09 August 2009

The TV Room

We had a television!

Peter tells me - in his comment - that we had a television in Bakersfield; I do not remember it. But I remember the television in Oroville. My Dad built it!

Again, memory may be unreliable, but I recall its being in a man-height wooden frame, with a full picture tube (I think early tvs tended to have a small tube, maybe 12 inches diagonally) - 21-inch? Bigger?

The 'works' - all vacuum valves, of course - were in a chassis under the tube, and, for all I know, exposed lethal voltages.

It was black and white, of course. Did the United States - our part of it, anyhow - have colour televsion in the 1950s? I don't know, and rather doubt it, but we certainly had not.

The television was in - naturally - the tv room, to the left of the dining room. It had a painted concrete floor, I think. When we were watching tv, we were often set to doing kitchen tasks for my mother. I remember things like shelling peas, and churning butter. we had a little - what? - one-US-gallon? - glass butter churn with a handle to turn the paddles. Of course we were not allowed to eat the butter! We ate margarine - cheaper! Butter was for my mother to sell to the neighbours.

I actually can recall only one tv programme that I watched regularly, and loved: The Mickey Mouse Club. I watched it with great fervour, because I was in love with Annette Funicello (who, I have just discovered from that web page, was born exactly one month later than I - now doesn't that tell you something? - yes, other than the fact that she will soon be 67 as well, which is almost inconceivable). Ah, love!

All of which does make me think back to electromagnetic sources of entertainment in Bakersfield. We may have had a television; we certainly had a radio, and Peter and I had one in our shared bedroom. We were allowed to listen to a number of programmes - and perhaps some of the ones listed below were ones that we listened to without being allowed - at least, Susan tells me that she would never have been let listen to the spookier ones. I remember, especially, in no particular order:

And above all - the highlight of the week, lying in bed on Saturday mornings:

Of course some of these, and other radio programmes, ended up on television as well, and Susan remembers some of them from that medium. I remember, with pleasure, Gunsmoke on tv. But in truth, television never played a large part in my life. I enjoyed the radio when I was a small boy - but even then, I was far more of a books man than a radio listener or movie watcher. Other than a few television programmes in my 'teen years - and especially Annette, of course - I didn't watch much tv then - and almost none later, until my own children came along - precious little even at that time.

From the television room - still on the front of the house - you go into the (I now know) quite large kitchen - and then outdoors!


Unitman said...

You remember more of the radio shows than I, although one more was "Crusader Rabbit!!"

Also, regarding the pungent odor coming from the heating ducts -- that was in Bakersfield. You used to sleep walk, and I remember Mom catching you once just getting started -- down the intact floor grill vent in the hall separating the bedrooms, and one other time in the (your) Comic Book Box that was kept somewhere in the hall or in our bedroom, until we moved to Oroville at which point it went into your room.

Last, in the Oroville basement was a narrow work bench, on which Dad set up all his lens grinding equipment when we first moved up to Oroville. Obviously the idea was he might need to go back into business again, which he did around 1956 after a couple of years in Oroville making very little income from the ranch. The office he rented was on the second floor of a three story building opposite Devon's Jewelers (where Robin worked during high school) and directly across the street from our dentist who had his office on the second floor overlooking Myers Street -- Dr. Ivan Williams, who later bought a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible with a "big block" engine and four speed trans!!! Unitman

Unitman said...

One more note, re. Anette! We went to Disneyland on the opening day, July something or other of 1955. We had gone down to stay at Uncle Dodo's, and our cousins Jody and Judy went with us that morning (Mom and Cleo took us). I remember listening to a "concert" put on outside at a small pavilion near Adventure Land, starring Anette Funicello and Tim Considine, a cutsie actor guy from Disney's "Spin and Marty" program of early 1955 (thru 1957) involving Considine and another kid spending summers on a boys summer "dude" ranch! Anyway, Considine apparently could also sing, and he and Anette sang several songs on the pavillion that morning, and we were there!! Unitman

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that Mickey Mouse was always openly and radiantly happy.

He is depicted as such in the image on your posting.

And that as such he has become a universally known and recognized secular icon---of happiness.