TV memories of dad
I remember my childhood television set as the world's largest tranquilizer. Weeknights would find my dad in front of the tube, asleep in his recliner, usually with a warm can of Old Style nearby. My siblings and I would sit across the room on the sofa, partially watching whatever program was on but mainly listening to dad snore (and making bets on how many more snorts would pass before the really loud one that would inevitably wake him).
When he wasn't napping, I remember dad enjoying old military shows and movies (he had served in the Navy). Ironically, he got a hoot out of "All in the Family's" Archie Bunker — I'm not sure he ever realized how similar he was to Carroll O'Connor's iconic character. Dad would grill chicken in our driveway every Sunday (actually, his barbecuing was more like volunteer firefighting) and then we'd settle in to watch "The Wonderful World of Disney" and "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" — Dad loved nature shows.
He also liked sports, which I had very little interest in. Neither, as I recall, did my mom. I always joke that this sports-watching schism between my folks contributed to their divorce. Ironically, Mom became a sports junkie later in life, flipping channels from Cubs games to NFL broadcasts to jai Alai.
But that's a column for Mother's Day.
Today, local media personalities celebrate Father's Day with recollections of their own dads' TV habits.
I was just in grade school when my father first brought home what he considered to be his TV savior: a 10-foot satellite dish. Back in the '80s, satellite dishes were obnoxiously large. I remember the dish took up the only grassy area in the backyard that I could play on. But determined as my father was, the dish was secured down and wired up to our only living room TV. He was in Greek TV bliss. That's the point when, my family jokes, we lost our father forever. Every night when he would get home, he'd plop on the couch, Al Bundy style, and watch the Greek news for hours and hours. As the years went by, the satellite dishes got smaller, but his daily commitment to Greek TV kept growing. New programming became available. Instead of just having one station, he now has several. And I can guarantee, even to this moment, if I walk in the door to his house during prime time, he is in front of the TV. Only now, he's evolved to watching more than just the news. He's obsessed with "Greek Idol" and Greece's version of "America's Got Talent."
— Foti Kallergis, KTBC
When I was 8 (in 1964), I remember my father telling me, "Ronnie, come to the TV, we're going to watch the Beatles on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.' " So I sat with my mom and dad in front of our 19-inch, aqua-colored Sylvania black-and-white TV. When the Beatles started playing "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the girls in the audience were screaming. It was their first appearance on American TV and a special moment I will never forget. Thank you, Dad.
Weekend afternoons during hot Texas summers were enjoyed in front of the TV. My father and I watched baseball on Saturdays. I distinctly remember the play-by-play voices of Pee Wee Reese, Dizzy Dean and Curt Gowdy. Then on Sundays we'd watch old movies like "The Bowery Boys," "Ma and Pa Kettle" and "Charlie Chan" mysteries.
— Ron Oliveira, KEYE
My dad never sits still long enough to watch a lot of television, but when he does, the programming had better be worth his time. Growing up, I remember him making time to watch basketball games, but he rarely saw the clock run out if his team was not winning. News programs and comedies were the only types of shows that I remember keeping his attention. Every Saturday night I would beg to stay up late past my bedtime to watch "The Carol Burnett Show" with him, and every Saturday night he would give in and let me. Then we would sit and laugh for an hour!
— Leslie Rhode, KXAN
My dad liked to watch TV but never seemed to like us watching TV. In fact, it was rare when we could watch even a single show without Dad appearing from the kitchen, turning off the TV at the source (our remote was always lost), and making an extremely urgent family announcement. Something as important as "I just put the steaks on the grill" or "I can see Orion's belt." In the days before DVR, Dad's announcements were quite annoying, and always became increasingly important during the climax of the movie or the fourth quarter of the game. However, I suppose they are the reason I'm always willing to walk away from the TV when real life is going on. So for that, I thank him.
— Chet Garner, KLRU's "The Daytripper"
My dad, Michael J. Dugan, could never ever seem to stay awake for any movie or TV show; he would snore so ... loud we would nudge him and shake him awake with frustration as kids, because we couldn't hear the television over his monstrous snores. (Years later he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and now sleeps with a breathing machine. Phew!) I have memories of being humiliated in movie theaters, plays, etc., because of Dad's snores. Not only would he snore loudly, but it was so obvious when he'd fall asleep. His head would roll back and his mouth would gape open sucking in the surrounding air and releasing these insanely loud snores. To this day, my dad falls asleep while watching TV but, as an adult, it barely bothers me and just makes me smile.
— Mandy Dugan, the CW Austin Star
My Dad, Jesse T. Campos, is a true TV news junkie! He never misses the evening news, and his daily TV-watching ritual has changed only slightly since what I recall from my childhood in Houston. Now that he's approaching his 90th birthday, without fail, he takes a nap prior to watching the evening news on television. He'd hate to fall asleep and miss something!
Daddy will get up from his nap in time to catch KRIV, Fox 26 (my old station) at 9 p.m.
Then beginning at 10 he follows the dial: first it's KPRC-TV, Channel 2 (my husband, Kevin Benz, was a photojournalist there for 10 years) then Dad will switch to KHOU-TV, Channel 11 (KVUE's Belo sister station) and finish off the news hour watching KTRK-TV, Channel 13. Then he often complains that some of the content from channel to channel is repetitious! Haha!
Funny thing, if he lived here in Austin, I doubt he would get up early to watch me on "Daybreak," although he might be willing to set his DVR and fast-forward through it later at leisure.
As a well-known member of Houston's Hispanic community and a decorated World War II veteran, Dad has often been featured on the news in Houston.
I guess it's true that news is in your blood, and it runs thick in the Campos familia.
— Olga Campos Benz, KVUE
TV was rare and closely rationed as a youngster. My father's strict religious beliefs and skills as an electrician produced a homemade lock-and-key device on our TV's power cord. We'd get to see "National Geographic" specials or "Wild Kingdom." "Star Trek" was a liberal splurge. Working in the TV business is my biggest rebellion.
— Victor Diaz, YNN
My parents limited our television viewing to 11/2 hours a day! Can you believe it?
Watching television at our house was always a family affair. We would all sit down (Mom, Dad and three kids) together to watch the "boob tube," as my father sometimes called it (even though his daughter now makes a living on the "boob tube"). Anyway, I remember my father loving comedy shows. His all-time favorite show was "All in the Family." He would laugh until he cried at some of Archie Bunker's antics and one-liners. He had (still has) opposite political beliefs from Archie, so that made it all the more hilarious to him!
— Judy Maggio, KEYE
My father is a construction worker who worked his body to exhaustion during the week and spent the weekend recovering to do it all again week after week. I grew up in an extremely Baptist home, but sometimes my dad just couldn't physically stand going to church services. And on those Sundays we'd spend church time watching PBS. My dad, mom, younger brother and I would sit in front of the TV and learn about the universe on "Nova" and about the survival of the fittest on "Nature." And we would talk about how the things we had just learned about fit into our concept of spirituality. My father's insistence on watching PBS on weeks we didn't go to church is part of the reason I proudly work at a PBS station today.
— April Burcham, KLRU's director of communications
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
With that, my future was set. My stepdad was a radio guy, and part of our ritual was watching "WKRP in Cincinnati" as a family. Dad began his career as a disc jockey but ended up as a salesman — so he went from being Dr. Johnny Fever to being Herb Tarlek. Monday nights we would all watch the show together. I had no idea how true some parts were — the kooky newsman, the smarmy salesman, the multiple-martini lunches — and the Big Guy, a rather clueless but well-meaning general manager. After 22 years in radio, I have met all of them. And I couldn't be happier about it. Thanks, Dad.
— Heather White, KASE 101
My dad (Jim Hadlock) was really happy when ABC NFL "Monday Night Football" debuted when I was high school sophomore in 1970. Jim grew up playing football in our hometown of Marshall and was a halfback for the Longhorns during the mid-1930s. He rarely missed watching the Dallas Cowboys since their first televised game in 1960, and was a big admirer of fellow Longhorn Coach Tom Landry.
On the MNF broadcast my dad could easily identify with fellow East Texan Don Meredith. But whenever the New York-lawyer-turned-sportscaster-who-never-played-the-game appeared on the screen, Jim's face would drop and the muttering would begin. He repeatedly wondered aloud why somebody like Howard Cosell would be permitted in a booth with credible announcers like "Dandy" Don and Frank Gifford. But my dad would always enjoy it when, at least once during each game, country boy Meredith would invariably get the best of Cosell, turning the sophisticated New York City lawyer into a foil. Jim loved it when Don got Howard's goat!
— Robert Hadlock, KXAN
My father was a politician. That fact alone dictated what we watched on TV. Cherished memories of Dad watching "the tube" are unforgettable. Our "tube" or "picture box" was a big wooden floor console. I never really cared about it aside from "Sesame Street" or "The Electric Company." Alas, this is when the battle with Dad started: the evening news vs. PBS; politics/news vs. Big Bird. I had no chance with those yellow feathers. That was the serious TV watching. "Moving on up" ... If my dad could have been George Jefferson, he would have made it so. Yes, "The Jeffersons." It's possible my mom's real name is Weezie. "All in the Family's" Archie Bunker was another laugher for dad. It must have been the recliner, as dad also had a similar recliner. We were all watching and laughing. My daddy was a good old boy, so naturally "The Dukes of Hazzard" was on his funny list. The Dukes, his recliner and a bowl of popcorn. News, politics, George Jefferson, Archie Bunker and the Dukes. My dad was a cool guy!
— Susan Vessell, freelance public speaker, former KEYE meteorologist