Once upon a time there was a little girl named Franny who was among the first group of baby boomers to be born. The year was 1946 and Franny has fond memories of growing up during that era. So in her own words, Franny would like to share some of those memories.
My earliest memories center around the early 1950’s when I was in kindergarten. My parents were not rich but somehow my father managed to get us a black and white television. I believe we were one of the first families on our street to have one. It had a small, round screen which was encased in a wooden console . One of my favorite shows was “It’s Howdy Doody Time.” Howdy Doody was a freckled face marionette who was initially voiced by Buffalo Bob Smith. There were other marionette and human characters on the show. My favorite marionettes, besides Howdy, were Princess Summer Fall Winterspring and Mayor Phineas T. Bluster. The most notable human character, aside from Buffalo Bob, was Clarabell the Clown who could only communicate by honking his horn. The show was on the air from 1947 to 1960 and was one of the first programs to experiment with color.
Another favorite show was “The Winky Dink Show.” Airing in 1953, it was the first interactive television show. I remember the excitement of sending away for the Winky Dink Kit. The kit contained crayons and a clear plastic sheet that you put over your television screen. You had to rub the plastic sheet on the television screen and cross your fingers that static electricity would keep the sheet adhered to your screen. During the program you were instructed to draw objects on the sheet. The novelty of it wore off quickly but it was an interesting concept.
In 1955 Walt Disney brought “The Mickey Mouse Club” to the television screen. Many Mouseketeers such as Annette Funicello became famous through that show. Other Mouseketeers caused little girls’ hearts to flutter such as Tim Considine, who starred in the serial “Spin and Marty.” An hour long the show had a different theme each day of the week. I loved it when the audience was treated to a ride at Disneyland. Oh how I wanted to go to Disneyland! The show was canceled and revised several times, the latest being in the 1990s when Justin Timberlake and Brittany Spears made their debuts.
I have a multitude of wonderful memories from an innocent time. We wore dungarees but only for play, not fashion jeans that are too tight for sitting; or so loose they fall below the underwear. Hop scotch, marbles and jacks were some of the games we played, and usually outdoors. We brought our music to the beach with our transistor radios. In the 1960s the innocence began to end with race riots, war protests and social unrest. As is true of all generations, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.”