Monday, 11 May 2009

Blue Remembered Hills!

Kojak alias Telly Savalas

What started my nostalgia trip today? Well it’s Monday and since I stopped working I love Mondays. I normally I meet up with my daughter and granddaughter and we just spend time together maybe shopping or having a coffee. Something we’ve never had time to do for years.

Today she was working so I was left to my own devices, well until lunchtime anyway. Yes, I admit it, I switched on the telly. As I posted a while ago, I've been watching some great detective shows recently and wallowing a little in nostalgia. However I did start to worry about what seems to becoming an addiction so I've taken to listening to the radio and sometimes the dreaded iPod.

Anyway when I switched on today, Kojak was showing. I really liked it the first time around although it’s not my favourite; Harry O has that honour and I’m sure he always will. However I must admit Saturday nights were never the same without Theo sucking his lollipop.

I think I look at these programmes in a different way now, not just finding out what happens in the story. I listen to the well written scripts, see the more subtle humour, the relationships between the characters, the facial expressions and listen to the score, not just the theme tune.

It’s a bit of a morbid fascination because I always feel really sad when the programmes have finished, in fact today I could feel the tears coming. Not that the programme was particularly sad. Yes there had been a number of killings but the programme had quite a neatly tied up resolution with the baddie ending up in court. I think I was in that kind of a mood, after all I’d put the telly on to cheer me up a bit. However I wondered what had brought me to tears.

Well maybe it was a realisation that the programmes take me back to a time to when I was young and getting over some really sad times. Music and TV programmes like these were my Tardis transporting me to another time and place, almost another planet really, for a while at least. Plus you tell yourself that they just don’t make programmes like these any more. Don’t you? A sure sign you’re getting on that one. Probably the saddest fact of all, is that a lot of the wonderful actors like David Janssen and Telly Savalas died quite a while ago.

Although the ‘seventies gets some stick for being a bad time in the field of fashion, (wedge boots and satin flares to name a couple of dubious items of apparel) there was some great telly. It was once voted as the golden era of British television and it's not difficult to see why. However my tastes were not too highbrow in those days, I just wanted to be entertained!

You’ll note in my list below, there’s a plethora of detective shows and comedies. I not only wanted to be taken to another planet, I wanted something to make me laugh again. There’s a few children’s shows too. My children were quite young in the seventies and I liked to watch TV with them! There are lots more programmes and no doubt I‘ve forgotten some, but here’s a selection of ‘seventies telly I used to watch.

· Harry O (the rest of the list is in alphabetical order but Harry has to be top of my list!)
· Abigail's Party - A concession to culture
· A Family at War – fantastic TV series about a family during WW11
· Bagpuss - Recently voted the most popular children’s TV programme ever!
Must have been a lot of females in their thirties voting.
· Agony
Battle Star Galactica
· Bewitched
· Blake’s Seven
· Blue Remembered Hills
(Another concession to culture)

· Boney (Aussies will remember this one)
· Butterflies
· The Bionic Woman
· Cannon
· Carrie’s War
· Columbo
· Citizen Smith
· Dallas
· Dad’s Army
· Happy Days
· Hart to Hart
· I Didn’t Know You Cared
· Ironside
· Jim’ll Fix it
· Kojak
· Last of the Summer Wine
(Longest running sit-com in the world!)
· Lizzie Dripping
· Little House on the Prairie
· M*A*S*H
· McCloud
· McMillan and Wife
· Me Mammy
· Michael Bentine’s Potty Time
· Monty Python’s Flying Circus
· Mork and Mindy
· Multi-Coloured Swap Shop
· Nearest and Dearest
· Oh Brother!
· Poldark
· Quincy ME
· Rising Damp
· Rockford Files
· Rhoda
· Secret Army
· Six Million Dollar Man
· Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
(Michael Crawford’s surreal and manic portrayal of Frank Spencer)
· Starsky and Hutch
· Take Hart
(I loved this children’s art programme. Sad Tony Hart died recently, he was fantastic, wonder how many artists he inspired)

· The Streets of San Francisco
· The Waltons

I got to thinking that it’s great going back to these classic shows and enjoying them in a different way, but you just can’t go back can you. The past is a place in our hearts and minds, what Houseman called “Blue Remembered Hills“. I love that expression, it really encapsulates the whole feeling I have for my TV “Land of Lost Content”. I’m not much good at remembering poetry but this extract always sticks in my mind, thanks to Denis Potter’s fantastic play, Blue Remembered Hills.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Extract from A Shropshire Lad - A.E. Housman

Now that almost reduces me to tears too. So after this session of wallowing in nostalgia, a few tears, (some of them I'm sure were for the lovely actors who are now no longer with us) and how today so much TV is absolute DROSS, I should feel a bit down. Not a bit of it. Why?

Well it’s a lovely sunny day, chilly, but glorious blue skies and just after Kojak finished, the postman came. I got the result of my recent mammogram. It was fine. I had been dreading it and I’m not sure why I got myself worked up about it this time, but I did. Getting that letter was like winning the lottery! Now I’m going to pick up my little charmer from nursery and looking forward to my holidays.

Photo Source: Nicolas Savalas - Wiki Commons


  1. Congrats on your negative mammogram.

    I share your sadness when program episodes end. I used to literally cry as a boy when Huckleberry Hound and Woody Woodpecker went off everyday.

    I don't remember Harry O, so I looked him up. I very much loved David Janssen in The Fugitive, so I don't know where I was during Harry O.

    You didn't mention shows going back to the '50s, so I take it that you're either younger than I, or you didn't like them. I loved nearly all of the Westerns from that era, esp Rawhide and Gunsmoke, as well as the variety shows like Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason, and the dramas like Playhouse 90 and Alfred Hitchcock.

    It doesn't mean you're old when you bemoan the absence of such shows today, because they are absent today.

  2. I remember a few programmes from the 'fifties but I can't remember getting much in the way of programmes from the USA then. I think most came in the 'sixties and 'seventies. I did like a lot of them but I don't think I really watched a lot of telly until after I got married in 1969. Too many other things to do. Early ones I do remember are Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and George Burns and Gracie Allen but that's about it.

    I just wish Warner Brothers would release Harry O on DVD, it was wonderful. There's a huge amount of people out there who would love to see it again as well as those who never saw it. David Janssen's portrayal was wonderful. A much more rounded character than Richard Kimble but a lot of similar characteristics. They were crazy to stop it. I'm going to do a posting on it when I get the chance.

  3. So glad you got a good report on your mammog. I can remember some of those shows, but some must not have been here in the US?
    (or my memory is terrible which could be the case)
    Enjoy the time with your daughter and granddaughter!

  4. Excellent news on the mammogram.Hurrah!

    Now for your post: We seem to be doing similar things, Winifred. Kevin and I have recently been watching old Quincy episodes and marvelling at how well-written they are and how most of the acting is really superb. I too weep for the loss of such skill without CGI and the grisliest of scenes.
    Not once in Q do you see the scalpel blade thrust into the flesh, revealing all the guts and gore. Nope. All we see is the good coroner and his partner with their heads together mulling over the corpse and coming to swift conclusions. That's the way I like it! Will it ever be this way again? Not bloody likely!


  5. Susie - There was a lot of British programmes in that list so you may not know them.

    Kat - Quincey is still being shown here at the moment. I totally agree, they didn't rely on gimmicks. They had great storylines that dealt with often very topical and emotive issues like, cot deaths, drug development issues and the money making aspects of health care in the US. Brilliant characters too, what passion and humour! Much better developed than most of the wooden cold fish on CSI. Sorry I've probably annoyed a lot of people but I just can't take to the characters in that series.

  6. Many on your list I had never heard of. Many I watched regularly. I had forgotten totally about CANNON. What a crazy hero he was.

    I grew up on westerns and GUNSMOKE makes me cry because I can still remember my little cocker spaniel Ginger scratching on the den door in the middle of GUNSMOKE and we opened it to find her dying from poison on our door step.

    I also remember CHEYENNE because the bartender in that show had been my mom's dancing partner when she was in college. Dad hated that show. LOL

  7. Great post, Winifred. I watched many of those shows myself. Going back farther, I remember my mom and I watching all the reruns of Perry Mason with Raymond Burr. We were absolutely hooked. Like you, and me, my mom was really into detective shows. When I was a little, little girl, we used to lay on the sofa on Sunday nights and listen to detective shows on the radio. Guess that dates me, doesn't it?

    I'm glad your mammogram turned out good. Mine is in two weeks. Oh how I hate that thing.

    Great, great post.

    ~hippo hugs~

  8. I have to agree with you that the new shows are not as good as the oldies. Life itself was so different then. I sometimes feel sad thinking back about how we didn't lock our doors, cars or homes. We weren't afraid for our kids to go outside and play. Television were simpler to operate. But we didn't have the recording devices then so if you missed it you had to wait for a repeat. Glad your test came back fine Winifred. Have a great week!

  9. Hi Winifred,

    Great news on the mammogram results!

    I don't get nostalgic about the old TV shows, but did enjoy many of them. I get more nostalgic about old movies, especially the musicals, and some of the great love stories. I am thrilled to see On Moonlight Bay, again on Turner Classics, or a movie with Gene Kelly, Betty Grable, Fred Astaire. Ah, I could go on and on, but I'd better not.
    Have fun with your little sweetie!



  10. I'm glad your m.gram was good. I dread those too. The only two shows I'm familiar with on your list were The Waltons and LIttle House on the Prairie. I just bought my sister the 7th series of that for her Easter gift. (She always expects gifts every occasion, because she has mental health problems and she just is the way she I enjoy the Masterpiece theaters....Dickens for one. And decorating shows. And listening to classics on my mp3 player. right now I'm listening to Anne of Avonlea. Have you ever watched the Avonlea series I wonder? Its sort of like the Waltons...very homey family type stories. Lots of things make me teary-eyed...while reading or watching a movie. Its good for the soul...I

  11. Oh I see Snowbrush mentioned Gunsmoke...I loved that series early on. And The Rifleman...another favorite of mine.

  12. Winnifred, I have no problems going back and being nostalgic. As a matter of fact, I prefer the older Classic Movies when acting was cosidered to be an Art. We have an awesome channel here called TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Non-stop movies and commercial free. No matter how I am feeling, I can just switch to the station and go back in time. David Niven, Alec Guinness, Jimmy Stewart, Doris Day and no list would be complete without Cary Grant. Actually, my list of favourites is quite endless. And I'm sure you can add to it. Great post Winnifred.

    I'm also happy to hear you continue to be healthy. Cheers.

  13. Dear Winifred ~~You have us all remembering earlier years of TV and
    movies. I had my favourites too. but loved Paul Newman, Cary Grant and Robert Redford and many others in movies, and The Ponderosa and the Waltons etc etc.
    I am sorry that Blogger misses out on some posts. Hope that improves.
    Glad you liked the Wimbledon joke.
    I am feeling much better lately. I hope you had a great Mother's Day
    as I did. Take care, my friend.
    Love, Merle.

  14. Hi Winifred,

    Congrats again on the negative mammo. I saw Kojak being filmed while I was working in New York. (I was a waitress at a Chelsea donut shop). The owners were Greek and Telly was their hero. It was so exciting!

  15. Gday Winifred. Great news on the Mammogram,,,,All my tests start in a few weeks time.
    Wow I remember most of these old movies well,Jackie Gleeson and his side kick, Bonanza, Little house on the Prairie, never missed a show I love a lot of the old Musicals,
    Take care Jen

  16. There are quite a few on your list we use to watch too. Sad that some of those shows are gone.

    Glad you had a good report on your mammogram.

  17. I got HBO so I could watch "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" and after about 6 shows they had the finale. I was so disappointed. At least HBO is free for 3 months and then I will cancel it. So no money lost. The sad part is, there is nothing else on HBO I care to watch.

  18. Glad to hear your mammogram report was good Winifred.

    I do agree with you about TV programmes recently. We usually choose to watch older programmes now on the Freeview channels - or just listen to the radio.

    Great list though - remembered a lot of those - nostalgia indeed. A x


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