Childhood Memories Friday: TV

childhood memories FridayThey say that TV rots the mind, and if so, I guess mine should be almost gone by now.  I remember watching quite a bit of TV as a child, and loving it.  I also loved writing books, and took a lot of ideas from the TV shows I watched (I know, sounds like I was a budding plagiarist, although I didn’t even know of the concept).

When I was pretty young (maybe about 5?) we got our first color TV.  My dad kept telling me we were getting a surprise, and his only clue was that it said, “It’s ten o’clock.  Do you know where your children are?”  This didn’t help me at all, and I kept guessing I was getting a Grandma doll.

Ten shows I remember loving:

  • The Flintstones.  My mom said I was so excited when Wilma was about to have Pebbles, I didn’t want to miss the show.
  • The Jetsons.  Their futuristic house was so cool, and here we have the “video phone.”  I remember my mom once saying that someday we probably would be able to see the people we were talking to on the phone, and this idea fascinated me.
  • Family Affair.  You couldn’t feel too sorry for orphans Buffy, Jody, and Cissy – who wouldn’t want to live with nice Uncle Bill in his ritzy big-city apartment?  And doesn’t everyone want a housekeeper like Mr. French?
  • Leave it to Beaver.  You had to love this show, where life’s difficulties were wrapped up so neatly in 22 minutes.  It was just so wholesome – Beaver would be unbelievably distraught over something like stealing a cookie from the cookie jar.  You also had to love Mr. Cleaver always in a suit, and Mrs. Cleaver rocking the nice dresses just for a day at home.
  • I Love Lucy.  Here is another vintage goodie.  I remember laughing so hard at some of Lucy and Ethel’s exploits.
  • The Brady Bunch.  I remember watching this one a LOT.  My sister had a special Brady skill:  within 5 seconds of an episode beginning, she could tell you which one it was.  Who wouldn’t like a friendly housekeeper like Alice, or like taking trips to the places they did?
  • Lost in Space.  My sister and I were really into the drama of this one: evil Dr. Smith, Penny’s angst,  the budding romance of Judy and Don …
  • Land of the Lost.  As I look at these photos – wow.  Special effects and costuming have really improved, haven’t they?  I remember those sleestacks (how the heck did they come up with a name like that?) that seemed pretty darn creepy at the time I was watching …
  • The Waltons.  My mom would watch this one with us, and we watched it for years.  We had a lot of fun calling goodnight to each other like they did:  “Goodnight, John Boy …”
  • The Lawrence Welk Show.  My sister and I (and often Mom) would watch this on Saturday nights.  My favorites were the dancers, Bobby and Cissy.  We loved it so much that one year we got a tape recorder and my sister and I would tape some musical numbers.  I remember our stress in the minutes before a song would start:  should we tape this one or not?  We would have loved the concept of the VCR.
  • Little House on the Prairie.  I read the books, and was so excited when they came out with the TV series.  Sure, the show differed a lot from the books, but seeing Laura and the gang “come to life” was pretty cool.
  • How could I forget Gilligan’s Island?  My sister, a friend and I acted out several episodes of this for our parents.  I loved Gilligan’s Island!

What TV shows do you remember growing up?


  1. Oh, I remember all of these! They are all good ones. My sis and I also loved Batman and Robin (the old, campy one!), Captain Kangaroo, and Petticoat Junction. Red Skelton was a favorite. And the Ed Sullivan Show! Amazing how tied up in our memories these shows are. Like extended family sometimes.

  2. Dick Van Dyke was my all time favorite (still is)!

    And I used to come home from school every day and watch Speed Racer. I sort of had a crush on a boy who watched it, so I watched it too. 😉

  3. Great shows! I know them all well! I see that someone above mentioned “Gunsmoke” which I watched faithfully as well as “Captain Kangaroo.” Then on Saturday, I watched “Fury,” “My Friend Flicka,” “Sky King,” “Mighty Mouse,” “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” and others. Loved “Lassie,” and we used to get old Tarzan flicks on Sunday afternoon that were wonderful. Did you ever watch “The Man from Uncle”??? Loved that, too.


    Sheila 🙂

  4. I watched many of these same shows, even though I am one generation older than you! My very favorites were The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie (once in awhile I still run across a rerun and watch a single episode). Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Carol Burnett, and Red Skelton were all great shows, too! I miss the old variety shows, which in my opinion were much better than the current reality shows. Lots of the top singers had shows back in the late 50s and early 60s, such as Perry Como, Andy Williams, Pat Boone and others. I will never forget the night that Debbie Boone sang her famous hit,”You Light Up My Life” and was asked who lit up her life? She said, “Jesus”, and I was soooo proud of her for her Christian Witness. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon on Tonight Show were the best comedic combo ever! Frankly, my dear, I would give up FOX NEWS to have those golden oldie TV shows back. The kids of today simply don’t get the opportunity to see the old-style family shows with good moral values anymore, and it is disgraceful what can be seen on prime time TV these days. I am almost embarrassed myself at age 70, and I have lived long enough not to be shocked at hardly anything anymore.

  5. When I a kid I loved Gilligan’s Island, the Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy. I remember getting excited to watch the show “Emergency” on Saturday nights when I was in elementary school. I think the Brady Bunch was on Friday nights. We also watched The Partridge Family and The Waltons. Oh, and I remember I Dream of Jeanie and That Girl. When I was in high school we watched Looney Tunes after school. In the evenings I remember watching Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.

    I agree with Leona said, it is disgraceful what is on TV nowadays, because of that I do not watch much. If a channel has on the old vintage shows, I will watch that. I miss what TV used to be.

  6. I don’t believe that rot idea! Especially nowadays where you can learn so much stuff from TV like how to make cranberry pancakes or reupholster a chair!!

    I love your choices. I miss wholesome TV.

  7. How could I have forgotten Carol Burnett??? Remember the Gone With the Wind episode where she came down wearing the drapes?

  8. We watched so many of the same shows growing up. It’s been fun seeing so many of them come out on DVD that we can buy, borrow from the library or rent from Netflix or Blockbuster to share with our kids now.

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