I remember a time without television. It was a time when we children played outdoors and our parents saw us primarily at lunch or at supper. In the evening we read books and played board games – endlessly. In 1962 I was living in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and we’d read in the newspaper that television was finally coming to our city. Everyone was delighted but didn’t foresee the social changes that this medium would bring. All we knew is that we would have entertainment nightly, instead of paying 50 cents for a movie and popcorn on weekends.
The night on which the great invasion was to occur, I was at my friend’s house because his father had bought a television for the expected event. The picture was poor, and the programs were old pre-recorded series like Cannonball and Juliette which nowadays would be less entertaining that watching paint dry. It was television created for simple minds with a fifth grade education. But we didn’t care, and neither did my friend’s parents because it seemed magic – a silver screen that ushered us from the periphery of civilization into what we imagined to be the main stream.
In the middle of one of these programs my father called me to say that he too had bought a television. I was delighted, and asked my friend’s father to take me home immediately. When I arrived, I plunked myself down on the sofa before a grey cube that displayed muddy black and white pictures that sometimes were so dark I couldn’t see what was happening in the background. But I didn’t care…it was television, and unbeknownst to us it would irredeemably change us forever.