Shows You Were Forced To Watch When You Were a Kid

While I was posting to another thread, (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) I recalled several TV shows that I had no choice but to watch, because my grandparents watched them, and I had no control over what was on. I was interested in what you folks had to endure, and how you feel about those shows today. Admittedly, I can watch a few today and think "not as bad as I recalled", but some I still can't see the point of.

One show was a local broadcast called "Polka with Frank Knight". Sure I get that my grandparents loved to polka, but, I would have much rather have found something else to do during that program (no, this is a family show, so you will watch it!). The format was very simple. Each week, local celebrity (?) Frank Knight would introduce this weeks polka band from the studio (actually, the studio looked more like a church basement or a union hall) encouraging the audience members to dance. The audience was typically comprised of senior citizens, with the occasional grandchild under the age of six. The camera would pan between the band and the dance floor. In between songs, Frank would interview the band members ("So, where will you be playing next?). I just can't tell you how much this show drove me up a wall. The dance floor was generally packed, with one notable exception that I can recall. On this particular date, only two elderly couples showed up (as I recall, tickets were very cheap). I remember feeling both thrilled and ashamed that night. On the one hand, this could be the end of this dreck (it wasn't. The show dragged on for years thereafter. I remember my grandmother commenting on an article in the paper that explained the poor attendance). On the other hand, obviously this was a show my grandparents loved, and I didn't want to see them lose it. Catch 22.

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I remember we watched two shows as a family, Monty Python's Flying Circus and Kung Fu. I was not consulted as to whether I wanted to watch either one, but neither did I particularly object to either one.

My grandparents were big on the Lawrence Welk Show, which I haven't seen in forty years and which I suspect would be a good thing to watch if you were having trouble sleeping.

I remember seeing a show like the polka show on some obscure cable channel  maybe ten years ago. Fascinating in a weird way.  I always wonder wondered what it would be like when the 70's punk rockers got really old. Would they drag their grandchildren with them to see some Sex Pistols cover band?

The annual Pat Boone Christmas Specials. Most Christmas Specials I didn't mind, but Boone's were the dullest of the dull.

Otherwise all I can think of is football, which I have never had the slightest interest in. These guys make millions, you'd think they could afford to each buy their own ball so they wouldn't have to fight over one. Heck, Roller Derby and Bowling For Dollars were more interesting.

When I would get home from school my Mom would be watching the soap opera General Hospital, and I would watch it because it was on. I had a surprise when a character in his early teens went away to school and returned a few months later as an adult medical doctor.

I remember Pat Boone too. It got worse after his daughter Debbie had that hit song "You Light Up My Life".

Incidentally, there was a comedy bowling show I used to watch called "Hey, Let's Go Bowling". Essentially, two parties with a dispute between them,would agree to bowl out their differences (after explaining their sides of the story). The winner would receive an apology from the loser, and a ridiculous prize (like a 50lb. kielbasa).


Ronald Morgan said:

The annual Pat Boone Christmas Specials. Most Christmas Specials I didn't mind, but Boone's were the dullest of the dull.

Otherwise all I can think of is football, which I have never had the slightest interest in. These guys make millions, you'd think they could afford to each buy their own ball so they wouldn't have to fight over one. Heck, Roller Derby and Bowling For Dollars were more interesting.

I don’t really remember being forced to watch anything. I was pretty spoiled, I guess, and we usually watched what I wanted to. On the other hand, before junior high school I didn’t really watch TV much at all. My dad only watched the news (6PM at our neighbors’ house and he was in bed by the 10P news). He watched 60 Minutes every Sunday at our neighbors’ house, too. My mom was deaf and only watched baseball until Sears marketed the first closed caption device in 1980.

When I was in elementary school my favorite shows were Planet of the Apes and Kung Fu, but I also remember watching Apples’ Way and Dirty Sally (a Gunsmoke spin-off, although I never watched Gunsmoke).

On Saturdays, my dad and I would go to his mom’s house and watch the CBS line-up: Bridget Loves Bernie or M*A*S*H (various seasons), followed by All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and The Carol Burnett Show. If we got there early enough, my grandmother might be watching Hee Haw. There’s one I was forced to watch. My maternal grandmother might watch Lawrence Welk. There’s another.

Okay, those are my two answers: Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk.

Yep, I had to watch Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk too. Lawrence Welk was Polka with a higher production budget. Hee Haw depended on who I watched it with. At my grandparents house, we simply watched. In silence. It bored me. When I visited my Aunt Lena and Uncle Ray, it was fun. They laughed at the corny jokes, and my Uncle Ray was genuinely excited to see his favorite guest musicians (he would literally slap his knee and point out their talent). I enjoyed the show then.

My grandparents were news junkies. They subscribed to, and read, all three daily newspapers. From the time I came home from school through dinner the radio was on (this was before FM radio. Most radio stations carried pop songs, but, my grandparents found the one station available that carried the news 90% of the time. Sure, you did get one of five songs between five and six o'clock. Three of the five were Neil Diamond tunes in daily rotation; but, other than that it was all news). Six o'clock meant Walter Cronkite or Roger Mudd, followed by local news, followed by national news presented by a local newscaster.

In any case, I found myself watching an infomercial for Hee Haw the other night. I actually enjoyed it. I could still hear my Uncle Ray saying, with a broad smile on his face, "NOW you're gonna hear some mandolin playin'!".



Jeff of Earth-J said:

I don’t really remember being forced to watch anything. I was pretty spoiled, I guess, and we usually watched what I wanted to. On the other hand, before junior high school I didn’t really watch TV much at all. My dad only watched the news (6PM at our neighbors’ house and he was in bed by the 10P news). He watched 60 Minutes every Sunday at our neighbors’ house, too. My mom was deaf and only watched baseball until Sears marketed the first closed caption device in 1980.

When I was in elementary school my favorite shows were Planet of the Apes and Kung Fu, but I also remember watching Apples’ Way and Dirty Sally (a Gunsmoke spin-off, although I never watched Gunsmoke).

On Saturdays, my dad and I would go to his mom’s house and watch the CBS line-up: Bridget Loves Bernie or M*A*S*H (various seasons), followed by All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and The Carol Burnett Show. If we got there early enough, my grandmother might be watching Hee Haw. There’s one I was forced to watch. My maternal grandmother might watch Lawrence Welk. There’s another.

Okay, those are my two answers: Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk.

John DeRubbo said:

Yep, I had to watch Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk too. Lawrence Welk was Polka with a higher production budget. Hee Haw depended on who I watched it with. At my grandparents house, we simply watched. In silence. It bored me. When I visited my Aunt Lena and Uncle Ray, it was fun. They laughed at the corny jokes, and my Uncle Ray was genuinely excited to see his favorite guest musicians (he would literally slap his knee and point out their talent). I enjoyed the show then.

My grandparents were news junkies. They subscribed to, and read, all three daily newspapers. From the time I came home from school through dinner the radio was on (this was before FM radio. Most radio stations carried pop songs, but, my grandparents found the one station available that carried the news 90% of the time. Sure, you did get one of five songs between five and six o'clock. Three of the five were Neil Diamond tunes in daily rotation; but, other than that it was all news). Six o'clock meant Walter Cronkite or Roger Mudd, followed by local news, followed by national news presented by a local newscaster.

In any case, I found myself watching an infomercial for Hee Haw the other night. I actually enjoyed it. I could still hear my Uncle Ray saying, with a broad smile on his face, "NOW you're gonna hear some mandolin playin'!".

Where, oh where are you tonight?

Why did you leave me here all alone?

I searched the world over and thought I found true love

You met another and *pffht* you was gone ... 

Somewhere, My Uncle Ray is laughing. Thanks Clark (and I'm smiling at that).

ClarkKent_DC said:

John DeRubbo said:

Yep, I had to watch Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk too. Lawrence Welk was Polka with a higher production budget. Hee Haw depended on who I watched it with. At my grandparents house, we simply watched. In silence. It bored me. When I visited my Aunt Lena and Uncle Ray, it was fun. They laughed at the corny jokes, and my Uncle Ray was genuinely excited to see his favorite guest musicians (he would literally slap his knee and point out their talent). I enjoyed the show then.

My grandparents were news junkies. They subscribed to, and read, all three daily newspapers. From the time I came home from school through dinner the radio was on (this was before FM radio. Most radio stations carried pop songs, but, my grandparents found the one station available that carried the news 90% of the time. Sure, you did get one of five songs between five and six o'clock. Three of the five were Neil Diamond tunes in daily rotation; but, other than that it was all news). Six o'clock meant Walter Cronkite or Roger Mudd, followed by local news, followed by national news presented by a local newscaster.

In any case, I found myself watching an infomercial for Hee Haw the other night. I actually enjoyed it. I could still hear my Uncle Ray saying, with a broad smile on his face, "NOW you're gonna hear some mandolin playin'!".

Where, oh where are you tonight?

Why did you leave me here all alone?

I searched the world over and thought I found true love

You met another and *pffht* you was gone ... 

...When I in our home my parents didn't really watch Lawrence Welk , but when visiting my grandparents/ they would watch it , my father would make depreciating jokes about Welk to me (It was my mother's family , not his , he had no living family by then .) .

  My father being in irregular-hours journalism , etc. , meant we did little in-front-of-the-TV all-four (me , Mom & Dad , brother) watching .

  I do remember what is not exactly what you're talking about , but I remember seeing the Linda Blair TV movie " Sara T. , Portrait of a Teenage Alchoholic(Sic) " , my mother wqas there too - The ending of the movie climaxed in a slightly overdone/a bit embarassing manner (Okay ~ Both my parents had alchohol(Sic) problems , tho they'd both , in different ways , managed to deal with them essentially by their last years) , I made a bit of a joke to relieve my uncomfortableness/embarassment , my mother got a little PO'd at me (maybe that's too strong) .

  My parents were seperated about then , as for 70s TV , my mother got a newer TV in her room about then , she would watch CBS's blockbuster " adult/grownup comedy " All Family/Mary Moore , etc. , lineup of the time there , our older , bigger , cTV (both color) was in our downtown enclosed sunporch off the living room (My parents were raised in Texas but moved north and I grew up in the NYC suburbs - So , I never had air conditioning , they , having grew up in the South , I assumed Northern heat seemed as little .) - Where did the people who saw polka shows grow up ?

ClarkKent_DC said:

Where, oh where are you tonight?

Why did you leave me here all alone?

I searched the world over and thought I found true love

You met another and *pffht* you was gone ... 



John DeRubbo said:

Somewhere, My Uncle Ray is laughing. Thanks Clark (and I'm smiling at that).

You're welcome. I spent many an afternoon when I was a kid at my grandmother's house watching Hee Haw. It wasn't that anyone in the house was at all interested in it; the TV was just on, like the radio. But, being a kid, I didn't have the authority to change the channel, not that there was a whole lot of choice, since that was back in the days before cable TV and broadcast TV was limited to the CBS, ABC and NBC affiliates -- there wasn't even Fox -- PBS, and independent stations that showed old movies, reruns and cartoons. 

And it was my father who was the news junkie who got all three local daily newspapers. And from time to time, he'd get the papers from Washington, New York and Philadelphia. But he never subscribed; he only wanted the final edition, always. 


Oh, Hee Haw. I forgot that show. Guess I blanked it out. All I really remember is that brief cartoon of the crosseyed horse wearing the straw hat.

What I really hated was what I couldn't watch, horror movies that were on just a bit past my bedtime. I remember seeing them when I'd spend the night at my grandmother's house, but by the time I could watch them at home the original host was gone and they'd moved the movies to weekend afternoons. Despite watching TV in the Los Angeles area, I don't remember Seymour at all. I do know despite what Wikipedia says Elvira didn't replace him until after several other hosts came in for a number of years, including incredibly badly edited episodes of Hilarious House of Frightenstein. One week you'd get Vincent Price's opening poem "So welcome to where the sun won't shine...", the next week you'd get his "when next we meet in Frightenstone...don't come alone." Price made a strange noise blowing the candle, which I've heard him use in one of the Roger Corman Poe movies, so I guess that really was the sound Price made blowing out candles.

I didn't have to watch it, but I remember getting up early Saturday mornings and finding nothing on but a talk show called Let's Rap. (Remember the test patterns with the rainbow lines?) Dusty's Treehouse came on after that. Didn't like it much either but as I remember it back then the other two networks had something educational in that time slot. Now every channel has something educational all morning on Saturdays and I tend to sleep late.

And let us not forget…

Gloom, despair, and agony on me [WOE!]

Deep dark depression, excessive misery [WOE!]

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all [WOE!]

Gloom, despair, and agony on me!

We used to sing that in my college dorm for some reason.

Now you’re going to have that song stuck in your head the rest of the day.

Sorry about that.

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