This week I interviewed my father, Alex, about his memories about television whilst growing up. He was born in ’67 in Santiago, Chile and migrated to Australia in ’74, living right on the beach in Coogee – couldn’t possibly get more Australian than that. When him and his sister weren’t at the beach, he remembers watching TV with his family. His mother particularly liked shows like the Australian drama, ‘Prisoner’ and his father quite enjoyed sitcoms at the time like ‘Bewitched’ and ‘I Dream of Genie’.
Dad remembers the room in which the television was in as “typical for the time”. It was the 70s so there was the “patterned wallpaper, shaggy carpet and beige furniture”. He even noted one of the futons he would sit and watch TV on was in our house almost 30 years later until it crumbled and collapsed in on itself.
When my father and his family arrived in Australia they were quick to embrace Australian culture, with a big part of it being sport. When they arrived in ’74, the Eastern Suburb Roosters and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs were facing of in the grand final in the Australian Rugby League. My dad remembers watching the game as a 7-year-old on a grainy black and white television. That year the Roosters won 19 – 4 and from that moment on he became an Eastern Suburbs fan. Much of my father’s television memories involved watching his beloved Roosters play, including one year where they lost the final and he stormed out of the house. Some things never change.
Outside from sport, a significant moment my father remembers was the news report announcing the death of Elvis in 1977. He remembers it being a very surreal moment and compared it to when Michael Jackson died in 2009. These days news events, such as the death of a celebrity or other major world events, are broken over the internet first before airing on television. But back then the television was the first window into the happenings in the world. The world became smaller.
It is interesting to see how the use of television has changed over time. My father told me when growing up there were about five or so channels to choose from. I can’t imagine not being able to watch what I want when I want let alone only have a few channels to flick through. How my generation sees television compared to my dad’s generation is interesting. The TV allowed them to see the world. Today, it’s usually the last place we look.
Until next time,