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:
- The Shadow ("Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! The Shadow knows ...")
- The Whistler
- Amos and Andy
- The Jack Benny Program
- The Lone Ranger
- Our Miss Brooks
And above all - the highlight of the week, lying in bed on Saturday mornings:
- Big John and Sparkie - opening with The Teddy Bears' Picnic, and with Gilhooley Mahoney and his Leprechaun marching band (no link, alas).
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!