Say the word vintage, and my mind goes right to vintage television. Mary and I watch a lot of vintage Tv, mostly because we aren’t entertained by what The Big 4 Networks are serving up these days and there’s not a lot on most of the streaming services that we’re interested in. That might change when our old TV finally gives up the ghost and we buy a “smart TV,” which many people think is an oxymoron, but for now we’re talking mostly about whatever we can receive via an indoor antenna.
When we uninstalled cable and decided to go with what we could get over the air, I was surprised at the number of stations that appeared. Nothing like the 300+ that we were able to get with our old cable package, but we weren’t watching 95% of them anyway. We still have access to more channels than we watch, but at least now we aren’t paying for them. A few channels are elusive: we haven’t been able to receive the two public TV stations and their subchannels on a regular basis. For that, we’ll need to get a stronger antenna, possibly an outdoor one, and neither of us are that enthused about it. There are more powerful indoor antennas and one that suggests it can make the wiring in my house act as a huge antenna. It might be worth the $39.95 to experiument with that.
Anyway, there are a few stations that play “vintage” TV, meaning they run (or maybe rerun is a better way of putting it) programs that were popular between roughly 1950 and 2000. And, just as with vintage wines (where the term comes from), you have to decide which shows are Chateau Lafitte and which are decades-old bottles of Welch’s grape juice. In other words, it’s a matter of taste. For some, In The Heat Of The Night represents the finest TV has to offer; for others, it’s watching Carroll O’Connor as a Southern version of Archie Bunker.
Most of our favorite shows are carried by MeTV: we’ve been spending the 8 PM hour with Andy Griffith and Don Knotts (The Andy Griffith Show) and the 10 PM hour with Bob Crane and Werner Klemperer (Hogan’s Heroes). They’re shows that we’ve seen so many times in our lives that we actually remember lines of dialogue and specific situations. On Saturdays and Sundays, we watch Peter Falk as Columbo (Saturday on Cozi TV, Sunday on MeTV). We’ve seen those shows so many times that one need only mention the villain and we know the story (certain actors, such as William Shatner, Robert Vaughn, Robert Culp, Jack Cassidy, and Patrick McGoohan, have been the villain several times, but a mention of the plot is usually sufficient to remind us about the story). For a while, This TV was running episodes of The Saint with Roger Moore, but just as I started telling everyone who would listen about it, they abruptly stopped showing it in favor of Redneck Archie Bunker.
That’s maybe the frustrating thing about the vintage stations: once you get accustomed to seeing a show in a given time period, they decide to take it off in favor of something that you either like better (less frequently) or that you hate with the fire of a thousand suns (usually the case). Someone finally explained that the production companies will lease programs to one of the vintage stations for a specific length of time, after which they lease them to another station, which might or might not actually have any plans to broadcast the show.
I just wish someone would keep track of which station has the broadcast rights for which vintage TV program. Wonder what would be involved with that?