The Bristol Press – PRIME TIME: Finding entertainment in a simpler time
Among my observations in recent times is the fact that so many are addicted to their own laptops and cell phones. Even during the recent holiday, almost everyone I was with used these devices a large amount of time when not at the turkey table.
I’m not saying that’s bad, but it got me thinking about the games and entertainment I experienced when I was a pre-15-year-old back in the 1950’s. We entertained ourselves in so many simple ways, as was the entertainment we had in our lives.
As far as television went, if I recall correctly, we had three channels, 3, 8 and 30, the latter with a converter box to obtain it. There were Tex Pavel, the Three Stooges, Rin Tin Tin, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry shows. I recall Davy Crockett starred Rex Parker and Buddy Ebson.
Some programs which sat my family down on the couch and sofa at the same time were “Molly Goldberg,” “I Remember Mama,” and the “Arthur Godfrey Show.”
Today there are channels galore, depending on your choice of which you want to pay for.
There were no cell phones on which we could surf the earth for information and entertainment, just the old landline telephone you shared with another family, and that was called a two-party line.
Again, no games on a computer or cell phone.
Jump rope was a common recreation for the younger girls. There was individual jumping, double, triple and what have you. This was a common sight in both neighborhoods and at grammar schools. The boys on the other hand were playing football, basketball or baseball on a nearby court or field. A lot of boys had a “hoop” in their yard attached in front of the garage, and the kids in the neighborhood would gather for play.
It was quite unusual in those days to see a girl amongst them, let alone to really contribute to the play. Same with baseball, but you would see a female on a makeshift gridiron.
Riding bicycles was a daily routine, and to make it all the better was adding playing cards to the spokes of your tires. You would take a pack of playing cards your parents had that lost a card or two, and use them. You’d then borrow some of mom’s clothes pins and use them to hold the cards on the wheels.
When you joined some of your friends on the street for a ride, folks would hear you coming down the street before you passed their yard.
Another form of pleasure and entertainment was collecting baseball cards. You’d purchase them at the neighborhood market and they’d come with five or six cards, accompanied by a slab of chewing gum the size of a card. You’d chew the gum, check out the cards to see if you had doubles – meaning a duplicate of a card you already had at home – and if so, maybe trade it with a friend for a card you didn’t have.
The useless cards in your opinion had some value, though. They would be used to play a game against the door at home. You and a friend or friends would mark a line a short distance from the door and take turns flinging cards to see who landed the closest to the door. The closest tosser would win the cards that were thrown.
And then there were marbles you’d buy at the store. This was a game that went way back. You’d draw a circle outdoors and take turns flipping a marble at a target and there would be an eventual winner. I never got the knack of doing this activity, thus lack the knowledge to explain it better. At least I knew not to compete in it.
What did the girls do while we were doing all of this? I’m not sure. Besides jump rope, I knew they gathered to do things – not sure what and didn’t care in my younger years – so I suppose it was girly things. Maybe watching the boys?
I await the ladies’ responses!
Contact Bob Montgomery at [email protected] or by calling 860-583-5132.