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The Slice: Channeling their inner TV guides

Sun., Sept. 15, 2013

The appearance of new TV shows each fall used to be a big deal.

At least it was in my grade school social circle.

The fresh programs were anticipated like presents. If two touted shows were to air simultaneously on different channels, well, there was hand-wringing to be done. There was no DVR option.

I have written about this. Everyone has. But the other day, I found myself wondering.

How did we know about the upcoming fall TV schedule?

Sure, newspapers and magazines covered it in a low-key way. And the three networks ran promos during prime time.

But I think the real buzz had to have been created by playground word-of-mouth. There must have been kids who seemed to know all about which shows were going to qualify as must-see TV.

Which means a lot of us probably spent a fair amount of time listening to little liars.

I cannot recall specifics of classmates offering misinformed previews of “Time Tunnel” or “F Troop.” But it stands to reason that a lot of what was said in the shadow of the monkey bars was pure baloney.

I say that because I do, in fact, remember some of the insider info shared by elementary school peers on the subject of sexual relations and human procreation.

Without going into any sensational details, let me just say that a lot of those swing-set seminars on the birds and bees were riddled with misconceptions.

I’m not sure how much of it I actually believed. Maybe not a lot. But when you are first beginning to master a body of knowledge, you are susceptible to at least weighing even startlingly improbable reports.

Who was I to doubt a streetwise fourth-grader about how babies are made?

Anyway, I now suspect that much of the hype about the fall TV season came from these same imaginative fabulists.

Which would help explain, after all these years, why so many of those programs were such disappointments.

Today’s Slice question: Did you grow up in a family that had a tradition of going for a Sunday drive out in the country?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email If Charlie Brown had tried kicking the ball the way contemporary field goal kickers do, he might not have gone flying when Lucy yanked it away at the last instant.

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