Tail of the Weak 1.11
Updated: Jan 24
Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.
Lee Harvey shot Kennedy...then Jack Ruby, he shot ol' Lee I saw Walter Cronkite cry...as the funeral caisson rolled on by The Beatles stopped the bleedin' some...in '64 on Ed Sullivan But black and white don't bleed blood red...as the world turned 'round on my TV set - “Saw It On TV” by Uncle Dave Griffin
I was born on September 1, 1953. Me and television grew up together.
It was all very innocent to begin with. The first show I can remember was The Mickey Mouse Club, starring Annette Funicello and those big, beautiful—uh, mouse ears.
Saturday morning gave us all sorts of entertainment—from Mighty Mouse cartoons to western favorites, The Lone Ranger, The Roy Rogers Show, Tales of the Texas Rangers, and Sky King.
As the Sixties rolled around—Lucy and Ricky—and Rob and Laura Petrie—were still sleeping in separate beds. It would remain that way until Norman Mailer started making waves 10 years later with All in the Family. But, by then, we had all lost a bit of innocence.
In November of 1963, I was in the fifth grade at Sylvester Road Elementary School, in Albany, Georgia. The following is a memory replayed by just about every baby boomer I've ever met.
My teacher, Ms. Council, came into the classroom crying. She told us the President had been shot and that we would be excused for the rest of the day. I'm sure, at ten years old, I was a little bit happy about getting out of school early.
When I got home, I found Mama sitting and crying in front of the TV, watching as NBC newsmen, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, narrated in disbelief.
Seeing all these adults visibly shaken, it was beginning to sink in that this was pretty heavy stuff I might need to be concerned about. So, I watched.
And, I remember the images. President Kennedy smiling and waving. Jackie Kennedy crawling back toward the Secret Service agent as the Continental sped away. Ol' Walter Cronkite removing his black-rimmed spectacles, voice quavering as he officially announced JFK's death. Jack Ruby firing into Lee Harvey Oswald's stomach while Detective James Leavelle, the big dude in the white cowboy hat, recoiled in horror. Little John Kennedy saluting his daddy's coffin as it rolled by—all on “live” black and white television. By February 1964, America was more than ready for a pleasant distraction. It came in the form of four British musicians on CBS's acclaimed variety show, Ed Sullivan. Millions tuned in—criminal activity even stopped for the few minutes The Beatles played.
Innocence was ours again.
The Beatles' music, positive and uplifting, continued through the Sixties. The message was love; but, the television told another story.
I was thumbing through a Life magazine in '65 and saw photos of U.S. soldiers in a place called Vietnam, a world away from Waycross. Little by little, that miserable mistake of a war eased into our homes, hearts, and minds—a constant backdrop on the evening news as we gathered at the supper table.
By the end of the decade, The Beatles were on the verge of breaking up, we had put a man on the moon, a half-million kids in upstate New York gathered in the name of peace, love, and music, the war in Vietnam was escalating, and we now owned a new color TV.
And on color TV—blood bleeds red.
American Spirit: Uncle Dave and The Younguns Download or Buy
YouTube Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin