There were so, so many nice, funny, clean, television shows when we were children. There were weekly variety shows, comedy, drama, westerns, cartoons and more.
I remember being so fascinated with the television. It was a huge box on legs and others were in a console. My little brother and I, as many others probably did, wondered how the people were inside of there and how the salesman knew what people to put in there. We wondered if the actors had to stay in that box all week or if people came to the house and changed them. We worried about how they ate and everything else. We finally questioned our mother about it. Rather than ruining our fantasy, she told us they came weekly. This was a mistake because then my brother and I were going to take the back off and take out those people and play with them. Who would not want to have The Lone Ranger ride around in your living room!?
We were really excited about this, we were going to get them out and play with them! Well, my mother figured out what we were trying to do before we even got started. She told us that if we messed with the television and a screwdriver, we may cause an explosion or a fire. This would not only harm or kill the people inside, we would probably be injured as well. We decided to just let the people come get them when it was time to change them and be content with just watching them when they were on.
We can start with Westerns I guess, the others will be discussed at a different time. First off I will mention Gunsmoke. When I knew this was going to be on, I had to run and get my six shooters and strap them on! Matt Dillon, the star, always walked out and came up to the screen and shot at us. I always had to fight back. He never got me and I never got him, so we continued this weekly.
There were so many good ones. My sister loved Sugarfoot. There was Roy Rogers who had the neatest horse, Trigger. Trigger was so good and did so many tricks. He also had a jeep he called Nellybelle. My little brother had a fire truck that was metal, some called them kiddie cars, or maybe a pedal car. It had pedals to make it go. It was red, sleek, had a shiny bell on it and a little white ladder. He sped all around in that thing. He affectionately named it Nellybelle.
The Rifleman was another good one featuring Lucas McCain and his son, Mark. The Rifleman always came down the road, rifle at his hip and firing his rifle repeatedly. For some reason, I never felt the need to shoot back at him. Perhaps I did not think six shooters should shoot back at a rifle. I imagine that if I had a rifle, I would have fought back.
My mother’s favorite was Rawhide. This featured Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates. Rowdy Yates was a very young Clint Eastwood. This show was about cattle drivers and situations would arise along the trail that they had to deal with.
Hopalong Cassidy was another favorite. We had this show for our movie projector too. Dad had several of these on reels and we would watch them from time to time. Dad would set up the projector and we would watch them on a sheet hung on the wall. Our favorite part of this was when someone would fall off of the horse and dad would rewind the projector and they would hop right back on. We laughed so hard at this. Dad would repeat it a few times for us and then continue on with the movie. Someone would get shot and die and he would rewind and they would hop right back up alive. We never knew when he would do this, but we always had great fun watching when he would rewind and laugh so hard.
Gene Autry was the singing cowboy and my mother and aunts loved that! To name a few more, there was Annie Oakley and Maverick. There was Paladin – Have Gun Will travel. We made up different words to the Paladin theme song. There was Sky King which we LOVED hearing…”Out of the blue of the western sky”…. There was also Sergeant Preston of the Yukon with his dog, Yukon King.
I am sure that I am missing some, but you can comment your favorites below. I know that later on there were many more westerns, but these are the ones from when I was a child, the ones in black and white. Another great thing that was a result of these shows were the things you could purchase. You could buy lunch boxes and you could get a matching thermos with something depicted from the show on them. There were little toy guitars and cowboy hats with the same depiction and do not forget my six shooters! I took them everywhere I went. Those were great times. The cartoons were the best back then too and you could purchase even more items relating to those. We will do cartoons and other shows at a later date. Please feel free to comment your favorite show or to comment on one I mentioned. Tell me your memories?