Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Memory Thief

Like everyone else in the universe, I love browsing around at YouTube; quite an addictive habit.

Last night I began searching for old television commercials that I remembered as a kid. Our family got a television set about 1959, when I was five. Actually, my parents bought my Aunt Minnie the first set; she babysat my brother and I and Mom thought a television would be a big help to keep us quiet and corralled. Of course, it had a tiny screen and was a black and white set. No matter, programming at that time was nearly all in black and white.

*Wiki has this to say about black and white, and color television:

All three broadcast networks were airing full color prime time schedules by the 1966–67 broadcast season. But the number of color television sets sold in the U.S. did not exceed black and white sales until 1972, which was also the first year that more than fifty percent of television households in the U.S. had a color set.

Most of us who grew up with black and white television understand this explanation: even though the program or commercial was in black and white, your mind filled in the missing colors. When Lassie was running down a tree-covered lane, you "saw" the bright green leaves and the yellow sunshine along with the tawny blonde and white collie.

Of course, once color television become the norm, this funny side effect of watching black and white and "seeing" colors went by the wayside. I seemed to have slowly lost the ability to "colorize" for myself.

Back to YouTube...I found an old Hamms beer commercial and opened the file. Something was missing; it didn't play as my memory had recorded it. Watching the commercial again for the first time in many years, I couldn't make the image from YouTube match my own mental image; the water wasn't the same sparkly blue, and the bears weren't the nice chestnut brown I remembered. The catchy little tune was off somewhat in its lyrics and timing.

Even Bucky Beaver's teeth seemed less than the pearly white I recalled when I pulled up that old commercial for Ipana toothpaste.

My Aunt Minnie was a big fan of Search for Tomorrow. So, brother and I were subjected to daily doses of this old soap opera. We got caught up in the storylines too. Playing an old episode now is so cheesy. And that organ music! Ugh. So much for that memory as well.

I think I'll stop trying to find my past on YouTube. My own remembered version is better anyway.

Anyone else share this time warp disconnect?


joared said...

Haven't done any browsing on YouTube or looking up old shows, but maybe some day I'll take time to do so. I recall some B&W movies I saw many years ago, that I've watched in recent years. Such a disappointment as you experienced, I think, so that I prefer my memory and not seeing the original again.

Anonymous said...

Well I can't say that it works that way with me.

Maybe it's a matter of what you are used to. Although I *could* get TV reception out here with a satellite dish, I have not elected to do so. So it has been well over a year since I last saw a TV program (Thank you Jesus!) On the other hand I watch Netflix movies a couple times a week, and a fair percentage of those are B&W. They look just as great as they always did.


Ronni Bennett said...

The commercials and programs from "way back" may not hold up by the standards of today's more sophisticated production, but it's still a load of fun to go back.

I must look up that Bucky Beaver commerial. Whatever happened to Ipana toothpaste???

Whisky Prajer said...

For quite a stretch I preferred b&w over colour, not for any aesthetic reason but entirely for nostalgic reason. My commercial would be this one, and I recall it with much greater clarity (probably because I meditated on it at quite some length).

Peter said...

Did that Search for Tomorrow clip bring back memories! When I was about six or seven years old my grandmother babysat for me for a while, and she was addicted to soap operas (why, I don't know, as she barely knew any English). SfT was one of her favorites, and I distinctly remember the organ music. The Edge of Night was another favorite of hers, I'll have to look for a You Tube clip and see if I remember the music.

Pancho said...

Who the hell ever used Ipana?

We didn't buy no stikin' toothpaste sold by a beaver!

SpookyRach said...

Weeelllll, I freakin' love to watch old re-runs of Dark Shadows. I can howl with laughter for hours while watching them trip, flub lines and run into the falling microphones.

Does that count?

Annie in Austin said...

Pattie, you must have had quite an imagination as a child! I don't remember mentally seeing those old shows as anything but black and white.

When I was in grade school there were lots of old b/w movies were on TV, some in the late afternoon and at least one each night after the evening news [which lasted 15 minutes]. During summer vacation my sister & I would stay up to watch old musicals and melodramas.

That Hamm's beer song has never left my head! Was it a national brand?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Kay Dennison said...

I do, Pattie! But then I still love and watch old black and white movies!

Bill said...

Did you tell anyone you saw colors on the b & w TV? Did you make refgular trips to see the special doctor after doing so?

And there was only one tooth paste that received the American Dental Association Seal of Approval -- Crest! To use anything else -- well, besides baking soda -- was an affront to good dental hygiene.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Okay, so maybe I was a weird little kid....with an overactive imagination.

But, really, my mind did see those colors!