[quote="edwest2, post:13, topic:252107"]
In the 1960s, we were encouraged to watch only a little TV and to go out and play, especially in the summer. We would go to the local school field and spend time on the swings or play baseball. There were great magazines (without porn or profanity) to read. Some people built model kits of planes or ships. We played cards and Monopoly. We went to the local park as a family to look at the natural beauty and to relax. We picked cherries and appples at orchards (when it was still allowed). My dad caught fish as a hobby and we sometimes collected bugs and coins. The radio had calm, civil people on it and there was Father Justin's Rosary Hour (in Polish) which my mother listened to. Neighbors had little parties and get togethers at each other's homes. Some kids played hockey and watched it on TV.
No, the time period was not perfect but going to Church every Sunday was a natural part of our lives. God was integrated into our communities even if we all weren't Catholics but held to some Christian faith and the TV at the time generally reflected and respected our moral values.
I had a similar upbringing in many ways. What younger people often don't know is that TV offered fewer choices back in the 1960s and 1970s (when I grew up - I'm 53) . The numerous cable channels offering uncut movies without commercials, cable channels catering to different interests (sports, all-news channels, kid's channels like Noggin and Nickelodeon), 24 hours a day, just didn't exist back then. In most metropolitan markets, you had ABC, CBS, and NBC, and maybe a couple if local channels. If you lived on the outskirts of town, you might not have good reception. Most stations "signed off" the air around midnight, after the Johnny Carson show ended, maybe staying up a little later on weekends to let the Late Show run. (I remember the sign off for the CBS affiliate in Phoenix in the 1970s showing an Air Force-supplied sign-off each night, showing stock footage of jet fighters while a narrator read the poem about "I have burst the surly bonds of Earth," with the final sign-off voice-over (which also used during the hourly station identification) being "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Imagine doing THAT today!
There were only certain times when "children's programming" on - Saturday morning cartoons, occasionally the first episode in a weeknight line-up like "The Flintstones" or "Jonny Quest" or inoffensive sitcoms with a broad appeal like "The Brady Bunch" or "Gilligan's Island." Other than early-morning shows for the very young, like "Captain Kangaroo," that was pretty much it for kids. In my house, after watching the Saturday morning cartoons you were "encouraged" to leave the house and "get some fresh air," so you would go out and play softball in a vacant lot (not many parks in my neighborhood, but vacant lots were generally considered shared community space as long as you weren't doing anything wrong), ride your bicycle around aimlessly, play "war" with your friends, come back, eat lunch, go to the library, etc. After the Saturday morning cartoons ended, there was a sharp programming divide for shows of little interest to kids (such as shows about Turkey Hunting) anyway, so no one would think about hanging around and watching TV. We tended to go to church a lot, as our church was also the parochial school and my grandmother was a secretary for the diocese and so it was the center of our lives and all my friends were from there.
There were of course no VCRs or computers or Internet, so if you missed an episode of your favorite show or a special or a ball game or a movie you wanted to see, you were out of luck until (if) it was re-run half-a-year later. In some cases, the series you liked might be canceled without reruns and you would have to wait until DVD sets were invented several decades later to find out what happened.
There was, to be honest, a lot of boredom in our lives back then - I remember riding my bike to the airport with friends to go up to the observation deck and watch planes landing, just to have something to do (which nowadays, would probably get us detained by the TSA), or going to the mall to hang out when we became teens - but generally we found ways to spend our time that involved actually talking and interacting with each other.
I read a book a few years ago (can't remember the title) that looked at diaries and writings from times before electric lights, and examined how average people spent their time after the sun set during the pre-industrial age. You can't sleep all that time (try sleeping from sunrise to sunset, even if you've done a day of hard physical labor), yet candles were both expensive and dangerous (fire was a big hazard in homes in the middle ages), and it was difficult to read by them even if you were literate (there was also a concern that a lit-up house could attract bandits). Some would catch up on the day's labor or doing work like candling eggs or sewing, but many people seemed to just sit in the dark and talk, which seems odd to us now, or just sit quietly and think if you lived alone. What I found most interesting is that in the middle ages, most Europeans had a different sleep cycle than we do - they would go to bed shortly after sunset, then wake up around 10:00 pm or so, and stay awake until about 2:00 am and then go back to sleep until sunrise. Many people would spend that time in prayer or saying the rosary, talking with family, having a small second meal, making love to a spouse, etc.
That seems like a very odd thing now, but I wonder if there could be some advantages to it. Maybe I should experiment with it, but I'd probably drive my wife and kids crazy.