Sunday, May 28, 2006


Like all kids born after 1960, I enjoyed watching TV when I was growing up. Television was a fairly new novelty and parents weren't armed with data to suggest that our brains would melt if we spent too much time in front of it.

I didn't actually watch, what I would consider to be, a lot of TV in those days, especially in the summer when I usually spent the entire day and evening outside just doing outside things. I knew kids who certainly spent way more time in front of the set than I did. But none the less, the shows I watched did leave some very fond memories for me to reflect on.

So, as a tribute to the good ol' days, here is a list of my favorite shows from 1965-1975 when I was between 5-15 years old:

My early childhood buddy - Captain Kangaroo. I can't say enough about how entertained I was by the Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose, Tom Terrific and Manfred the Wonderdog.

Of course with the Magic Drawing Board, the creepy Grandfather Clock and thousands of ping-pong balls falling out of the ceiling at any given moment, this show had to be the preschool equivalent of an acid trip for any 5 year-old.

Toons toons toons! Sure I watched Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny like everyone else. But my favorite toons were always these snarkier Sunday morning classics!

It could be said that these two shows were largely responsible for my fate of eventually becoming the musician that I am today. I'm not ashamed to admit it, David Cassidy was my own personal American Idol!

Back in the day when there was no such thing as VCRs or TIVO, you had no choice but to make sure you were planted in front of your TV set at air time if you didn't want to miss your favorite shows. And trust me, neither a Monkees nor a Partridge Family were ever missed.

"Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson!" Before Star Trek we had to get our sci-fi fix from shows such as Lost in Space and Land of the Giants.


As I got a little older I became seduced by the lure of the thrill. Weekend sleepovers always contained a healthy dose of these cheesy creep shows.

One very powerful memory for me was our evening routine of settling down in front of the TV at 5:00 to watch Hogan's Heroes before dinner, especially in winter as dusk crept into our livingroom. Once the "ratta-tat-tat" of the infamous snare drum intro started we would grab a pillow from the closet and hit the floor. Following that, dad would watch the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite - but not before reminding us, "Be quiet will ya, the news is on!" Then mom would have dinner ready and waiting at 6:00 sharp.

Sunday evenings for me held a bittersweet promise. Fun, because the shows provided an eclectic mix of entertainment, and sad because the prospect of having to go back to school in the morning loomed large.

I know that if I ask my kids 30 years from now what TV memories they have, they'll give a very different sentiment than mine. For one thing, my kids spend very little time actually watching TV and more time in front of gaming systems or their computers, so I doubt their list of "favorite TV memories" will be very extensive, which is fine with me. At least those other things are interactive.

But these old shows were like friends to me when I was a kid, and having fond memories of old friends isn't such a bad thing in my opinion.

What were your favorite shows during this era?


Mooselet said...

My era is slightly later than yours, but I remember leaving the beach where I grew up in order to get home in time for the Monkees. I rarely missed it.

We weren't allowed too much tv, but I do remember Friday nights when Mom & Dad went to dinner we watched The Dukes of Hazzard. Lots of sports, which explains my obesession with it. I liked the early Japanese anime space cartoons - Star Blazers was always good. G-Force was another cartoon I loved, and naturally Rocky & Bullwinkle. ;-)

Feeling all nostalgic now...

Theresa said...

What about Felix the Cat....Gigantor...? Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories! I had forgotten about most of them.

yellojkt said...

Gilligans Island, Batman, and Brady Bunch.

I loved Land of the Giants, but I could never remember when it was on.

Anonymous said...

Sunday nights, Disney and Bonanza. Remember how they 'branded' the Chevy logo onto the screen?

Okay, I just KNEW I was going to grow up and marry David Cassidy. I would never trade my wonderful husband for him now . . . but I still have all the LPs he ever made.

Anonymous said...

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Carol Burnett (always trying to catch an episode where Tim Conway makes Harvey Korman lose it), Benny Hill, any of the cartoons that ran from 7 to 11 on Saturday mornings.

Schnozz said...

I grew up on ... drumroll please ... Full House. Yes.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

mooselet - Sounds like you were watching the same things my younger brother was. He LOVED the Dukes!

theresa - Felix was way cool! I don't remember Gigantor though. I'll have to look it up to see if it rings a bell.

yellojkt - Batman, yes! I can't believe I forgot that. My best friend and I used to dress up with the masks and capes and kept the neighborhood free from crime and injustice!

linda - I wouldn't trade your husband for David Cassidy either.

chanakin - Ahh yes, Carol Burnett. In comedy I also liked Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie.

schnozz - I'm sorry.

Schnozz said...


Wendy Boucher said...

Your list pretty much covers mine but I'd add the Flintstones and Land of the Lost. When were the Star Trek shows on? I watched those too. I always wanted Captain Kirk for a dad and I'd be the young person on the show.

Jenn said...

I was a big fan of Electric Company being born in the early 70s. Partridge Family and Batman were a BIG hit, so were Mighty Mouse cartoons.

Jenn said...

Did you ever watch Johnny Quest?

Anonymous said...

I used to love Picture Pages on Captain Kangaroo...

"Picture Pages, Picture Pages, time to get your Picture Pages... time to get your crayons and your pencils! Picture Pages, Picture Pages, open up your Picture Pages... time to do your Picture Pages with Captain Kangaroo!"

My favorite cartoon was "Top Cat". :-)

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

wendy - I thought (the original) Star Trek aired in a later timeframe than I was writing about here and was surprised to discover that it actually aired from 1966-1969. I must have been too young to be interested when it first came out. Apparently my love for the show came when I was older and through reruns!

emma - I LOVED Jonny Quest! Did you know that the original version only ran one season, from 1964-1965 (26 episodes)? It seemed a lot longer because it ran for nearly 20 years in reruns. I think that's why SO many people have such fond memories of it.

dave - I do remember Picture Pages but I think I was done watching the Captain on a regular basis by the time it was introduced.

I thought T.C. the coolest. Loved his "gang" of friends and the music too!

Anyone else remember Linus the Lionhearted? It was an advertising vehicle for Post Sugar Crisp and featured Sugar Bear (Dean Martin) with a cast of friends such as Linus and Loveable Truly. I had the record and played it a million times.

ET Traveler said...

Ah, Saturday morning cartoons. Remember Hoppity Hooper and Hector Heathcoat, the Minute and A Half Man?
And for me Sunday nights were Mister Ed, Lassie, My Favorite Martian and of course Ed Sullivan.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Do I remember, I had a Hector Heathcoat lunchbox!