Sunday, February 6, 2011

Radio and Television - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History #6

This weeks topic for 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is Radio and TelevisionWhat was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?

Favorite TV show? Just one? I had several favorite TV shows and a couple of favorite radio stations. I'll try not to turn this into a series of posts.

My favorite western was Roy Rogers. My brother, sister and I would wear our cowboy hats and sit on the floor in front of the TV to watch the King of the Cowboys catch the bad guys with some help from Dale Evans (his wife) and Pat Brady (their friend). If you remember that Roy's horse was Trigger, Dale's was Buttermilk, their German Shepherd dog was Bullet and Pat's jeep was Nelliebelle - well, then you're old.

Family sitcoms were big in the 50's. Re-runs of many of them are still playing somewhere right now. My favorites were Ozzie and Harriett (Ricky always sang at the end) and The Donna Reed Show.

Variety shows were also big in the 50's and 60's. I remember watching Lawrence Welk, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Dinah Shore, Jackie Gleason and, of course, Ed Sullivan. Old Ed brought us the Beatles so he could have been my  favorite if it weren't for Shindig, Hullabaloo and Laugh In. (Before you ask, yes, I had a pair of white go-go boots.)

Now let's get to the shows that were really, really my favorites.

American Bandstand was a favorite but so was the less well known Where the Action Is. It was a rock and roll variety show that was on after school 5 days a week. From memory, I would have said it was hosted by Paul Revere and the Raiders but after checking Crazy About TV I remembered that the 1st season was hosted by Steve Alaimo before they took over. I didn't remember that his co-host was Linda Scott or that it ran for two years with 454 shows.

The teenage soap opera Never Too Young was set in Malibu and one of the main characters, Alfy, ran a beach hangout named The High Dive where all the kids, what else, hung out. Sometimes in the middle of all the drama, a recording artist would drop by The High Dive and sing. It was also on 5 days a week after school. You can't find very much on the web about this show but Wikipedia says it was on less than a year starting in September 1965. It seems longer in my memory.

And then there was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The spy thriller where Illya Kuryakin (played by David McCallum) and Napoleon Solo (played by Robert Vaughn) fought the evil organization named T.H.R.U.S.H. That might sound silly if you weren't around in the 60's but really it wasn't. You see, U.N.C.L.E. stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement and T.H.R.U.S.H stood for, well, no one ever really knew what that stood for but they were definitely against law and enforcement.

There seems to be a strong music theme running through my TV favorites so it's no wonder that I spent many more hours listening to the radio than I did watching TV. That is really amazing considering how limited my radio choices were. We had a local radio station but it was all country and no teenagers were listening to that. Besides it went off the air at 5 or 6 P.M. every day. I had to depend on stations from pretty far away that had a strong signal to give me the music I wanted to hear. WAKY in Louisville came in during the day but it started to fade in the late afternoon. Luckily I could pick up WLS in Chicago at night and I often went to sleep with it playing on my small transistor radio under my pillow. I don't know why I didn't use the earphone. (Yes, I know I said earphone, not earphones. In those days, you just got one - for one ear.)

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is a series of weekly blogging prompts created by Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog to encourage researchers to write about their own lives. Details can be found at GeneaBloggers


  1. We were in different eras and different countries but we were both listening to music from far away in bed at night!

  2. I don't really remember watching Roy Rogers, though for some reason I can hear (in my head) Pat Brady saying, "Whoa, Nelliebelle!"

  3. Sure brings back memories. What about their friend, Tonto? Did his horse have a name?

  4. Darlene - Tonto was the Lone Ranger's side kick. :)

  5. Yes, I remember Nelliebellie the old jeep and Bullet and Buttermilk and Trigger!

  6. Darlene,

    Wasn't the Lone Ranger's horse called Silver? That's why he said "Hi ho, Silver" and the horse would stand on his hind legs before he took off chasing the bad guy.

  7. Forgot to add that Tonto's horse's name was Scout.