It was a black box sitting on a big shelf at a very conspicuous point of the living room. With the shout of ‘Up Nepa’ everybody was jumping all over and in a few seconds, the black box sprung to life.
As a child, I knew that the moderate-sized box was life. It was some sort of transportation medium; it would take you on many travels to meet with different people, ideologies, cultures and places, but there was a catch – your trip could be just as quickly truncated by a move of the box’s antenna or with the cut of power supply.
“The time is 4:00 clock.” ‘Arise, O’ Compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey. To serve our fatherland….’’ That was the time to watch programmes on television during the weekdays. A good number of people would have closed from work at the time and viewership was fairly predictable.
I remember Denrele in Kiddies Vision101. Who remembers Speak Out; The Debaters’ Show? Nobert young in Family Circle; Funlola Aofiyebi in Palace; Funke Akindele in I need to know, Pepisco and Boy Alinco in Papa Ajasco, Sola Sobowale and Bukky Wright in Oh Father Oh Daughter.
Hmmm, Suara, I hail o! Sundays at 6:00 pm was Tales by Moonlight. (Oh sing those songs from days that would not come again…) Mom always had my siblings watch the tales after which she would say ‘oya, tell me what you have learnt!’ Most of the programmes always had a message. Well, most times, they did.
Back in the day, there was a fair share of foreign shows. Even though Bill Cosby has his terrible situation right now, Kids Say The Darndest Things, was one of Bill’s shows I loved to see. The American Broadcasting Company brought to us Passions: Simone, Whitney, Chad, Charity, Sheridan, Justin. The most intriguing part was Sheridan in her tomb alive!
How about the crazy duo of Miss Parker – Countess Vaughn and her ‘mother’ Monique? If you are really older, then you also remember Egoli: Place of Gold, Sledge Hammer, Santa Barbara and maybe, Dr. Who. Even though I loved all these shows and remember them quite faintly, I am very proud now that Nigeria has many world-class home-grown content for its local audiences.
The ad campaigns were also reverberating. “Who get this raincoat? I say who get this… Gold Circle”. Bagco Super sack, na in we want, Isuzu Tiger…Powerful runner…, Limca’s dance together, Omo’s washes even brighter campaign, Mr Biggs’ 10th year campaign and many more that we can and cannot remember. I don’t know for sure if the campaigns had the desired impact with respect to buying behavior but over the years, we just cannot forget them… we have not been able to.
Some people would say these are classics, but the cartoons then also struck a chord. Tom and Jerry, Magic School bus, Johnny Bravo and if you now watch Penguins of Madagascar, then you are young. Pingu was the stiz back then. There were animation-adaptations of folktales like Snow white, Rapunzel, Rumpelstilskin, the Frog prince, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. The only thing about these adaptations I did not like was the fact that the girls waited for the love of a prince. Fantasies clear off as girls grow into women. Life is not fantasy.
Music is the most audacious part of it all. Nigerian music had always been loved by Nigerians even as it continues to evolve in the industry. Those times when “You don hit my car” was a hit and Tony Tetuila was no longer a part of the Remedies group. When Azadus’ “You is the one” magnified the essence of black beauty; and Sunny Neji was the Timi Dakolo of that time. How about Aunty Shaffy Bello, who was the star girl and co-singer in Love Me Jeje by Seyi Sodimu. We love our own. We did then and we still do now.
No longer does the typical black box exist on shelves; it is now on the wall, in our hands, our tables, our beds, on the train, on the bus. Who knows what TV would be in the very near future?
By Oludara Ogunbowale
Read also: #DarasPage – The Days I’ll Never Forget
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