Title: Are We Too Turned On? Graphic of a white glowing old-time television on an orange background.

Power of TV

Title: Are We Too Turned On? Graphic of a white glowing old-time television on an orange background.

As a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, I’ve always said that television played an integral role in my development. Even when I was in the womb, I was influenced by it, according to my mom. Her favorite series while she was pregnant with me were The Gary Moore Show (with Carol Burnett), and Your Show of Shows starring Sid Caesar.

mother and son enjoy a meal of Barilla Past sitting on a window seat

It’s no accident that at 13 I had a pen-pal relationship with Burnett, and years later become a professional comedian myself. Then there’s the fact that in ‘84 I worked with Caesar to develop a sit-com called Sid’s Kid, where I was to play his daughter. Coincidence or not? From the 50’s on, TV has been a staple of American culture. Though it’s evolved from a grainy picture in a box with rabbit-ear antenna, to crisp HD images in a sleek unit mounted on the wall, TV has remained an extension of the world in which we live. Some people cannot even fall asleep without TV’s sounds and images flickering through the night.

Back in the day, there were only a handful of TV stations, and they all signed off at midnight. The national anthem would play as the American flag waved, and then a high-pitched beep would sound—I don’t know—to an Indian dart board(?) for the next six hours.

Anyway, for me the late 60’s through the 70’s, TV was my emotional outlet. I was often lonely and isolated, so the characters on the screen became my friends in the subconscious realm. I would watch Leave it to Beaver, relating to all of the Beav’s adventures. Couldn’t wait to tune in each week to the Mary Tyler Moore Show (and always wished I had a friend like Rhoda), or watch All in the Family, where I learned through Archie how NOT to be.

By the 70’s, TV created a diversion from those dateless teenage years, and the cuties I had in my mind were John-Boy Walton and Keith Partridge. (Sorry, Brady boys; I never had a crush on you.) However, years later I did have a date with Blair’s French teacher, Mr. Palmer on The Facts of Life. ...To read the full article, login or become a member --- it's free!

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