I love TV. I always have. Since the early 1950s when Dad wanted to sleep-in on Saturday morning and I learned to turn on our very modern black and white set topped with rabbit ears, I’ve been following favorite shows. Now we have On-Demand and Netflix so we can sleep-in too, but back in the 50s millions of us spent Saturday morning glued to the tube.
This week join guest blogger, Nathaniel Robert Winters, in a flash memoir of his Saturday morning Westerns. Look for his latest book Not Quite Kosher—not quite a memoir but a unique blend of non-fictional prose, poetry and even fiction that parallels reality. Nathaniel is the author of 10 books and can be found on Amazon.com.
Saturday Morning Heroes
When I was an eight-year-old, my heroes appeared like clockwork every Saturday morning on the black and white, rabbit eared way-back machine. My grandfather and I occupied ourselves for three hours of Western justice: lessons as important as any at school, church or temple.
Grandpa Abe, a refugee of Eastern injustice, found sanctuary in the old West. We started with the Cisco Kid—yes there was a Mexican hero on 50’s TV, but no black heroes. My elementary age mind did not deal in gray-area moral issues yet. Good and evil was black and white. The hero always won, the bad guy was captured or shot without bleeding and the girl was always saved, all in a half hour show complete with Tony the Tiger Frosted Flakes commercials.
Next came the Lone Ranger with his good Indian partner Tonto. Even Indians could be good guys on Saturday mornings. Long before the Beatles, my favorite tune was The William Tell Overture that ended with “High ho Silver, away.”
Rin Tin Tin followed the Lone Ranger and marked the start of my love affair with dogs. Before I ever had a dog, the TV German Shepard, who was a member of the Western U.S. Army, saved the day and showed me the value of having a canine best friend.
We moved into the twentieth century with Roy Rogers, who could drive a jeep as well as ride his horse while singing with his wife Dale Evans. He could play a guitar and a six shooter.
The morning ended with a modern day western pilot, Sky King, with his lovely, often imperiled, niece Penny. No worries, she would get into trouble but never was she really in jeopardy. Remember, on Saturday morning in the late 50’s all the girls were saved, all the bad guys went to jail and all my heroes would ride off into the Western sunset.
I so enjoyed those idyllic black and white shows while eating Frosted Flakes with my dad’s Ellis Island immigrant father. His reality would come soon enough, taking my genuine hero grandfather to his final sunset.