Popular 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?