Thursday, February 7, 2013


                       TYPICAL FAMILY GATHERING AROUND TV                      

The miracle of television came to Unionville, Louisiana sometime in the early 1950’s when our family bought our first television.  The television was a RCA black and white (color tv did not exist in those days) television housed in a cabinet that stood on four spindly legs.  Remember the old black and white test patterns that we would stare at for hours?  There was no remote in those days so the channel selector was mechanical operated by a large knob.  The fact that there was no remote did not make much difference since there were only two channels we could pick up and one of those had good reception only on good weather days.

The two channels that we could pick up were KNOE, channel 8, in Monroe and KSLA, channel 12 in Shreveport.  When we needed to change channels we not only need to change the channel selector knob, but we also needed to go outside to the corner of the front porch and rotate the television antenna to point in the proper direction.  When we moved into our new home in 1955 we had a great improvement.  The antenna was located in a position higher on the roof and a remote allowed us to rotate the antenna from the comfort of our living room.  Once we had fine-tuned the antenna to show the best picture, we then had to start adjusting the many knobs on the television to sharpen the picture.  Many times the best picture that we could get was one that looked like faint, shadowy figures moving in a giant snowstorm.  No matter how bad the picture was, we still thought that television was one of the greatest inventions of humankind.

This new television was located in the corner of the bedroom next to the kitchen.  This became our family gathering place after supper and with the procurement of “tv” trays we usually ate supper in front of the television each night.  Some of our favorite family shows were Gunsmoke, The Honeymooners, Father Knows Best, Amos ‘n’ Andy, You Bet Your Life, I love Lucy, Have Gun – Will Travel, Dragnet, Jack Benny, The $64,000 Question, The Hit Parade, Bonaza, Combat, Jackie Gleason, The Ed Sullivan Show, Howdy Doody Show, I Led Three Lives, The Life of Riley, I’v Got a Secret, Red Skelton Show, The Millionaire, What’s My Line, and Topper.  The men folk’s favorite television program were the “Friday night fights”, which the women usually left with us men.
My personal favorite shows were Captain Video and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  Each weekday Captain Video and his Video Rangers would begin with an introduction I remember to this day:   Captain Video! Master of space! Hero of science! Captain of the Video Rangers! Operating from his secret mountain headquarters on the planet Earth, Captain Video rallies men of good will everywhere. As he rockets from planet to planet, let us follow the champion of justice, truth, and freedom throughout the universe!  Captain Video aired at 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday and I would never let any of my activities interfere with watching the show.  I was even a proud owner of a “Captain Video Secret Decoder Ring”.  Google “Captain Video” to see more information and watch some of the old shows online.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aired each Sunday night at 8:30 from 1955-1960 and Tuesday nights at 7:30 from 1960-1965.  This was also a show that I tried to never miss.  My most memorial episode was shortly after Esther and I were married.  After a rather intense thirty minutes with Alfred I decided to retire for the night.  As I walked into our bedroom, my new wife was hiding behind the door and stepped out and simply said “Boo”.  For a minute the whole world blacked out and I thought that I was going to pass out.

Ya'll come back to see us.

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