September 11, 2013 | Volume 100 / Number 371

Tel-evolution

For quite a while now, I’ve been able to watch “old” television shows. Shows such as “My Little Margie,” “Dick Van Dyke,” “I Love Lucy,” and more. To me, these programs are just as funny as they were when I first saw them. They still make me laugh.

The first television my parents owned was, of course, black and white, and had a very small screen. However, the time my brother and I could watch was limited. There was no sitting in front of the television when we got home from school. We had chores to do. Once they were done, then we had to set the table for supper.

After supper we had to help with the dishes. Then it was time to get our homework done if we had any. We were usually finished with everything by 7 p.m. Until 8 p.m. we could watch television. One hour per night, Monday through Friday, was the extent of our television viewing.

On Saturday, we were allowed to watch a couple of hours of cartoons, but then the television was turned off – until it was time for the baseball game.

Sunday brought the show our entire family enjoyed – “The Wonderful World of Disney.”

“Color television! Imagine that!” exclaimed my mother one day. “I was told there is a plastic sheet you can buy, put it over your television screen, and you see everything in color.”

So Mom bought that plastic sheet. And you saw television in color – the top third of the picture was blue, the middle third was red, and the bottom third was green. Not quite the color Mom had envisioned, but it was color.

A few years later, though, we had true color television. One of the most fascinating things was watching the tail of the peacock – NBC’s logo – change from black and white to color.

Programming has changed so much since my family got its first television in the mid-1950s. Although there are still a few programs I like, such as “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” on the major networks, the channel with the “old” shows has become my favorite.

Along with the humor in many of the shows in years past, there were also a lot of solid life lessons in the scripts. Honesty, compassion, concern for others, helping other people, handling with courage the tough times in life, thankfulness and much more were addressed throughout the show and summed up at the end in just a few sentences.

Even though it may seem some of those shows are corny when viewed from the distance of 60 years, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of their lessons. Sometimes a lesson learned without really knowing you are learning is one that will remain with you for the rest of your life.

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