As the children born in the 1940s embrace binge watching television and being able to watch what we want when we want, it’s funny to look back.  How old am I, for gosh sakes!

I remember our first television set, but not exactly how it looked.  Probably something like this back in the late 1940s-1950s.

images-1In my feeble recollection, we had it on a stand and we all gathered around it.  The test pattern was on until late afternoon.

UnknownThe news was important, because you only saw it once or twice a day and the people who read it were serious about it.  Weather reports and sports weren’t added until later.  Entertainment news?  You got that from the movie magazines or the newsreels at the movies.  We laughed at I Love Lucy and Sid Caesar.   So many funny shows.

Television for children developed on Saturday mornings with Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody and the cast of characters.  We sat around in our pajamas, delighting in this new media.  Black and white, of course.  Or gray, as one of my grandkids called the first B&W show he saw.  One show that was really unique was Winky Dink and You, an interactive show for kids.  We had a Winky Dink kit, which included a plastic sheet that stuck to the television screen and special crayons.  The host drew things on his screen and we completed them to help Winky Dink in his adventures or just to draw.  It was fun and the only show like that I ever heard of.

Television was a big hit.  My grandmothers both loved Saturday night wrestling, yelling at Gorgeous George and the bad guys.  I mostly delighted in watching both of them, because I never saw them like that at any other time.  They laughed at the acts on Ed Sullivan and Red Skelton, but I never saw that same reaction.  Even my granddad didn’t react like they did.  My parents rolled their eyes.  Sports hadn’t hit tv in a big way yet.  Here’s George…scary, hunh?  He transformed my otherwise sweet grandmothers.

UnknownWe got more sets.  Our first portable ones looked like this, complete with rabbit ears that we constantly adjusted and sometimes wrapped with foil for better reception…or any reception.

Unknown-1Did I mention that we had to get up and go to the television and manually change the channels?  Hard to imagine kids today understanding that you had to do that to turn the TV on and off.  Or correct the color or get the lines off the screen.

After I’d been married a few years, we were the proud owners of a cabinet model television.  We were big time adults now!

imagesBut, we still had to get up and walk across the room.  Then came cable television.  Wow!  A new revolution.  Over twenty channels and a cable box to change them.  Still had to walk over and turn it on and off, but we could change channels from wherever the cord on the cable box would reach.  And the kids fought over the cable box, except when Daddy was home.

images-2Anyone reading this probably knows all that has happened since then.  Remote controls, hundreds of stations, and now streaming shows on our personal devices.  It’s a whole new world.  The speed of technology never stops and the obsolescence of what we have today is probably just a couple of years away.  I’m happy to see what it is, but it’s nice to look back to the days when we had time to enjoy each new phase and lock it into our memories before the next one rushed at us.

There was great television then and there is great television today.  There’s just a whole lot more to enjoy now than I have hours in the day or years in my life.  A surplus of choice.