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Throwback Thursday #12 – TV Memories


Lauren is running the time machine this week and she is taking us back to the days of black and white television (at least for me). Click through to her post to read the rules and join in.

This week’s prompt is: TV Memories. Here’s what she had to say:

For those of us old enough to remember, the 1950’s were a time when people were transitioning from the radio to television as a means of entertainment. People sat around in the living room, watching the one television they owned. Most often it was a large box with a grainy black and white picture. Think back to the first TV shows you remember watching.

Was watching television a part of your family entertainment? Was it used as a partial babysitter? Do you remember specific shows you liked as a kid? Did you need to take turns with your siblings to choose what was watched, or did the parents have all the control? Were you around in the pre-remote-control days? Whose job was it to change channels? Were you a Saturday morning cartoon junkie? Which was your favorite show? Were you warned about sitting too close to the TV? Did you ever bug your parents to buy you some item advertised repeatedly on a program you watched? Do you ever watch reruns of the shows from your childhood?


I have written about my introduction to television several times. For recent followers, suffice it to say initially we had only one television – black and white of course – and we only received one station.

There were certain times of day the television was strictly for the adults. First when the morning farm report was broadcast, then anytime the news came on.

There were other shows the adults were more interested in, but I watched along just the same. The first was Sing Along with Mitch. Now in my head, this is where we saw “follow the bouncing ball” but I discovered there was no bouncing ball in this show. I am not the only one who thought it was there! We all gathered around the tv and sang along regardless. Here’s an old clip:

On Sunday Night (or was it Saturday?) my grandmother always watched the Lawrence Welk Show. I was not a fan of Welk, but I did enjoy the Lennon Sisters. My grandmother loved it though. Maybe this is where I picked up my love of the music from this era.

Some of the earliest shows I remember watching were McKeever and the Colonel, Flipper, Fury, Car 54 Where Are You, My Mother the Car, Mister Terrific, Mister Ed, Disney, Dobie Gillis, The Patty Duke Show, The Flying Nun, Lassie.

One of my very favorite shows was Topper – a show about a couple and their Saint Bernard who were killed in an avalanche and came back as ghosts. It was THE BEST but I am sure not too sophisticated by today’s standards.

My favorite game show was only on for one year I think. It was a hidden picture game show called Camouflage.

So many shows would follow and it would take forever to post them all. I loved shows that included music like Ozzie & Harriet (in hopes Ricky would sing at the end), the Monkees, Bandstand, Soul Train, and Where the Action Is.

Action shows ranged from Buck Rogers to Zorro to The Lone Ranger to Time Tunnel to Lost in Space to The Avengers to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Drama shows like Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive, Perry Mason, T.H.E. Cat, and Highway Patrol were all family favorites.

Of course, we also loved to be scared with shows like The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Night Gallery and all the great monster movies like Frankenstein, Dracula, and King Kong.

Kids shows started with Captain Kangaroo and included all the great cartoons. I always liked the odd ones like Top Cat and Snuffles the Dog from Quick Draw McGraw.

Early television was a huge part of American culture, and the 1960s was just the beginning.

27 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #12 – TV Memories”

    1. You’re right, John! Westerns were prime tv! Remember the Bonanza episode with Hoss and the Leprechaun? Big Valley, Maverick, The Virginian, The Rifleman, and Have Gun Will Travel!!!! How could I miss those?

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  1. We had a B&W TV with one channel. I do remember watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on Saturdays and The Wonderful World of Disney on Sundays. Later in the 70s, my dad and I would watch Space 1999. I though it very cool back then. Seeing it decades later, not so much (but still good memories).

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  2. We didn’t have a TV until 1962 when I was 14. One channel only and no adverts thank goodness. I enlisted in 1964 and hardly saw television for years and years so never grew to be hooked. I could manage quite well without, although we do have 2 large TV’s, one is 3D, with the choice of hundreds of channels!

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    1. We still only have one television and we cut the cord about two years ago so we only stream what we want to watch. We have never had a tv in the bedroom.

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  3. Maggie, I loved your memories. I forgot about Topper. It was great. I never saw Camouflage. My house is over TVd. I have a TV in the living room, the bedroom, and my sewing/ guest bedroom. I also have one in my scrapbooking room with no cable. I like the noise.

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    1. Topper was great! I do not watch near as much tv as I once did but much more during the pandemic. We all use technology in a way that suits us best.

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  4. My dad bought a TV in 1953, to watch the Coronation of the current queen. It cost the eqivalent of one yeaar’s salary, and he had to pay weekly instalments for a long time. It had a 10-inch screen, and was black and white with one channel, the BBC. I was only one at the time, so don’t remember it until I was a bit older and watched puppet shows in the late afternoon. We didn’t get commercial television until late 1955, and the TV had to be converted to receive that one extra channel. It involved a plunger device, in a box at the back. While watching BBC, you pushed in the plunger, and it changed the channel to ITV, the commercial station. We had that old TV for a long time, as I can remember being able to stand around the back to push the plunger.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. A 10 inch screen is hard to imagine these days. I remember having small portable black and white TVs that had really small screens, but none quite that small.

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  5. Now that you mention it I vaguely remember Sing Along with Mitch. I don’t know if we sang along or not. I do remember the Lennon Sisters on the Lawrence Welk Show, but in my childhood opinion the real star was Joanne Castle who played ragtime songs on her upright piano. I danced along to them which was fun.

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  6. These were some really good shows you mentioned, and I watched most of them, too. A few I didn’t, but shows were so much better back then, weren’t they.
    Now, we watched Sing Along with Mitch (Miller) all the time, and I’m sure we saw the bouncing ball & the lyrics of the song. I did read where he wasn’t the first, but later on he must have had it. Oh now I have another memory about the doctor shows. For a time the stores sold a shirt that looked like the white coat/shirt deal they wore on the shows. I had one! haha. 🙂

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    1. There is a YouTube video where they interviewed Mitch Miller and he says they did not have the technology to do the bouncing ball.

      Do you mean a shirt like Ben Casey wore?

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  7. I remember Lawrence Welk, Mitch Miller, Lassie, and later, The Man from UNCLE and Bewitched and Lost in Space. Plus my mom’s soap operas were on every afternoon M -F, and my dad had to watch his westerns. We were a big TV family. Oh, let’s not forget Gilligan’s Island! I loved the Avengers – it was so cool!

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