Woodworking: If your cable-TV options are few and dreadful, resort to good old applesauceIn our household we go through cable companies like Howard Hughes went through starlets, airlines and movie production companies.
By: Dave Wood, columnist, River Falls Journal
In our household we go through cable companies like Howard Hughes went through starlets, airlines and movie production companies.
We change all the time. We even change before our contracts are up and then argue about why we shouldn’t pay off.
And why should we pay off? Because every cable company we have tried is SHAMEFULLY BAD.
In their various “packages” the shysters who put them together give you one good channel and nine bad ones.
In our current company we have channels with whole commercial shows hawking brassieres — and barbeque broilers, and God knows what else.
You wanna watch a bunch of decent movies on Encore? That’ll be an extra 10 bucks a month.
Want HBO, even though there’s nothing on it? That’ll be an extra $14.
Our new company is the worst we have ever subscribed to. We don’t get the military channel (I know that shows my age). We don’t even get Oxygen.
It has gotten to the point where we’re reading books and doing other productive activities.
But as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a TV ADDICT and I’m hooked on the tube.
So every day, I tune in and surf the channels. Of course every movie or program I click on comes up with a blue screen telling me that I haven’t purchased this particular channel.
But, hope springs eternal in the human breast so I keep on surfing.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Deep in the heart of the 300 numbers, where all the evangelist preacher channels reside, is a channel called Inspiration.
Every noon and every 7 p.m. throughout the weekdays this channel runs a different episode of “The Waltons.” I’m a sucker for that excellent series, which ran for years but also many years ago.
Why is it back and on the Inspiration channel? Because it’s inspirational, that’s why. And because it deals with a family surviving the ordeals of the Great Depression just as today’s many families are having their own ordeals in the recession that keeps receding.
Critics of the show said “The Waltons” was too inspirational and that the rural Virginia family was too idealistically portrayed.
I guess the critics figured John-Boy Walton and his six brothers and sisters didn’t suffer enough. (The Waltons even had a bathtub.)
What the critics forgot was that the Waltons lived on a farm, lived off the land, at one time were fairly well-fixed.
As postwar prices skyrocketed my own grandmother was fond of saying, “What this country needs is another good depression,” meaning she recalled the 1930s as a good time for rural Americans who could raise their own food and knew how to get along with less.
So every weekday night Beautiful Wife and I sit down next to the TV and wait for the next adventure of the intrepid family as they grow from children to adolescents and on to marriage and families; sort of like the Walton family which gathers around the radio to listen to Franklin Roosevelt deliver a fireside chat or Fibber McGee and Molly opening their closet door.
Almost every night, we’re amazed at how a show with no vulgarity, no car chases (oh, a mule chase once in awhile) and no murders could have been so popular such a short time ago.
The acting is near flawless, with Wisconsin’s own Ellen Corby playing Grandma; Will Geer, blacklisted for years, playing Grandpa; and then relatively unknowns Michael Learned and Ralph Waite playing Ma and Pa.
The topics in the early years were fairly gutsy: Anti-Semitism, poverty, bigotry, race, illiteracy, education and the perils we humans fall heir to.
Ellen Corby had a stroke in the middle of filming and they kept her on the show even though she could no longer talk. Will Geer died and they put his death in the show. Ma Walton got polio and on and on.
The channel frosts this cake from time to time to bring back the actors we grew to love 30 years ago. Corby and Geer are dead, but well-remembered by the cast of kids who are now beginning to show their age. Waite and Learned are getting up there as is the narrator and author, Earl Hamner, now in his 80s.
They sit around a table and talk about the fun they had when younger, how Corby coached them in the niceties of staging and dialogue, how Geer, a noted horticulturist, actually planted a garden on the set so the kids could actually hoe around real plants.
So I’m glad I surfed.
I guess if you subscribe to a terrible cable network, do what folks do when they get a crop of sour apples: They make applesauce.
Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554.