Back in the 1950's, I would guess that probably nothing changed American life more than that new television set now parked in the corner of the living room. My father bought our first TV in 1952 when I was 4 years old. We did not have an indoor toilet until 1956, so I guess that shows what his priorities were!
Some of my friends were glued to the TV set and watched everything, but there were certain shows that I liked to watch...Miss Frances's Ding Dong School, Howdy Doody, and I Love Lucy. However, later on the networks were saturated with TV westerns, which I really enjoyed. Some of the best were Wild Bill Hickok, The Cisco Kid, The Gene Autrey Show, Have Gun Will Travel, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, and Hopalong Cassidy, just to name a few. My favorites were The Lone Ranger and Wyatt Earp. My younger brother liked Bat Masterson and Zorro.
In looking back on these shows, I think they certainly influenced my way of thinking to a great degree. There was definite line drawn between good and evil, and good always triumphed in the end. The good guys never got killed, and they stood for what was right. Some of the shows were a little far-fetched, but we didn't know that at the time...and how many real lawmen wore an outfit like the Lone Ranger?
I also was a big fan of the Superman TV show. He was also a "good guy" who fought for truth, justice, and the American way. He always took care of the "bad guys" and won in the end.
I have always wondered if maybe deep in my subconscious, because of watching westerns and Superman for hundreds of hours when I was young, if that is one reason I became a police officer and County Sheriff. And there were several times when I was in dangerous situations and could have been seriously injured..or even killed...but in my mind I always believed that good guys always I was cautious, but never afraid in those encounters. That was likely not a reasonable way to approach danger, but it was just how I felt deep inside. That attitude today could get an officer killed when dealing with deranged and drug induced criminals.
As a youngster, I had several capguns and then later on...a B-B rifle. I have never been a hunter, and I don't target shoot, but I do like historical firearms, specifically the Colt Single Action Army revolver, which is commonly referred to as the "cowboy six-shooter". Again, I think this stems from my watching the 1950's TV westerns.
Of course, I did watch other TV shows other than westerns and Superman...such shows as The Milton Berle Show, Ozzie and Harriet, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Honeymooners... to name a few. My wife told me that I must have been influenced by two other TV shows....The Three Stooges...and The Twilight Zone !!
Now, is that nice of her?
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.