“Television is more interesting than people. If it were not, we should have people standing in the corners of our rooms. “

The rain is heavy. I can hear the drops hitting the top of the barbecue which long ago lost its cover. The dogs went out reluctantly. I went out to get my papers, also reluctantly. It is supposed to rain into the night with thunder and lightning coming later. I won’t complain about all the rain. We still need it.

My neighborhood is quiet. The house beside me is empty for the winter. On the other side of me, Brazilians live there, guys who work for my landscaper. We do say hello the few times we meet. In the house across from me are two people I never see. I do wave at the woman in the corner house. She waves back. Down the street are the only other houses with people. Eight kids live on the street, down the other end, but they are all in school. Not even the dogs bark.

When I was a kid, I liked school, but some of the nuns scared me. All you could see were their hands and faces. Their orders were instantly obeyed. Nobody dared whisper. Nobody wanted the wrath of the nun. My classroom was filled with close to forty kids. All the classrooms were filled. We were the boomer generation. The parish had to build a new school, but before it did, we went to double sessions. I hated getting out so late in the afternoon. In winter it was getting dark by the time we got home. The street lights came on quickly, no going out to play.

I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have a TV. I remember the giant console in the corner of the room. Behind its doors was a tiny screen. My father put an antenna on the roof. Sometimes, though, the picture got snowy. We’d wiggle the dials and the rabbit ears hoping to clear the picture. All the stations were local. I remember Big Brother Bob Emery and Rex Trailer. I learned that Eisenhower was president and Hail to the Chief was his song when we toasted him with milk on the Big Brother show. His theme song was The Grass is Always Greener. He played a ukulele.

I don’t remember when I went to bed back then. I remember watching a bit of evening TV. I remember all the westerns. I think I got my fill back then as I am not a fan of westerns except maybe for The Lone Ranger, Annie Oakley and Rin Tin Tin. “Go Rinny!”

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6 Comments on ““Television is more interesting than people. If it were not, we should have people standing in the corners of our rooms. “”

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today the sky is mostly clear and the high temperature might hit 91°. The humidity is down and this morning was beautiful with a temperature of 72° While driving my seven minutes to work. 🙂

    My parents bought our first television set about the same time as I was born in 1947. That’s why I can’t remember a time without the TV. Our first television set was a Crosley table top model with a 10” monochrome screen. The box that enclosed the vacuum tubes was over double the size of the screen. The TV could also pick up FM radio broadcasts. My earliest memories was when I was probably three watching the “Howdy Doody”. It aired weekdays in NYC around five in the evening. I recall watching the test pattern on the screen before it came on because there was no daytime TV shows at that time. My parents always watched the Milton Berle show every Tuesday night. I can still hear the “Men of Texaco” commercial jingle in my head.

    Until the 1980s there were only four local TV stations and adjusting the rabbit ear antenna was a prerequisite when changing channels. Now on cable I have at least 150 channels most of which are a total waste of my time and lately I find myself watching YouTube videos instead.

    As I recall as a kid, our bedtime was between eight and nine at night. I knew I was a grownup when I was allowed to watch the “Tonight Show”, with Johnny Carson. Before I was old enough to watch, I always suspected that the “Tonight Show” hosted by Steve Allen amd later by Jack Paar, was adult entertainment which was too risqué for kids to watch. I knew that because there was too much hilarity between my parents. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,

      It is still pouring. The temperature is 71˚, and, in all this humidity, I sweat just sitting and typing.

      I know my parents didn’t have a TV when I was born and for the next few years. They said one neighbor on their floor got a TV, and every night all the neighbors brought chairs and sat to watch the TV, even to a few sitting in the hall. I just know I can’t remember when we got ours. I know when we moved out of South Boston I wasn’t yet five, but I do remember a TV in our new house and for ever after. I was a big fan of Howdy Doody. I remember the test pattern with the Indian chief.

      Here on the cape, we couldn’t get Boston stations without a huge antenna. Without it, we got one channel out of New Bedford. I don’t remember when, but we got cable early. We were all relieved.

      I don’t remember my bedtime when I was young. When I was in high school, it was when I went to bed. Most nights, though, I went to bed early as I had to catch a bus at 7:05 a few blocks from where I lived.

      Steve Allen was my favorite. He was so talented and creative. He always amused me. I later did like Johnny Carson. He was fun to watch.

      • Bob Says:

        My father was a devoted fan of Johnny Carson. He told me that he wished he could see and hear went on between Johnny and the guests during the commercials. When Johnny died, Joan Rivers said on NPR that during the commercial breaks, Johnny would either turn away from the guest or go play drums with the band. She said he was afraid that something would be said off camera which would be missed by the viewing audience. Unfortunately, my dad preceded Johnny in death so I couldn’t tell him that over all those years he didn’t miss a thing. 🙂

        I agree that Steve Allen was a musical and comedic genius. I remember he had a competing late night show from Hollywood on ABC in the early sixties which was crazy and entertaining. One of his bits was to bring several random members of the studio audience up on stage. He would have each of them chose a single note on the piano. Then, he would sit down and compose a melody based on those notes. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I don’t remember either of my parents watching TV that late. I know they both liked Steve Allen so maybe they would have watched him. I never bought about those commercials breaks. I do see Stephen Colbert lean over and talk to his guest when the commercial starts.

        I remember when he had his Sunday night show he used to make fun of current songs. One time he and some of his great guys like Don Knotts, Louis Nye or Tom Poston sat in tiers like an orchestra and played meat.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We always had a tv. My father was an early adopter of technology. The earliest tv I remember was a tiny screen inside a big cabinet. You lifted up the top cover which was lined with a mirror. The tv was down inside. Somehow the mirror enlarged the image on the tiny screen so that, functionally, it was like a 21 inch screen. I don’t remember if print was backwards.
    I was on both the Rex Trailer and Big Brother Bob shows. Rex Trailer was fun. He and Pablo talked with all the kids. I got to sit on Goldrush. Big Brother Bob was not much fun. He didn’t interact with the kids at all. After that show went off air, he had a show where he discussed classical music with different guests. And he played the ukulele, too.
    It’s off and on raining here. I woke up to rain but it stopped by late morning so I took the dogs to the lake. There were a few drips and drops as we walked and they stopped. Now it’s late afternoon and it’s raining steadily again. My dryer is fixed so it can rain for a bit now.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,

      My father got us a TV so he could watch football. We were never without one. Each new one had a larger screen. Our first TV I remember well. It had two doors which covered the TV set. They didn’t fold. You just left them on the sides like shutters.

      Wow! You are the first I know who was on either program let alone both of them. Your description is what I would have expected. Bob Emery always seemed stiff, almost cold. I liked Rex Trailer. Goldrush was beautiful. I used to watch on Saturday mornings. I saw them in a parade once. I was thrilled.

      It has just stopped raining at 5:40. It started last night and slowed down during the day but never quite stopped then got heavy again. It has been dark all day. The dogs were lazy lazy, especially Nala None of my boxers liked rain. Nala will go out in a light rain but not more than that. She won’t go at night in the rain. She is good for the night, but she still is young.

      Enjoy your evening,

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