When we bought our first television, there was but one channel to watch — if it wasn’t raining. KTLA broadcast to the little Gardner family all the way from Los Angeles.
Shows were few. “Texaco Star Theater” with Milton Berle was my parents’ favorite. “My” times were Saturday afternoons when they showed five cowboy movies back to back.
It didn’t take all day. The 1940s and 1950s westerns were short, generally about an hour in length. In fact, I’ll bet it didn’t take much more than an hour to make them in the first place.
Television was wonderful and got more so when Dad transferred to Cherry Point. In Havelock, we had two channels, and it wasn’t long before a third joined them.
Decades marched by, programs came and went, entertainment climbed peaks and slid into valleys, but there was always something worthwhile rolling out of the tube. Slowly, entertainment content I liked evaporated.
Fast-forward to the present and I’ve now got a thousand channels to choose from and still pretty much watch only three — one news, one history and one science. Déjà view.
The current stuff doesn’t appeal to me at all. It all seems either dumb or political, which are essentially different sides of the same nickel.
But every now and then a little nugget falls out and that’s exactly what happened recently. I’ve discovered “Duck Dynasty.”
I’d heard about it from many sources but figured it to be another reality show having little to do with reality and nothing to do with entertainment. And the larger question was if I was truly interested in watching anybody do anything to a duck.
But with so many people raving about it I finally tuned in to see what the hoopla was about. It’s a winner in my world.
Andy, Opie, Barney and Aunt Bee are back! “Duck Dynasty” has the same southern country flavor as the “Andy Griffith Show,” but with a whole lot more hair.
It also has more firepower. There’re no “one bullet” Barneys in that crowd. This show pushes “values,” buttons that television programming hasn’t pushed in a very long time.
I’m totally comfortable visiting with these folks and sitting at their table. We share universal experiences to a great extent.
I’ve gigged frogs in Louisiana and fished in Georgia. I’ve run through bushels of ammunition shooting (at) squirrels, rabbits, doves and quail.
Grandmother cooking Sunday dinner normally involved her twirling a chicken like a lasso until its head came off. Yum.
Although some of the show has to be contrived, all-in-all this Robertson family seems quite genuine. I like them as I liked the Taylor family for the same reasons.
I’m glad this sort of television is back, at least until it runs its natural course. Hopefully success and raging popularity won’t poison their well as it has so many others. Until then, I’ll tune in.
It’s amazing nowadays that there’s a popular show with warm and fuzzy family endings as standard fare. Happy. Happy. Happy.
Otis Gardner’s column appears weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.