Wednesday, 16 May 2018

WHEN DID YOU GO TO BED AS A KID?

Going to bed is a gradual thing for kids. It is still now I suspect and it was back in the Sixties for me. It was like a slow but steady exposure to darkness as we required less and less beauty sleep as the years passed.

Although my memory of junior bedtime is sketchy I have a strong feeling I went to bo-bo's around 6pm when I was 7 or 8.  After my SWORD toys and the like were put away on the shelf, I remember sitting in my bedroom window wailing as I watched my older Sister and her family drive off on Sunday evening. 

They came for tea every Sunday so their departure, sad in itself, was also the high tide mark of the weekend for me and going back to School on Monday loomed large and heavy.

Bedtime must have got later at some point as I started to stay up and watch TV programmes like the Mysteries of Edgar Wallace. I think the British 9pm TV watershed was the cut-off though and off under the sheets I went before TV got naughty for 3 hours!

Eventually I stayed up and watched everything on telly. There were only three channels back then in the UK - BBC1, BBC2 and ITV regions like Granada or Thames or HTV - but for some reason there were plenty of horror and monster movies on. I saw them all I think and watched until the the National Anthem had played and the dot appeared on the screen along with the high pitched siren in case you'd fallen asleep in front of the box!

When did you go to bed as a kid readers?

14 comments:

  1. In the early 50's 7pm is remembered as the witching hour. The radio offered Dick Barton, Special Agent or The Archers from 6:45-7:00. Because of static, Radio Luxembourg was unobtainable in North London, The BBC signal from Alexandra Palace swamped it. A pity because Dan Dare was on Luxembourg and that would have been the preferred 'bedtime' listening.

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    1. Did you ever get to hear those Dan Dare radio shows Terran?

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    2. My father tried his best but our PYE radio with it's massive valves in it's wooden case could only catch snatches of Dan Dare and that was often the Ovaltine commercial who were the sponsors. My understanding is that no recordings exist of the broadcasts. We did have on the BBC radio, Journey Into Space with Andrew Faulds and Alfie Bass which was the BBC answer to the Dan Dare challenge.

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    3. Its hard for me to be sure what exactly I'm looking for but I googled it and found these recordings. Are they correct Terran? https://archive.org/details/DanDare-PilotOfTheFutureAudio

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    4. Thank you Woodsy. This is the BBC version from maybe the 90's. They adapted the first story from the Eagle Comic. It is not the original Radio Luxembourg version which for added confusion had the voice of the same actor as played Dick Barton on BBC Radio, Noel Johnson.

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  2. I was really lucky, my parents allowed me to stay up until they went to bed. So the average bed-time for me was 10:30, sometimes a little later on a Friday and Saturday.

    Hence I got to see some of the great 1960's TV series intended for the grown-ups. But I was taught that with privilege comes responsibility, so I had to get up in time for school. If I didn't, I couldn't stay up, that was the deal.

    Trust me it was worth it. Besides, I'd normally catch a nap usually around Coronation Street time. These days, I can't stay awake much past 9:30-10PM.

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    1. The nap during Coronation Street was probably the result of beer fumes from the Rovers Return.

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    2. What was the best thing you watched late on then Bill?

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  3. Steptoe and Son. Til Death Us Do Part, Dangerman. Curiously the newly launched News at Ten, some of the episodes of Tales of Edgar Wallace.

    Also some of the late night horror films - yet Doctor Who scared me witless! - Here in Wales the Prisoner was on late and in 1970 a little known TV series called the Adventures of Don Quick.

    As for Coronation Street, I found it mind numbingly boring, so the sound of the brass band was enough to send me off.

    Although I was wise enough to not mention that I was a 'night owl' when I was in school, as I knew it likely the teachers would not be sympathetic to my nocturnal viewing!

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    1. Fabulous viewing that Bill! I eventually got to see most of them too. Not Don Quick though. Thats a new one on me. Do you remember the horror film season called Appointment with Fear! I think Frankenstein's head popped up as part of the title.

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  4. No Woodsy, I don't remember watching that season. I was quite selective with the 'horror stuff'. So if I thought that it would be something that would scare me too much, I'd not watch it.

    I learned to read fairly early so I'd scan the television pages.

    Don Quick, think of a black comedy sci-fi of Don Quixonite but for adults! I remember one episode that got my mother chuckling when one of the characters was being seduced by an alien 'babe', except he couldn't get his space suit off!

    Alf Garnets antics made excellent late night viewing. As a seven year old I didn't understand some if what he said but I realised that the character was completely bonkers and not the way to behave.

    I regard myself as so lucky, I really got to experience more of the sixties than a lot of children then. But it was in a safe and controlled environment.

    No wonder I miss my Grandmother who was the matriarch of our family and architect of this so much.

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    1. Yep, Alf Garnett. I remember him calling his son-in-law 'You Skarskitt". Only years later did I realise he was saying Scouse Git! ha ha. Une Stubbs was brilliant as was the hair-netted Mum. The son-in-law was just classic. It must have been the inspiration for the Royale Family but Till Death do Us was much more political do you think Bill?

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  5. Something else that’s come to mind, related to being allowed the freedom to stay up late with the grown-ups, was Smoking, and Alcohol and the real world. – Pretty much all my family smoked, and when I asked about cigarettes, [I must have been eight or nine] – I was handed one, and told how to smoke it.

    So it was lit up, and I took a good puff…

    Probably didn’t stop coughing for about a quarter of an hour! It put me off all smoking for life; my parents knew exactly what they were doing. They didn’t want me to smoke, but the easiest way was for me to find out for myself. The same with beer and larger, it tasted foul to me, so I’m pretty much Teetotal.

    In 1967, the newly launched News at Ten, used to have some fascinating reports that are still fresh in my mind even now. The Vietnam War dominated many of the bulletins together with the emerging Hippy Culture, Politics and Space. Some of the more ‘extreme watershed’ stuff that was shown just went over my head, as I was still a child. I do remember a story we all watched, where the ITN crew filmed an alleged Vietcong prisoner being interrogated. The poor fellow was begging not to be shot; it was an awful thing to witness. Sadly he was, although in a later bulletin, we found out that the Lieutenant, responsible for what was essentially a war crime, was court-martialled himself, and also shot.

    This didn’t harm or traumatise me, or give me nightmares, or turn me into some sort of a psycho. What it did was give me a good grasp of the real world, and grounded me to not get into drugs or violence. It also taught me to appreciate and love the good things in life, and avoid the bad.

    The Arts programmes, like “Aquarius” were fascinating, with all the 60’s Fashion and alternative culture. And late night weird shows like “Take Another Look”, which was a half hour programme using time-lapse photography. They would show speeded up flowers opening, grass growing and clouds forming, or a massively slowed down magnified drop of milk hitting a cup of tea.

    I’d say the biggest regret I have, is that I didn’t watch the music programmes of the time, like Top of the Pops or Ready, Steady, Go or Discs A-Go-Go on TWW. As then I wasn’t into pop music, it was just the soundtrack that was always in the background. Although I was a regular listener to Late Night Extra on BBC Radio, just before I went to bed.

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    1. An amazing viewing career Bill so early on. I remember that terrible Vietcong execution although I'm unsure when I saw it first. Not sure I watched that many music shows in the Sixties but at some point it did become important to me. I remember watching David Bowie singing John I'm only Dancing. My parent's looked at each other as if Bowie was an alien. I thought he was wonderful and my adoration of him grew and grew during my early teens. Gradually heavy rock took over my tastes and I watched The Old Grey Whistle Test in the 'lounge' lying on the carpet. I remember seeing Supertramp performing Dreamer for the first time and it was a great moment, one of many on the Whistle Test. Never listened to the radio except for the charts on a Sunday, which I taped!

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