Why I love Friday night!!

<Blogger’s note: I am in the process of writing my next installment of Star Trek- the All Star Edition, but it is proving to take longer than I anticipated, so stay tuned for that>

I believe one of the most important things a father can do is to spend quality time with his daughter. I believe fathers and daughters ought to do things together as much as possible. Go to the movies, go out to eat, and establish something that is strictly a thing they and only they do together, making it special.

My daughter is eight years old now and we have forged a thing together that we both look forward to. It is called Old TV show night and happens every Friday night beginning around 9:30 or so. Old TV show night is just what it sounds like it would be. We watch old TV shows together.

The genesis of Old TV show night actually began in very late December 2007. I had surgery on my shoulder the day after Christmas and was taking some pretty strong Lortabs on a regular basis. Since I ended up sleeping most of the day, that meant I would sometimes be awake late into the night.

One night when everybody else went to bed, my daughter decided to stay up with me – just in case I needed something. I think she mostly just wanted to stay up late and fabricated a noble sounding excuse to do so. She was out of school for three weeks so it didn’t hurt to let her stay up with me.

Now I have always been a lover of the TV shows I grew up with in the 1960s, especially the ones in the nonsense and silly genre. It just so happened that one of my Christmas gifts was a season set of Gomer Pyle USMC. Silly though it is, I have always loved that show so that was my choice of something to watch. My daughter had seen it before, here and there during the day and had expressed how funny she thought it was, so she was all about watching with me. We stayed awake until 2:00 in the morning watching episode after episode of GomerPyle. My daughter had a blast mocking the way Lou Anne Pouvie talks.

Sometime last year, I discovered that one of the retro channels was showing reruns of My Three Sons. I immediately began to TiVo them since I have always loved that show and remember well watching them in first run. (For the record I consider the ones with Uncle Charlie to be superior to the ones with Bub, but I also think the show suffered in quality when they brought the insufferable  little twit Dodie on the program. And oh yeah Katie is hot!!!!!)

The only time I could actually watch them was on Friday night after everyone else had gone to bed. My wife does not share my love of old TV programs and my son only wants to watch movies on DVD.

One Friday evening I asked my daughter if she wanted to watch with me and she readily agreed. She had never seen My Three Sons, but it took her all of one episode to become a fan. We even made up things to yell at the TV when various characters would appear. Robbie Douglas: “oooohhe’s so dreamy” we’d yell in a voice mocking the way a teenage girl might talk. We’d boo loudly when Dodie would appear, and yell “Chipmunk” when they’d show Ernie Douglas. We’d make frightening noises when they’d show Uncle Charlie and we’d mock Fred MacMurray by saying “ha Chipper” when they’d show Chip Douglas. And we’d make wolf whistles when they’d show the exquistite and beautiful Katie Douglas played by the gorgeous Tina Cole. Get the idea that I am a Katie fan??

This went on for several months, then the station abruptly took My Three Sons off to show something else. We were devastated!! What were we gonna do now??

That’s when we figured out we could keep on watching the older programs because I owned quite a few of them on DVD. We watched Andy Griffith quite a few Friday evenings. (Otis and Ernest T. Bass were our favorites) We watched I Dream of Jeannie, more Gomer Pyle USMC, Green Acres, the Beverly Hillbillies, Leave it to Beaver, Petticoat Junction, and Gilligan’s Island.

I even told my daughter about the time when I was growingup that I got in trouble for mocking Sgt. Carter, yelling in a gruff unrestrained voice, “all right you nitwits, you lamebrains, you knuckleheads!!!” After a bit of that, my Mom threatened to pull the plug on Gomer Pyle. SHAZAM!!! That would have been a tragedy. Needless to say I wanted to put my Mom in the brig, but her being my superior officer I judged discretion to be the better part of valor and toned down my Sgt. Carter impersonations.

Recently I have introduced my daughter to the Dukes of Hazzard. Now of course the Dukes are a bit more edgy, than the 60s shows, but still good clean fun. Now Daisy dresses quite sexy, but one of the first episodes of the series hinted strongly that Daisy retained her virtue. She (my daughter, not Daisy) loves the Dukes and is in turn teaching her younger brother to love them as well. We talk about the Dukes then just look at one another and say “gick gick” just like Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane.

It can debated ad naseum what the effects of watching TV are on a person or on a society as a whole. I’ve often thought if Karl Marx was alive today he might very well have declared that it was television, not religion which was the opiate of the people. And he might have been right, but right or wrong when I grew up in the 1960s, television programming was just about universally clean and wholesome. Before the blessing – or curse – of cable TV, the three networks served up quite a few shows that have become classic, all suitable for the entire family. When they aired, the whole family would watch. It wouldn’t be Mom and Dad in the living room watching one thing, and the kids in another room watching something else. We’d ALL be watching the same thing.

Nowadays, the programming served up is admittedly clever, creative, and fun, and also inappropriate for the younger ones to watch. My wife and I love House and 24, but we have to wait until the kids have gone to bed before we can watch that.

Many of my memories of family togetherness growing up revolve around watching television together on the old Sears black and white TV my parents bought in the early 1960s. See back then only the well to do had color TV sets. Maybe I could find more productive things to do with my daughter, maybe not. But for better or for worse, my daughter will have those memories of me, watching the same shows that I watched when I was a young boy. That why I love Friday nights!!

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3 Responses to “Why I love Friday night!!”

  1. Nellie Jones Says:

    The reason the whole family was watching TV in one room was because there was only one TV in the whole house.

  2. debeyepps Says:

    Oh…this makes me miss having cable. I need to find out what shows you have on DVD and see if you will let me borrow a season at a time. There are so many shows Bella and Joey have never seen….

  3. Kendell J. Says:

    What I would like to see your do is to revive some of your short stories form your late teen years right before and right after you left East Carolina U. I always thought they were quite good.

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