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Column: So many movies to stream, but so little time to watch
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

A little more than 50 years ago, I was a TV remote. We had a black and white GE television and it was a far cry from having a handheld remote control.

When we were finishing supper, my daddy would dispatch me to the living room to warm up the TV. It was a tube type and it took a minute or two for the picture to come into a watchable condition.

Dad would often buy a Blue Streak edition of the Atlanta Journal, which was the last edition of the day. It included some of the stock market information. My folks didn’t “play the stock market,” but it also had the latest news.

It also had the listings of that evening’s television offerings. We only had three channels we watched. WSB was NBC in those days, WAGA was CBS, and WAII, now WXIA, was ABC. In about 1967, we added WJRJ, which later became WTCG and then WTBS. It would eventually become the Superstation.

We also had Channel 8 out of Athens, which was “educational” TV. They showed lots of documentaries about things like polar bears. They would fill in the gaps between shows with a selection of classical music, which was called “Musical Interlude.”

We did just fine with a handful of stations.

I am now streaming my television. It comes over the internet. I don’t completely understand the internet, but I know you’ll join me for thanking Al Gore for inventing it.

According to the information I have received, I have about 10,000 movies I can watch. I don’t think I’ll get to all of them in this lifetime. I also have about 70 years of TV shows to catch up on. There are shows like “My Little Margie,” “Our Miss Brooks” and “Topper,” a show about a man and wife who are dead but come back and visit this guy named Cosmo Topper.

I have one channel that shows only reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show.” As much as I like it, I’m not going to spend 24 hours a day in Mayberry.

Another channel offers reruns of “The Price is Right” from the early 70s. It can be fun or depressing to see the price of certain items in that era. All the women have their hair teased and give Bob Barker a little sugar on the cheek when they come on stage.

But there are things you have to pay for. They offer it in a bundle. This includes ESPN. 

Last Saturday, I was sure the No. 1 sports network would be televising the No. 1 football team in the nation. It’s at a school down the road from here called the University of Georgia. They did not. If you wanted to watch the Dawgs, you had to plunk down another $10 or so. Sorry Dawgs, I listened to you on the radio.

I think we are quickly reaching the point where we won’t need TV stations and their massive transmitters. It will all come to us on a fiber-optic cable with 10,000 movies and a jillion old TV shows.

Even if the game was not on a broadcast or cable channel, the TV folks still had control of the starting time of the game.

It’s sure different from the days of three channels, rabbit ears and a kid to change the channel.


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns publish weekly.