Memories From the Balcony – Time for Some Television Flashbacks

Maybe I was never good at remembering my lessons at school. But the one thing that I was always good at was remembering the lines from my favorite movies. I remember the movies and the music. I remember the television shows and the sitcoms, the game shows and even The Gong Show. I remember Wonderama, Kids are people too, whackadoo, whackadoo, whackadoo . . .

I remember Shazam. I remember a show called Zoom.
I remember other shows too, like The Great Space Coaster or The New Zoo Review. I remember the cartoons which, in fairness, is the reason why I feel badly for the youth of today.
Maybe this is why kids have the problems they have now – it’s because they never had the benefit of Saturday morning cartoons.
They never had the benefit of the Hanna-Barbera company. They never had the chance to grow up with Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. So, in fairness; kids today wouldn’t know the punchline to “Would you like to shoot him now or wait until you get home.
Kids today never had the chance to watch Woody Woodpecker or Buzz Buzzard or hear the story of “If Woody had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.”
I can’t remember much of the lessons I learned in school.
Though I still work hard at becoming a writer, I can’t remember the lesson about what it means to conjugate a verb – I don’t remember much about where I sat in class and in what period I sat there – but I can remember the music I listened to.
I can remember the songs we sang.
I can remember the first time I ever heard the band RUSH and the time I heard the song Tom Sawyer who was “a modern day warrior, mean, mean stride – today’s Tom Sawyer, mean, mean pride.”
I can remember the details after a night out with friends, which was obviously less-than innocent.
I was walking home with wild eyes, bloodshot and half-closed. I had a Walkman on with headphones covering my ears and a cassette tape playing a song from a band known as Lynyrd Skynyrd – the song was Tuesday’s Gone.
This was a wrap-up of events that were as wild as “Lucy in the skies” and me?
I was experiencing the end of some psychedelic visualizations at the sight of dawn over my crazy little town.
It was the first cold day of the year. There was frost on the ground and the leaves had fallen.
I remember the view very well –

There used to be a time which, of course, seems like another lifetime ago; but, I can remember watching television in the den or “the family room” and watching shows like All In The Family or Too Close For Comfort. I remember Three’s Company. I remember M.A.S.H. and WKRP in Cincinnati. 
I remember movies like The Cannonball Run.
I remember the comedies from Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. But wait, come to think of it, I can remember the first time I saw Tom Hanks on television.
I think his first appearance was on Happy Days, which I remember. Then there was Bosom Buddies, I remember all of this.

But more, I think I remember the feelings that came with this time.
I think I remember the depths this has given my memory – or better yet, maybe I appreciate this more because maybe it wasn’t too often that I heard my Mother and Father laugh so hard because of a man named Rich Little who could do impressions of almost any actor or actress. 

I grew up with a show called Saturday Night Live while it was still groundbreaking and funny. Like I said, I might not remember much about geometry or algebra. I have no recollection of Earth Science or important dates that were on our history exams. But I can remember the very first music video that was played on a brand new television station called MTV.
This stood for Music Television – all music – all day.
“I want my MTV”
There was a song called Video Killed The Radio Star. This was the very first video ever played on the new station.
I remember this. 

It is sad but true that so much has changed with television. MTV is still around only the station is nothing like what it was to us when we were kids.
Again, this is partly why I feel badly for the younger generations because they don’t know about these things.

They wouldn’t know about a game called Pac-Man and how this came out in arcades or how this simple arcade game with basic graphics became so popular that there was a hit song called Pac-Man Fever – “drivin’ me crazy!”

I remember playing pinball. I remember going to a place known to the kids from my town as The Wiz.
I remember playing games like Asteroids and Elevator Action. I can remember listening to music in my ears while standing at a machine and playing a game called Tron – but ah, the difference between the games from then and now is at least we were outside. At least we were living – and we might have been crazy. We might have been different.
We might not have known what was going on with politics and our country because our access to information (and misinformation) was not like it is today – but still, at least we gathered together. At least we partied and we argued and we fought and we hurt.
I say this with the full and total understanding that we did all of the above – and we learned from our lives.
We learned from our experiences. 
So, I’m thankful that we had them.

At least, I know that I did.
I do not say that I had a great upbringing. I did not have a good or happy youth. No, I was one of the troubled kids.
But at the same time, not everything was miserable. Not everything was a fight or an argument.
No. I had better distractions back then – and not all of them were due to mind-expanding things that shut your eyes halfway or made them bloodshot. 

I get it.
Everything was different back then.
And fine.
So be it.
Let them be different.
But if I had three wishes; aside for wishing for three more, I think that one of my wishes would be to sit in the den of my childhood home, just one more time, and we could sit with Mom and The Old Man and with my brother, Dave too. We could watch a show on television – just to hear everyone laugh again – together.

By the way, if you never had the chance to watch The Muppet Show, I’m sorry.
If you never had the chance to see the ventriloquist Senor Wences, then I’m really sorry.
Or if you never had the chance to watch Foster Brooks perform like a drunk on stage – no, really. I’m truly sorry. 

I‘d love to bring this stuff back.  The shows . . . the traditions . . . the laughs we had and the songs we sang.
Maybe this would be another one of my wishes – that is, after wishing for more wishes –
Just to make sure I get everything in
(you know?)

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