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Sep 20

Genealogy Roadshow to Debut

If you enjoy watching the hit show Who Do You Think You Are? you will be pleased to learn that another genealogy-related TV show will premier this coming Monday, September 23rd, on the PBS network.

Genealogy Roadshow is the American version of the hit Irish TV series and has a format similar to that of Antiques Roadshow. Participants with “unique claims and story lines” will be chosen from an audience and genealogists will research to find the truth. Genealogists Joshua Taylor and Kenyatta Berry will be the hosts of the show.

The first season consists of four episodes (23 September-14 October), filmed in Austin, Detroit, Nashville and San Francisco. I read that one show will be from Nashville, where researchers will try to determine whether or not an individual is related to Davey Crockett, as his family legend claims. Another episode to be from San Francisco, about the earthquake in the early 1900s.

I saw a 5 minute clip of Genealogy Roadshow at last month’s FGS Conference in Fort Wayne and it should be a hit with anyone interested in family history.

Genealogy TV shows, while very interesting, can be deceiving. The whole research process may look quick and easy on a one-hour TV show, but you don’t see the hours it took to find all those documents and the information needed to trace one’s family history back several generations.

TV 2

In April of this year the Lima Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution presented the “Women in American History Award” to former Lima TV personality VaLaire (Rilee) Orchard. As a child she was in some of the “Our Gang” movies. Her 18-year TV career in Lima began in 1953 and later she was a radio talk show host on WIMA, Lima, from 1971-1986. VaLaire related her experiences and the challenges of doing live TV shows and commercials. It was interesting to hear her tell how TV has changed over the years and she brought back memories of TV shows I remember from the 50s and 60s.

I am old enough to remember black and white TV and how exciting it was when our family got a color TV. I’ll never forget watching Bonanza in color the first time. In fact, I have heard that many people purchased a color TV just to watch Bonanza in “living color.” And who could forget that NBC peacock?

I watched quite a bit of TV with Grandma and Grandpa Miller during the summer days. Kids’ shows were usually on in the morning: Captain Kangaroo [with his side-kicks, Mr. Green Jeans, Bunny Rabbit, and Grandfather Clock], Mighty Mouse, Howdy Doody, and The Mickey Mouse Club. Afternoon TV was mainly game shows: Concentration, Passwordand Queen for a Day.

Westerns filled up the TV evening hours. Who can forget Gunsmoke, The Rebel, Maverick, Paladin, Cheyenne, Bronco Lane, The Rifleman, Wagon Train and Sugarfoot, to name a few. Reruns of those old westerns are now shown on the Western Channel.

Back in the 50s and 60s we didn’t throw away broken down items or appliances like we do today. We got them repaired. When the TV didn’t work we called a TV repairman.

Jack August, 1949. Chattanooga TV repairman.

Jack August, 1949. Chattanooga TV repairman.

In the Chatt area we called on the local TV repairman, Jack August. Jack would come to our house with his big TV-repair tool box, full of vacuum tubes, resistors, tuners and other now obsolete TV-repair items. I don’t know how Jack knew which tube was bad, but I noticed that it was usually the one that was dark and burned-looking in the inside. He was good and he always fixed our TV.

In those days we never ever would have dreamed of having a remote control. Changing channels was unwanted exercise back then, usually for youngest in the family. In addition, there were only three channels to chose from back then.

I still like to watch TV and this coming Monday I will be watching Genealogy Roadshow. You might want to tune in, too.

18 comments

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  1. Andy Gappa

    Karen,
    Jack August was the son-in-law of Ivan J. Johnson who ran the local garage, right?

    1. Karen

      Yes, you are correct. Jack married Ivan’s daughter Genevieve. I think Jack may have driven school bus, too, but am not totally sure about that. I would have to look back at my school yearbooks.

  2. Sue Allen

    When I was in high school (North Side-Ft. Wayne) in either 1955 or 1956 our family won a color tv console from Kroger at Northcrest. Our picture was in the paper. We were the first to have one & all our relatives would come over & watch, especially the Rose Parade. We just loved Bonanza too, just amazing to watch everything in color.

    1. Karen

      How great to win a color TV! I’m sure your house was a popular place to visit back then.

  3. Waldo

    Jack August did indeed drive a school bus for Parkway Local Schools (OK it could have still been Willshire School, but I don’t think so). Ray Black was Principal at the time, I believe. Jack and the other drivers used to stand in a circle and talk while they waited for the buses to load. I knew Jack and often spoke to him. One day I had a basketball and Jack bounced it back and forth with me for a few minutes before we loaded on te bus. Both of us got called into the office and repremanded for our “horse play.” We were not called in together, but I was very sternly warned not to talk with the drivers ever again, but to just get to my bus and wait for the driver to come.

    Jack only drove the bus for a short time, maybe a year or two, if my memory is correct (which is highly doubtful – my wife usually points that out routinely by correcting me).

    1. Karen

      Interesting story. I thought Jack drove a school bus. I will go through those old yearbooks to find the year(s) he drove. There is probably a photo of him in a yearbook, too.

  4. Joe

    Speaking of the “Captain Kangaroo Show” who can forget the “Banana Man”? Remember how he kept pulling lengths of bananas from his coat while never speaking but making strange sounds instead? In retrospect he may have been a little creepy.
    This was a great blog Karen. It is fun to reminisce about the things you remember as a kid!

    1. Karen

      For the life of me I cannot remember the Banana Man. Maybe it was because, as you say, he was rather creepy. Bunny Rabbit was my favorite!

  5. Waldo

    Jack August would have been driving bus back about 1960, give or take a couple of years. I don’t think he ever did our route (yours and mine). We had Archie Hileman for many years. He was also a great guy and really good driver. Both Jack and Archie were big guys, so kids did not cause much trouble for them.

    1. Karen

      I remember Archie Hileman! If I remember correctly he treated everyone on the bus to an ice cream cone the last day of school. It was probably him because I’m pretty sure it was in Willshire, before the consolidation.

  6. Waldo

    Now how did that particular memory stick with you. Archie drove us over to the ice cream place on the point where 33 turns to go to Decatur. He bought everyone on the bus a cone. Wonder if kids today would remember such a gesture?

    1. Karen

      That’s the place! I probably remember because ice cream is one of my favorite treats and I thought it was such a nice thing for him to do–to buy every single one of the bus kids an ice cream cone! Yes, a special memory.

  7. Waldo

    Why would anybody watch a roadshow about just any old family, when they can tune in here and check out a real local family that probably has ties to their own?

    1. Karen

      Well, thank you!

  8. Waldo

    Jack also worked in Ivan Johnson’s garage there in Chatt very frequently. Once when I was a small boy, we were there trying to get the car fixed. We waited in the little front room (store, waiting room) of the garage for some time as we had no other way to get around than the car. Jack came up front and saw we had been there a while, so he offered me a soda pop. That was a big deal for me as we seldom ever had soda pop. He pulled one (chocolate as I recall) from the little chest type cooler common in that day, and tried to hand it to me. I was too shy to accept it from a stranger, so he gave it to my Mother to give to me. I will always remember his kindness.

    1. Karen

      Thanks for the information. Great story and memories!

  9. Sherry August Eady

    Karen THANK YOU so very much for running Dad’s pic and telling about his TV Repair Business. He loved doing that and always loved helping others. Dad grew up without a Mother from the age of 7 so he knew how it felt to have someone care about you. I love the stories and all that you write about Chatt, it’s memories that are close to my heart also. God Bless you for all you do. And I want to THANK Waldo for all the kind words, Dad would have been proud to know how Waldo felt about him, I’m very proud to know that!! As far as Dad driving the school bus he drove for Willshire but I can’t remember how many years, he may have drove for Parkway but I’m not sure, when it’s your Dad in charge you just kinda block things out!! lol THANKS again for all you do Karen, it warmed my heart to read this article and the comments!! Love, Sherry

    1. Karen

      Thanks, Sherry! I think everyone in the area knew your dad and thought a lot of him. I remember him most for repairing our TV. That photo of your dad was one that my dad had. I think your dad was fairly tall, wasn’t he? My hope is to write memories and stories down as a way to preserve them and maybe spark other memories. If we don’t get them written down now they may be lost forever in the future.

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