TV in the good old days


Reminiscing over the years, I can remember some specific TV shows and happenings that have had an impact on my life, or at least my memory. I’m sure the same is true for many other boomers. So here are some of the highlights that I can recall, however vaguely they may remain.

The first television program that I can remember watching was The Howdy Doody Show. Can you believe that? My first memory of television, watching a bunch of dummies. Not much has changed over the years. Now I watch American Idol. I think some of the same dummies are still around.

In 1956, I can vividly remember watching Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show. I would have been eight at the time. He sang, “Love Me Tender,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Ready Teddy” and “Hound Dog.” There was a big uproar over his pelvis gyrations, thus the nickname, “Elvis The Pelvis.” If our parents only knew what was to come in the future, they’d have laughed it off.

During this same period, American Bandstand was becoming quite popular with young viewers. The program actually started as a local Philadelphia show. The original host was Bob Horn. He was replaced in late 1956 by Dick Clark. The show was picked up by ABC in August, 1957, and ran until October, 1989. Dick Clark became a household name. And over all those years, he never got any older. It was either from looking at all the young girls, or he had one hell of a plastic surgeon. Most of the live musical acts mimed their songs, but it is said that B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis refused and actually sang. I remember starting to watch American Bandstand on Saturdays, probably in 1957. I don’t know where they got all those young kids who could dance so well. I never quite got the hang of it.

Another show about this same time that made a lasting impression on me was Leave It To Beaver. As you might well be aware, my weekly column bears the title, Leave It To Peever. My tribute to the unbelievable. The show represented an idealized family living in the 50’s and 60’s. It demonstrated the importance of family and urged parents to teach their children proper behavior. In my neighborhood, the show was considered a surreal attempt to show family life on Mars. Thus, my overwhelming desire to use the title to poke fun at just about everyone and everything imaginable.

Here are some other notable shows and happenings that I can remember, in no particular order: Have Gun Will Travel, The Monkees, My Three Sons, Father Knows Best, Mr. Ed, the Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan, Laugh-In, Route 66, The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space, Dragnet, Ozzie & Harriet, Candid Camera, the Moon walk in 1969, the Smothers Brothers, Little Rascals, Mickey Mouse Club, Flip Wilson, Lassie, Alfred Hitchcock, and Sonny & Cher.

There were tons of other shows and events that have appeared over the years. These are but a few to help jog your memory. Send me an e-mail or letter on others that you can recall. I’ll be glad to mention them on down the line.

They say television can shape your behavior, which may explain a lot about us baby boomers.


© Peever Media Services