Once upon a time families watched a television show together

Sep. 29, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

It seems like a long time ago when our family sat down together to watch a television program.

That's what families did back then. Watched a program. 

We rarely went to the indoor theater except to see "Mail Order Bride" with Buddy Ebsen, but we did venture to the drive-in theaters.

Carloads of kids and parents could see a really good movie with a little bit of money and a big jug of ice cold water to wash down the peanut-butter crackers mama made and brought from home. For sweet treats the theater owners gave the kids in the backseat one of those multi-colored coconut suckers.

During the weekdays a visitor might find the six of us fixated on a favorite television program.

Such as "Father Knows Best","The Real McCoys", "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Leave it to Beaver" "Donna Reed", "Ozzie and Harriett," "Honeymooners" and "Perry Mason."

Or  "The Beverly Hillbillies", "Leave it to Beaver," "Gilligan's Island"and even "The Flintstones." We loved "The Flinstones" and imagined daddy working at the rock quarry and being ole' Fred himself.

Then there was "Green Acres", "Petticoat Junction" and later "The Little House on the Prairie", "The Waltons" and "M.A.S.H." 

"The Beverly Hillbillies" was a must-see for our daddy because of the show's theme song with banjo-picking Earl Scruggs and guitar-strumming, Lester Flatt singing, "Come listen to my story about a man named Jed." You never knew when Flatt and Scrugg were going to visit the Clampetts.

There wasn't a western show made that didn't make its way into the Gordon home. From "Bonaza", "Gunsmoke" to "Wyatt Earp" we watched them all.

As we got older, then came along the more mature-audience shows such as such "Alfred Hitchcock Hour" and his subsequent films, "The Birds" and "Vertigo."

"The Twilight Zone" just about scared me to death but I watched it along with the rest of the scardy-cats.

When "Dallas" hit the television screen, my sisters and I had long left home, but boy did we compare notes about the the all time biggest prime-time soap drama ever.

Sometimes I'd take my firey redhead off to another room when the westerns came on and some movies would send me into a fit.

It didn't matter who was in the movie or what the subject, if the "TV Guide" listed the word "movie" beside something, we watched it. 

Madder than a hornet, I reminded my sister it didn't matter what the movie was about, she always talked mama and daddy into watching it, too, so with one television in the house, we all watched it.

Not me.

Sounds like we watched a lot of television. We did. That was for family entertainment.

Today's children and young adults wouldn't think it was entertainment for a family of six to sit in one room with one television and watch a show together. 

We didn't have extracurricular activities every evening after school. We didn't have the money and we didn't have transportation home after school since both our parents worked. 

We had a lot of chores at home and television watching was after supper and cleaning up the dishes.

I thought about those shows when I saw a magazine featuring old shows recently. A friend also reminded me her family watched television shows together.

Our television times were interrupted occasionally with a family game. We all played except mama.

During a a commercial break from a television show, we counted to three, then each of us put a saltine cracker in our mouths. The first person who could whistle won the game.

It was not my mama's favorite as we often sprayed cracker crumbs across the floor. She thought it was nasty. It was, but those who played stayed to clean up. 

I just happen to believe those days of sitting around watching a good television program with family are nearly gone.

The shows aren't as good as they once were Family-oriented has a whole new meaning today.

It's difficult to watch a television show with the members of the family sitting around in a room with eyes glued to a Smart phone, iPhone, iPad or any other electronic devise. 

It just isn't the same. But those were the days, my friend. . .