When I arrive at home after work each evening and sit down to eat, the first thing I do is switch on the little TV that's perched on the wall just above the microwave. Yes, it's 6:30 and time for Happy Days, with Richie Cunningham and the gang. No, our kitchen TV is not connected to DirecTV or Dish . . . it's connected to our outside antenna. We have a large TV in the living room with DirecTV service, but we seldom watch it unless an old TV show is on. Our grandkids watch some children's programs when they stay the night; otherwise, we could do without it. As far as my wife and I are concerned, there are absolutely no "decent" new TV shows to watch. And if a good movie is showing, it's too frustrating to watch 10 minutes of the movie, alternated by 5 minutes of solid commercials.
So what happened to the GOOD TV shows? When Dad purchased our first TV in 1952, we received two or three Indy channels, although it was "snowy" at times. Our favorite shows were I Love Lucy, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Jack Benny Show, Our Miss Brooks, The Milton Berle Show, Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, Dragnet, The Danny Thomas Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Honeymooners.
As a small fry, I also watched The Howdy Doody Show, Captain Kangaroo, Ding Dong School with Miss Frances, The Lone Ranger, The Mickey Mouse Club and The Adventures of Superman. I don't remember any movies on TV . . . no problem . . . I headed to the Sunshine Theater in Darlington for movies . . . 25 cents admission and 10 cents for buttered popcorn . . . It was packed every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights!
There were many good TV shows later on in the 1950s and early 1960s that our family regularly watched . . . good wholesome shows like Leave It To Beaver, The Red Skelton Show, Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, The Real McCoys, Dennis the Menace, Lassie, The Andy Griffith Show, and of course . . . many westerns such as The Rifleman, Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, The Roy Rogers Show and Wagon Train. The drama TV shows included The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, The Untouchables and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. And of course, as I approached my teenage years, I tuned in to American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark.
As these early TV shows disappeared, there were a few other great TV shows that took their place in the ‘70s and ‘80s . . . shows such as Mama's Family, The Love Boat, Alice, The Wonder Years, Little House on the Prairie, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Waltons, Miami Vice, and Columbo . . . to name just a few, and then, for the most part, TV show quality started sliding downhill. Times changed. Society changed. Schools changed. Politics changed. Perhaps that is the problem . . . I didn't change. I want my old TV shows back. Fortunately, some stations still have these shows today. When I am watching the old TV shows, I am in a good mood. I prefer Andy and Barney, or Ricky and Lucy . . . over ANY of today's shows or the national "news" networks . . . or those dumber-than-dumb "reality" shows.
At 6:30 p.m., don't bother me. Don't call me. I am enjoying dinner with Richie, Joanie, Howard, Marian and the Fonz. And then I will have my Lorna Doone cookies and glass of milk . . . and sip my evening cup of coffee as I relax in my recliner for the next half hour . . . Yep . . . time for Matt, Chester, Doc and Miss Kitty . . . followed by a walk down our road with the dog . . . and then a good book . . . a great evening for this over-70 "baby boomer."
Perhaps you think I am too nostalgic or "stuck in the past." Well, that could be. But if I get to the point where I enjoy watching Oprah's interviews, Gordon Ramsey's Masterchef or The Jerry Springer Show (Where does he find those morons?), then for God's sake, you have my permission to involuntarily commit me to the nearest mental institution. Please have the attendants sedate me and have me placed in the idiot TV watching ward.

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history. He writes a general column that appears in The Paper on Fridays and a local sports column on Tuesdays.