Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do you remember ... life without cable tv?

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When I was growing up, we lived in a semi rural area,  on a county road.  Houses were spaced pretty far apart, and you rarely saw much of your neighbors.  This was the 80's, and cable was not available where we lived (we did not get it until I was in high school).  We would get 3 channels most days, on really good days we would pick up PBS and FOX out of Pittsburgh, but usually it was CBS, NBC, and a very fuzzy ABC, which was also out of Pittsburgh.

Because of our limited channel selection, and the sparse offerings of kid friendly programming in those days, I grew up watching a lot of PBS, which is where I first really learned anything about Pittsburgh.  To me, as a kid, Pittsburgh was a gritty and exotic town.  I can remember a few of the commercials we would see on WTAE, the Pittsburgh affiliate of ABC.  The one that sticks the most in my mind was for Century III Chevrolet.  Anyone who grew up near Pittsburgh and ever watched a Pittsburgh based channel knows the ridiculously catchy jingle:

I remember the first time I actually drove past this dealership as an adult.  I was so disappointed, it was not nearly as exotic as I pictured it in childhood.

I remember other Pittsburgh commercials, or even the Pittsburgh news.  This was the closest "big city" for us growing up.  School field trips included the Pittsburgh Zoo and Kennywood Park.  But the best impression I got of this city I would later call home was from tv.  I am glad we did not have cable when I was a kid, and I instead got bitten by the Burgh Bug courtesy of WTAE.  I think it was this early exposure to the Steel City that steered me toward moving to Pennsylvania.  And although I no longer live in the actual city of Pittsburgh, I will forever be a Pittsburgher at heart.

Did you have cable as a kid?  What do you remember from tv during your childhood, and what impact do you think it had on you?