Some so-called experts say watching television (to excess) can be bad for childhood development. I’ve recently come up with a list of five people/programs/genres on the boob tube that have had a noticeable influence on my life — then and now. You may agree or disagree with one or more of these..but those who know me will understand my choices.
By the way..I’d be interested in hearing your five choices for TV that has shaped your lives.
1. Walter Cronkite
I don’t think I would have ever pursued a career as a journalist without having seen the man once known as “The Most Trusted Man In America” during his run as anchor of the CBS Evening News. He showed me that you don’t have to have an agenda or a political bent to tell people what’s happening in the world. There are people who are well acquainted with me who still cannot definitively say whether I lean left or right politically. That’s the way I want it. Here’s the master at work handling a somewhat awkward breaking news story live on the air. (By the way..I love the old-school typewriter noise in the background)
2. Schoolhouse Rock
You remember them. 3 is a Magic Number, Elbow Room, We The People, Conjunction Junction and all the rest. Without these vignettes, I would never have mastered my multiplication, learned about inventions (thanks to Mother Necessity) and walked in to my high school Civics/American Government class being able to recite the Preamble to the Constitution off the top of my head. Think of what kids today could take from this. If you can find the DVD with all the songs on it, give it to a mom with small children..and let the learning begin. Here’s one of my favorites.
3. 70’s/80’s Game/Quiz Shows
Some of my fondest memories of childhood involve sitting in front of the TV and watching game shows. You could easily kill a morning playing along with Card Sharks, Family Feud, Sale of the Century, High Rollers..all culminating with the venerable Bob Barker and The Price Is Right. I was pleased when Who Wants To Be A Millionaire fueled a resurgence. My favorite will always be Jeopardy! (By the way Trebek..I’m waiting for you guys to open up the next online test so I can audition) As for a great..and one of the funnier moments. I turn to an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy!
4. “March Madness”
The NCAA Basketball Tournament didn’t become the phenomenon it is today until Larry Bird and “Magic” Johnson hooked up when Indiana State and Michigan State played for the title in 1979. The tournament didn’t become “March Madness” (in my opinion) until four years later when Goliath (portrayed by a great University of Houston team) was felled by David (a Jim Valvano-led N.C. State tea). I’ve been hooked ever since.
5. Food Network
Yes..I’m addicted to the Food Network. I can actually spend hours on end watching various show on it (and its companion Cooking Channel). When you;re on who’s not so adept in the kitchen, I am not so ashamed to admit that there are tips and tricks I’ve gleaned from Bobby Flay, Giada DiLaurentiis, Alton Brown and the like. I’ve actually gotten better (and will actually cook a meal for my wife every now and again). French Toast anyone? Alton Brown is your guide.