Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Media (in any form) (11/11/10)
TITLE: Swingin' Time
By Sharon Eastman
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An American cultural phenomenon was born in the middle 1950s. This phenomenon was in music, a mating of Afro-American blues and “hillbilly” guitars, and it was dubbed “rock and roll.” It was geared towards youth and teens; and with its pounding beat, it was “ear candy.” While radio was already the standard communication mode of society, TV was in its infancy as a media form. TV helped escalate the phenomenon of rock and roll music.
Most adults were repulsed by this music form, yet the kids thrived on it. In the church I attended the pastor preached negative sermons about rock and roll. He called it the devil’s music with an evil beat. My parents tried to heed all of the pastor’s advice and forbade this music in our home. As I was a young child, this rule didn’t disturb me, but, as I grew, the “devil’s music” wooed me.
The pastor warned against TV, too, but my parents had a small console TV, which was given to them by my grandparents. Out of curiosity they watched Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. I snuck out of my bedroom and peaked at the performance of this future icon.
How could anyone escape the soulful sounds of rock and roll music in those days? We heard it everywhere and loved it. My friend’s teen brother permitted us to listen to these joyful tunes with him. My mother stood her ground on rock and roll while I became entranced with it. I loved the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, and, of course, Elvis.
The radio was the most popular mode of listening to rock and roll. However, television opted to promote the style with teen dance shows like American Bandstand. Congenial, handsome Dick Clark hosted the show, and a group of stylish, “hip” teenagers danced to the hits. An appearance by a popular rock star would enhance the show. I watched American Bandstand with my friends whenever I could. But, my folks still prohibited rock and roll.
As a teenager in the middle 1960s, rock and roll music flourished. It was a cultural passion. With the influence of the Beatles and Motown the stigma of rock music diminished. Still, my parents were strictly against it, especially in my house. I had to get my “ear candy” from other sources.
American Bandstand spawned TV dance shows all across the nation. We had one in our area that the teens liked and could even participate in. It was called Swingin’ Time, and even though the host was no Dick Clark, we enjoyed it. (I had to watch it at my friend’s.)
In high school a group of my friends and me decided to show off our dancing talents on Swingin’ Time. (Dancing was also forbidden at my household.) On our journey to the studio we listened to the radio and sang at the top of our voices to the latest rock and roll. Upon arrival, we were surprised at the small size of the studio, the bright lights, and the regular dancers. We were awestruck by Lana, the “queen” of the show and Robin, the gregarious host. Surprisingly, they positioned my partner and me in the front for all of the world to see. As we nervously danced to the tunes, all our friends at home proudly watched. After the show was over, we drove home with fits of laughs and giggles.
When I finally arrived home, my mother’s fiery blue eyes abducted mine. My heart sank. I knew I was caught and in deep trouble. I didn’t think about the exposure of TV. Who knows who’s watching? My little brother watched Swingin’ Time at his friends and saw me dancing in all my radiant glory dancing to rock and roll music.
A piece of my heart still loves rock and roll music, especially for the memories it evokes. But, in the Swingin’ Time incident I disobeyed my parents. The TV caught me in a place where I didn’t belong. The Lord watches us without TV or any other media. He watches and cares for us in spirit. “Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising; thou understandeth my thought afar.” KJV Psalm 139:2 He watches our every action and senses every thought. We can adjust images on TV, but the Lord in his glory sees us for what we truly are. Praise the Lord!
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