Sunday, August 23, 2015

What's On TV At Mom's (Whenever)?

Of the dozens of channels on Mom's cable-TV system in Evansville, Indiana, she's interested in really only 14 channels. In fact, it wouldn't be too much of a problem for her to cut loose a couple of those 14 and get down to 1 through 12--or, say, 2 through 13 ...

Anyway, here are the channels that Mom actually will watch:

-- Evansville's big-network affiliates--WFIE, for "We're First In Evansville," NBC Channel 4, WEVV CBS 10 and WEHT ABC 11--for national news in the evening, local news at late night and sports;

-- CNN 33 for breaking news;

-- ESPN 506 and ESPN2 509 for more sports;

-- the PBS channels (WNIN 9 and 13) and Travel 453 for interesting scenery, pretty music and other curiosities, and

-- INSP 38, TV Land 58, Hallmark 66, Heroes and Icons 186 and MeTV 436 for reruns.

When I was 8 or 10 in Paducah, I terrified Mom on literally the first day of a summer break from Concord Elementary School by walking into the kitchen with a sheet of notebook paper and showing her how I had condensed from the weekly insert in The Sun-Democrat my own hand-printed, half-hour-by-half-hour schedule of what I would watch on TV at any point that summer, 24x7. The notion of her pudgy, alibaster-skinned boy in front of a black-and-white portable for the next three months tipped Mom into the kind of incongruent, shock-and-awe parenting response to which I find myself totally prone to today, and she sent me outside to immediately start playing in the sun.

But I was proud of my work. For in those antenna days, children, we had access to only four or five channels--the network affiliates, KET and maybe one other snowy UHF offering on days with the right cocktail of clouds but no rain. It wasn't like the choices were so rich that I was actually excited about watching whatever I had written down for each M-F, Sa and Su 30-minute block. Yet, in the practical spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, I even made the hard choices and listed stuff like the 5 a.m. KFVS farm report when nothing else was on and I still wanted to be ready just in case I was up at that hour.

In any event, it turns out, almost a couple of score later, that little exercise in May 1977 or so was merely a beta application for honoring my mom as an adult. She's the one who's watching a lot of TV these days, and she should be thankful because her options are a heck of a lot better than they were back in my day.

I'm going to concentrate this first post in this new #TVwithMom HP series on the M-F daytime rerun slate, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Central, because that's really where Mom needs the most guidance.

7 a.m.

Hallmark, I Love Lucy at 7:30 and Golden Girls at 8; MeTV, The Donna Reed Show at 7 and Gilligan's Island at 7:30. (INSP and TV Land are infomercialing until 8; Heroes and Icons shows news.)

Probably no show has made my mother laugh more frequently than I Love Lucy, and it is really, really funny. It gets funnier the longer you watch it, even. And she actually is a Gilligan's Island fan--"it's a silly show, but it's cute." She's right.

8 a.m.

INSP, The High Chapparal; TV Land, Three's Company at 8 and 8:36 (#smh); Hallmark, Golden Girls at 8 and 8:30; Heroes and Icons, Branded at 8 and The Guns of Will Sonnett at 8:30; MeTV, Daniel Boone.

Rosey Grier made regular appearances on Daniel Boone, and that's why I gave it the nod over High Chapparal. The truth is, though, that this and 7 a.m. are really when Mom is usually listening to Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio.

9 a.m.

INSP, The Big Valley; TV Land, Three's Company at 9:12 and Gilligan's Island at 9:48; Hallmark is out of play until 1, running original programming called Home & Family; Heroes and Icons, Wanted Dead or Alive at 9 and 9:30; MeTV, Perry Mason.

I'm really impressed with MeTV, which, for my money, is now better at TV Land than certainly TV Land is now and maybe even TV Land ever was.

10 a.m.

INSP, Daniel Boone; TV Land, Gilligan's Island at 10:24; Heroes and Icons, Have Gun, Will Travel at 10 and 10:30; MeTV, Quincy M.E.

Mom actually is not much of a Quincy fan. Jack Klugman is just so relentlessly intense in that show. She tends to want to switch over to the Gilligan about midway through, but, honestly, I nearly disqualified TV Land from this whole conversation for its maddening starting shows off the hour or half-hour.

11 a.m.

INSP, Daniel Boone; TV Land, Gilligan's Island at 11 and Gunsmoke at 11:30; Heroes and Icons, Wagon Train; MeTV, The Rockford Files.

Solid Mom choices here, but who's kidding whom


INSP, Bonanza; TV Land, Gunsmoke at 12:30; Heroes and Icons, Cheyenne; MeTV, Gunsmoke.

Mom's OK with Gunsmoke. Mostly, though, this is just a Rockford-coattails situation.

1 p.m.

INSP, Matlock; TV Land, Bonanza at 1:30; Hallmark, Little House on the Prairie; Heroes and Icons, The Mod Squad; MeTV, Bonanza.

Mom was a Mod Squad watcher when it originally aired, and she would enjoy seeing an episode or two of that. But, eventually, I think she's going back to the Matlock bell cow.

2 p.m.

INSP, Matlock; TV Land, Bonanza at 2:30; Hallmark, Little House on the Prairie; Heroes and Icons, Cannon; MeTV, The Rifleman at 2 and 2:30.

The HP signed up to follow the Heroes and Icons Twitter account today. @handitvnetwork has never sent out a Tweet. We're one of 10 followers. Two of the other followers appear to be different accounts for the same person. 

3 p.m.

INSP, The Waltons; TV Land, Bonanza at 3:36 (here we go again); Hallmark, Little House on the Prairie; Heroes and Icons, The Untouchables; MeTV, Emergency!

Here kicks off a four-hour run of Waltons, including a 4 p.m. Waltons-v.-Waltons duel.

4 p.m.

INSP, The Waltons; TV Land, Gilligan's Island at 4:48; Hallmark, The Waltons; Heroes and Icons, Kung Fu; MeTV, Emergency!

5 p.m.

INSP, Little House on the Prairie; TV Land, Gilligan's Island at 5:24; Hallmark, The Waltons; Heroes and Icons, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; MeTV, CHiPs

6 p.m.

INSP, Little House on the Prairie; TV Land, Gilligan's Island at 6 and 6:30; Hallmark, The Waltons; Heroes and Icons, Lost in Space; MeTV, M*A*S*H at 6 and 6:30.

7 p.m.

INSP, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; TV Land, Everybody Loves Raymond at 7:12 and 7:48; Hallmark, The Waltons; Heroes and Icons, The Wild Wild West; MeTV, Mayberry, R.F.D. at 7 and 7:30.

I'm not often at Mom's at 7 in the evening. But, next time I am, we're definitely watching Mayberry, R.F.D. Full reruns aren't available on YouTube; the boys on the 1969 desk check about once a week.

8 p.m.

INSP, The Waltons; TV Land, Everybody Loves Raymond at 8:24; Hallmark, The Middle at 8 and 8:30; Heroes and Icons, Mission: Impossible; MeTV, Saved by the Bell at 8 and 8:30.

Hallmark is pretty aggressive. Not only does it go head-to-head with INSP for the Waltons bacon, it also trots out a sitcom with the Everybody Loves Raymond mom to go up against Everybody Loves Raymond on TV Land.

9 p.m.

INSP, JAG; TV Land, Everybody Loves Raymond at 9 and 9:30; Hallmark, The Middle at 9 and 9:30; Heroes and Icons, The Fugitive; MeTV, Saved by the Bell at 9 and 9:30.

JAG, out of production since 2005, is probably the most recently made series that Mom actually enjoyed watching, and she enjoyed it a great deal.

10 p.m. and beyond

And now a few words about the overnight ... MeTV doesn't let off the gas, with solid scores at 10 (Carol Burnett and Friends), 10:30 (Perry Mason), 2 (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour), 4:30 (Make Room for Daddy), 5 (Petticoat Junction), 5:30 (The Beverly Hillbillies), 6 (The Donna Reed Show) and 6:30 (I Love Lucy). MeTV knows what it's trying to do, and it knows how to do it ... INSP comes back with another Matlock at 11. In the wee hours, it rolls into presumably INSPirational programming: shows called Campmeeting, Uncommon Blessing and International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. In the same way that I and every other Class of '86er longs for when MTV actually showed music videos, there are likely the true believers who don't like it that their channel caved in to the Waltons/Matlock culture. I'm glad they can still find what they're looking for 3-7 a.m. on INSP ... Heroes and Icons brings the heat overnight: Ironside at 10, Combat! at 1 a.m., 12 O'Clock High at 3 and 4 and something I'd never heard of, The Rebel, at 6:30 (Wikipedia: "The series portrays the adventures of young Confederate Army veteran Johnny Yuma, an aspiring writer, played by Nick Adams. Haunted by his memories of the American Civil War, Yuma, in search of inner peace, roams the American West, specifically the Texas Hill Country and the South Texas Plains. He keeps a journal of his adventures and fights injustice where he finds it with a revolver and a sawed-off double-barreled shotgun.")


  1. Me TV is having a special showing of Welcome Back, Kotter right now, and Mom's totally into that. She loves WBK.

  2. Today's Rockford episode on Me TV is "Deadlock in Parma." Here's Jim doing some fly fishing. My dad did some fly fishing, long before A River Runs Through It.

  3. I love it when shows have scenes in groceries and other stores with real commercial products. It's fun to see the labels.

  4. Here's Rockford trying to skip town on a bus. I always figured I'd end up doing a lot more bus travel than I have. I once traveled by bus with my mother when I was a boy and nearly got left behind while buying a cheese sandwich from the bus-station snack stand. Then, on the eve of my 30th or 31st birthday, I rode a bus from somewhere in eastern Tennessee to Evansville, Indiana, when my car broke down. That was a great trip. I remember one of the smoke stops at a motel just north of Madisonville. Turned out I ended up marrying a Madisonville girl who grew up just a couple of miles from that very bus stop--didn't even know her at that point. You just never know.

  5. Now here's Rockford eating pie with a fetching news reporter in some restaurant booth. I haven't been paying much attention to the story here. I think Mom's pretty dialed in, however.

  6. The name of the restaurant is the "Tehachapi Belle," and there's a sign out front that touts "Home Made Pies."

    Why am I surprised to find a lengthy discussion of this episode on the Internet, which is amazing?

  7. Back to the store ... one of the labels over one of the aisles reads, "RUBBER GOODS" and "PET FOODS."

    "Rubber goods" is a pretty non-specific category of products.

  8. Now Rockford's in jail! I should've paid more attention to the story here. I have no idea what's happening.

  9. OK, here we go ... car chase and probably a fist fight ... do TV shows still have car chases and fist fights?