Whenever my dad, Mark, refers to his childhood, it is always fascinating to hear his stories and mischief that he got up. First off, my dad grew up in a house in the 1960s and 70s with two German parents and six other brothers – so it was quite a crowded and animated household. Living in a weatherboard cottage, when I asked him where he lived he had no hesitation remembering the address; “34 Susan Street Annandale.” Scribbling down the address, he commented on the size of a weatherboard cottage house and smiles at the fact that this was the living space of seven slightly defiant boys.
When I began asking probing questions about the television that my dad remembers, he instantly began using hands to describe the size of it. The television was in the lounge room and was also placed nearby a radio and record player which dad recalls his father commonly putting on tunes to listen to. When I ask what songs he commonly played, my dad begins to hum the tune but cannot recall the name. Apparently, this was an all-time favourite of his dad.
In terms of who got dominant control of the television, dad says his father was the one who had the authority over it. Funnily enough, I could say in our household that if it is anything related to NRL football, dad definitely holds the remote in his control. When it comes to his football and particularly the Cronulla Sharks playing, nothing else will seep onto the T.V screen.
A major aspect of my interview that I came to realise was how my dad and his brothers would habitually watch certain shows. He recalls that they would always get up early to watch “that Walt Disney show,” which he believes started before 7am. Other shows that he recalls include the ‘Super Flying Fun Show,’ which they would watch before school and ‘Division Four,’ which were more so detective shows. And without any hesitation, my dad can successfully still hum the opening tune to ‘Division Four,’ which I believe he was quite proud of.
My dad also recalls his mother being a big fan of homicide shows that ran on the TV including ‘Cop Shop‘ and ‘Homicide.’ When he begins to think more about these types of shows, he started to rattle off random names of actors and actresses including George Mallaby and Leonard Teale. A major motivation to watch ‘Cop Shop’, he said, was his captivation with the actress Lynda Stoner, who he believes was the true star of ‘Cop Shop.’ Funnily enough, I also suggested to my dad that his love for detective shows when he was younger might have also laid some groundwork for his future career.
As our conversation developed, my dad was surprised at all the little details that he could remember about watching television. He would periodically bring up an actor’s or actress’ name and be amused at his knowledge that he still retained over the years about them. For my dad, I believe that the television was a childhood artefact of him and his brothers being altogether and simply watching television. Ultimately, I see my dad remembering the opening tunes of these shows as being indicative of the type of entertainment value it had to him. Because all these years later he still hums the opening tunes and is pleased to know that he can still remember it exactly as it was.