Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Quick, Channel Two!

Deb: My Mum called me the other day to say that the original The Day the Earth Stood Still was on TV. She told me what channel it was on and I said, “Thanks Mum, that’s great, but you know that you own it, right? We gave it to you three Christmases ago.” She said, “Oh I know, but ... it’s on TV!”

This is a scenario that has repeated itself over the years much to my amusement, but I have to say, I get it now. As crazy as it sounds, and even if it is pure nostalgia, I get it. We all know how wonderful, how convenient it is to be able to rent, buy, or PVR a movie (TiVo to our friends south of the 49th parallel) and watch it at our convenience. But I have to say, I finally know what my Mum meant. Because I remember like it was yesterday gathering around the TV waiting with great anticipation to see our favourite shows. It was an event. Friday afternoon was talent round-up on the Mickey Mouse Club. Christmas brought The Wizard of Oz and Mary Martin’s Peter Pan, which happened only once a year!!! Can you imagine? Wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I have warm glowing memories of my Dad and I hunkering down to watch Rat Patrol and The Avengers. I can still remember like it was yesterday that my bedtime on Wednesday night was right after My Favourite Martian. I would sit on my parents’ bed all scrunched up in my PJ’s waiting till the clock struck 8:30. Then Uncle Martin’s antenna would retract and that was my cue to hit the sack.

TV was a regularly scheduled event in our world, and our lives were conducted by the beat of Mitch Miller’s baton. When the shows you loved were on, all activities would stop and you could hear the hum of the rabbit ears all over your street! I guess I was so caught up in trying to drag my Mum and Dad into the 21st century that I forgot what I was missing.

But when Mom called me the other day it hit me like an anvil hitting the Coyote on the head. And I remembered. I remembered when I was in my twenties and living on my own. I was barely out of the house and I treasured my newfound independence. Then my Mum would phone and tell me that Andy Hardy or Shirley Temple was on. I would scurry to the TV to turn it on, to watch it with her, and it filled me with the warmth of being at home with them. There we were the two of us, making tea together during the commercials even though we were miles apart. And I guess that’s all she wants now, and I love it.

Mum and I sharing the TV experience, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

Barbara: This is so sweet. I love the shared experience. Especially with a loved one. Phil and I were on a plane together a few months ago and each had our own screen for our own entertainment. But we picked the same film and watched it (virtually) simultaneously side by side. It made the whole experience better. The same reason I love watching movies in a movie theatre. So many of you sharing the same ride at the same time.

When I was growing up, the significant show was The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. My mom would roast chicken and bake French fries and we would all gather in the family room, perch our plates on our laps, and eat dinner as we watched the Disney movie of the week.

Funny how for us this is a cherished nostalgic memory, but for child-raising experts it’s one of the big no-no’s! I can say this, we don’t watch nearly as much TV together as we did “back in the good ol’ days”. I miss it ☺ 


  1. I know what you mean.When I was little my grandfather use to take me up on his lap and we would watch shows like "The Andy Griffith show" or any kind of westerns. He would come home and sit right in his rocking chair that was in front of his tv and we would sit me up there and we would watch tv. Now that he has gotten older he really does not watch a whole lot of tv but he still makes time to watch The Andy Griffith Show. For some reason he loves that show. I love that time that we got to spend together and still our spending together it's a great memory that will stay in my mind forever and that I will treasure.

  2. I used to love Sundays and The Wonderful World of Disney! I also looked forward to the holiday shows that were aired only once a year at the appropriate time. It is just not the same now that they are on DVD and you can watch them whenever you want. There is nothing special to look forward to!

  3. My husband will walk through the room and ask "what are you watching?" and I will tell him the name of the movie and he never fails to come back with "why don't you just get the DVD out of the drawer?" because the commercials drive him nuts. I don't like the commercials either but there is just something about stumbling upon a show you didn't even realize you wanted to watch and just watching it, commercials and all.

  4. I was three or four when my mom got me out of bed to come downstairs and watch the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show for the first time. I was so excited! However it turned out not to be a bunch of dancing, singing beetles but these four boring guys.

  5. It's funny that Lyndsie (who is so relatively young) has the Andy Griffith show on her nostalgia list! I never even watched that show! But I love your memory and sharing it with your grandfather.

    Looks like Shannon is one of my own peeps -- the stumbling on a movie thing feels so good. And K, "The Beatles" as beetles?! Soooo cute!

  6. You know, that's true. I used to watch The Wizard of Oz every year because it was only on once a year, and I anticipated it with great happiness.... Now, I could watch it whenever I wanted, but haven't in years.

    On the other hand, there are those guilty days, when I have the house to myself, and get some old movie, say, Casablanca, and not only watch it, but RE-WATCH my favorite scenes five or six times in a row. Which you could not do with broadcast television.

  7. I remember Sunday nights and The Wonderful World of Disney. Our bedtime was right after it went off, so our Sunday ritual was bath and PJs, then laying on the floor in front of the console TV. We couldn't wait to see Tinkerbell fly in with her wand full of fairy dust to start the show.
    And to this day it is not Christmas until I see It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas. Though now they don't show them like they use to, so I sometimes have to settle for the DVD.

  8. Wow- I had forgotten that feeling of anticipation when we knew a certain movie was going to be on, and everybody stopped what they were doing to sit and watch ... Yes- loved watching "Wonderful Life", "Wizard of Oz" every year. And Easter meant that "The Ten Commandments" would be on. I also remember loving the old movies "The Bad Seed" and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane".
    Nowadays, I pause the movie, get up and answer the phone, do the dishes...whatever. It's not the same excitement.Now that I think of it, I miss that feeling!
    Thanks for the memories, girls.

  9. Deb and Barbara,
    Memories I just loved this blog. I am/was a big Katherine Hepburn fan and would love when her movies were on. Years ago like everyone else we purchased a DVD and everyone in the family gave me all her movies.
    I have to this day never even opened one. They are STILL SEALED. I was more excited when I would flip thru channels and see that Philadelphia Story was on. So yes yes yes I can so relate. Thanks for sharing:)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.