April 9th, 2006

Fifty Years Ago

KING tv did an experiment for their Inside Edition show. They took a normal four person family and put them back into 1956 (or was it 1955?). Anyway, they took away all inventions since that year for several weeks. Thus there was no presence of transistorized electronics, no computers, not internet, no microwave, no calculators, no music later than early rock, etc. They were given a Halicrafters floor model tv. They were given a 1955 Chevy wagon to drive, a fifties stove, etc. The whole experience was revelatory to them. They discovered that life went much more slowly, more peacefully. They talked more, played board games like monopoly and sorry, etc. Everything was at a slower pace. The kids started creating their own games, drawing, using Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, etc. They argued less.

In spite of the positives differences, they couldn't wait to get back into the twenty-first century.

For me, though, it wasn't just a quaint trip to the distant past. I remember that year, those days. In 1954 we had a table model Halicrafters black/white tv. It sat obtrusively on the library table in our living room, where we waited after school for the three o'clock test pattern that indicated that KSTP would be coming on from St. Paul. We would adjust and straighten, trying to get the horizontal and verticals lines up for the afternoon kid's cartoons. And we drove a two-toned blue 1955 Pontiac, when we could afford it in 1957, though at the year in question we were still riding in a gray 1948 Chevy.

I don't remember it as a time of special peace and contentment, just as life. We filled our days just as we do now, with the paraphernalia of living.

This topic has been rolling around in my head for several days, and you know what? I still don't know what I want to say about it other than to point out that fifty years ago is only ancient pre-history to SOME of the viewers of KING.

N.B. The myspace spell check does not like the name Halicrafters and suggests: Hovercrafts, Hovercraft's, Holographs, Holograph's, Heliography's, Holography's. None of those words existed in 1956. Isn't that interesting?