Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Don't touch that dial!

What I really miss are the local TV channels that were independently run. A lot of them in and around town have long since been bought and sold by the movie studios that turned them into little networks of their own. Eventually, a lot of those ended up being resounding failures, and are no longer in existence, with just bare little skeletons of what once was left on the old channel number.

But for a long time, a typical day on one of the channels was pure heaven. In fact, KSTW-11 in Tacoma was a longtime favorite. In the mornings there would be your typical cartoon shows, some reruns after those, a few game shows; then, The One O'Clock Movie, another two hours of cartoons, three hours of sitcoms, the 8 O'Clock movie, the local news, and then it was off to bed!

They had some great shows on that channel in the afternoon. As a pre-schooler, in the afternoon, I would see Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? followed by The Munsters and All In The Family. Later on, I'd see What's Happening!!!, WKRP In Cincinnati, Sanford And Son, Taxi, and M*A*S*H before the movie came on. After the 10 O'Clock News was Barney Miller and Benny Hill, but those were on a little too late for me.

Forget TV Land, this channel had it all! Eventually, it was bought by Viacom to become the UPI Network. KTZZ (which used to have cool cartoons like Heathcliff and Inspector Gadget and local shows like The Spud Goodman Show) became the WB. The less said, the better. KCPQ-13 became the local FOX network, but they somehow always stayed true to what they once were, and always kept the local news at 10 P.M.

Another favorite channel back then was WTBS, shortly to drop the "W". That was another great channel that showed great cartoons and reruns, plus a lot of obscure and long-forgotten movies; the first place I would see some of my favorites, and for some, the only time I ever would. That's where I first saw Willard and its sequel, Ben, not to mention Frogs and Devil Dog: The Hound Of Hell. Over time, the movies and reruns they showed got a lot more tame and unimaginitive, and TBS eventually became just another pay-TV channel. Like a lot of them did, including the USA Network, which once showed Night Flight and USA Up All Night, with loads of cheesy, no-budget sex-comedy movies.

Small wonder why TV has long since lost its charm for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm from Seattle and agree with you 100%. Locally produced TV programming was great because you could see quirky, offbeat stuff. I remember the One O'Clock Movie fondly, and recall seeing King Kong Escapes, Mad Monster Party, The Incredible Mister Limpet and others during summer vacation. Then there were the local kid show hosts like J.P. Patches or San Francisco's own Bob Wilkins (Creature Features and Captain Cosmic). TV today is crap.