Remember when movies were at the theater and televisions had maybe five channels?
My brother and I would race home after school and fight over what cartoons to watch. I would tune to “The Flintstones;” he would switch over to “Speed Racer.” We had to get up and actually turn the dial so changing channels could occasionally involve elbows and some pushing.
Movies were a dress-up, fancy affair. It wasn’t often we would go out to see a film. When we did, it was memorable. I still remember the terror I felt during that scene in “Snow White,” or trying to recall all my favorite things from “The Sound of Music” while on the way home.
My walk down memory lane comes courtesy of cord-cutting at my house. We finally turned off the satellite service last fall due to several reasons, but other than football, we didn’t really watch enough television to justify the $70 a month bill.
Yes, we were sad to lose football. We will probably subscribe to an NFL package in August, but even with the satellite service, we couldn’t always watch the game we wanted. The game might be blacked out or superseded by another team.
Without cable or satellite, then what will we watch during those few hours when we actually want to relax in front of what was once called the idiot box?
We just bought a gadget that plugs into the television and allows us to watch all sorts of things on channels that are free after the initial $30 investment. I chose the Roku stick, others might have the Fire stick and that’s just two of many options out there. Some televisions come internet-ready and don’t need any adapter.
And what a world of options we have through this internet-connected thing.
We still have Netflix which starts at $7.99 a month. Along with lots of movies, there are full seasons of television shows and documentaries — lots and lots of documentaries. My husband loves the World War II documentaries. Me? I already know how it ends.
Hulu is another service that starts at $7.99 and then offers a lot of additional options including live television at a higher monthly fee. We might have missed the big game, but Hulu lets me keep up with my favorite crime drama. I can even watch some of them from the first episode of the first season.
And that’s just the beginning. There are so many more streaming services. I watched a great old movie on Tubi the other night. Tubi is one of the free services available. It was weird to have a love scene interrupted by a commercial, but hey, the price was right and the movie was one that wasn’t on Netflix or Hulu.
With hundreds of movies and television shows now at my fingertips, it really fills a long cold winter evening or weekend or the month of January if I’m not careful.
Remember the early days of television? Those wonderful shows like “Car 54, Where Are You?” or “Father Knows Best”? Those are some of the classic shows available on some of these streaming services.
It was so exciting when VHS tapes came out and we could go to the video store to rent what we wanted. But this is even better, I don’t have to put on shoes and leave the house. Believe me, I really hate to wear shoes. And this weather?
As the snow flies and the wind howls, I sit in my recliner with the clicker in my hand.
Yeah, I called it that once and the grandkids had no idea what I was talking about. I could have given them a can opener for all they knew.
With voice activated this and that, and an app on my cell phone that lets me control my television, the clicker or remote control will soon be as obsolete as a rotary dial phone on the party line.
The best part of ditching the cord has been walking down television’s memory lane. Father always knew best. Those three sons were full of mischief and Barney Fife always got his man. Well, sort of.
Somehow, without really realizing it was happening, I’ve turned into one of those curmudgeons reminiscing over the good, old days when Lucy slept in her bed and Ricky in his and no one ever believed the day would come when Ralph sent his beloved Alice to the moon.
I never actually lived during the Eisenhower era and the earliest days of television, but the reruns make me nostalgic for the time when a Republican president didn’t have dozens of his associates indicted or jailed or hauled in front of Congressional committees. I’m just about old enough to remember the shame of the Nixon era.
How will we remember the 2010s? Will our children or grandchildren ever look fondly on the 2010s with the melancholy of nostalgia? Or will it be with the nervous laughter of an audience that didn’t quite know what to do with Archie Bunker, a character that had all the bluster of Ralph Kramden but none of the charm.
I miss what I remember about the good old days. Do you?