Block Party Summer

After a day of playing in the sun as a child, my family and I enjoyed sharing classic TV together before bedtime. The classic TV line-up included The Munsters, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Leave it to Beaver, and Happy Days.

I believe these shows were, and still are, appealing on several levels. To a child, they were funny, full of adventure, and in some cases, fantasy and magic! Adults find them entertaining for similar reasons, and enjoy the fact that the shows are downright wholesome and appropriate for even young children. There was always some underlying lesson to be learned at the end of  all the shenanigans. The playful “drama” that occurred in these shows was never violent or over-the-top as most shows are today. The situations were real enough for adults to believe and enjoy watching, and yet still appeal to younger children because of their humor and special effects.

The Munsters: I remember being slightly scared at times of Herman Munster, but then his big, goofy self would make me laugh. Despite the fact that they were by no means an “ordinary” family, they had real family values and generous hearts, even little Eddie. The crazy contraptions in their house, and Grandpa’s strange concoctions always made for an interesting episode. The best ones of course were when their paths crashed with the outside, normal world, and people were stopped in their tracks at the sight of them.

I Love Lucy: My grandma and I would laugh through classic episodes like when Lucy and Ethel go to work at the candy factory and end up stuffing their mouths with chocolate kisses because the conveyor belt is going so fast. Another favorite was the time that Lucy does a commercial for “Vegevitavegamin,” which contains a small amount of alcohol. With each take, Lucy finds it harder and harder to get the words to the jingle correct.

Bewitched: I still remember being fascinated by Samantha’s ability to twitch her nose and have a complete dinner ready in minutes. Her husband Darrin, originally played by Dick York and later by Dick Sargent, had the best facial expressions when something went astray, resulting from Sam’s magic and usually at the office with his boss Larry. Aunt Clara was another favorite character of mine. In “There’s No Witch Like an Old Witch” Aunt Clara becomes a huge hit when baby-sitting for a neighbor’s children. She makes toys come alive and tells the children she can do all this because she is a witch. When the kids tell their parents, they become enraged and Aunt Clara ends up on trial.  My favorite part is when the judge asks her if she is resentful towards children, and Clara, in her bumbling way, says “Oh, my, no! I think we like to look back, remember when we were young, at a time free of care, you know, full of happiness, and, uh, music and bright colors.”  I think this hits a chord with anyone, young or old.  Children have that magical power to unlock the inner-child in us all, and make us feel young again, filled with wonder and awe.

I Dream of Jeannie: I’ll never forget Jeannie’s  beautiful pink ensemble and the way she would fold her arms, nod her head and blink, disappearing in a cloud of pink smoke.  And let’s not forget the handsome Major Nelson, played by Larry Hagman, whom I had (and still do) a crush on.

Leave it to Beaver presented to us a picture “perfect” family. Yes, they had problems, but at the end of the day someone always learned a lesson and everything was okay. One word that I feel really describes the show is “comforting.” I’m always comforted by June’s motherly tasks, always preparing a meal or snack for the boys, and Ward’s ability to fix any problem with a little whit and experience. Wally and Beaver were perhaps the epitome of what it meant to be brothers. They got upset with one another, but they never really fought and always helped each other out with kindness.

Happy Days was great for those teenage years of first loves and trying to look cool, and nobody was cooler than “The Fonz.” I loved watching their lives unfold at Arnold’s diner, or Inspiration Point (a.k.a make-out mountain). Episodes include both heartwarming family moments and unforgettable innocent humor.

Classic TV is something I think that the whole family can sit-down and enjoy without worrying about inappropriate material. You too might find yourself drawn back to your youth while watching these episodes.

So gather together some friends and family, have a BBQ and maybe even a campfire as you watch the last sunsets of summer graze the night skies, and then head inside for a classic Block-Party-Summer TV Marathon, straight from OWL’s collection. Enjoy!

Sarai is the Library Assistant who is currently honing her nose twitching skills…

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