Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Waxing Nostalgic

on October 7, 2013


Yesterday, I was bored with watching football and started channel surfing to find something to make me laugh, make me cheer on the guys in the white hats or bring a sweet tear to my eye. You know what I found?  Zip…Nada…Zilch…nothing that I felt would satisfy my craving for some good old fashioned show about family values, a good who-dun-it, or a show where the good guys always won.  I started thinking back to when I was growing up in the fifties…and yes, my friends, that was when I began to wax nostalgic for some of those real oldies..but goodies.

My first memory of television was in the 1950’s.  My mother and father would pack the four of us kids up and we would walk each Sunday down to our Nana and Grandpop’s house for dinner and the Milton Berle Show.


Milton Berle 

“Marriage is one of the few institutions that allow a man to do as his wife pleases.”

We watched Uncle Miltie’s crazy antics live on a television set that looked a lot like the one above.  That was our treat for the week and oh, how I looked forward to it.

We finally got our own television when I was about ten years old and Sundays were spent watching Davey and Goliath, Howdy Dowdy, and Tom and Jerry in the morning.

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Davey and Goliath

Afternoons were spent with Sky King, Dale Evans and Roy Rogers and Zorro.


Cast of Zorro

Our sides would hurt from laughing at the Marx Brothers and Abbot and Costello.  The evening would be spent watching Lawrence Welk and those lovely Lennon Sisters.


Abbott and Costello

And, of course, the highlight of Sunday night television would be the “really big shoe”…The Ed Sullivan Show.  I loved Topo Gigio and those Russian Dancing Bears with a passion!

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Ed Sullivan with Topo Gigio


During the week after the dinner dishes were done, we watched Davy Crockett, Perry Mason, Danny Thomas and of course, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  Family values were bountiful in shows such as My Three Sons, The Waltons and my personal favorites: The Real McCoys, Ozzie and Harriet and of course, The Leave It To Beaver show .


Alfred Hitchcock

In those days, channel surfing consisted of going through channels 2 through 13…that’s all there were!  But those 12 channels offered a variety of family entertainment that didn’t require ratings and could be enjoyed by the whole family.

Yes, I miss those days and I miss those shows.  Kids today would scoff at these simple, down to earth programs.  There were no vampires, serial killers or double entendres…there was just good clean entertainment.

My dream is that someday, Turner Network or a new channel will bring back all these golden oldies and remind us what family television was all about.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to watch another episode of Amos and Andy,The Jack Benny Program, or Dragnet.




“Just the facts, maam.”

All was not lost, though.  Danny and I spent a great afternoon talking about our favorite childhood shows and trying to remember all the characters names.  The ones I couldn’t remember, he did!

Yes, the memories are sweet and I realized that I am glad that I grew up in the era of early television where it was always easy to find a show that would make me laugh, make me cheer on the good guys or bring a tear to my eye.

What were your favorite shows growing up?


22 responses to “Waxing Nostalgic

  1. btg5885 says:

    I was partial to Dick Van Dyke and I Love Lucy. I also liked Dragnet and Perry Mason as well for drama. “Just the facts, ma’am.” Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    • M E McMahon says:

      Always fun to take a stroll down the lane! There were so many good shows to put in the post but it would have run on much too long. So, I just picked out the one’s that always held special memories for me!

  2. TamrahJo says:

    I remember the Dick Van Dyke show, Barnaby Jones and Gunsmoke. And Disney special every Sunday night –

    We had 2 channels out of 13, because of living in a very rural area. Funny how there was more to watch on those 2 little channels than most folks can find out of 500 options now.

    I haven’t had cable or dish TV in 5 years. We depend on Netflix and the local library for movies, series and documentaries – I sometimes am amazed at how many commercials there are and how stupid they sound when we visit someone and their TV is on – –

    • M E McMahon says:

      I once watched a half hour show and found that the show was actually only on for 20 minutes…the rest were commercials!

      And, you are so right. I had trouble picking the many excellent shows we had back then to include in this post. Today’s shows would have been much easier to pick the few that are worthy of watching!

      • TamrahJo says:

        During my stroke recovery, I was at mom’s and had a choice of a billion channels – I would finally give up and listen to a lecture from Open Yale or such, to pass the time while recovering – – and then, wouldn’t you now, two documentaries I actually want to watch, on different channels at the same time and no TIVO – – LOL

  3. bittygirl51 says:

    I remember all the shows you mentioned. I loved Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, Mayberry RFD, That Girl (with Marlo Thomas), Rhoda just to name a few. I loved the antics of the Carol Burnett Show, and that crazy Red Skelton! I always looked forward to seeing the Lennon Sisters on Ed Sullivan and loved watching the Osmonds sing when Donny was just a little tyke! Yep, those were the good ole days…long gone but never forgotten in my heart and mind.

    I have discovered recently that I can watch some of those oldies on Netflix – and so that’s what I resort to when there’s nothing but “reality crap” or violence on regular TV. We don’t pay for cable, it’s a waste of money – money we don’t have.

  4. barbtaub says:

    Do you remember when the rich family on the block got a COLOR television and if you got really lucky, you might be invited to come over and watch the NBC peacock’s colored tail? “The following program is brought to you in living color…on NBC!” []

    • M E McMahon says:

      Hell, there were no rich people on our block! We got our first black and white when my Nana upgraded hers to a bigger screen.

      I was 16 before we got color…again the result of a Nana upgrade! But, it was all good!

  5. tric says:

    Happy Days. Not being an american I cannot say I know all of those programmes but I know some.
    Yesterday I curled up with my youngest (11) and we watched one of the episodes of our box set of Little House on the Prairie. Love it!

  6. Basharr says:

    Nostalgia Overload!!! Great post brought back so many memories of better times in America, we never saw wardrobe malfunctions, no Mileys to fill our screens with idiocy, just good honest never off collar entertainment and if it did get a little rich we had the Dean Martin roasts and an all time favorite of mine was the Carroll Burnett Show.

    Times have changed sadly not all change is for the best but i wouldn’t give up the memories I have of early television for anything. Thank You Cranky, truly a great post today from you. =)

  7. mummyshymz says:

    I think I’ve only watched Alfred Hitchcock presents. Maybe I should check for the re-runs on cable 🙂

  8. mcwoman says:

    OMG you brought so many memories, and lucky for me that we do have a television station out of Milwaukee which plays nothing but these oldies. As far as my 50’s favorite — The Mickey Mouse Club! I always dreamed of being a Mouseketeer.

  9. Aurora says:

    I think I am a bit younger than most people commenting here, being only in my early 40s. Our small town didn’t get cable until I was in high school, so growing up we had channels 4 (nbc) 6 (abc) 10 (cbs) 34 (pbs) and 43 (an independent station out of Cleveland that actually came through on channel 5) I think there may have been a channel 13 from Cleveland also but it was a repeat of one of the bigger networks and I forget which now.

    Channel 43 showed the weirdest oddball stuff, especially on weekend afternoons during their double feature movie. A lot of what the stations played during the “family hours” before 8PM were many of the same shows you all mentioned here in reruns. Leave It To Beaver, Little House, and my personal favorite growing up, the Monkees and The Brady Bunch. Saturday mornings were hours of cartoons on all 3 networks, and not news or infomercials like they are now. The hardest part was choosing which channel to watch, and kids were almost divided into factions about what channel had the best cartoons. I was really sad as I got a bit older and saw news shows take over all the time slots once reserved for the cartoons. By then we had cable that had one kids station that wasnt a pay channel. (back when you actually had to pay extra for disney…which our parents couldnt afford)

    In the evenings we watched stuff like the Muppet Show, Carol Burnett and MASH, though before I was old enough to really get the humor, MASH terrified the crap out of me. My dad also seemed glued to any western movie he could find on tv, and I remember being so bored through many of them.

    Guys ride around on horses…they shoot at one another, and the indians chase them…YAWN….

    That was really my 5 year old opinion.

    • M E McMahon says:

      Didn’t you find it interesting in the westerns that when cowboys fight, fall off horses or die at the hands of a gunslinger…their hats never leave their heads? 🙂 Stick through another western and you’ll see I’m right…especially the black and white ones!

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