I had a flashback to my childhood just now when a news programme carried a small excerpt from ‘Camberwick Green’.
“Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today ?”
The box would start to rotate and out of the box would rise the episode’s star character. The background scenery would then appear and the story would begin.
I thought about the other programmes it reminded me of …Trumpton and Chigley. I can’t believe how even after all these years I can still remember the words that went along with some of the characters. My favourites still are The Fireman’s roll call song and PC McGarry No.452 – can’t remember if they were favourites then but am wondering if that’s why as a child I wanted to be either a fireman or a policeman when I grew up. I know that changed as I grew older as who didn’t want to be a train driver thanks to Casey Jones (“Steamin’ and a-rollin’…”).
Don’t however get me started on Fireball XL5…who’s influence towards a potential career role goes was probably the nearest, as I did once actually apply to join the Space Programme. However following my CV submission and the initial interview stage, when it came down to it I ran out of talent quite early on in the selection process – not speaking fluent Russian was quite a hindrance aside from any other failings that may have come to light had I progressed any further – apparently you do have to be a rocket scientist.
I guess like all children my age I was influenced much more because in those days TV was something of a novelty (how old do I sound !) . Playing outside getting bruised shins and scraped elbows was much more normal. There wasn’t 100’s of channels to choose from, only one TV in the house (Black & White in the very early days) and even when the Colour set arrived there was still only access to three channels (although it having four selection buttons made me think of the impressive viewing future to come and we with our fourth button were more than ready for it !). The one TV also meant my time in front of the screen was limited so my favourite shows were something I really, really did look forward to and so must have had a big influence on shaping my dreams and in some cases maybe even my life.
I think this is why even to this day I remember the programmes so well – as children my generation were not swamped by the mass of content today’s ones are exposed to – which is why when asking children today what they want to be when they grow up you get so many different answers. When asked to name programmes they watch you may as well give up on the rest of your day the list is so long. Their choice gets ever more high tech and even in some cases ever surreal…
…and unless they are very, very young unfortunately there is nothing remotely interesting at all about a character appearing as if by magic out of a rotating Musical Box.