101. Analog Memories

Wednesday October 21 2020

Growing up in the 1970’s with three available television channels wasn’t nearly as medieval as it seems as we look back to those days of analog. After all, if you had the bonus kid brother to serve as a ground to the rabbit-ears antenna, you could sometimes get a fourth channel: the elusive UHF channel 45.

These limitations placed a higher value on what we could access. Sunday nights were for popcorn and The Wonderful World of Disney. But if we got the dinner dishes done in time, we could first catch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with the spectacularly mustachioed Marlin Perkins and his sidekick, Jim Fowler, whose greatest success was living to the age of 89 by not getting eaten.

After school, we had the little black & white tuned to Clubhouse 22, Star Trek and the Wild Wild Wild West. And of course, Saturday mornings were committed to the timeless Scooby Doo and those meddling kids.

And oh, the Annuals. The Wizard of Oz was broadcast but once a year. It was an event you planned around.  

We had no control of our televised entertainment then. If you wanted to see the Cowardly Lion awarded for his bravery, you waited until this gift was presented by the faceless broadcast companies. No rewinds or pausing the show. You were in or you had FOMO before it was even an acronym.

So even with today’s technology, today’s news has hit some people hard.

For the last fifty-five years, we the people have watched the Halloween special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” We know how it will go, right? Charlie Brown’s botched costume, rocks instead of candy, and the climactic moment of Linus coming to terms with how disappointing life can be when you set your sights too high.

But not this year. First aired by CBS, then ABC, apparently the Peanuts holiday trifecta of animated goodness (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas specials), are now owned by Apple TV+, who has different plans.

By different plans, I mean a pay platform. Sure, they’ll have the shows available for free for a short time, if you have access to Apple TV+. And after that, you can pay to see them.

Did you have these iconic cartoons on VHS tapes? Are you sorry you got rid of your VCR now and missing the flashing 12:00 on the front of it?

Hey, fellow hoarders. Let’s rise united in this. A show of hands here. Who still has VHS tapes stuffed away in a box somewhere?

Yeah, me too.

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