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Old shows are a modern-day stress reliever

Old COVID; a new type of that virus now surfacing in our nation; an attempt (a failed one, thankfully) to halt the certification of the Electoral College ballots; a possible second impeachment of a president; the loss of life – to include children – overseas in a horrific crash of a commercial jet; and more loss of life when an avalanche slammed into a ski resort in Siberia…..the worldwide news cycle was stuck in high gear last week.

My head is still spinning…just about the time I’m digesting the facts around one big headline story, another one comes along to divert my attention.

We can all use a “breather” from the news cycle because we know there’s more to come in a new year that’s less than two weeks old.

For me, I’m the old-fashioned type. Nothing soothes my soul, eases the tension and stress of daily life nowadays than to close my eyes and drift back to a simpler time. That’s one of the benefits of being over the age 60….I, like so many of you, grew up in a time when we didn’t lock our doors at night; let the children roam the neighborhood without the fear of being kidnapped (or worse); and would offer kindness to a total stranger.

One of the major reasons the world was what was back then was the general lack of violence and sexual innuendos on television. Speaking of the former, I can remember my daddy glued to the TV while watching westerns (something he continued to enjoy later in his life thanks to a VCR and/or satellite TV). Those men would fire at least 100 bullets during a 60-minute show, but I never saw anyone die.

Growing up, we received got channels – 3, 10, and 13 on our outdoor antenna, all in the Hampton Roads, Virginia market. That means we were restricted to the three major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC). But yet the programs of that time were family oriented…..so much to the point that even Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds.

My personal favorites of that time were, in no particular order, Highway Patrol, Lassie, Gunsmoke, Leave it to Beaver, Bonanza, Rawhide, The Andy Griffith Show, Dragnet, McHale’s Navy, The Lone Ranger, I Love Lucy, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, The Dick Van Dyke Show, F Troop, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan’s Island, and Gomer Pyle.

If you went looking for something a bit more bizarre, we had shows such as The Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, The Munsters, My Favorite Martian, Lost in Space, and Batman.

There was no foul language and no nudity. There was, at least in the comedies, a lot of slapstick style humor.

Over the recent holiday break, I chose to relax on a couple of Saturday afternoons by finding some of my old favorite TV shows. It’s pretty easy to find the likes of Andy Griffith, Bonanza and Gunsmoke on a variety of satellite TV channels these days. What I stumbled across just recently were the first seasons of Petticoat Junction and Rawhide….just seeing Uncle Joe and Rowdy Yates took my mind off today’s never-ending news cycle and back to a time when I didn’t have a care in the world other than wondering if daddy was going to parch some peanuts to enjoy while watching TV.

If today’s news cycle keeps spinning like it did last week, I may dedicate the next 50 Saturdays to my newfound hobby.

What are your favorite old TV shows and why? Email me at the address shown below.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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