When Television Was Young
Most of us baby boomers remember when our parents got their first television set. My parents got our first TV back in 1954. A new medium expanding into every living room all across the country. Looking back now, what an event it was. No longer huddled around the radio listening to the excerpts of the Lone Ranger or Jack Benny. We were now able to see these episodes unfold right before our eyes. Television was so new to the majority of Americans back then. As children we were only allowed to watch certain programs, maybe one or two at the most. Howdy Duty comes back as one of the programs I watched regularly as a child. Considering the novelty of this new medium most of the time we were always outside playing baseball or doing some other activity. I remember back then watching television was a whole family affair not like what is happening today with the fast pace of our society. The times we actually sat down to watch our favorite shows only consumed a very small part of the evening. Like most of the youth of that period television even though TV was in it's infancy it didn't consume our time we actually pursued a more active lifestyle. Maybe that activity of our youth kept us from becoming the obese children that is all too prevalent now. Television wasn't the all purpose entertainment that children and adults today focus on and spend many hours "glued to the tube" as the expression goes. This is probably one of the biggest factors and reasons contributing to youth obesity and the obesity in adults today. Our parents were in strict control about how much television were were allowed to watch. I am afraid the leanency of parents today has encouraged our youth to slide away from other more active pursuits. TV has become today's babysitters.
Saturday mornings were also special to a lot of us baby boomers. We were actually allowed to see the Saturday morning episodes of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Captain Midnite, The Cisco Kid and others that we tried to emulate in our play and incorporated their values into our foundation of what we were to become.
The heroes of yesteryear where are they today? Sadly, now when I sit and watch my grandchildren on Saturday mornings I hunger for their return so that the youth of today can witness the actual wholesome entertainment that was to became one of the basic foundations of our generation. Like the radio shows before the newness of television enable viewers to utilize their imagination in playing out the characters that were unfolding on the screen. Not like today where all there is practically is in your face spontaneous action, horror, or violence leaving no doubt of the intentions of what is being portrayed. The childhood imagination of my generation spawned many wonderful technologies that wouldn't be available today without the imagination of the youth and adults of the boomer generation along with the entertainment that became an internal part of the late 1940's and early 1950's.
In a world that is filled without heroes only villains and an awful lot of gray matter in between in the news today it would be so refreshing and reassuring that in our entertainment there would be actual heroes that vanquishes evil and we would all live happily ever after. Go back to the 1930's during a period in our history filled with uncertainty and a actual feeling of foreboding, we looked to the movies of the day to escape the actual drudgery of day to day living and used our imagination in allowing us to be swept away by the characters on the screen. That is what made the movies so successful. Today some of that resonates in some of the films now but modern television thou, is sadly lacking in pure wholesome entertainment and really not remotely comparable to the shows when television was new.
The creativity of script writers for the shows of the 50's and 60's is very sadly missing today. Shows like Milton Berle or Steve Allen all made us think, be entertained and actually were hilarious all at the same time. Even the cartoons shows like Bullwinkle were designed to have a certain degree of thought that went into each episode while being very funny. The live broadcasts of the shows back then spurred spontaneous laughter on the sets as well as the audience in studios and for us watching at home. The Red Skeleton show had that spontaneity where you couldn't help fall out of your chair laughing.
Ah yes! the TV shows of yesterday. Nothing today even comes close to matching the entertainment, the spontaneity, and the hilarity of the way in which they were written, produced and portrayed. With found memories I will always cherish those times when television actually entertained and educated a whole generation.