Friday, September 5, 2014

Sunday afternoon fever.

When we were young entertainment was way different. It was way more simple. We lived our lives way less on demand.

In the late 70’s/early 80’s the following technological advances kept me sufficiently entertained:

  • Having a tape deck cued up and ready to record when The Knack's "My Sharona" or "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer came on the radio. HURRY & PUSH PLAY/RECORD!
  • My dad palming the cable guy 15 bucks to give us free HBO.

Besides Saturday, another day of the week had pretty epic television programming. While talking with some friends last night we came to realize the significance and importance of Sunday afternoon television. 

Here’s what was playing in the background at my house every Sunday after mass.

Davey and Goliath.
If Gumby and Mr. Bill had a baby it would be Davey and Goliath -- a stop-motion show produced by the Lutheran Church about a boy and a talking dog that was created back in the 1960’s ran on three different television stations simultaneously on Sundays in New York. Only Davey and the audience could hear Goliath the dog speak as he and Davey had adventures and learned religious life lessons. The short 15 minute episodes with names like “Lost in a Cave” “Bully Up a Tree” and “Chicken” were actually pretty sweet. I loved the way Goliath talked (his sing-songy "DAY-veee") and I’d always stop on them when turning the dial, landing on one of the three episodes that happened to be on.

Abbott and Costello.
I loved Lucy, Carol Burnett, and these two guys -- always on every Sunday afternoon. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello did everything, vaudeville, radio, television and movies. It took a lot to get a little girl interested in something on the glowing box that was pretty dated and in black and white, but Bud and Lou reeled me in every time. I loved Abbott’s deadpan straight man to Costello’s brilliant buffoon. My favorites were the films they did with popular movie monsters like “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man” “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.” And this. I loved this. I'd watch it with my grandfather who'd be wiping away tears from laughing. I especially enjoy how riled up Costello gets towards the end.
The Yankee Game.
Always on. Always. Really loud. My family loved their Yankees. Lou Piniella. Reggie Jackson. Thurman Munson. Phil Rizzuto's voice. You guys better win or doors will be slammed, things will be thrown and people will yell and swear at the television set. Family time. Please win Yankees. Please

The Wonderful World of Disney.
And to round out my day of television I present this:

Hearing the opening theme signaled it was almost time to leave Grandma and Papa's house or we had just gotten home from their place. It also signaled the end to the weekend, time to put on the footie pj's, brush teeth and get ready for bed and the week to come.

Each of these programs I remember watching with a friend, my brother, my grandparents or aunt -- someone I loved. It was quality time, not "screen time." There were no guilty feelings, no "you really should be outside playing not watching TV" vibe about any of it because that's what we were all doing. We were watching TV. 

We were watching TV together. Even if we were yelling and sweating and pacing because the Yankees were down by four runs -- we were together.

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