This week it is Lauren’s turn to host Throwback Thursday, and she has asked about the television shows that we used to watch.
- Was watching television a part of your family entertainment?
- Was it used as a partial babysitter?
- Do you remember specific shows you liked as a kid?
- Did you need to take turns with your siblings to choose what was watched, or did the parents have all the control?
- Were you around in the pre-remote-control days?
- Whose job was it to change channels?
- Were you a Saturday morning cartoon junkie?
- Which was your favorite show?
- Were you warned about sitting too close to the TV?
- Did you ever bug your parents to buy you some item advertised repeatedly on a program you watched?
- Do you ever watch reruns of the shows from your childhood?
My early childhood memories include television so I think that we must have got one when I was quite young. Television in Australia started officially in 1956 but only in Sydney and Melbourne. It didn’t reach Adelaide until 1959. However, the first television I can remember was in England in the early sixties. At that age mum decided what we would watch initially and that was children’s programs such as “Watch With Mother”. I still remember Andy Pandy, the Woodentops, Bill & Ben, Flowerpot Men, all puppet shows, which were very popular back then. Later there was “Fireball XL5″,”Stingray” and of course “Thunderbirds”. I also remember watching cartoons, “The Huckelberry Hound Show” comes to mind. I was never a Saturday morning cartoon kid though. As this was the early sixties and mum tended to leave the television on, I also remember seeing “Ready Steady Go” which featured all the popular groups of the day. It was where we first saw Cliff Richards and the Shadows, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five and Freddie and the Dreamers to name a few. Mum was not a fan of this type of music particularly, she liked The Bachelors and Frank Ifield. Maybe she was using TV as a babysitter for us while she got dinner.
There were a couple of other children’s shows I remember. “Blue Peter” was one that I liked and I remember the start of Doctor Who, yes it was part of children’s programming then, and yes, I was scared of the Daleks. I thought that William Hartnell’s Doctor Who was a grumpy old man. It was much later, in the seventies that I became a fan.
I also remember some of the shows that mum liked but that we were not allowed to watch. “Dangerman” with Patrick MacNee was one and to this day I associate the theme from “Z Cars” with having a bath and going to bed. I do love this piece of music though.
By the mid-sixties we had moved to Australia and I remember us watching, along with our cousins, shows like “Bewitched”, “I Dream of Jeannie”, “Green Acres”, “Petticoat Junction”, “The Beverly Hillbillies”, and of course “Gilligan’s Island”. Most of these shows seem pretty corny today but sometimes it’s fun to watch them. “Petticoat Junction” was a favourite of course and I still enjoy the early episodes but not the later ones where they started marrying the girls off. Naomi recently bought a boxed set of Gilligan’s Island DVD’s. We still enjoy it. I knew it was ridiculous when I was ten but I still liked it because the characters were all so much fun. Of course we still know all the words to the theme song. Who doesn’t? The adults were watching “Peyton Place” which didn’t interest us but also the first run of “Star Trek” which we were allowed to stay up for as long as we went to bed as soon as it was finished (at half past eight).
In Australia we didn’t get colour television until 1975 so we saw all those shows in black and white. I remember that for a year or so before that some of the TV stations were testing colour out. Does anyone remember the Test Pattern by the way? I was disappointed that I could not see any colour on the screen when they did that, not realising that you needed a special TV to see it. There were no remotes either. I’m not sure when they came in as our TV was old. I’m sure we didn’t have one at all when I was growing up. I don’t remember it being anyone’s job to change the channels. As young kids we were not encouraged to touch the TV in case we did something to it. As we got older we’d change the channels to what we wanted to watch or for mum to save her getting up I think. I am pretty sure that we did get told not to sit too close to the TV because it was bad for our eyes and I am sure our parents believed it was true. We did enjoy ads more in those days and some of them became favourites that we could sing along with or recite. Some of them we still can :-). However, although we certainly got ideas for things we’d like to have from the ads we knew that repeatedly bugging mum for them would not necessarily make it happen.
I can’t end this post without mentioning some favourite shows that I enjoyed as a young adult in the late seventies and early eighties. “Doctor Who” was now a firm favourite, “Star Trek” of course and for a bit of fun “The Goodies”. David really loved all of those shows too and we would watch them together as we were married by then. We have DVD’s of all of those shows. We also made a point of regularly watching “Countdown” and most of the other music shows that were around at the time. “Music Express” in Adelaide, “Nightmoves” and “Rock Arena” were favourites.