Warning Us Off Bonanza

Bonanza (TV Series 1959–1973) - IMDb

Now they don’t want us watching vintage TV westerns. Like Bonanza.

If you want to watch Bonanza on TVLand, first you get a bright blue screen with a warning on it:

This program contains outdated cultural depictions. Viewer discretion advised.

What? “Outdated cultural depictions”? You don’t say! Y’know, I thought there was somethin’ fishy about that show! Like, nobody had cars or cell phones. And I didn’t see one transgendered person!

Whose ridiculous idea was this? Like, maybe we might want some outdated cultural depictions, just to get out of the cultural septic tank we’re living in today. For just an hour we can pretend we’re somewhere else–a world where we aren’t perpetually nagged by imbeciles.

They don’t post warnings for shows whose contemporary cultural depictions include perversion, cruelty, and enough trash to turn the Grand Canyon into a landfill. They don’t advise viewer discretion for that.

The wokies want to reach into your living room and tell you what you can watch on TV. If they had their way, there’d be no freedom, ever, anywhere. No escape into the past. No acknowledgment that there ever even was a past. Nothing but the deadly, dreary, soul-annihilating mental landscape of their own Far Left spiritual abyss.

I pray I’ll be able to laugh at this someday, as some temporary buffoonery that has passed away forever.

Byron’s TV Listings (April 10-11)

CTVA - US TV Listings - 1963

G’day! Byron the Quokka here, with another weekend of indescribably wonderful TV brought to you by Quokka University.

Warning: See that ad for “The Tempest”? That was first broadcast in 1960, when a certain 11-year-old saw it and came down with a crush on Lee Remick, who played Whatsername.

Right! Here are a few samples. And remember, I have nothing to do with it!

7:25 P.M.  Ch. 3  FAST NEWS

Speed-reader Burt Fomble whizzes through 50 minutes’ worth of news in just five minutes! With Bernie Madoff and his orchestra.

7:30  Ch. 4  BET EVERYTHING!–Game Show

Contestants either come out rich beyond anything they ever imagined possible, or totally destitute, having lost literally everything–right down to the shirts off their backs! House, car, wedding ring–all gone. Host: Vincent Price.


“Truth Is Stranger Than Friction” (1956) is the first Western set on the planet Mars. The Bowery Boys form a posse to try to catch a stage robber whose Martian physiology allowed him to engulf a whole stagecoach like a gigantic amoeba. Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall. Professor Fancy Feast: Prince Souvanna Phouma. Dr. Won Hong Lo: Gustav Svenson. Little Mary: Edith Wharton.


Can you find your way out of the pyramid without getting caught in one of its lethal booby traps? Without getting locked up in the mummy’s tomb? If you can, there’s a set of El Supremo Quality European Luggage waiting for you on the outside! Closed-circuit TV cameras track the fun. Host: Eli Whitney. Innovative sound track: Supremes hits played backwards.


Often described as the worst TV show ever, host Vinnie Pong interviews a succession of guests who are all much smarter than he is but have to wait for the questions because of Vinnie getting tongue-tied–to say nothing of asking one guest questions that were prepared for another. Co-host Carolyn Snort has to be restrained from assaulting the guests. No wonder Greta Thunberg threw a tantrum on the set!

Well, there you have it–a small sample of the delights awaiting you on Quokka U. TV. If you get hooked on it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Daxon the Quokka (@quokkahub) | Twitter


Memory Lane: ‘Astro Boy’

I was shocked to discover that this goofy cartoon, which aired on American TV in 1963-64, is one of the most popular cartoons ever created. There was an Astro Boy book, of 112 chapters, that sold over 100 million copies worldwide. And although it dropped off American TV after 1964, it continued in Japan and is still being expanded to this day.

Astro Boy was a super-robot with human emotions whose job was, according to the theme song, “fighting monsters high in the sky.” I knew a kid in Sunday school who used to sing that theme song at the slightest provocation.

Yeesh, I was in high school when I watched this! Was I really that hard up for entertainment? It had a catchy theme song, though, you’ve got to give ’em that. And you also have to credit Astro Boy with making Japanese manga cartoons popular all over the world.

But I still can’t explain why I watched it.

‘American Atheism, Vintage 1960’ (2014)

See the source image

I was 11 years old in 1960 and wasn’t allowed to stay up on Friday nights to watch The Twilight Zone. So every Saturday, Bobby across the street would tell me what I’d missed. And I have a very vivid memory of him telling me about this episode, Long Live Walter Jameson.

American Atheism, Vintage 1960

I thought it was a cool story at the time; but now, very many years later, now that I’ve finally seen it–good grief: we let this into our homes?

The story, written by Charles Beaumont, is nothing less than full-blown atheism. And yet it went down without so much as a raised eyebrow. Was America’s Christianity already on such shaky ground?

Given everything that happened later on in the Sixties, I think we have to say, Yeah, it was.

We have to be better stewards of our heritage.


What’s Wrong with This Memory?

Rawhide" Incident of the Pale Rider (TV Episode 1963) - Photo ...

Growing up as a member of America’s first TV generation, I have many memories of what I saw on that black-and-white screen. And one of my most vivid memories was this:

An episode of a classic Western series, Sugarfoot, circa 1959, in which Albert Salmi plays a hired killer, dressed in black, who softly sings “Streets of Laredo” as he stalks his victims. Now, how would a 10-year-old kid ever dream up something like that? And it creeped me out but good, too.

But now, now (!) I know that it wasn’t Sugarfoot, but Rawhide, it wasn’t 1959 but 1963, and Salmi’s character was not a hired killer but rather an enigma–as in, Is this guy even real? flesh and blood? what the devil is he? He does dress in black, though, and sing “Streets of Laredo.” If you’re interested, the Rawhide episode is called “Incident of the Pale Rider,” and we watched it last night on Youtube. Superb! And it was cool to see what Albert Salmi could do as an actor, when given the chance.

But really–why was my memory so far off the track? Now I have to worry about my other memories. Are they all off-base? I doubt it; but then why should this one have been so badly off-target?

Well, there were an awful lot of TV westerns back then, and I watched most of them, and this one with Albert Salmi, I only saw once. His character impressed itself deeply on my memory, but the details got mixed up.

Good thing I wasn’t a witness in a court case!

Memory Lane: ‘Gadabout Gaddis’

Image result for images of gadabout gaddis tv show

Remember this guy–Gadabout Gaddis, “the Flying Fisherman”? Well, I guess you’d have to be pretty old to remember him: late-night television, in the 1960s.

This was back when my brother and I got a black-and-white TV set for our room. Kowabunga! Wow! We could lie in bed and watch TV! A major step toward adulthood!

The wonderful thing about Gadabout Gaddis was that he was better than a bedtime story. It’s not that his show was boring. “Calming” would be a better word for it. Heck, we loved to go fishing. So here was a show all about fishing. What’s not to like? And if you were still awake after Gadabout’s half an hour of baiting hooks and reeling in trout, you might be lucky enough to catch I Search for Adventure with Col. John D. Craig, which was every bit as soothing. Somehow the “adventures” he showed–I think they might’ve been various tourists’ amateur films–were not exactly hair-raising. None of that stuff about being chased up the side of the Great Pyramid by murderous tomb-robbers. By then I was lucky if I was was still awake enough to turn the TV off. My brother, Mark, three years younger, had already gadded off to Dreamland.

There’s something to be said for TV that sands away the troubles of the day and packs you off to peaceful sleep.

P.S.–A friend of hours insisted Gadabout had divers underwater to put the fish on the hook for him; he never wound up with an empty creel. But then a fishing show hosted by a guy who didn’t catch anything–I don’t know if that would work. It might, though. Certainly a lot of people could identify with that.


Memory Lane: Gumby

This is the introduction to the 1967 Gumby TV show. Created by the late Art Clokey, Gumby was a kid-TV fixture for many years. I have to confess I’ve always been fond of him as an adult. I mean, what could be more innocent than Gumby?

I hope this brief video brings back pleasant memories for you. As for me, it’s time to go out and stand in the snow before it’s finished melting.

Commercial… Or Parable?

A long-lived ad campaign debuted back in the 1960s. Most of us remember it as “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.” Even if we never had occasion to try the cereal, it’s easy to remember the commercials with the “cuckoo bird” going positively wild for Cocoa Puffs: like, totally out of control.

I find it difficult to believe that this same spirit has not possessed a great swathe of our fallen world’s movers and shakers, trend-setters and decision-makers. All right, they don’t go caroming off the walls in the Senate Office Building, or swing from the chandeliers in judges’ chambers: but they might as well. It doesn’t get wackier than insisting that men and boys can have periods. You should at least get a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for that.

Were these ads trying to warn us about the people who were ruling us?

I guess we should’ve listened.

Memory Lane: ‘The Invaders’

See the source image

I never got to see this show when it was on, 1967-68: I think I had judo school that night. But Patty was a fan, and she recently bought us The Invaders on disc. It’s quite cool!

Roy Thinnes starred as architect David Vincent, virtually the only man who has seen the alien invaders and knows they’re trying to take over the earth–an eventuality which would result in the extinction of the human race. In episode after episode, he has to try to thwart the invaders’ plans. Even harder, he tries to get somebody, anybody, to believe him.

Several factors made this a great show. They used a lot of unusual sets, abandoned mines and the like, that got your imagination going because some of the sets were quite creepy in and of themselves. They used top writers, including some of the best science fiction writers of the era, like Theodore Sturgeon and Jerry Sohl. And they always filled the cast with great actors, some of whom already were, or went on to be, major stars. The episode we watched last night had Gene Hackman as the guest star. Gene Hackman! Okay, he hadn’t done The French Connection yet, so they were able to afford him. What a career he had! So seeing this early example of his work was a real treat. And Thinnes himself was no mean shakes as an actor, fully able to excel in a challenging role.

In fact, I don’t believe in invaders from outer space. Nevertheless, science fiction can be fun. Quite simply, The Invaders is a lot of fun.

As long as you don’t take it too seriously–but that’s another story.

Memory Lane: ‘Davey and Goliath’

Image result for davey and goliath

Remember this? Davey and Goliath, which ran on TV from 1961-1965 and again from 1971-1973, a Christian children’s show produced by first the United Lutheran Church in America and later by the Lutheran Church in America, it featured a boy and his talking dog, Goliath, and was created by Art Clokey, famous as the creator of Gumby. I’d have watched it if I’d known it was sort of like Gumby–although it was on Sunday mornings and most of the time, I’d be at Sunday school or church, so I didn’t get a chance to see it.

But once upon a time, American TV, plain old network television, used to have any number of Christian shows. This one sought to teach kids how to live as good Christians. That was before The Smartest People In The World realized children had to be protected from Jesus Christ. It’s surprising they never got around to banning Gumby, too.

What was it like, to find wholesome Christian programming on regular TV? We’ve come so far from that, it’s hard to remember.

But we haven’t entirely forgotten, have we? And maybe, someday, we can find our way back to it.