What TV shows did I watch as a child?

When I think back on childhood TV watching, it’s not just about sci-fi versus sitcoms or dramas. It’s about the dawning of color on the livingroom screen, of remembering how full spectrum technicolor phased out my old black and white favorites. Suddenly The Munsters, The Addams Family, and Samantha and Darrin on Bewitched weren’t nearly as captivating as seeing Goldie Hawn’s tie-dyed mini dress on Laugh In or that Gilligan’s only shirt wasn’t sun bleached but vivid red. It happened sometime circa 1968, and when it did, I felt like Dorothy coming out of her wrecked old grey farmhouse to behold kaleidoscopic Munchin Land.

Even so, brightest of all my early TV memories is from back in the dark ages watching Lost in Space, and how my first superstar crush on Major Don West still burns ever so brightly almost sixty years later. When Mum inadvertently made our weekly piano lessons in the next town on Lost In Space night, my sister Jan and I tried our very best to get through them without do-overs so we could be home in time to tune in. Except for the night we saw a UFO on the way home! True story etched into family folklore, we were heading north on Route 16 when we spotted a huge, oddly shaped light hovering next to our car. Mum slowed down to observe it just barely long enough to report details to Pease Air Force Base before it zoomed off over Rochester Hill, while I whined in the back seat about hurrying up so I didn’t miss Lost In Space.

Looking back over my lifetime television trajectory, I understand how my grandparents must have felt transitioning from horse and buggy to Model Ts to traveling anywhere they wanted at warp speed. Living long enough to go from changing the channel knob on an RCA console that overshadowed the entire livingroom to a flat screen satellite TV I can operate from my command chair like Captain Kirk feels magical but mystifying. And even though I still miss Major West (the classic 1965 version), I do love the New Age technology that beams Jamie Fraser through the Outlander stones for my viewing pleasure with the press of a few buttons.