Comparing Old and New Radio and TV Shows

October 4, 2012
Today’s Fond Farewell is part of the former Take-a-Break series. Use today’s post as a respite from today’s “to-dos” and have a little fun.


A ”Fond Farewell” Article

When I changed Support4Change to a new format, I needed to delete some articles that didn’t fit in the new site but were too good to completely throw away. So I have moved many of them here to the blog, where they will still be available and people can find them by using tags. Enjoy.


RelaxingRecently I opened an e-mail from a friend with whom I went to college many years ago. She began with, “Now this really hurts! How can something which is part and parcel of our life be unknown to someone just 10 years younger?” Then she went on to explain that in a conversation with a carpet installer, she had mentioned her closet was like Fibber McGee and Molly’s closet.

When the guy (whom she knew by a previous conversation to be fifty-three years old) gave her a blank look, she explained that the phrase came from a radio program with a running gag about everything falling on the person’s head who opened the closet by mistake. Finally, he said, “That must have been before my time!” “Well, it’s not before mine,” she huffed.

The incident got her thinking about how old (or young) we need to be to remember the show. So she took what she acknowledges is a highly “unscientific survey” and the youngest person she came across who either remembers the radio program or knows the reference to it is a woman in her late fifties. As my friend pointed out, if you lived in a house with only one radio or, later, one TV, everyone listened to the same programs — and everyone learned about the same characters and the same jokes.

She ends by saying: “Just think about Lucky Strike Hit Parade and Inner Sanctum and The Lone Ranger (on radio, anyway) and Lux Radio Theater.” They and similar ones “will disappear with us! Bah humbug!”

Further, many homes today have more than one TV and cable offers variety never available to those who grew up in an earlier era. We exercise with an iPod plugged into our ears, listening to different programs or, in my case, listening to audiobooks. You can bet your bottom dollar that all the drivers on the freeway aren’t listening to the same radio program. And don’t forget our awareness of cultural and racial diversity. Radio shows from the 1950s would never make it past the politically correct guardians of today.

The inevitable march of time and new technologies mean there will always be some things that are only understood by those of us who are older. Other things will slip beyond our grasp. Our children will shake their heads in amazement that we don’t recognize the names of their favorite rock bands.

So today my suggestion for a Take-a-Break comes in two forms.

1. For those who consider themselves part of an “older generation” (a definition you get to make):

Create your own “unscientific survey.” Choose a radio or TV program, book or expression that was popular in an earlier time and ask the ages of those who remember it and those who don’t.

In my own family a phrase like “Sock it to me” — from those delightful Laugh-In TV shows — isn’t part of my children’s vocabulary.

2. For those who consider themselves part of the “younger generation” (again, a definition you get to make):

Create your own “unscientific survey.” Choose a radio or TV program, book or expression that has recently become popular and ask the ages of those who know what you’re talking about and those who don’t.

Since I see few movies and don’t pay attention to the lives of the rich and famous, I could never win a million dollars on a TV show that required me to know the trivia of today’s stars and often have no idea who are the “newsmakers” in the People section of TIME magazine.

I would love to know what you discover in your unscientific studies from either Break One or Break Two.

© Copyright 2000, Arlene Harder, MA, MFT

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Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website:


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