A Baby Boomers Guide to Television.

Good Afternoon All!

This weeks post by yours truly examines the notion of Childhood memories of televisions in the home”, which i sought to answer by interviewing my Nanna, a Baby Boomer growing up in Bexley North during the first years of personal television ownership.

My Nanna, Kae McParland (Aldred), lived at Bexley North most of her life but now resides in Milperra with my Grandfather. When she was a young girl, she lived with her parents and younger sister in a garage whilst her father and grandfather built a house on the same block of land. Over time, the house was completed and fast forward 2 years, they moved out of the garage and into the house with a family consitsting of her parents, three sisters and her brother.

When I asked her What do you remember about the television in your house? she replies with a chuckle-

“We didn’t get our first television until I was 12 years old (1960) and it was built into a cabinet. The picture was black and white and contained only 2 channels- Channel 9 & 2; both which closed each night at approxiametly 10pm and didn’t restart until the next morning”

To think today that there was once only Channels 9 & 2 gracing our airwaves is quite a thought, even the thought of a station turning off every night, regardless of time, would be a shot in the foot of todays fast-paced, uber-competitive TV industry.

The next stage of the interview, which focused on where the TV was situated in the house and it’s surroundings brought a sense of nostalgia to my Nan; she distictively remembers the frustration of having to share the loungeroom with the television set and the home phone:

“It was really annoying when the phone rang and we were watching the tv because you couldn’t take the phone outside of the room and the set had to be turned down low or off while that person (the Parent) finished the call.”

To think today one would have to wait for a parent or sibling to finish their conversation whilst Matt Preston waffled on about how much he loves food is laughable. (However I am sure the conversation would be 10x more interesting then whatever Matt Preston is going on about.) When I asked her about how many TV sets were in the household, she laughed stating:

We only had 1 set because they were so expensive to buy plus you had to pay the government a “licence fee” so that you could use it, also it was never heard of to have a tv in any other room.”

A licence fee! Oh how times have certainly changed she stated, as not only is there no direct licence fee, she has 3 TV’s in her household nowadays. Lastly, when I asked her to reflect on the tv shows and the experiences, this is what she said:

My memories of watching the tv are that it was so very exciting. My parents had first choice of what we were to watch (not there was much of a choice). Everything was so new, nothing like it had ever been around before. I remember no one was allowed to speak while the news was on. I remember the Mickey Mouse Club, many family situated shows, westerns and of course all of the shows were American.”

Overall, this interview really highlighted the vast evolution television has made in the last 50-60 years, which sounds like a lot but when you speak to someone who lived it and remembers it, you too realise how influential those times were still today. If I had to take one thing away from this it would have to be the excellent nostalgia associated with the love and experience television provided to a whole new generation of Baby Boomers.

Stay Classy UOW,

Todd.

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