The Miracle of Television

By Jane Clark

         In the early 1950s television was increasing in popularity, and anyone in the small town of Curby, Indiana, who had a television set was proud to show off this new form of entertainment.

         My family lived just a mile from Curby and was thankful to be invited to a neighbor’s home for a special showing of the well-known Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” in 1951. I was excited as we entered their darkened living room, lighted only with the glow from the television and a special T.V. lamp on top of the set. That was the recommendation for how to view television in those early days.

         Every available chair was arranged in front of the television, and most of the children present were seated on the floor. What a thrill it was to see these storybook characters come to life.

         Not long after that, Lander’s Garage bought a television, and they made it available to anyone who wanted to go there on Saturday evening .  Rows of mismatched chairs were positioned around the television where a couple dozen people watched wrestling That was one of the favorite shows with popular stars like Gorgeous George and Stu Gibson.  It wasn’t long before Lander’s Garage became a favorite gathering place every Saturday night. The office area at the garage offered for sale cold soft drinks, candy bars and other snacks. It was the closest thing to a movie theater that Curby ever had.

         More families around Curby bought televisions, but our large family with seven kids had many other needs that came before buying one. My mother entered a radio contest in 1952, and first prize was a television. For weeks after she mailed her entry, my sister, brothers and I rushed into the house every day after getting off the school bus to see if she had won. We were disappointed after several weeks because we finally realized that she was not a winner.

         My Aunt Jose in New Albany had a television, and early in 1953 she surprised us when she bought one for our family!  She had no children of her own and enjoyed doing special things for us. It was an exciting time as we explored all the programs available. My favorites were Howdy Doody with Buffalo Bob and Clarabell the Clown, and movies starring Gene Autry or Roy Rogers.  There were only two channels in those early days, but which program we watched usually was a cause for arguments during the day when my siblings and I turned on the television. In the evenings, however, there was no debate because my dad or mother made the decisions.

         On June 2, 1953 all our family watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, an event that my mom said wouldn’t happen very often in our lifetime. It was amazing to see all the pageantry playing out in our living room.

         Many historic events have been shown on television including coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the first landing on the moon in 1969, the Watergate scandal in 1972, the resignation of President Nixon in 1974, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The first newscasts on television were only 15 minutes long, and now in 2021, the news is available 24/7.

         Watching television today offers an amazing amount of options with cable and satellite services, and a Firestick connecting your television to the internet can provide hundreds of programs and movies.  I’m finding that the older I become, the more I enjoy going back to old-time favorites from decades past including The Lone Ranger, Roy Roger and Dale Evans, Hopalong Cassidy, Lawrence Welk, the Jack Benny Program, and others.

 The Waltons from the 1970s is another series I enjoy because it reminds me of my childhood growing up near the small town of Curby. Thanks to the miracle of television, watching these old programs brings back memories of a simpler time in my life.



Jane Clark is Co-director of Writers Bloc and enjoys writing poems, memiors, essays and fiction. Her first novel True Allegiance is available on and Books A


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