Monday, December 6, 2010

More Television Memories










Evidently I struck a chord with our discussion of television in Middle Tennessee. I appreciate hearing from folks who remember vividly their first televisions. The majority of folks could remember their first color TV set and could describe the programs they viewed. Without exception their favorite programs broadcast in color were on Sunday. Wonderful World of Disney and Bonanza topped the list.
Bonanza ran on NBC from September 12, 1959 to January 16, 1973. The Cartwright’s Ponderosa came into our homes and we adopted the name “Ponderosa” to refer to a family’s farm or homeplace. Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) and his sons, Adam (Pernell Roberts), Hoss (Dan Blocker) and Little Joe (Michael Landon) were discussed throughout the area.
One storekeeper remembers that the demand for cowboy hats like Little Joe’s were demanded by youngsters in Robertson county. Many of my friends had the chaps, vest and hat to become a real Ponderosa cowboy. The number of children born with the names Adam, Joseph, Michael, Ben and Eric increased dramatically in the years, 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1963. Eric Cartwright was better known as ‘Hoss.’
Television series certainly shaped discussion and provided cultural lessons. Cheyenne Bodie, Bronco Layne, and Sugarfoot all taught the lesson that good overcomes evil. Cheyenne was a western television series of 108 black-and-white episodes broadcast on ABC from 1955 to 1963. The show was the first hour-long western and was filmed by Warner Brothers. Other Westerns mentioned by callers were the Mavericks, Have Gun Will Travel (Palladin), and Gunsmoke.
Some one remembered the stockade gates (looked like a Fort) over on Highway 41A where Cheyenne or another TV show did some filming. I was unable to gather information about this site, but would love to hear the story if you have information.

I even got a comment from my sister who says she remember watching Captain Midnight, whose show was sponsored by Ovaltine. Captain Midnight was an adventure series that followed the adventures of pilot Captain Midnight and his Secret Squadron. The series featured 39 black and white episodes. Much like the Little Orphan Annie radio episodes, Captain Midnight offered a decoder and secret messages as part of each show. I also learned Little Miss Brenda Lee was born Brenda Mae Tarpley on December 11, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Maplewood High School in Nashville, Tennessee.


I certainly remember the “Big Show,” a movie that came on every weekday afternoon on Channel 5. One of the reasons for the delay in television broadcasting in Middle Tennessee was the Korean War. The issuance of television broadcast licenses was frozen because of the war.

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J. Mark Lowe
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