I called my grandmother, Val Apps (or Nanny as she will be referred to throughout) this week to ask her about her memories of television and I’m glad I did because I learned things about her and my family that I didn’t know before and greater details on things I already did, for example, something I am quite jealous about is the fact that Nanny does not remember having as many advertisements on TV as there is today.
The thing Nanny remembered quite fondly was the ‘rabbit’s ears’ that used to be on top of tv’s when she was growing up and how she would follow the signal around the room and after having to get up to change the channel, which just sounds like such a big deal these days when you can just speak to change the channel, you would then have to move the wires to find the signal for THAT channel. She also talked about how they were extremely bulky and looked like they came with their own built in TV cabinets as opposed to today’s, thinner and smaller sets.
A memory, that for many Australians, revolve around the television, is where were you on 9/11. When I asked Nanny this question, it unsurprisingly involved my grandfather (or Pa), Bob, and Golf. She told me how when Pa got up to go to golf that morning, he came back into their room and woke her up and told her ‘you should probably turn on the tv, some things happened’. Although, my personal favorite story that Nanny told me was about the 1981 NRL grand final, between Parramatta Eels and Newtown Jets.
Growing up, for both Nanny and I, watching NRL with the family or hearing someone yell at the screen due to something going wrong during the game, (19 years and I still don’t know much about football, clearly) was quite a normal experience. While on the phone with Nanny she spoke about watching the family team for 3 generations now, Parramatta Eels, in their first grand final game on television with her family. She told me about how her mother couldn’t bear to watch the game, after half time and took to pacing outside until the game was over.
So in some ways, TV and the ways audiences experience it, have changed quite a bit, but in other ways, they have not at all, as I’m sure Nanny will have the same reaction as her mother if the eels once again got into the grand final and came as close as they did in 1981.
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Genova, T. (2017). 1950-1959. [online] Tvhistory.tv. Available at: http://www.tvhistory.tv/1950-1959.htm [Accessed 4 Aug. 2017].
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