Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Check Your Local Listings

Years ago, when people actually watched television shows on their television, it was necessary to know what was coming on when.  And the primary way to do that was to check your local listings.  That meant actual newspapers.

It was the 80's and without DVRs, the internet or program guides, the shows on the handful of available channels were difficult to keep up with.  So on an evening in a year like 1982, here's what your viewing options might look like in the DFW metroplex:

This was back when networks would show actual movies.  It used to be a thing.  You could have also seen actual TV shows like Square Pegs, M*A*S*H and Cagney & Lacey.  This was also the heyday of independent local channels.  In the 80's they were your go-to channel for for programming like Abbott and Costello movies, Godzilla films and a ton of arbitrary older content that you just don't find that much any more.

The programming of stations like these also consisted of a ton of classic TV reruns.  You'll notice that KXTX was airing the original Star Trek at 10:30.  In addition to shows like Hogan's Heroes and Little House on the Prairie (which were both also airing that night), Star Trek was a mainstay on Channel 39 for years and I spent a lot of my childhood staring at the space opera on that very channel.

That childhood was also spent watching quite a bit of Saturday morning cartoons.  So here's a look at what a Dallas area youngster had to choose from in 1982:

Again, this is the kind of thing that just isn't done anymore.  While we have entire networks devoted to showing cartoons 24/7 today, it wasn't always like that.  There was a time when cartoons were relegated to weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

In addition to a mega-block of the Smurfs, you also had old friends like Popeye, Spider-Man and Bugs Bunny.  If you want to see Bugs today you have to go to Six Flags.  That guy has practically disappeared.  At the time there was also a trend for live action shows to have animated counterparts.  That's why you had cartoon versions of The Dukes of Hazzard, Lavern & Shirley and Gilligan's Island in the form of Gilligan's Planet.

Saturday mornings were the best but cartoons were around the rest of the week too.  Let's turn over to Channel 21:

It's easy to forget how popular the Jetsons used to be.  It looks like the show was on 7 days a week.  KTXA also showed old favorites like The Little Rascals, a.k.a."Our Gang," He-Man and Inspector Gadget.  That's more than enough to prevent healthy, able bodied kids from going outside and playing.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that there was TV before the 80's so as a bonus here's an ad for American's most trusted newsman, Walter Cronkite, in the 1960's on Channel 4 back when it was known as KRLD (it's now KDFW):

And that's the way it was...

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