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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Funny thing, when I was a kid, we only had a black and white tv. It used to confuse me to no end when a show would announce "in color" during the opening credits.

Don Mankowski said:

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.

We didn't have color TV, either, but one of my friend's family did. One Saturday afternoon a Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie I wanted to see was on TV, and I suggested we watch it at his house. To my surprise, it was in black and white! I thought every show was in color as long as you had a color TV.

We were the last people I knew to get a color TV. The Old Man was convinced they gave off radiation.

For many years we didn't have a color TV either. Seeing shows in color on my aunt's set, I assumed every show was in color, so it confused me when I saw the Munsters were black and white even on her set.

No wonder today's generation thinks black-and-white = old = boring. 

In fairness, even All My Children was in black-and-white when it debuted ... in 1970!

I remember the first time I saw Ultraman in color (at another neigbor's). Those uniforms... wow!

We didn't have a color TV when I was at home, so when I started watching Star Trek it was in B&W. There are ST episodes that I didn't see in color until I watched them on DVD in recent years. These days it's hard to believe, but color TVs were pretty expensive when they first started. Also, it was several years before color TV broadcasts became standard.

I got interested in the soap Another World because there was a Phantom of the Opera-style guy creating mayhem. Later, when it was cancelled we started watching Days of Our Lives, which also had super-criminals. We still watch it. There are things I hoot at. Everybody's Catholic but everybody gets church weddings after multiple divorces, the criminal justice system makes little sense. The town is called Salem. It's closest big city is apparently Chicago but we never know what state Salem is supposed to be in. The license plates just say "Salem,' like Gotham City. The police make the Keystone Kops look good. It's supposed to be a small town but apparently has direct commercial flights coming in from Europe. I refer to it as "Earth-Salem." It is fun and entertaining and there is occasionally some very good acting.

Forty plus years ago we'd be downstairs in the family room watching cable (e.g., HBO) on our color TV (it was a big deal then), and my little sister (much younger) would be upstairs in the kitchen watching something more appropriate for her (and which she'd rather watch anyway) on an old black & white TV.  We knew she was up there because we taught her to fine tune the picture by smacking the side of the TV.  So every once and a while we'd hear a loud smack or two, and we knew she was "fixing" the picture.

It may have actually started off as a radio show. I've heard old broadcasts, essentially commercials for Tide or Borax type soap products that feature various characters in crisis mode (I don't know what to do Betty. My husband has a big interview tomorrow, and if he doesn't get the job we'll be ruined! Relax Mary, he needs to look his best, so do what I do and use Tide....). The commercials generated so much response over Betty's problems that they began to expand into full episodes (with generous product placement, of course). The story lines eventually overtook the products, and there you have it.  

ClarkKent_DC said:

In fairness, even All My Children was in black-and-white when it debuted ... in 1970!

  There wasn't anything I was forced to watch, the problem was getting me away from the tv in the first place. If it was on, I'd watch it.

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