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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To answer your question, I grew up in New Britain, CT (for years, it was affectionately known as New Britski, due to the heavy polish population. For a good time, even the official City of New Britain web-site used this reference.) So, the success of programs like Polka and Lawrence Welk made sense. Polka itself was broadcast out of Chickopee MA., which was relatively speaking just up the way.  

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...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 ?

I had to watch Little House on the Prairie because my mom loved that show! And Michael Landon!

Was Michael Landon very busy directing or just not that interested in appearing in that show? He seemed rarely in it in later seasons, yet had no problem being the star in most episodes of Highway to Heaven (there were a few where the plot completely revolved around Victor French's character.)

But were you a-pickin' and a-grinnin' at the Empty Arms Hotel?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

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.

I loved Hee Haw. Something about it now seems highbrow compared to Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy, although those two are definitely descendants of that show.

I think the closest thing I had to something I felt "forced" to watch (although that seems a bit strong considering whenever I wasn't interested in watching something, I would simply leave the room...) would be Days of Our Lives in the summer and during breaks.

Ronald Morgan said:

Was Michael Landon very busy directing or just not that interested in appearing in that show? He seemed rarely in it in later seasons, yet had no problem being the star in most episodes of Highway to Heaven (there were a few where the plot completely revolved around Victor French's character.)

The following is a detailed mini-biography of Landon, which shreds light on what was going on in the two shows mentioned:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001446/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

Lucky you! My grandparents were big on "family time". I.E. you didn't leave the room during TV time. Fortunately, they were big on activity during summer vacations. When the soaps were on, and both my mother and grandmother watched them, I was expected to be outside with friends or at the community pool or generally just outside actually doing something. There were times when I was home sick from school (legitimately) when I was made to lie on the couch, wrapped in so many blankets that a mummy would be jealous, that I was subject to the soaps. I never understood them. Ironically, when my kid sister was in high school, she began following General Hospital. I remember walking in one day, noting that some fifteen years later, the same characters were being referenced from my childhood. I think comics could learn a thing or two about continuity from the soaps. 

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

I think the closest thing I had to something I felt "forced" to watch (although that seems a bit strong considering whenever I wasn't interested in watching something, I would simply leave the room...) would be Days of Our Lives in the summer and during breaks.

My father, who, when I was little, used to berate me (not entirely unfairly) for watching mindless nonsense on television, later became addicted to GH!

"But were you a-pickin' and a-grinnin' at the Empty Arms Hotel?"

I'll tell you if you give me a call at BR-549.

In the early Eighties I was working at a small art studio and every day while eating lunch our receptionist would turn the TV in the dining area to All My Children. I have to admit I got hooked on it for awhile.

My parents ran a grocery store, so as kids, my brother and I spent a lot of time at one grandma's house or the other's.

Fortunately, each place had an older, black-and-white TV set on the back porch or in the basement. So, while grandma was watching Lawrence Welk or something similarly depressing, we could gather around the other set (sometimes joined by an uncle or two) and watch a monster movie, or the Black Hawks' hockey game.

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