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Retro TV Channels: ”The Good Old Days of Television”


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I'll watch "CHiPs"---just to see if my 30+ years of life has changed my opinion about it. I've learned from re-watching these shows that I disliked the later seasons of "Happy Days" now as I did then.

 

BTW, Mr. Milz and I noticed that MeTV's showing the colorized season 1 of Gilligan's Island. Previously, they showed the black and white version (or something's gone horribly wrong with our tvs.)

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Thanks Actionimage for posting the link to the new schedule coming in September.  Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Man from U.N.C.L.E. are two of my favorite shows.  Time to make some space on the DVR.

Edited by Collinwood
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I have been watching COZI lately, especially for Dick Van Dyke.  However, I have noticed that in midday, when Mad About You is on, the sound is HORRIBLE!  It's kind of fuzzy, like a radio station not quite tuned.  It's happened several times.

Anyone else?

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While adding some MeTV shows to our DVR last night, I found that Green Hornet is still on and added that show too.  Is it because I like the show?  Absolutely not.  I love the sets for that show, especially Britt Reed's swinging décor in his house.  Anyone interested in 60's furnishings should check the show out. 

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They were/are catchy: Greatest American Hero, Hillstreet Blues, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Quantum Leap.

 

But it's sorta like Dominic Frontiere (the original Battlestar Galactica, and 12 O'clock High), or Frank DeVol (Family Affair, My 3 Sons): each of them had a "sound".

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I think Rockford Files was the best Mike Post theme of all. What a great song! I also love the Streets of San Francisco theme, which was not a Post composition.


I would LOVE for MeTV to show Vega$ with Robert Urich. That was a great show!!!

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MeTV programing alert.  This Saturday, September 13, Svengoolie will be showing The Thing That Couldn't Die from 1958.  It is one of the best bad movies made in the 1950s and that's saying a lot.  The movie features a living severed head which can control people, a woman who uses a dousing rod to find lost and hidden items and an amulet which wards off evil.  The severed head does not speak because that would be silly.  Alcohol makes this movie even more entertaining.  Cheap beer pairs well with this film. 

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There was a teaser ad for Saved By The Bell on MeTV yesterday. I'm hoping it is for their weekend mornings as opposed to a Comedy Conundrum situation. ( Or just mornings. I would think old and new fans would be easier to get on weekends.) Maybe they wanted to throw a bit more color into the early daypart's schedule?

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Any New Yorkers here who are, like me, not able to receive the new METV station over Channel 3?  I'm currently on my 3rd new antenna trying to pull in a channel that's less than two miles from me!  After waiting so long to have it over the air in NYC, I'm very disappointed, I wish they would move the network broadcast frequency to UHF as most other channels around here (CBS, NBC) have done.

 

Anyone with suggestions on a good indoor antenna, please let me know!

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MeTV is the best.  It seems the most dedicated to classic TV (Cheers notwithstanding).   Almost their entire schedule is classic TV and even the somewhat more obscure shows are recognizable.  Unlike, say AntennaTV which has things like Circus Boy (??).   About all I like on AntennaTV is Mr. Ed and Patty Duke, both of which I remember from Nick at Nite (back when it was a decent channel).  COZI is decent in the evening with things like Hart to Hart, Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman, none of which I've seen in at least two decades.

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MeTV is the best.  It seems the most dedicated to classic TV (Cheers notwithstanding).   Almost their entire schedule is classic TV and even the somewhat more obscure shows are recognizable.  Unlike, say AntennaTV which has things like Circus Boy (??).   About all I like on AntennaTV is Mr. Ed and Patty Duke, both of which I remember from Nick at Nite (back when it was a decent channel).  COZI is decent in the evening with things like Hart to Hart, Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman, none of which I've seen in at least two decades.

 

Technically, scarily enough, the likes of Cheers and Remington Steele, both of which have aired on Me-TV, can now be called classic as both premiered 32 years ago now! Damn, I'm old.

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I couldn't stand Sam.  To me the only good thing about Cheers is that, unlike with The Twilight Zone, I don't get creeped out by seeing the end of it when waiting for Perry Mason to come on!

Edited by roseha
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Technically, scarily enough, the likes of Cheers and Remington Steele, both of which have aired on Me-TV, can now be called classic as both premiered 32 years ago now! Damn, I'm old.

 

I know...can you believe it!

I go back a lot further than that....at 54 -- which is the new 34:)! -- I remember ORIGINAL runs of shows back to the mid 1960's......and OMG -- black and white, TV top antennas, getting up to change the channel -- AND separate dials for UHF and VHF! Kids these days have no idea....Heck not even kids..people born in  the  1970s are int heir 40s!

 

I was a TV junkie. have always been glued to it!

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Heck not even kids..people born in  the  1970s are int heir 40s!

 

<Hangs head> Guilty! (Hence the 72 part of my name!)

 

I was 10 when Cheers and Remington Steele premiered, in all honesty. But I still feel old typing that!  :-)

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I'm probably the last generation that remembers nightly TV sign-offs ... the national anthem accompanied by some moldy old stock footage of flapping flags and Washington D.C. landmarks, followed by (depending on what channel) a test pattern or just snow.  When the Tom Snyder show was the last thing on the air until 5 a.m.  (anyone remember "Christopher Closeup"?  Never watched it because it was a religious show, but it was usually the first thing listed.  As a kid, I used to assume it was about a children's character named Christopher who liked to look at things close up, since most early-morning shows were for kids.)

 

As a kid, I was always very intrigued by the nightly signoff because I was almost never allowed to stay up that late.  It's weird remembering how for me, TV ended at 9 p.m. because that was bedtime.  (The Rockford Files, which ran at 9 pm, was an adult show, and Police Woman which ran at 10, was a MEGA adult show which I would never have been permitted to watch!)

 

The thing about seeing actual recordings of actual TV broadcasts now?  The relative LACK of commercials.  Each commercial break was 3-5 commercials max, hourlong episodes were 50 minutes in length compared to today's 43, etc.  Also, every show displayed the episode title... something which I thought wasn't done any more, but I recently watched an NCIS show for the first time and was bowled over by the fact that they still do it.

 

BTW, BBC 2 has started showing retro station identifier spots when they show retro programming.  I wish MeTV would do that, just immerse us in the whole retro TV experience (even if they can't show old commercials any more)

Edited by Jipijapa
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I remember those sign offs as late as the mid-'80s, when I was a teenager. The flags and "God Bless America", etc. I think the all night programming/informercial programming started only maybe in the last decade-plus.

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I remember the late night sign offs but I don't think I ever actually watched one live. . I heard of Christopher Closeup "back in the day" but still have no idea what it was about.

My mom used to watch the Rockford Files and somehow I was able to watch Police Woman even I think my mom wasn't that crazy about the show.

When cable came to my town in the late 70s it was sort of a big deal (HBO! TV stations from Philadelphia and Boston! -- I grew up in the NY metropolitan area, no such thing as MTV yet) but my parents weren't interested (and still aren't) so I was only able to see it when I visited a friends house. Then we had an over the air movie channel with a scrambled signal that was descrambled with a converter box.

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BTW, BBC 2 has started showing retro station identifier spots when they show retro programming.  I wish MeTV would do that, just immerse us in the whole retro TV experience (even if they can't show old commercials any more)

I'll second the station identifiers, especially if they could get the long ones where they'd play a jingle while promoting their new season lineup. I remember this one, ABC's "Still the One" promo. A real blast from the past:

 

 

 

When cable came to my town in the late 70s it was sort of a big deal (HBO! TV stations from Philadelphia and Boston! -- I grew up in the NY metropolitan area, no such thing as MTV yet)

I remember when our neighborhood first had cable available. You could watch something on all thirteen VHF channels! My parents couldn't imagine anyone needing that many channels.

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There are tons of old identifiers, promos and stuff on Youtube, but it would be cool to see them run with old shows.  Alas, there are probably so many rights issues, it wouldn't be possible.

 

My family got cable in 1975 - including HBO (which was only 3 years old at the time).  The cable box was this gigantic brown plastic thing with buttons and a switch (to move to different channels using the same buttons).  No remote, so you just passed the clunky box around (or, more often, fought over it with your siblings).  I cannot remember what the dial on the right hand side was for, though.

 

081511-live-100-2.jpg

 

It's so weird because my mother wouldn't let me watch Police Woman but not too long after, my parents let my sister and I watch George Carlin on HBO.  Whatever!  (BTW, this old HBO guide nostalgia page really takes me back -  http://www.theguidearchive.com/index.php?q=HBO%20Guide%20June%201985)

 

The thing I was most fascinated with was the Reuters news channel, which foreshadowed the Internet I suppose, since it was just a page by page teletext of news and entertainment stories.  I could have sat there and watched it cycle through the news all day.

Edited by Jipijapa
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50 here and have some of the same memories as you, Jipijapa. I also didn't watch Christopher Closeup or another early Sunday morning show called Discovery (with a Spirograph-looking 60's graphic in the cheap opening credits). But I do remember them because they aired Sunday mornings before Rocky and Bullwinkle (I didn't "get" all the jokes/satire, but in hindsight I realize my parents were pretty cool for watching).

 

When I was able to stay awake and see station signoffs, it was the weekend and I was usually the only one still up. The moment the tv went to static or test pattern I would pretend the whole world had just vanished. I would look out the window at my dark, quiet street and imagine I was the only one left alive! Well, except for whatever was "out there" to get me! I was a weird kid, but it was fun to creep myself out. 

 

Slightly OT, but on the subject of tv and being a weird kid.  When I was a young (4-8 y.o. - late 60's/early 70's) I had two recurring dreams. One was about a big white/opaque balloon that would float around chasing people and eventually envelop/suffocate them. I always awoke before getting caught. The second involved me being in complete darkness and the word TEST in white letters floating around in front of me. Both were creepy as hell. As I got older I would think about those dreams and wondered "what the hell was that all about?"  Years later I'm watching the premiere of LOST and wtf is the opening credit: The word Lost in white and floating. I honestly got a little knot in my stomach for a second, but then thought "dammit, somebody stole my creepy dream!" Then a few years later I'm watching a promo for a miniseries remake of The Prisoner (a 60's British TV show) and there's my white balloon (called ROVER, I find out) messing with people. Apparently, I somehow saw an episode of the British version in 1967 when I was three and it stuck. Funny how the strangest things will stay with you. 

Edited by suedehead
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Speaking of The Prisoner, are any of the nostalgia channels running it these days? If not, they ought to.
 

The cable box was this gigantic brown plastic thing with buttons and a switch (to move to different channels using the same buttons). No remote, so you just passed the clunky box around (or, more often, fought over it with your siblings). I cannot remember what the dial on the right hand side was for, though.

Your mystery dial is probably a fine-tuner.

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The cable box was this gigantic brown plastic thing with buttons and a switch (to move to different channels using the same buttons). No remote, so you just passed the clunky box around (or, more often, fought over it with your siblings). I cannot remember what the dial on the right hand side was for, though.

 

OMG, yes! We had this monstrosity, too. And while it wasn't a remote, it did allow folks to change channels without getting up (unless it was to get this box!) using those buttons. So maybe classify this dinosaur as a "corded remote" of sorts?

 

Ah, early '80s memories...

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I remember we used to sometimes press down two buttons at the same time to see what channel would "win."  LOL.  But sometimes if you pressed two different buttons, a third channel would result!

 

Hee. I did that two-button push and used to think it was cool when another station would appear, too. Must have been a "thing" more than I realized!

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We had that exact box, too. At first, it had a short cord on it and sat on top of the TV, but we later got one with a long cord that stretched all the way to the chairs, and could be used like a remote! That was a big deal in 1980.

 

If that seems strange to you kids, how about this: I lived in a rural town back in the early 70s, before cable TV. It was midway between two big cities, and we had a huge antenna on the roof. The antenna got stations from both cities, but had to be rotated toward one city or the other. It moved slowly, so the process took a couple of minutes. It was also loud, so if it was late and I discovered there was something I wanted to watch on a station in the other city, I was out of luck! Rotating the antenna would have woken up the whole house. 

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That box was the "fancy" one we got after the cable company "upgraded" service in our area.

 

This was our box for the first year we had cable:

 

3298454963_068a3b8b20.jpg

 

Funny as hell now, but we were one of the first families to have a cable in my neighborhood and with all those channels (including HBO and The Movie Channel) we were the shit for a month or so. 

Edited by suedehead
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That box was the "fancy" one we got after the cable company "upgraded" service in our area.

 

This was our box for the first year we had cable:

 

3298454963_068a3b8b20.jpg

 

Funny as hell now, but we were one of the first families to have a cable in my neighborhood and with all those channels (including HBO and The Movie Channel) we were the shit for a month or so. 

 

Looks like something that belongs in an old museum.  :-)

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Well, actually there is a Channel One on Time Warner in NYC - it's New York One, with local news all day/night.

 

 

The thing I was most fascinated with was the Reuters news channel, which foreshadowed the Internet I suppose, since it was just a page by page teletext of news and entertainment stories.  I could have sat there and watched it cycle through the news all day.

 

The Reuters news feed!  I haven't thought of that in years, I seem to remember watching it to follow tennis scores.

I never got cable till I moved to NYC in the 1970s, yes I'm old :).  My first shock was that the cable channels had commercials!  Silly me, I thought I was paying for free TV.  Interesting also about the late night sign offs, I suspect it partly depended on the station.  We had rules in my family against watching a lot of TV, but one night I sneakily stayed up to 2AM to watch the Joe Franklin Show, and believe me that was a long time ago!  So whatever station Joe was on then must have run very late.

 

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Well, actually there is a Channel One on Time Warner in NYC - it's New York One, with local news all day/night.

 

We have the same concept up here in Upstate NY, but here it's just called Time Warner Cable News and our 24/7 station is on Channel 9. So no Channel 1 here!

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I noticed Me has a new CHiPs commercial. Well, not really new....it's the old one but this time identifies the "blond guy" as Larry Wilcox. I wonder if they got hate-mail for the original one?

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Ever since I started watching the old Doctor Who episodes on Retro, I've usually had some time to kill while I wait for it to come on. As a result I've been tuning in up to half an hour beforehand, which means that I've been exposed to ungodly amounts (pun intended) of Highway to Heaven. The scripts aren't completely awful, which puts it ahead of other shows produced in the early 80s, and the characters are reasonably believable. But. The hair! The 1980s hair! The show should have been called Highway to Hairspray. And don't even get me started about the clothes. Also, for some reason the people that Jonathan helps out have a tendency to want to get into show business; movies, plays, bands, etc.

 

Tonight's episode was especially hilarious, but not intentionally. Basically a remake of "Cinderella", but with hair! And clothes! And an evil stepmother named Stepmother ("That's Stepmöther! With an umlaut!")! And naturally Cinderella wants to audition for a thing, etc, etc. I think I strained my eye muscles from all the eye rolling.

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