Friday, June 3, 2011


In 1986 Jerry and I came across this book which had just been published and decided it would be great fun to have. Periodically over the years I've made use of it to sort out the occasional confusion we experienced when we were trying to remember the name of, or the date of, or the star of, an old TV program. Jerry is 5 years older than I am, so his recollection of early TV goes back further and starts sooner than mine does.

In 1945 my father purchased Alexander Electric, a small retail store already in business on East Anaheim Street in Long Beach. Initially it just had small appliances such as irons, radios, fans, record players and so forth. Dad added larger appliances and finally was able to get a franchise for Admiral TVs. I can only make a guess at when that happened, but I think it was in late 1948; of course he brought one home for us to watch. The first thing I can remember watching was the Kathy Fiscus tragedy, when the little 3 year old girl fell down an abandoned water well. This occurred on April 8, 1949 in San Marino, California, and Stan Chambers reported the unsuccessful rescue effort on live television.

In November of 1949 NBC introduced a variety show called Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and I do believe that not only kids but their parents too faithfully watched that program for years.

I also know early on our family watched a lot of wrestling matches and roller derby games; we all loved Gorgeous George, and we all liked the women's roller derby games better than the men's because oh, those women seemed so tough! But for kids specifically what I remember was a children's program on Saturday morning called "Sandy Dreams." This was a live series that each week showed Sandy drifting off to sleep to a magical land of performing children. It started out as a Los Angeles show in October of 1950 and lasted for 9 weeks. This book of ours tells all about it, as well as listing the names of the little child actors.

The only other early child's program I can remember was called "The Buster Brown TV Show with Smilin' Ed McConnell and the Buster Brown Gang". The unforgettable character that came out of that show was "Froggy the Gremlin."

In 1953 I went off to college and there wasn't any TV watching then for a long while. This book is just full of the "oldies but goodies" that were a part of our lives later. It tells about Paladin, Adventures in Paradise, Alan King Show, Steve Allen, The Aldrich Family, The Cisco Kid, Crime Photographer, Duffy's Tavern...just about any old TV series can be found in this book.

But the one that stands out in my mind - and in the mind of everyone else who ever faithfully watched the Alfred Hitchcock show was the episode in 1958 called "Lamb to the Slaughter." Probably just saying the sentence "Lady kills her husband with a leg of lamb" will jog your mind into remembering this most fascinating episode. The picture below is of the detectives questioning the wife.

In case you have forgotten what it was about, this link will give you a recap of the story.

Just think, we used to watch TV every nite, enjoy it greatly, and not one thing we watched was anywhere close to a reality show in the sense that we have them now. The nearest we came was "Candid Camera!"

1 comment:

marciamayo said...

Bachelor Father, Have Gun will Travel, Gunsmoke, Sky King. Those are just some of what I remember.