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kitchen antics and early television

April 18, 2011

The best example of kitchen antics I’ve ever found is from the television show I Love Lucy. The buffoonery in the I Love Lucy episodes, in my humble opinion, has never been matched.  Yes, Jerry Seinfled you came close, but. . .


Continue to read more about early television and 1940’s-1950’s life below.

When I was kid we had this tyrannosaur television set.  I say tyrannosaur because the screen was green and more round than square and it looked like one big dinosaur eye staring out at me.  Daddy with the help of two other men carried the set in our house one Saturday afternoon.  I don’t think Mama knew it was coming because I clearly remember her saying: “Vernon! Bread just went up 2 Cents”.  Funny the things you remember from your childhood.  I remember the price of a loaf of bread went up 2 cents the Saturday Daddy brought home the used Philco television set which was nearly identical to the one pictured to the left. 

Philco (Philco-Ford) made televisions from 1947 to 1976 and as I said our first set was a Philco.  It would be some years before I saw an RCA or a Zenith being carried across our threshold but we had one each of those too.  

Just for fun here is some information from the year 1951: 

What Things Cost in 1951:
Car: $1,800
Gasoline: 27 cents/gal
House: $16,000
Bread: 16 cents/loaf
Milk: 92 cents/gal
Postage Stamp: 3 cents
Stock Market: 269
Average Annual Salary: $4,200
Minimum Wage: 75 cents per hour

The preceding information leaves you kind of breathless, doesn’t it? 

The year that Philco showed up in our living-room Milton Berle landed a huge 30 year contract for $100,000.00 a year to do 360 shows. 

In February, DuMont established the first international hook-up [with Cuba].  It took several decades for these kinds of hook-ups to cause American jobs but you can thank DuMont for starting the ball rolling.

In June of the same year there were thirteen million television sets in the USA.  At the end of WWII only 5,000 sets were in households and they were five-inch black & white screens. By the end of 1951, 17 million television set had been sold!

On September 4, 1951 President Truman spoke coast-to-coast in a telecast. I’m sure I was outside playing or asleep when this monumental event took place.

But, the best thing that happened that year was I Love Lucy aired on October 15th on CBS.  Our family would set around the set and watch the antics with side-splitting laughter.  Mama would comment that whatever Lucy did could never happen in real life.  Lucy and crew’s antics were great entertainment.

When our first RCA television set (pictured left) was delivered in 1960, used but not worse for wear I felt like we were rich but the fact is we were your standard working middle-class who had a Mama who knew how to pinch a penny.  I swear the woman could milk twelve cents out of every dime.

Our family which was by then down to four, because my brother Eddie had married his high-school sweetheart would gather around a set exactly like the one pictured to the left to watch our favorite television shows.  I remember the side nobs!  For some reason I really liked the nobs being on the side.  Maybe it was that I was never told to ‘get out of the way’ by my athletic dream-boat brother Lloyd, at least this is what all the girls at school thought of him.  I know!  I had to answer too many questions about him.  The only perk was, well, I was his sister.

As a family we would gather to watch the Original Amateur Hour, and Texaco Star Theater, I Love Lucy and Toast of the Town.  Later, adding shows like The HoneymoonersLassieFather Knows Best, to our must watch list.

Then it happened!  The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and every girl above the age of two was in love. I would rush through my nightly bath and chores, swear all my homework was finished in time to watch the one television show of the week that meant most to me.  Then go to bed and dream of becoming Mrs. Ricky Nelson. Of course, I never did become Mrs. Ricky Nelson.


Author’s Note:

From time to time I will indulge myself and engage my audience with things associated with but not necessarily about holiday cooking.  I hope you will forgive my indulgence. Tomorrow I’ll pull together a post for the upcoming Easter Holiday filled with culinary delights and a table-scape or two. 

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