When I was a kid there were annual television events: once a year you could see The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music among others. If you missed it, you had to wait til next year, there were no VHS tapes, DVDs or Blu-rays, no YouTube or other Internet sources for your enjoyment. It also meant that it was usually a family affair. Children in feety pajamas hoping they could make it til the first commercial if they needed "to go." Parents putting aside their book or evening newspaper (there was a morning edition too in those days) to watch a classic with their family.
So I thought, are there really any television events left? Immediately, I thought about the Super Bowl, people still hold Super Bowl parties, bars and restaurants make it special too. It really is An Event. Tuesday September 11th, 2001 was a television event that most Americans watched. I was not one of them not because I didn't have a TV but I was doing something else. I became aware of the event in progress and since I was in the car I tuned into the news via radio. When I arrived at my destination there was a TV on and I witnessed the first Tower to come down, but I didn't stay. The man standing next to me freaked out. I wanted to know what was going on but I didn't want to be glued to the set. I would tune in later that day. Coverage lasted for days. I watched the President address the nation from a bed and breakfast in Queens. That's right, Queens one of the five New York City boroughs is where I was on September 20th, 2001.
As our friend Bob Dylan likes to say, "times they are a changin' " Some parents will not have their children watch the Super Bowl with them since Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. Other parents allow their children to have their own TV's and often parents have a TV in their bedroom. We can watch classic movies anytime and almost anywhere on a laptop. We have gained so much over the years but we have lost a time, date and place for the family to get together around a television event.
*These thoughts were brought on by my latest email from Barnes and Noble. The 70th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz is out. They even have an ultimate collector's edition. It can sit on your shelf reminding those of us who remember when it was a television event or you can watch it any time with everyone or all by yourself.