Saturday, November 26, 2011

More TV memories

Writing last month's column about my earliest experiences with television, and talking with my sister Jean about the TV shows she remembers, stirred up many additional memories.  We recall the Disney shows,  variously called Disneyland, Walt Disney Presents... and then The Wonderful World of Disney, which became a staple on Sunday nights. Disney brought us a variety of content (fantasy, adventure stories about nature, futuristic stories) and movies including the popular Davy Crockett mini-series (starring Fess Parker) in the mid-1950's.  I bet we could still sing "The Ballad of Davy Crocket."

Speaking of songs, do you remember "When You Wish Upon a Star"? That was the opening theme song for the Disney show in the early years. (It was created for Disney's Pinoccio film in 1940, I've just learned from Wikipedia, but for me it is strongly associated with the opening graphics of Disney's TV show.)

Through the magic of YouTube, you can now travel back though time and watch the first episode of the Disney show, including BOTH of those memorable songs!

I have other memories of watching TV with my grandfather and also in the home of my girlfriend Janet down the street.   Perhaps I'll write another column about TV memories in other homes...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Early TV

Can you remember the first TV show that you watched as a child? For me, the first show was Kukla, Fran and Ollie.  Fran was a nice lady who interacted with the puppets Kukla and Ollie.  Here's a sample from YouTube:
   Kukla, Fran and Ollie

This month I wrote a column on Watching TV in the early years. I've had fun sharing my memories with my sister and other family members and hearing what they remember.

My cousin Stuart comments, "My memory of early television is that your Dad was the first in the family to have a set and that he built it from a Heath kit ... The screen was very small.  My brothers and I  came over at times to see some shows such as Roller Derby, Dagmar, ... etc. Our uncle, Walter Barton who lived in Salem, had a big TV very early on.  His wife was Grace Bill, sister of my Grandmother.  We always went to their house for Thanksgiving and would watch Football while waiting for the dinner to be served."

"It was well into the fifties before they had one at Pine Knoll.  I remember that they especially enjoyed Arthur Godfrey.  Also, they watched the McCarthy hearings and, as a result, changed their viewpoint about the alleged Communists in the Govt."

I too remember the McCarthy hearings. My mother was angry about that TV program, but kept watching it and we couldn't see our usual cowboy shows. So we, as kids, were rather annoyed by Mr McCarthy and his hearings, which we did not understand at the time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TV Test Patterns

Remember TV test patterns?  In the early years of television, we often had to wait for a program to come on.  All we got was an unmoving test screen or test pattern while we waited and w-a-i-t-e-d...

You can see some examples by following these links:

New England Television stations
Television Test Patterns
That Pesky Television Test Pattern
Indian Head Test Card

I am writing this month about my early experiences with television. Maybe I ought to post a test pattern while you wait for my column to appear in the newspaper. (The severe snow storm on October 29 knocked out power in my entire neighborhood for 3 days and we didn't have Internet service for 5 days, so there has been a slight delay in my production.) While waiting, you can view this photo of the snow woman I created in our yard:
October 30, 2011
in Holyoke, MA