Today in My History

2000:  G-Wiz
2001:  Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd
2002:  ...and So It Starts
2003:  You've Gotta Have Heart
2004:  Working Writer
2005:  Acme at 25
An Evening with Zero Mostel
The Big Bully
2008: Canine Cabbies
2009:  Wedding Meme
2010:  Yom
2011:  Cultural Desert
2013: Vse V (not very) Poryadke
2014: Little Happy Moments
2015: Today at Logos

2016: Sunday Stealing
2017: Another One
2018: Go Bears

2019: National Avocado Day

Theater Reviews
Updated 3/10

Books Read in 2020
 Updated 7/28
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Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
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Cast (updated 7/16)

(you know how to fix it)

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Piņata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

mail to Walt / mail to Bev  


31 July 2020

It was 1953 when we got our first television set.  I was 10.  My friend Gayle had a TV set and I spent much too much time at her house, mostly so I could watch TV (I loved Superman).   But my parents finally bought a big Muntz TV set in 1953

 There were three stations.  NBC was Channel 4, CBS was Channel  5 and ABC was Channel 7.  (I don't know if anything was on Channel  6!).   The antennae were "rabbit ears" that sat on top of the TV and needed to be adjusted when the picture was bad.

There was no remote control and to change stations you had to actually walk across the room and change the station manually.  The broadcasts all went off at midnight, after they played the Star Spangled Banner while showing an American flag.  I think shows came back on again at 6.

I remember that the very first program we ever watched was Life with Luigi, which came on about 5 minutes after my father plugged the TV in.

The story concerned Italian immigrant Luigi Basco, and his experiences as a newly naturalized American citizen in Chicago.  Many of the shows take place at the English classes that Luigi attends with other immigrants from different countries, or concern his attempts to fend off the repeated advances of the morbidly obese daughter of his landlord and sponsor. Luigi was played by J. Carrol Naish, an Irish/American actor. Other actors included Alan Reed, Jody Gilbert, Gil Stratton, Mary Shipp, Hans Conried, Joe Forte, Ken Peters.

I remember my father watching boxing matches.  How he loved prize fighting.  He had an uncle who had almost made it to Featherweight Champion and after my grandfather died, I found lots of scrapbooks with articles about his brother and all of his fights.

I remember the day my father came home, all excited, because he had just heard something about educational TV and that there would be a station (Channel 9) with educational programs and no commercials.  (I actually don't remember any of the early public TV shows, if we even watched them)

We all watched the Ed Sullivan Show religiously and, when color TV came on (we never had a color TV set), I remember we would watch the Mickey Mouse Club and look at the beginning, of the NBC peacock unfurling its wings and say "I'll bet that looks beautiful in color."  My mother and I loved the Loretta Young Show, watching her swing through the door in a beautiful dress every week and my mother never missed Bishop Sheen.

When I had my own apartment is when I became a TV addict, when the TV became company for me, when it was on all the time, whether I watched it or not.  Walt's mother gave me a hard time for watching Popeye cartoons -- it was the only interesting thing on at the time.

The kids watched far too much TV because they had a TV addict mother.  In fact, after Paul died, Ned said when he thought of Paul, he  thought of TV and for his memorial service, which  was held at the Senior Center here in Davis because the theater was being renovated, Ned set up television sets all over the center, each playing significant videotapes.

I remember taking Jeri, a toddler then, out to the playground but rushing home because a new show was going to be starting on public TV.  It was called Sesame Street and they said they were going to explain how a cow gave milk.  I was pregnant at the time and knew I would be nursing the baby and wanted to be sure Jeri didn't miss the program so we could talk about it.  Of course, I didn't realize that we would see that segment a zillion times in the future, because of the Sesame Street format.  But we watched the very first Sesame Street.

The kids grew up with Sesame Street, Mister Rogers Neighborhood and The Friendly Giant, and as they got older, Speed Racer and other cartoons. 

The Friendly Giant

We watched Star Trek when it was shown in reruns, because we had missed the original and the show became part of our family traditions, with a tribble cake for Tom's birthday and "Pin the Ears on Spock."  Appropriate that David Gerrold ("The Trouble with Tribbles") became a friend through Compuserve and even performed the graveside services for us after Paul died.

We didn't get a color TV until we moved to Davis, I don't think.  Though I remember the start of public TV clearly, I haven't a clue when we started watching cable channels.  But now TV is doing something very sneaky and I don't like it.  We have had Netflix for so long that I forget that you pay an annual fee for it.  We also joined STARZ when Outlander was going to be broadcast.  But now it seems that in order to see an awful lot of stuff, you have to subscribe to all sorts of extra stations.  CBS-All Access, Apple Plus, Peacock (which is supposedly free but we can't get on DISH).  When we got DISH the only thing I missed was HBO because there are an awful lot of good things that are on HBO (I miss John Oliver).

With movie theaters closed because of Covid, now major movies are being broadcast on these pay stations and while the cost of a pay station isn't that much, if you subscribe to them all, you're paying a hefty sum.  So we are missing a lot of probably good things...but as long as they keep running NCIS and Criminal Minds  for me on cable and Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul for Ned on Netflix, I suppose we will survive.



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