Monday, 23 April 2012

A to Z 1950s/60s Nostalgia: T

T Smell:
Tar - I've always loved the smell of tar but as a kid our Mums would stand us beside road repairers because they thought it fended off whooping cough.

T Memories:
Television sets - Some idiosyncrasies of the 1950 TV.

  • It was a big square box with a tiny screen that had to be turned on at least 10 minutes before watching to give it time to warm up. 
  • When turned off the picture would disappear into a dot in the middle of the screen.
  • When the linehold went the picture kept scrolling up and off the screen. We had to fiddle with knobs on the back of the set to stop it.
  • There were no remote controls so you had to get out of your chair to turn over - assuming you had ITV which didn't start transmitting until 1955 and was only received by a small number of households until the early 1960s.

Telstar - Although the first man-made satellite in space was Sputnik in 1957, it made little difference to our lives. It wasn't until Telstar was launched in 1962 that we started to receive live transmissions from America. I can remember that even though the reception was poor, we all marvelled at how unbelievable it was to see someone from America talking live.

Toys - Very few toys were battery operated and the only toy I can think of that needed to be plugged in was my electric train set [I loved my train sets. I had a chunky Hornby clockwork one and a smaller electric one.] We had plenty of wind-up toys with clockwork springs that pinged and broke if you over-wound them but nothing like kids play with today.

Some of my other favourite toys that come to mind [and I know you'll think of more] are:
  • A jack-in-the-box which frightened me. [I was a sensitive little girl.]
  • My plastic dolls with fixed joints and head but they came alive in my mind all the same.
  • Many of you have already mentioned paper dolls. I loved my bag of paper dolls.
  • Colouring books with crayons or coloured pencils. We had no felt tips.
  • Yoyos made of wood
  • Kaleidoscopes that you looked through and saw a myriad of patterns. I used to think they were magic.

T Programmes:
On TV:
Take your Pick, Michael Miles and shouts of "Open the box!" "Take the money!"
Torchy, the battery boy
This is your Life, Eamonn Andrews and that infamous red book.
That's Life, Esther Rantzen and dogs who said, "Sausages!"
Tomorrows World

On Radio:

Take it from here
Twenty Questions, animal, vegetable or mineral?
Top of the Form

T Names:

The Temptations who always looked so smart
Harry S. Truman, USA
Fred Trueman, cricketer
Shirley Temple
Mel Torme
The Temptations
The Troggs
Tammi Terrell
The Tornadoes who provide [no surprises here]...

T Music:
The Tornadoes playing Telstar which includes a tribute to NASA. I'd forgotten how noisy this piece of music is at the beginning.

Any more Ts anyone?

If you're enjoying these memories then you'll also enjoy
Anne Mackle's blog at Is Anyone There? 
Her A to Z Challenge is about memories of the 1960s and 70s.


  1. Hi, Ros
    I just knew the smell would be Tar. I still love that smell today.

    Toys: Humming tops, Bendy toys, an animal on a round platform thing and you pushed under the round bit to move different parts of the animal. A Muffin the Mule and a magnetised carrot so you could make his head follow the carrot, magic sets and chemical sets.

    I loved sad songs in my teens!
    Teardrop songs: Twinkle singing Terry: “Don't do it, don't do it, don’t do it, Te-e-ry.” Ruby Wright’s tribute to Buddy Holly, Ricky Valance and Big Bopper: Three New Stars – “Gee, we’re gonna miss you, everybody sends their love,
    Tommy? “Tell Laura I love Her” Tony Newley – “The Heavens Cried”,
    Rolf Harris “Two Little Boys”, “Three Steps to Heaven” “There Goes my Everything” Englebert “The Way it Used to Be”.

    Other songs: The Laughing Policeman (recorded earlier but very popular in 50s & 60s)
    Tweetie Pie and Sylvester “Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat”
    The Runaway Train came down the Track… Tulips from Amsterdam,

    TV: Twizzle, Toytown, Tell the Truth,

    Comics/Magazines: Thunderbirds, TV Toyland, Tiny Tots, Tiger, Topper
    Twizzlers to cut out and make were often in comics. I loved those coloured circles twizzlering around the length of wool (until the wool got tangled).

    Twiggy, Toni Perms: “Which Twin Has the Toni?” – My cousin and I won first prize in a fancy dress comp dressed as twins with a mop head on our heads! Tressy Doll – her hair grows.

    Today box of chocolates with milk and plain, Tiffin bar, Topic

    Tide soap powder

    Teddy Boys and Teddy Girls

  2. Ah yes, I remember fiddling with the knobs and the antenna of the old B&W tv set, lol.

  3. I am really enjoying your post each day as I am doing the same era for songs I knew.

    Have a good day.


  4. Wow Ros, Made a T list last night..... Tar, Toys, TV. I must be psychic. Remember vividly dad driving us round and round looking for a newly Tarred road to sooth your whooping cough - I've loved the smell ever since too. Apart from all the mentioned toys I loved my marbles and snobs, mini blackboard and chalk, Rupert books, little people and animals about 2" high made from rubber, we made whole villages with them on the floor - Ros do you remember the dolls house dad built complete with wall paper and roof tiles?

    Songs: "Temptation" by the Everley Brothers, "Teddy Bear" by Elvis, Teenager in Love by Marty Wilde, "Those were the Days" by Mary Hopkins, "These Boots are made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra.

    Singers: Tommy Roe, The Troggs,Tennessee Williams.

    There was I believe someone called "Teezy Weezy" on an early TV glamour show.

    Teddy Boys wore bootlace "Ties". And I think in the early 50's there were still "Trams" around.

  5. Ros and Rifka
    Was your dolls house made out of two wooden orange boxes - one on top of the other?
    Don't know how I forgot about mine - it even had lights that worked and furniture made out of matchboxes and cotton reels. Oh, I wish I still had it today.

  6. ...... sitting having my morning coffee I thought about the film "Tom Thumb" staring Russ "Tamblyn". Ros I'm pretty sure I saw it at the "Trocadero" - three times!!! thought he was so cute. And more singers: "Johnny Tillotson" - Poetry in Motion (did my first ladies excuse me to that song)!!! oh and the "Temperance Seven". And one more song: "The Story of my Life" by the wonderful but sad Michael Holliday.......
    Pat - I cant remember what the dolls house was made of - maybe Ros will - so many happy hours spent playing..........

  7. Haha... I'm not a fan of the scent of tar, but you chose awesome toys! When I was a kid, I had a pretty sick obsession with my kaleidoscopic.

  8. You've done it again with the nostalgia, Rosalind, you have set me off. It just needs the faintest of whispers of "Torchy" for me to go off singing, "...the battery boy. He's a walky talky toy...".

  9. I love watching really old clips from Tomorrow's World - some of those 'inventions' were so far off the mark... and then others are now just part of daily lives!

  10. I am with sueperfluous and the Torchy thing. Just what I was going to say! Did you say Tales of the riverbank??

  11. That was quite a trip down memory lane. Do you remember the song called Telstar?

  12. Hi Pat, I’ve got a thing about sad songs too. Aren’t us humans funny! Don’t know how I forgot Twiggy. I was only blogging about her a few days ago.

    Hi Lynda, the kids of today wouldn’t be able to cope with it, would they!

    Hi Yvonne and thanks. I’m enjoying visiting your blog too. Lovely music choices.

    Hi Rifka, great minds think alike!! Strangely though I don’t remember a doll’s house.

    Hi SA, a sick kaleidoscopic obsession! Sounds worrying.

    Hi Sue, sorry if the songs are playing around with your head!

    Hi Annalisa, I love watching those old episodes too.

    Hi Susan, I forgot about Tales of the Riverbank. You’ve all got such good memories!

    Hi Wendy, glad you enjoyed my blog post. I don’t remember Telstar being a song.

  13. The original Temptations were really smooth, original TVs, not so much. I think you've covered the most common things here. I'm sitting here, recalling the smell of tar, but I never heard about the whooping cough.

  14. Wow, these are all so fascinating. No. remote control? Ah! The horror!

    J/K we had one of those when I was a kid.

  15. Oh yes, I remember many of these. Recently they've been repaving the highway that runs behind our house. I've been smelling the tar and I've never seen so much dust raised. Now we need a long hard rain to clean off our house.

    Places I Remember
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  16. You really stood by tar???? I've never heard of that.

    The Temptations were a talented group.

  17. Fancy forgetting Tales of the Riverbank!
    I googled Telstar when I saw Wendy's comment - it was an instrumental by The Tornados and it reached Number One in 1962.
    Ros, it's on Youtube and I bet you'll remember it when you hear it, I did.
    It's such a shame you can't remember the dolls house Rifka mentioned. I would have love to known if your Dad made it the same way as mine did with the wooden orange boxes.
    Great memories, it's great to read everyone else's memories as well.

  18. I'm in fits laughing here!!! Tar to cure whooping cough? lol I remember the tar being soft in the heat and we would put lollipop sticks in it and make holes with our fingers.
    Pat, I loved Tressy but couldn't fit her in to my post.I found a photo on internet of Tressy with a secetary's outfit on and a typewriter and notepad exactly the same as mine was it brought back so many memeories I nearly cried, how silly.

  19. I'd never heard that about the tar - fascinating!

    I loved my dolls too - but my favourite toys were legos and paper and crayons :)

  20. Great post. It would have been cool to see the old tvs. Things were simpler back then. I sometimes think I should have been born in the 50s. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Hi Ros .. tar on the beach .. from the Torrey Canyon - yay I got a T in!! I think I'm right ..

    Lego, Triang trains, and all the things you've listed ..

    Such fun to think back .. cheers Hilary

  22. and more! That was the Week that Was?! and what was the news programme with Cliff Michelmore?

    Cheers again .. Hilary


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