Television in the 1960's

Terry TrainorStarred Page By Terry Trainor, 18th Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Culture

Back to a time when Hughie Green meant things 'most sincerely' and Reginald Bosanquet spent his free time 'biting the carpet.' Each advert only ran for thirty seconds on ITV, and the breaks would be for two minutes. In Crossroads the walls and fixtures wobbled for all to see. Sundays had three hours of religious programs head to head and Jess Yates told us how to behave and Annie Walker rung time at the Rovers Return.


When I was a child Bonanza was on, on a Saturday. White-haired Ben was the proud patriarch of the Cartwrights, the family at the center of one of TV's most beloved and long-running series. Their ranch, the Ponderosa, was 1,000 square-miles (600,000 acres) in size and sprawled from mountainous shores of Lake Tahoe to the desert terrain near Virginia City in the Nevada Territory. Ben oversaw his frontier empire with the help of his three sons: Adam, Hoss, and Joe. The series was set in 1859 when the series began and would progress through and following the Civil War.

To me Ben was and old man but had the answers for every problem he was wise as he was brave. His beautiful wife Victoria was a loving stepmother to his sons and they too were a credit to the old American philosophy.

Time has passed and Ben's picture does not look old anymore and my hair is now whiter than his, how time has flown. It seems like only yesterday when we fired our cap guns and rode invisible horses and beat up the bad guys. And when the sun set over our Ponderosa we walked home, the way John Wayne would have walked, to have our tea.

Star Trek

"Space...The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!"

The five year mission has been going on for about fifty years and the program never got stuck in a time warp. 'Old Scotty' still has to get the engines to work harder and his reply to outrageous demands for more power is 'their going to blow' has never been answered. Spocks eyebrow has wiggled up and down since my school days and one day it will fall off. Even now I wait and hope that one day they will materialize in my front room.

The series is set in the 23rd century where Earth has survived World War III then moved on to explore the stars. Humanity has allied with other alien races and formed the United Federation of Planets, and Starfleet serves as its exploratory and military branch. Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise explores the galaxy with a crew of 430 men and women, contacting new life forms, conducting diplomat missions, and exploring the unknown.

Star Trek premiered on NBC after executive producer and creator Gene Roddenberry produced not one but two pilots to convince them of the quality of his show. The series ran two years but never achieved good ratings despite building a small but solid fan following. A letter-writing campaign convinced NBC to run a third season, but Roddenberry left in protest and the network buried the show in a late Friday night time slot.

After its three-year run Star Trek began running syndication where it was discovered by legion of new fans and became a phenomenon. This led to an animated series, six movies, and four spin-off television shows. Despite its short network run, Star Trek has become one of the most successful shows in television history.

Aside from its three main stars, Star Trek featured a large cast of reoccurring guest stars that includes James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, and Grace Lee Whitney. Other notable guest stars include Diana Muldaur, Gary Lockwood, Ricardo Montalban, Sally Kellerman, Julie Newmar, Frank Gorshin, John Colicos, Roger C. Carmel, William Campbell, Ted Cassidy, Michael Ansara and Elisha Cook, Jr. Notable writers for the series include Gene Roddenberry, Gene L. Coon, George Clayton Johnson, Jerry Sohl, Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, and D.C. Fontana.

Coronation Street

Coronation Street
Episode 1
ITV transmission date, 9th December 1960 (Friday)
Writer Tony Warren
Designer Denis Parkin
Director Derek Bennett
Producer Stuart Latham

Florrie Lindley takes over the Corner Shop from Elsie Lappin, and is anxious about moving to Coronation Street. At No. 11, Elsie Tanner confronts her son, Dennis, about 2/- missing from her purse. Dennis has been struggling to get a job since getting out of prison but Elsie accuses him of not trying hard enough. At No. 3, Frank Barlow argues with his student son Ken about whether or not Ken is allowed to take a girl to the Imperial Hotel where his mother, Ida, works in the kitchens. Frank thinks Ken is ashamed of his working class roots. Elsie's daughter Linda Cheveski tells her that she has left her husband, Ivan, who she lives with in Warrington. Ida finds Ken at Albert Tatlock's house at No.1 to tell him that the girl he is taking out, Susan Cunningham, has turned up unannounced at the Barlow's house.

The first newspaper review declared it ‘doomed from the outset’ – hardly the most aus­picious start. Without glamour, escapism or ambitious plots, Granada Television’s latest show seemed to have little to recommend it. When shown the pilot episode, its general manager went as far as to say that he couldn’t find ‘a single redeeming quality’.Even the television executives who had commissioned an initial run of seven episodes feared it was ‘dreary’, and declared ‘nobody will understand the argot’.

I remember a cat that walked over the roofs of the street it was never mentioned in the credits. My brother and I had to watch the program every Monday and Wednesday it started at seven thirty PM. We watched in silence as the arguments hammered on between Elsi and Ena. It was usually in the Rovers Return and Ena drunk milk stout.

Annie Walker ran the pub with an iron fist and a sidelong glare that froze customers where they stood. Davy Jones from the Monkeys played a part, years ago. I must admit to not watching this program for many many years as I think it was better in black and white.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

In the first story in the series, 'The Lost Stradivarius', an eerie tale by J. Meade Faulkner, Richard, played by (David Buck) was the faithful friend of an aristocratic young man (played by Jeremy Brett), who falls disastrously under the evil fascination of an old violin. After finding the violin he becomes increasingly secretive as well as obsessed by a particular piece of music, which seems to have the power to call up the ghost of its previous owner.

I used to watch the series with wet palms and through squinted eyes ready to shut them when needed. I will never forget that I had a nightmare of a rotting hand under my bed. When I awoke from this dream there was still the smell of a rotting hand and it scared me to death. In my fear I gingerly got out my torch and shone it under the bed. In the bright light I could see the rotting hand, it was a bowl of forgotten cornflakes that I had hidden some time ago.

Jeremy Brett.The series began on Saturday 29th January, 1966, at 10.5pm and proved a big hit with viewers. Five series were broadcast between 1966 and 1970 with 1969 being the only year it wasn't seen on television. This may have had something to do with ABC's loss of franchise, though, as only three episodes went out in November 1968 and the last series of only four episodes was shown by new franchise holders Thames Television in February 1970. Apart from some of the lesser known works by a number of authors the series also featured such classics as 'Frankenstein', 'Dracula' and 'Sweeney Todd.' Script editor Terence Feely contributed scripts to some of the best known British TV series' throught the 1960s

Hughie Green. Mr. Gameshow

Monday night quiz, Double Your Money, based on Green's popular Radio Luxembourg format. Contestants were given a free choice from different categories of questions which were the same for each series but evolved in variety and number, anything from 42 to 92, over time. For the first correct answer they won £1 and thereafter the could double their money with further correct answers up to a maximum of £32. A wrong answer would mean they lose everything. The most successful contestants came back to play for the Treasure Trail of up to £1000.

The first contestant to enter the Treasure Trail was a Mr Plantagenet Somerset Fry, who became an overnight celebrity. He was a post-grad from Oxford, and had even asked a fellow student to act as 'press officer', such was the media interest. However, he quit at £512, not wishing to risk it all for the £1000 jackpot. In today's money, £512 would be approximately £7,680. During his lifetime, he died in 1996. Mr Fry was a successful author of over 50 history books, the first of which was published while he was still an undergraduate. He traced his own family back to Edward III, one of the Plantagenet kings. He was also the first Editor of Books at the HMSO (Her Majesty's Stationery Office).

In 1963, a 15-year-old accounts clerk called Monica Rose appeared on the show. At the time she was working as a junior accounts clerk, and she won £8 answering questions on "Famous Women". Hughie Green took to the girl so much she was invited back as a hostess on the show the following year and his sequel show The Sky's the Limit. Another contestant, 77-year-old tea lady Alice Earrey, also became a regular. The show was still hugely popular when it was taken off air in 1968 as a result of Associated-Rediffusion losing their franchise.

Opportunity Knocks

Infamous talent show whose major gimmick / selling point was the infamous "clap-o-meter", basically a decibel meter which measured the volume of reaction from the studio audience (though it did rather end up looking like a man moving a pointer about on a whim). Nevertheless, it was the home audience that decided who the winner of each week was by writing in on postcards. The winning act got to come back as a returning champion of sorts.

Acts discovered through the programme include Spike Milligan, Mary Hopkin, Bonnie Langford, Les Dawson, Pam Ayres, Little and Large, Bobby Crush, Peters and Lee, Kelly Brown (later to find fame as "Feels Like I'm In Love" hitmaker Kelly Marie), Lena Zavaroni, Tom O'Connor, Frank Carson, Stan Boardman, Carol Lee Scott (of Grotbags "fame") and Freddie Starr. Many of them appeared on the very final show. In addition, the then-teenaged impressionist Debra Stephenson was a finalist in the first Monkhouse series. She performed some excellent impersonations of Esther Rantzen, Pam Ayres and Sandra Dickinson, among other things.

Among the more memorable acts to have appeared were Mr and Mrs Hubert Bell, a "hand balancing" act from Leeds; and Bruce Thompson, a one-man-band from Newbiggin-on-Sea, who went on to do the studio warm-up for Every Second Counts. In addition, there was Rosser and Davies, a Welsh duo who performed their own excellent comic songs: they won the first Monkhouse-series - and also Thames Brass, a brass quartet (or were they a quintet?) who very cleverly combined their playing with some superb (and mostly topical) humour. They were finalists in the Dawson-series.

Although he was discovered on the program that he later went onto present, Les Dawson did not win Opportunity Knocks. He won the audience vote but, according to Les's friend John Carey, the result was given to a singer who was the current girlfriend of a well known West End club owner. Les was offered a re-run on the (untrue) premise that there had been a mistake in the counting but he declined this offer and was given a Blackpool Night Out instead. He went down so well on this he was given a spot in the last show of the series and his fame started from that.

And I mean that most sincerely folks

And now, as it is on independent television, time for the adverts. And as Hughie would say, 'See you in two minutes folks'

1961 Vauxhall Victor Estate Car

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Rear seat folds away, giving 45 cu. ft. load space

Victor Estate Car £605 + £253 Purchase Tax

Omo, Pepsodent, Esso, New Clinic Shampoo

Here are some jingles that you might remember, when Omo cleaned every stain in the universe, your teeth would shine as white as snow with Pepsodent, Esso petrol made you happy and New Clinic shampoo made you look like a film star. Happy days.

Omo adds brightness
Even to perfect whiteness.

You'll wonder where the yellow went
When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.

We used to sing, 'You'll wonder were your
teeth have gone when you brush them with
an Atom Bomb.

The Esso sign means happy motoring,
The Esso sign means happy motoring,
The Esso sign means happy motoring.
Stop at the Esso sign.

Wash your hair
Too clean for dandruff
Too clean for dandruff, with
New Clinic shampoo.

This was a time when television did not broadcast 24 hours a day. At the end of a nights entertainment all that was left was a tiny white spot on your black and white screen.So my friends thanks for your time it's nice to wallow back in the day. So it's now time to go back to the future


Advertisement, Advertisements, Adverts, Bonanza, Coronation Street, Hughie Green

Meet the author

author avatar Terry Trainor
I am a Poet.
My passion is to write about nature and the history of nature.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
18th Apr 2013 (#)

60's television was great, so much better than some of today's shows. One of my favorites was Green Acres, and I also loved Beverly Hills Hillbillies.

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author avatar Terry Trainor
18th Apr 2013 (#)

Thanks Mark great shows.

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author avatar Mariah
18th Apr 2013 (#)

Hey terry uv no idea how much I enjoyed this..what a nostalgic trip down memory lane. And you are dead right that cat walked the roof on corrie for years and never got nominated lol. Treat to read this and well earned star
Thanks for the memories
Well written and illustrated

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author avatar Terry Trainor
18th Apr 2013 (#)

Thanks Mariah those days were when televisions were only turned on when you wanted to watch something. Mine just goes on in the morning until we go to bed.

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author avatar Mariah
18th Apr 2013 (#)

As in my gaff lol

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author avatar Terry Trainor
18th Apr 2013 (#)

Blimey 'in your gaff' you must be a Londoner. Thanks Mariah.

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author avatar Mariah
18th May 2013 (#)

Scots lass Terry lol
'gaff ' is used in Glasgow too
I was just flicking through some of the pages I really enjoyed for another wee read at them, particularly enjoyed the sentiment of this one.
It surprises me that you are not a Whitney Houston fan, I would have had you down as
seeing Whitney as part of
'back in the day'.
We went through stages in 'our generation' where Whitney was always on the radio.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
18th Apr 2013 (#)

Sounds like you have a new fan club now Terry ! so you definitely can't leave us now . This trip down memory lane was so good , I don't know how you remember so much .I'm only an Essex girl , but don't believe all you hear about them . I break the mold .
Bless you

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author avatar Susan Jane
19th Apr 2013 (#)

What a great trip down memory lane, Terry. Being Australian, we didn't have all of these shows, but weren't the ads fantastic? You could understand what they were trying to sell you - unlike today's twaddle that leaves you wondering. Another great star page!

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author avatar Terry Trainor
19th Apr 2013 (#)

you are too kind Susan

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author avatar Delicia Powers
19th Apr 2013 (#)

Wonderful page... the backdrop of my childhood days...these television shows often meld into our memories as much as real life...thanks Terry.

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author avatar Terry Trainor
19th Apr 2013 (#)

Thanks for reading Delicia

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author avatar Songbird B
20th Apr 2013 (#)

This took me back down memory lane too Terry, though I was born in '61, so became more aware of television about the mid to late 60's..Excellent Star page! Loads of work gone into this, and it is a great read as only you can produce my friend..\0/x

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author avatar Terry Trainor
20th Apr 2013 (#)

Songbird, I cannot believe you were born in 61, you look far too young. Thanks for the comments.

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author avatar Val Mills
21st Apr 2013 (#)

Thanks for the memories, especially of the first three. Living in NZ some of the programmes are unfamiliar to me, but I certainly lapped up Bonanza, Star Trek and Coronation Street back then.

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author avatar Terry Trainor
26th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you for reading Val.

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