October 17, 2017

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Radio & Television

There wasn’t much to do in the fall and winter months where I grew up here in western Washington, so we watched a lot of TV. My viewing kind of evolved as television itself did, with local stations airing shows like Brakeman Bill, Captain Puget, J P Patches.


Kinsey Photo #14 – Big Timber Company
Hoquiam, WA – Steam Engines
(sorry for the flash flare; this photo hangs on the wall in our family room)

That was the after school fare from the time I was in grade school up until I was too cool in junior high to admit I watched them.  I have to admit, I really liked the Brakeman Bill show because I loved Crazy Donkey. And, if you don’t get the gist of the theme for these shows, they all had to do with local occupations or a spoof on them.  So, Brakeman Bill’s name was obvious because they used a lot of trains here in this area to haul the Douglas fir logs to market.  Although they aren’t shown in the photo above, locals know that they used “donkey engines” in the smaller yards.  But I digress.

I don’t think there was ever a time that we didn’t have a radio in our house or even in the various cars my dad owned.  Mom and Dad always listened to the radio in the morning to hear the latest weather, traffic reports and commentary. They almost always listened to KGY, the local Olympia station. Mom liked to tune in to the questions and then call in with the answer.  We started calling her the “Yatesonian”.  Keep in mind, this was all before computers!

Back to TV…I was an rabid avid Disney watcher and it was mandatory (to me) that we watch The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights.  It began in 1954, so I would have been about four years old. It was pretty much the diet of TV that I was allowed to watch when I was that age and on through grade school.  I loved the show and the stories that always turned out with a happy ending.  It came as a great blow to me when I was old enough to watch movies and found out that life didn’t always have happy endings.  I remember saying to my Mom one time that I “hated” some character.  Her reply stayed with me then and to this day… “That means he’s a good actor then!”.


Macabre and Marvelous

Once I got over the idea that life was wonderful 😉 I began watching shows like the Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Twilight Zone. Talk about skewing your thought processes!  Does anyone remember the Hitchcock episode of Where the Woodbine Twineth?  One of my favorites, perhaps because it was about an evil little girl.


The Rock and Roll Era

Last, but not least, came the radio and my teen years.  I remember how mad my mom was when I cut a notch in the dial on her radio so I could easily get to KJR, the local rock and roll station.  I don’t think she agreed with my reasoning.  Hrmph!  Larry Lujack was the favorite DJ of the day, along with Pat O’Day.  We also had an FM station too, if I remember correctly.  When KJR was playing a song we didn’t like we’d push a button and switch to KOL.  Pretty much non-stop music all day and night.  Good for cruising through Oly. Up 4th and down State…all night long.  Of course, in those days gas was about 35 ¢ a gallon.

Thanks to Amy Coffin at WeTree Blog for her 52 weeks of genealogy topics inspiration, and to Thomas MacEntee for promoting it on Facebook.  Are you participating in this challenge?  I’ll be checking the links on Facebook at 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy – Radio and TV




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