Memory Lane

When I was a school girl I loved to baby sit for relations who had TV.  If I was lucky they had an aerial on the roof that gave them BBC and ITV signals from across the water in the UK.  Mind you these signals were only available on the east coast of Ireland.  So watching Emergency Ward 10, Coronation Street and other such programmes was a treat.  I was never really the biggest fan of television so the names of other programmes escape me.

I think that I grew up and lived in the last house in Ireland to buy a Television. My father held out as long as possible because he thought it might be a bad influence on us and interfere with our homework.  When we finally joined the hoards we had one station RTE.

The picture was black and white with more snow than a blizzard.  We had an indoor aerial that sat on top of the TV and was known as the ‘rabbits ears’ We had to move it about to improve the signal.  RTE imported American soaps by the bucket full back then. In very calm weather the signal from a Welsh station came floating in, so while we watched the Virginian on his horse travelling over the same section of the countryside umpteen times, the dulcet tones of a Welsh accent came wafting over the one speaker.  Stop laughing… we never heard of stereo!

Theme tune for the Virginian.

I have no recollection of when we moved to colour, but I do remember hearing my mother’s laughter reaching me at the kitchen table as I struggled with maths homework.  Curious to discover the reason I went into the other room to see this:


Mammy really loved that show, particularly when the phone rang!

28 thoughts on “Memory Lane

  1. lilinator

    We have just got rid of Sky TV, as no one really watches TV much in our house except me and what I watch, doesn’t require Sky. Having been disconnected, we are now back to a picture that matches your description though. The picture we think is colour but ‘with more snow than a blizzard’. Because noone is really bothered with TV, it’s been like that for the past month.

    When I phoned Sky to cancel, I was asked why, I just said it was too expensive for our use of it. He immediately offered to drop the price from about 60 Euro to 40 per month. I still said no. Me thinks there are cost saving opportunities out there …

  2. Grannymar Post author

    @Lily – I don’t have TV at all nowadays, but I am sure many of my Local readers will appreciate that tip to save a little money.

    @Chrisb – I had fun last night while searching for the above clip from Greenacres.

  3. Nick

    My parents didn’t get a TV until my late teens. Before that I used to look forward to visiting my friend John as his parents had TV and we could watch Robin Hood and William Tell. Not to mention all the chocolate bars we were offered at teatime.

    Jenny and I watch TV very selectively. Most of what’s produced is amazingly dumbed-down, mind-rotting, unstimulating nonsense that does its best to prevent any intelligent conversation.

  4. Grannymar Post author


    Your mention of Robin hood has set me off. Perhaps if I spent longer on this post…. We had Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and the Everglades, but the only strong memories from that time of local programming were The Angelus followed Charles Mitchell reading the news. The station opened at about 5 or 6 pm and closed down before midnight.

    I do remember going to a neighbour’s house on New Year’s Eve, 1961, the opening night of Telefís Éireann. Cardinal John D’Alton addressed the nation saying:

    “The advent of television was a challenge for many institutions, especially the Church which was the moral guardian of the nation”. He also pointed out that television was a more powerful medium than radio and this would give it a greater impact. The Cardinal hoped that television would enlighten, entertain, reflect high ideals and “not present us with the caricature of Irish life such as we have had from some of our writers”.

  5. Kate

    Oh that takes me back – I remember so well watching programmes where the sound was coming from another planet.

    But, I still like some of those programmes now!

    Our TV was called ‘the black box’ by my Irish father who got quite irritated when new and interesting programmes were introduced and he couldn’t watch his sport in peace.

    Colour TV? You got yours early…mine was christmas 1978 – to watch My Fair Lady….. brilliant!!!

  6. Magpie11

    There was never a T.V. in our house until my mother moved after my father died in 1970. By then I had left home and had started teaching.

    As a kid I rememeber begging to go and see The Lone ranger at an acquaintance’s home because, “It’s the on where we find out who he really is.”…can’t remember who he was but I rememeber seeing Tonight with that man with the Glasses…Cliff Michelmore?…several times and I’m sure that’s when I first heard Blues music…

    Chris Barber had brought Muddy Waters over from America(I think that was who it was). Before that he had brought Sister Rosetta Tharpe over to sing with the band and …be still my beating heart…Ottilie Patterson ( Ottilie Patterson was born in Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland on January 31, 1932.)

    Thanks for stirring that memory!

  7. Ian

    First colour television?

    I still have it beside me here – November 1990 – we bought a new one last Christmas.

    Some of the houses here still have aerials like masts on their roofs to get the British channels.

    We have a DIY satellite system. We bought our own box and dish and just get the free channels. (There are a hundred of them!)

  8. Grannymar Post author

    @Kate – My father who resisted having a television in the house for so long, became an addict of the toy in the corner. I forgot to mention that we had to physically turn it on and off, when we did have other stations it was necessary to get out of a comfortable seat to walk across the room and switch over… If you had the best seat it was sure gone by the time you came back! 🙁

    @Magpie – Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger and for your delight:- Is it true that the signature tune is actually William Tell played on a Banjo?

    @Ian – We never had an aerial on the roof when I was growing up or indeed in this house. Here we attached the TV into a special cable embedded under the plaster and it ran to the loft. Jack connected the Rabbit’s Ears to the other end and hung them from the rafters…. I think they might well be there still! 😆

    @Everyone – My all time favourite show from the black and white era was The Forsythe Saga based on the books of John Galsworthy. It was the hi-light of a Sunday evening and ran for 26 weeks. I read somewhere that it borrowed heavily from Galsworthy’s own life.

  9. Kate

    Oh my word – the Forsyte Saga – that was wonderful – those costumes!

    Our aerial was on the roof and was H shaped – hows that for a memory – that would have been 1958 …. I was 4

  10. Nancy


    We used to say that the true definition of culture was that one could listen to the entire overture to William Tell and never once think of the Lone Ranger.

    I loved the Forsythe Saga and still sometimes quote Soames who always had the best lines i.e. “A gentleman never spends his capital; he lives on his interest alone.” A fine plan, Soames, if you are as rich as the Forsythes were.

  11. Grannymar Post author

    @Kate – Those H aerials littered the landscape for years. A right nuisance they were in stormy weather, when they broke and often damaged roof tiles. Mind you the great big Satellite dishes are not much of an improvement.

    @Nancy – I bet you & Roy dress for dinner and sit a mile apart at opposite ends of the table for dinner! 😉

  12. Magpie11

    They slide the dishes along the table to each other…you can’t get the staff these days! On top of it all it’s so much more fun!

    ” Oh dear There goes another of great great grand mama’s Rockingham dishes! Never mind. there are plenty more where that came from.” 😉

  13. Magpie11

    Did you notice that The Lone Ranger didn’t even know to mount his horse from the left?

    Try as I might I cannot think of any Lone Ranger and Tonto jokes….but I found this one!

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto walked into a bar and sat down to drink a beer. After a few minutes, a big tall cowboy walked in and said, “Who owns the big white horse outside?”

    The Lone Ranger stood up, hitched his gun belt, and said, “I do…Why?”

    The cowboy looked at the Lone Ranger and said, “I just thought you would like to know that your horse is about dead outside!”

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto rushed outside, and sure enough, Silver was ready to die from heat exhaustion. The Lone Ranger got the horse water, and soon, Silver was starting to feel a little better. The
    Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and said, “Tonto, I want you to run around
    Silver and see if you can create enough of a breeze to make him start to feel better.”

    Tonto said, “Sure, Kemosabe,” and took off running circles around Silver. Not able to do anything else but wait, the Lone Ranger
    returned to the bar to finish his drink.

    A few minutes later, another cowboy struts into the bar and asks, “Who owns that big white horse outside?”

    The Lone Ranger stands again, and claims, “I do, what’s wrong with him this time?”

    The cowboy looks him in the eye and says, “Nothing, but you left your
    Injun runnin’.”

  14. Grannymar Post author


    I was a city girl and hardly know the front end from the back end of a horse, never mind which side you mount from. Maybe he had a hip like mine and couldn’t….. NO! That sentence is best left unfinished 🙄

  15. rummuser

    That music and the video took me down memory lane too. We don’t hear that kind of music any more nor do we see such simple yet effective comedy.

    Our first TV was what was called a hybrid. It had both tubes and transistors or whatever. It was also black and white and we had endless problems adjusting the antenna. We moved to colour TV much later and I gave up watching TV when cable invaded our homes.

  16. rummuser

    One for Magpie’s collection:
    The Lone Ranger and Tonto were riding across the plains one day, when Tonto suddenly cocked his ear at a passing falcoln’s cry. “Kemosabe… Apache to East!” he whispered.

    The Lone Ranger looked to his faithful companion. “What do we do?”

    Tonto pondered a moment. “We ride West!”

    After riding a short while, Tonto again paused, searching the horizon with his eagle-sharp eyes. “Kemosabe… Apache to West!”

    The Masked Man looked once again at his friend. “What should we do?”

    Tonto scratched his head in thought. “We ride North!”

    After a brief ride, Tonto stopped to scent the breeze. “Kemosabe… Apache to North!”

    “What do we do now?” his companion asked.

    Without hesitation, Tonto replied, “We ride South!”

    Within minutes, Tonto reigned in his horse and dropped to the ground. Placing his ear to the earth, he listened intently. “Kemosabe… Apache to South!”

    Worried, the Lone One asked him, “NOW what do we do?”

    Tonto thought hard for a moment, his eyes squinting in concentration. Then his face lit up. “What do you mean “WE”, White Man?”

  17. Nancy


    I heard that the Lone Ranger was really angry at Tonto because after 40 years he found out that Kemosabe means Son of a Bitch…..

  18. Grannymar Post author

    Nancy – Kemosabe has a nice ring to it! I might try using it.

    Lads I love the stories.

  19. Darlene

    Those Lone Ranger jokes are really groaners. Ohhh!

    We got our first color TV 46 years ago? How can I remember? My daughter just had her first birthday. The color was garish and hard to adjust. Now the U. S. has gone digital and if you don’t have a converter box or cable or satellite you don’t have a picture

  20. Grannymar Post author


    You were a year ahead of us so, we got our first TV in 1964. I no longer have a TV, I don’t need it. I hear about all the important news on the radio and I make my own pictures – without snow!

  21. Baino

    I think we always had a TV, I was born in 1956 but I do remember the 70’s and my Nana had one of the very first colour TV’s (being a pub owner it was mandatory) the greens were fluoro and the reds were pink but it was oh so cool. These days, I’m a luddite with a teensy 21″ screen but I do loves my surround sound and subwoofer! Call me a dag but I liked both Lone Ranger jokes!

  22. Ashok

    Television was a luxury I had as a kid, but video games weren’t and a similar sense of excitement came about whenever I came accross a houseold that had a video game console with them. Its fun to remember the old days!

  23. Grannymar Post author

    @Baino – The colour was awful at times, but once we were caught up in the plot it didn’t seem to matter.

    @Ashok – We never advanced to a video, so video games are a mystery to me.

  24. Magpie11

    When asked why they had never asked for a game boy or video game console one of our boys replied, “We knew the answer would be no. Thank goodness for that. “


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