Television Memories

“I lived in Sefton with my Mum and Dad, 2 older brothers and 1 older sister. We had a black and white television until I was about 10 years old. I remember Dad bringing home our first colour television and we all sat around waiting for him to turn it on. When it came on it was like something magic……even though colour TV’s in those only really had basic colours, it was still a big improvement from the black and white we had been used to. The TV sat in the informal lounge room at the back of the house. We also had a more formal lounge room, but it didn’t have a TV (there was only 1 TV in the house). The TV had a bookcase next to it on one side, and the door to the room was on the other side. We would usually have dinner as a family, and then I’d watch TV with my brother for an hour or so while Mum and Dad had their showers etc. Once Mum came in the room the TV was hers and we watched what she wanted to watch. I specifically remember shows like Homicide and Division 4 being her favourites. Dad wasn’t a fan so he’d usually stay in the kitchen and read the paper and do the crosswords. My favourite TV memories though were Sundays in Winter when my brothers and sister would be home, and we’d watch Sunday Afternoon movies, usually Westerns with people like Client Eastwood and John Wayne. I’d be sent down the shop on my bike (because I was the youngest) to buy chips and lollies, and we’d sit there all afternoon eating rubbish and watching the movies. I remember my brother and I would always watch Daniel Boone when we got home from school. I also remember early Saturday mornings when I’s watch cartoons by myself before I went and played whatever sport I was playing (football or tennis).” – Male,  age 52

This experience belongs to my dad. It was touching to hear his memories as they resonate with my childhood in the sense of watching TV as a family or with my own brothers. I found one significant difference in that Dad had complete control over the TV when he wanted, whereas it was his mum when he was a child as his dad wasn’t interested. I grew up watching sports like football and tennis as well because dad still enjoys watching them so much and similarly, growing up I watched TV after dinner with the family until our teens.

“The most memorable thing watching TV as a child was watching the report of the first moon landing”. – Male, age 62

This memory belongs to a family friend. It was surreal to hear this response, as if I was asked about my most prominent memory, I’d probably answer something along the lines of lame cartoons that I remember the most. It’s a major reminder that in the mid 1960’s, there were very few channels to choose from and you wouldn’t be able to escape major news coverage as I can today.

Both of these responses strongly illustrate the dramatic change in television and how the family interacts with media practices in the household over time. As technology advances, so to does its appeal and accessibility for generations to experience. I believe (in general) each generation will experience television differently as they grow up, as new norms, technology and TV features, programs and specs increase. Children today and the next generation in my family are now going to experience the introduction of 3D TV, something that wouldn’t have been imagined when colour TV was first introduced. As household incomes also generally continue to increase, the informality of TV time as a family will probably also continue to decrease as there will likely be more than one TV per household.

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