Sunday, July 01, 2007

OLD SCHOOL TV . . . BC (Before Cable)

I don't think I've ever tried to hide the fact that I am, indeed, "old school." I'm saying, if the title of the blog--Lori's Old School Mix--isn't a hint, I don't know what is (LOL). But for those of y'all who might get it twisted, NO, I'm not quite as old as most of those in the Tom Joyner set . . . no disrespect intended, mind you, 'cause as my 90 year old granddaddy is apt to say, "You'd better hope you LIVE to GET old" (smile).

So, anyway, yeah, I was born in the 60's and attended college during the 80's (no exact dates 'cause ain't no need of telling y'all all my business). And yes, at a certain point, back when I was coming up, there were only 4 TV stations/channels/options (ABC, NBC, CBS & PBS). And yes, I can still remember when rather than stay on (and spew drivel) 24/7, the television went off the air late at night. I can also remember when my folks first got cable. Don't know how long it had been around, but we didn't get the hook up until I was in the 9th or 10th grade.

While I believe all of the above may very well play into my lack of a real, hardcore TV habit, I think an even bigger influence was the fact that I spent part of the 6th grade and all of the 7th and 8th grades, living in Wiesbaden Germany. For those who don't know, I grew up an Air Force brat who got shuffled back and forth between the places where my Dad ended up getting stationed and the place we all still call home, Memphis, TN.

The only TV we saw while living in Germany came by way of what I believe was called "Armed Forces Television." We had all of ONE channel that didn't come on the air until late in the afternoons or early evenings and when it did, only broadcast RERUNS . . . reruns that were umpteen years old and many of them in black and white, no less. So, being forced to live in a situation like that, as a kid you learn to fill in the time with other things like magazines, books, music, your imagination, actual conversations and interactions with parents, siblings, friends and peers, you know, all those things that are now considered so dull and passe (smile).

Of course, German television was also available, but if you didn't speak the language, there wasn't much point. The Germans did show a few American reruns and I can recall, on a couple of occasions trying to watch Little House On The Prairie, dubbed in German--not that I was particularly a fan of the English version of the series. But you know, when you're bored and your options are limited, you're willing to give just about anything a try.

At the time, the Germans were also a bit less prudish about nudity than folks in the US and it wasn't unsual to turn to one of their channels and see folks in a state of, well, undress. Not sure if my Mama knew about that peculiar little feature (smile). But hey, I was a kid and it was something I discovered quite by accident . . . and was smart enough to keep to myself.


YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

Back in the day, if you had CABLE, you were the BOMB and everybody in the neighborhood was tryna hang at YOUR house. I still remember "escapade"... the station that you weren't suppose to be watching, but jimmied the channel just so you could watch it... when momma wasn't home.

You watched lil' house on the prairie, I watched "HeeHaw", so you are not alone and there's a support group for us somewhere. LoL

Lori said...

Hey "YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe,"
First of all your tag, is something else (smile). Gotta love it.

Second, my African American hubby was a big fan of "HewHaw" and every now and then still has the nerve to ask me if I remember so and so from the show. To which I generally respond, "Hell to the Naw." (LOL) Even though that show might have been on in my house, I certainly didn't watch it . . . Okay, well, maybe every now and then (smile).

Third, thanks for bringing your sense of humor to "The Mix."

Ehav Ever said...

I feel much better now seeing that I wasn't the only one who watched Hee Haw and Little House on the Prairie.

I also remember our fist cable box had the channel changer that was a plastic arrow piece that your moved from right to left. It had about 50 channels on it (I think and it clicked when you changed channels.

Ehav Ever said...

Also, when I was in Ethiopia I watched a lot of soccer. There were only 10 channels. Most of them were either the BBC or CNN. The main state Ethiopia channel had news from about 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and then the channel went off. The news was in about 4 of the 50 different Ethiopian dialects (Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, etc.) I had a lot of fun watching the Arabic soup operas.

Lori said...

Hey Ehav E.,
My grandparents had one of those cable boxes with the plastic arrow piece. Ahh, the memories (smile).

Ehav Ever said...

I remember how that cable box light up when you changed channels. I think there was another one with a rotating knob.