Childhood Memories Friday: Top 1970s Vintage TV Shows

Family Affair TV

Childhood Memories FridayPopular 1970s television shows are familiar to me, having spent ages 6 to 16 in the decade. If it’s true that TV rots the mind, I guess mine should be almost gone by now, because I remember watching quite a bit of TV as a child, and loving it. I also loved writing books, and took a lot of ideas from the TV shows I watched (I know, sounds like I was a budding plagiarist, although I hadn’t heard of the concept).

When I was about five, we got our first color TV. My dad kept telling me we were getting a surprise, and his only clue was that it said, “It’s ten o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” This didn’t help me at all, and I kept guessing I was getting a Grandma doll.

But soon I was enjoying my favorite 1970s shows in all their full-color glory (well, except for the black-and-white ones, but more on that later).

The Flintstones: According to my mom, I was so excited when Wilma was about to have Pebbles, I didn’t want to miss the show. I can still hear Fred calling out “Yabba Dabba Doo!” and see him gleefully sliding down the dinosaur’s tail when the whistle blew signaling the end of another workday.

The Jetsons: Their futuristic house was so cool, what with the robot and the “video phone.” I remember my mom saying that someday we probably would be able to see the people we were talking to on the phone, and this idea fascinated me.

Family Affair: You couldn’t feel too sorry for orphans Buffy, Jody, and Cissy – who wouldn’t want to live with nice Uncle Bill in his ritzy big-city apartment? And doesn’t everyone want a housekeeper like Mr. French?

Leave it to Beaver: Okay, I know it’s not truly a ’70s show, but I watched its repeats then. You had to love this show, where life’s difficulties were wrapped up neatly in 22 minutes. It was just so wholesome – Beaver, unbelievably distraught over something like stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. You also had to love Mr. Cleaver always in a suit, and Mrs. Cleaver rocking the nice dresses just for a day at home.

I Love Lucy: Here is another vintage goodie. I remember laughing so hard at some of Lucy and Ethel’s exploits.

The Brady Bunch: I remember watching this one a lot – maybe daily. My sister had a special Brady skill: within five seconds of an episode beginning, she could tell you which episode it was. Who wouldn’t like a friendly housekeeper like Alice, or enjoy taking trips to the places they did? Heck, it was an early Jon and Kate without the dysfunction!

Lost in Space: My sister and I were really into the drama of this one … evil Dr. Smith, Penny’s angst, the budding romance of Judy and Don …

Land of the Lost: Special effects and costuming have really improved, haven’t they? I remember those sleestacks (how the heck did they come up with a name like that?) that seemed pretty darn creepy at the time I was watching. As to the improbability of the premise – hey, I can imagine falling into an alternate world inhabited by dinosaurs, can’t you?

The Waltons: My mom would watch this one with us, and we watched it for years. Hasn’t every child of the ’70s called out, “Goodnight, John Boy …” at one time or other?

Gilligan’s Island: Oh, my. I knew every word of the song, had a little crush on the Professor, and preferred sweet Mary Ann to worldly Ginger. My sister, a friend and I acted out several episodes of this for our parents. Good times!

If you were alive and cognizant at the time, what were some of your favorite 1970s TV shows?

6 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Top 1970s Vintage TV Shows

  1. During that 70s era I was a very busy mother of two young children and busy teaching school, playing piano at church, seeing my Mom through her final cancer illness, etc. Therefore, I did not have a whole lot of TV time, but my own children loved Leave it to Beaver, Gilligan’s Island, and several others. My daughter preferred I Love Lucy over any of the other shows. The whole family loved The Waltons, and to this very day my husband and I enjoy reruns of their episodes. They are available every weekday in late afternoon and early evening where we live on Frontier station 259 or 185. Little House on the Prairie can be found there as well as Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman. The channel is INSP and sometimes Hallmark. It is always a thrill when we are tuned in to an episode that we missed way back when, but we also love the repeats when you already know the ending. Hearing “Good night, John Boy” warms our hearts. Sometimes that last minute when the house lights go off the things what the characters say are almost as good as the actual story line in the show! Grandpa Walton is wonderful and any child would be blessed to have a real grandpa like him!

  2. I remember all of those except Land of the Lost. I also remember Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie, Six Million Dollar Man, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Incredible Hulk, and Quincy, M. D. I didn’t see too much TV the latter half of the 70s because I was in college then (Christian school, no TVs allowed), so I would have only caught reruns during the summer. Then I got married in ’79 and we didn’t have a TV for the first couple of years.

  3. I especially liked the Brady Bunch because Florence Henderson was from the Rockport, IN, area, not far from Tell City. Florence’s sister, Eileen, lived next door to my Aunt and Uncle in TC. So we always were some of the first to know anything new in Florence’s career. I liked a lot of the other shows you mentioned also, so did my daughters who grew up in the 70’s.

  4. I did little TV watching in the 70s. I do enjoy the reruns of the Waltons now, although the show reminds me so much of my home and family, I end up crying with almost every episode. For that reason, I haven’t watched the reruns very often in recent months. They’re just too poignant. Life was so much easier back then (not in terms of work, but in terms of the morale and culture).

  5. This post TOTALLY brought me back to my childhood! I loved Brady Bunch, Gilligans Island (and not just because my name’s Marianne!) and I love lucy…
    Thanks!

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