I grew up in the era of family TV. Long before cable networks, long before censorship went the way of the dinosaur, long before the Internet and you-tube changed our viewing habits. During this era, I was a lonely, chubby, nerdy only child who longed for adventure, siblings, and a stable family life. It’s no wonder 6 of the 7 following shows were family based, moralistic, and portrayed the types of families I wanted tobe included in. The 7th was pure adventure, based on my favorite song of all time! So, for today, my 7 favorite tv shows of my childhood are:
New York engineer Bill Davis finds his life as a swinging bachelor turned upside-down by the arrival of his newly orphaned nieces and nephew — young twins Buffy and Jody and their teenaged big sister, Cissy. In time, however, Bill adjusts his lifestyle to accommodate his young charges, with a little help from his fastidious British butler, Mr. French.
Secret Agent Man
A security investigator travels worldwide. ( and one of the coolest songs ever written by Jonny Rivers.
Here’s the story … of a man named Brady, an architect widower with three sons: oldest Greg, middle son Peter and youngest Bobby. He meets and marries Carol, with three daughters of her own: oldest Marcia, middle girl Jan and little one Cindy. Tending to them is a wacky maid named Alice. They all live in a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in the Los Angeles suburbs. The story lines deal with boy problems, sharing bathrooms, lost hamsters, the occasional football to the nose, and attempts at pop music stardom.
A widowed mother and her five kids form a band and make a hit record, then travel around the country in a groovy school bus. The comedy contrasts life on the road with the cozy suburban life they return to after the show is over. There’s feel-good music, hapless adults, scheming kids and heartthrob teens thrown in for good measure.
The life of a Depression-era family in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is the subject of this wholesome series. The show is seen from the point of view of eldest son John Boy, who eventually goes to college, serves in World War II and becomes a novelist.
Little House on the Prairie
Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series of “Little House” books, this drama series revolved around the 1870s adventures of the Ingalls family — father Charles, mother Caroline, eldest daughter Mary, middle daughter/narrator Laura and youngest daughter Carrie — who owned a farm in Walnut Grove, Minn., during the late 1800s, and the daughters all attended school where they were annoyed by bratty Nellie Oleson. As the years went on, Mary lost her eyesight and moved away to teach at a school for the blind, and the Ingalls family moved to the Dakota territory –and back. Laura met Almanzo Wilder, a man who would ultimately become her husband. During the ninth and final season, Charles and Caroline sold their farm and moved away, leaving Laura and Almanzo in Walnut Grove.
One Day at a Time
Divorced mother Ann Romano moves to Indianapolis with her daughters, rebellious Julie and wisecracking Barbara, where she struggles to raise the teens on her own. Ann tries to maintain a balance between being a career woman and caring for the girls, who she wants to be able to offer the independence she never had as a young woman. Schneider, the building’s quirky superintendent, is a frequent visitor to the Romanos’ apartment, where he offers the family his usually-unwanted advice on various topics. As the series progresses and Julie and Barbara get older, they head off into the workforce and start their own marriages, and Ann continues to mend her relationship with ex-husband Ed.
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