Monday, 23 July 2012

Deprived South Africa - we've only had TV since 1976

Barbara Barnard
 These magazine covers date from those late years of the 1970s when we South Africans were very green concerning TV. (The Days of Apartheid when our government was both secretive and paternalistic). I found them in the Book shop in Richmond, adorning a wall. Not surprisingly, we only had 3 or 4 channels and only one serial per week - "Dallas" of course. In fact on a Tuesday night, most restaurants closed because everyone was glued to their sets and we waited with bated breath for the following installment. (So different from today when we wait for nothing). Perhaps
life was slower in those days; can it really be nearly forty years ago? These stars don't look quite the same today. I wonder what happened to the cast of WKRP in Cincinatti? We used to love that half an hour and our enjoyment was enhanced by the fact that our infant service boasted very few adverts. 
Do you remember Chris Barnard's beautiful second wife, Barbara?  In this issue, she complains that her eyes are too close together.  So many amazing advances have been made in heart surgery since those pioneer days.  Have you heard about the
 Berlin heart ?  It's an artificial pump designed for children which remains outside the body, busily working away for a number of months if necessary until a donor heart can be found. Until such time, the patients have to remain in the hospital.  I like to watch such programs (if they have a happy ending), as they always remind me how fortunate I am. Another favorite is "The Secret Millionaire": it's always so moving at the end, when after 10 days of volunteering undercover to work for different charities in poor areas, these wealthy people write out enormous checks (often in tears themselves) and quite apart from helping others, they find that their own lives are changed forever. 
I like that.
These days we have satellite TV, about 400 channelsand loads of annoying advertising, so now we mostly record everything and watch our favorites in our own time - fast forwarding over the adverts and all the repetitive stuff.  I grew up with TV in the UK - my mother always had the latest and best sets, though I do remember in the early fifties, our TV was very small and black and white and you had to adjust the 'Horizontal and Vertical Holds' constantly to try and get a decent picture.  Programmes ended for the day just before midnight to the majestic sounds of "God Save the Queen" and the 'Test Pattern'. And you had to get up to switch the TV on and off.
How times have changed.  NB. I've just discovered if I load all my pictures together and position them first, then place the cursor next to each picture separately to write the text - it comes out like this!  Light bulb moment in my blogging life.


  1. Cool tip on the photo placement. I'll have to try it.

    Interesting on these old TV shows. Dallas is back on in one of the cable networks, my wife watches it. Its funny to sit in another room and here Bobby and JR go at it like the old days and walk in the living room and see this ancient JR. Hell I thought Larry Hagman died years ago.

  2. Wow, I had no idea that t.v. came so lately to South Africa! That's fascinating! I remember when television was very new here in the U.S. with only a few channels. My first memory of t.v. is in the late 1940's in Los Angeles when a little girl named Kathy Fiscus fell down a well and triggered the first ever round the clock news coverage of the attempts to save her life. The coverage went on for a day and a half. Since we had the only television set in the neighborhood, whole families of our neighbors bedded down in our living room to watch the coverage and I remember all the adults breaking into sobs when rescuers brought up her lifeless body. It was the first time I had ever seen an adult cry. Obviously, this early t.v. coverage and its impact on people I knew left a major impression!

  3. Gosh - I thought America must have had TV forever! Although to be sensible, no-one could have had it before it was invented. Was it Sir Logie Baird, Sextant? ....must Google..

  4. We have a boat load of tv stations, but nothing to watch.