Happy Monday everyone!
Remember when certain nights of the week were special family nights because, after dinner was finished, and the dishes were done, Mom, and Dad, and all the little children would adjourn to the living room to watch a family TV program together? Dad might make popcorn in an old, well-oiled pan on the stove, and mom might serve Kool-Aid to go with it, always in those funky aluminum cups that froze your hand when you held them. But it wasn’t the Kool-Aid or the popcorn that made the evening special. It was the fact that the one TV in the house, with its old console cabinet and its dubious reception — depending on the wind and the weather and the state of the moon — was not a thing that divided families into multiple rooms, but a thing that brought families together to partake of the favorite programs of the week.
It’s funny how vibrant the memories remain, even years and years later, after those shows have been relegated to late-night cable reruns and nostalgic DVD editions. In our family, our favorite shows and our favorite episodes still linger large in memory, and still come up and family conversation. Those programs were the stuff that technicolor childhood dreams and games of let’s pretend were made of.
We’re talking about Retro TV this week here on BelleView — recalling our old favorites, and in particular our very favorite episodes. If you could return to one episode, and become a character in the story, who would you be?
It’s such a fun question! Of course, being the wandering mind that I am, I couldn’t limited to just one. Here are a few of my favorite episodes, and the parts I would play. I have taken the liberty of slightly altering a few photographs. If you don’t hear from you again after this post, the TV police have come and hauled me away.
Bonanza. The episode where the beautiful gypsy girl bewitches Little Joe.
Actually, I wanted to be in any episode where a girl was included, and Little Joe was involved. At that tender age, I had not yet figured out out that falling in love with Little Joe, or any of the Cartwright men, was a guaranteed death sentence, or at least a ticket on the stagecoach out of town before the end of the episode. I wanted to be the girl who got to say on the Pondarosa, enjoying those wide-open spaces and riding beautiful horses… and of course, crushin’ on Little Joe.
Star Trek. The Trouble With Tribbles
The new frontier of space travel was the worldwide fascination during my early childhood. In swanky homes, the furniture was sleek and space-aged. The Jestons, Star Trek, and Lost In Space gave us the flavor of what life in that bold new future might be like. When the Trouble With Tribbles episode came on, I couldn’t understand why the crew of the starship enterprise had a problem with these adorable, furry creatures. Yes, Tribbles do multiply like supercharged rabbits, but I was willing to share my Cheerios if that would help.
Little House on the Prairie. The Christmas episode with the big blizzard.
A fourth-grade teacher read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s narratives to us about the time the show came on the air. I felt like I knew Laura, as if I had shared her adventure, and I loved each week when the new episodes returned me to Walnut Grove to experience all the sweetest and toughest parts of childhood, frontier style. It was also real, and yet so idyllic.
But the Christmas episode was my favorite. I still remember that glorious scene, when Mr. Edwards makes it through the blizzard, carrying Christmas gifts. What a great summation of the timelessness of Christmas. The beauty of family. The sweetness of being all together in one safe, warm place as the blizzards howl outside.
I felt as if I’ve been there, invited into that squatty little house that Pa built, to spend Christmas with the Ingalls family. And that’s the beauty of those stories we remember from childhood. They are the stories we lived in our dreams, and our little girl bedrooms, and our backyards.
So what about you? What were your let’s pretend TV stories? If you could step into an episode, which one would it be and which part would you play?
I can’t wait to see what shows the Bells have picked for the rest of the week!
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