosquitoes was as big as Volkswagens.

Unknown said...

Is there a good reason why Alf was purposely/accidently left off that list?

It doesn't matter that his show wasn't on TV in the's just a matter of principle.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

AM - I was also watching Y and R at a young age...still watch it now if I get the chance. I saw the guy who plays Victor Newman in California back in the '80's. I think we were at Muscle Beach, if that is even the name of a place, but it's where all the men work out and people come to gawk. I'm not sure what I was doing there....

Ann from Montana - Thanks - I hope you have a very serene weekend.

B - Yes! I remember the reynolds wrap on the antenna. That is hilarious - can't believe you actually got on the roof, but we did what we had to do to get reception. Don't even get me started on those mosquitoes, although I am laughing at the VW description.

GJ - Yes, I would have lumped Alf in the '80's, but just for you I'll overlook that fact. I had an Alf poster in my room just after college. I was a huge fan.

bellalately said...

I know I'm always late on these, but I still appreciate your posts :)

Wow- what a trip back in time, you brought up a few I hadn't thought about in a while!

How 'bout:
Land of the Lost
Space Ghost
Hong Kong Fooey
Speed Racer
and last but not least- The Hardy Boys!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

bellalately - Good ones. I had completely forgotten about those Hardy Boys...I liked 'em.

Bayman said...

MMM, Mary Ann or Ginger?
It is ok to pick Mrs. Howell also.
We have someone over here who remings me of Festus, btw.