Saturday, September 12, 2015

54. My Media Diet in the Mid-70s

Afternoons in the 70s were spent listening to Victor Wood's radio show, "Mr. Lonely". The television was a scarce appliance and the transistor radio was our medium of communication and entertainment. My dad required us kids to take naps in the afternoon, and we would bore ourselves to sleep with AM radio drama shows. On Saturday nights, I would be in our neighbor's sala early evening to get the front seat for the 7:00 o'clock re-run of "Combat". I never quite understood the World War II tv series, but I've often wondered why Rick Jason and Vic Morrow were never on the lead at the same time. My earliest recollection of the show was when Vic Morrow, who starred as Sgt. Chip Saunders, got deaf after a bomb explosion, and there would be moments he would be oblivious to a German platoon coming at his blind side. And we would be at the edge of our seats, hoping he would not get caught. Combat did not have complicated plots for a five year old to follow; it was war, they shoot at each other, somebody dies, the end. The moral dilemmas that the characters faced in each episode would be lost in my young mind.  I would go home after the show, sleep, and the following day, I'd get hold of the Bulletin, and  peruse the movie pages. I'd analyze every movie ad, note the actors, and wonder if the title of the movie promised any fun. A title of a movie stands out from memory, "Kaming Matatapang ang Apog", which apparently was a Dolphy movie. The Bulletin had this two page movie spread and at the top half of the spread would be the names of the theaters in boxes with the movies showing on those theaters. On one particular Sunday morning, I noted there were a lot of theaters showing that Dolphy movie. It was also showing for many weeks. I was not allowed to watch movies then, because I was too young, and I didn't really mind as reading the movie pages was enough entertainment for me. In the Panorama Magazine that came with the Sunday Bulletin was a cartoon, and the memory escapes me if it was on the fifth page or the back page. But I'd look forward to being humored by that cartoon every week. Our neighbors, who were Baptists,  had Gospel Comics, which were written in Tagalog; I borrowed them one night, and I finished reading the New Testament in one week. Gospel Comics were the only graphic novels that my Mom allowed in the house. Apparently, it was the heyday of the Philippine comics industry, but my Mom censored them from the household as for some reason they had a reputation of being crass. Later, as I grew older, I would have access to comics, but I had to hide them from my Mom, who never took a liking for them. Looking back at all my diet of mass communications in the mid -70's, I would say it was lean by today's standards. I used up most of my time interacting personally with other kids, running, talking, laughing, brawling, and growing up before the mass media explosion that would characterize the 80s. It's probably the reason why I think I'm not as bright as my kids as when they were five in the early 2000s. But I'm not willing to concede that they had more fun. 

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