Television. Something that is hard to imagine going with out today, but once apon a time, people didn’t have it. Along with the internet, but let’s not go there, that’s too scary to think about.
I interviewed my grandfather on his memory of television. Spanning back to 60 years ago, he very clearly remembers his parents purchasing a T.V 6 months after they were first introduced to Australia. A big, bulky thing that sat in a cabinet in their lounge room, sliding doors to cover the screen when it was not in use. He remembers the lounge room furniture was re-arranged to accommodate the new and exciting thing in the room. It became the focal point. The main thing to T.V was used for was watching the news, and game shows. That’s something I found to be very interesting. According to my grandfather, game shows were big when T.V first aired. He said T.V was this new thing that changed everyone’s life dramatically. Before television he had to listen to the radio for entertainment, but T.V gave real life time visual information. such as with the Olympics and the moon landing.
My grandfather is incredibly good with technology, there’s more remotes at his house than I have apps on my phone and he knows exactly what each one does. So he’s kept very up to date with television. From what T.Vs now do, to the huge variety of shows and channels. He remembers that when T.V first aired, the news, game shows, sport such as the football, children’s content such as Skippy and detective shows such as Homicide were big.
Now the big question that I had to ask him was who was in charge of the remote? Dad was the answer. Something that has never changed apparently! Speaking to my friends, Dads seem to rein supreme in each family in relation to prime viewing spot and deciding what to watch. My Dad has a particular trick of appearing to be asleep, but magically wakes up when the channel is changed.
My grandparents value family time a huge amount, so regardless of who is over and what is on T.V it is not used very much when company is around. The T.V is hardly ever turned on before 6p.m for the news, and it is turned off while dinner is being eaten. And it is once again turned off at 10.30 p.m. I believe this to be a generational thing. Because my friends and I will often eat together while watching T.V while also socialising. Something my grandparents would never do.
So who is in charge of the family’s viewing habits has not changed, but the content has. Something my grandfather noted was the massive change in content and where it is coming from. He said that reality television has taken over local content. With cooking shows ‘coming out your ears’, and other reality formats such as weight loss, talent and dating shows. Not shows he particularly likes to watch. He also commented on how much violence, swearing and ads are now on. We both agreed on how societies values have changed, thus why the violence and swearing is able to be aired and also how even if it was not shown on television, it is available online to anyone without limits.
Along with my grandfather’s technology know how which sometimes outshines mine, is his sense of humour is pretty grand too. And being around when the greatest shows of all time were first aired such as all the humorous British ones would have been pretty outstanding for fantastic humour making. Shows such as Faulty Towers, Are You Being Served, The Two Ronnies, Open All Hours and The Benny Hill Show were ones my grandfather watched regularly. Now days him and my grandmother still love to watch British shows, along with detective series and when it was still aired the classic Australian crime drama Blueheelers.
Interviewing my grandfather was something I throughly enjoyed. Obviously I love to learn, otherwise I wouldn’t be at university, but hearing first hand experiences was something that made me see things in a way that I hadn’t before. It also made me realise the power that television has. It is something that demands everything in a room to be directed towards it, provides up to date information and creates a talking point. It also connected my grandfather and myself. Discussing shows that we both love and hate, along with watching them together on the rare times I do get to see him, make me appreciate the positive power and change T.V has had on society. There may be a lot of rubbish on T.V, but there is also a lot of positive things that come from it as well.