Episode 020: Throw Back Thursday – TV Shows

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This morning I was having one of those conversations with myself (that I hope many of you have) where I staged a debate in my head. The topic of the debate followed on from an earlier thought about a TV Show – Netflix original – that I am a little hooked on right now.

The debate that raged in my mind was if Big Bang Theory is for myself and others in my circle of friends, what Friends was to a slightly older group of friends. I say this only because at the moment, I don’t think my wife is listening to every episode of my podcast and so I won’t be in trouble because she is only very slightly older than me and watched almost all of Friends.

Old TV Shows You Remember

These thoughts bring me to the topic of today’s Throw Back Thursday. What TV Shows do you remember and why did you like them.

Here are some of the shows I recall from all ages. Many when I look back at them now, I wonder why we thought they were so great.

Knight Rider

Well, I apparently got to sit in KITT when they toured South Africa while I was a kid. I recall nothing of it, but I do recall the show.


If you were a kid watching MacGyver you undoubtedly had a desire to building things after every show and of course, get a pocket knife like his.

Highlander: The Series

Why would you not recall a man who gains the life of others like him when he chopped off their head with a sword.

Other TV Shows

It is not possible for me to go into all of them, but some other names that come to mind of shows, some I remember more vividly than other.

Let me add before I list them, that if some seem much older than you think or know that I am, South Africa got TV late compared to some countries (or so some have told me) and it was heavily censored under the government regime of the times. Also, many of the old programs that required you to tune your radio in for the broadcast in a different language to what was on the actual box, were years later rebroadcast from the old archives of the cash strapped and state run, the national broadcaster, the SABC.

Some of the other shows I recall, Hardcastle and McCormick (loved the car), A-Team, Who’s The Boss, Cosby, and don’t laugh too hard for this one, but sometimes as a kid, you can’t choose what was on the box, The Golden Girls, besides, that is how I know who Betty White is.

Then there was Three’s company, Full House and Balki from Perfect Strangers. Star Trek was a stable diet for many years in its different formats. I still get the tune from Murder She Wrote in my head every now and then. I would never want to be anywhere near a character like that, the risk of being killed was too high.

I recall Steve Urkel in Family Matters (though until I Googled his name I could not tell you the name of the show). I also recall X-files, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Frasier, a little bit of Mad About You, the tune for Law and Order and who can forgest Ray’s mother reversing the car through his house in Everybody Loves Raymond.

There are some other shows that I cannot recall the names of or mention, but you get the point.

So to quote Darkwing Duck “let’s get dangerous”. What are shows you remember from your younger years?

(Listen to last week’s Throw Back Thursday episode here.)

Episode 015: Throw Back Thursday – Mini 1275

This Podcast is published on Anchor.FM or you can subscribe on iTunesPocketCastsTuneIn and Stitcher.

This evening I felt the need to reflect on what was my first car. Sadly, due to mechanical reasons, it was not my car for very long, but as someone just getting a licence, that first car leaves an impression, particularly when it is a Mini 1275.

Mini 1275Mini 1275 in the Family

While my first car was a Yellow Mini 1275 with black stripes if I recall correctly, it was not the first Mini to be owned by our family. As a kid, I recall owning two minis in our family in particular. I am almost certain one was yellow too and the other, the one my dad drove, was a gold colour one.

My dad is one of eight siblings and recounts a time where their family had a Mini station-wagon in the family. I am not sure how many they were as a family at that stage but I am sure it would still be more people than would pass road safety in a single car of that size today.

That gold Mini 1275 variant that my dad would drive when I was a kid has a fun story.

My father is not a small person measuring over 180cm. When I think back on it now, it must have been rather funny to see him climbing out of that car. I think the roof of the car was only a little above his waist.

He related the story of how on one trip home from work he took his usual route that included a steep incline with a traffic light. Those who know the Mini from the 1960s-1970s know that the driver and front passenger chair had the hinge up front to flip the chair up over the steering wheel to allow access to the back seats.

On this particular day, he prepared to pull ahead of a car along side him at the traffic light as soon as the light changed to green. The challenge on this particular day is that the hinge on the driver seat came loose and the force of the acceleration on the incline tipped the seat backwards. I can only imagine being the car next to my dad. One minute there is a man at the steering wheel of this mini and the next it is only his ankles in view.

Fortunately, my dad’s height and the cars small size allowed him to move the detached driver’s seat to the passenger side and drive the car seated from the back seat of the Mini.

My Love of the Mini 1275

Back to my yellow Mini 1275 S I think it was. This car was so much fun to drive. It’s power to weight ratio allowed me to accelerate in front of German saloons regularly and it loved to corner as speed to the point that I recall my dad once gripping his passenger chair and firmly telling me to slow down in some bends.

While not practical, I had always had this dream of taking a long road trip in my Mini. Sadly there were some mechanical issues discovered within our first year of having the car and it was sold. Still that Mini 1275 left an impression on my mind that I can feel the thrill of driving to this day.

Lately, technology has been bringing back icon products like early game consoles or even feature phones. I know BMW has done a great deal with the Mini brand, but I really wish we could see a return of the old Mini 1275 today.

Two decades ago the Model T Ford was voted as the most influential car of the 20th century. In second place, however, was the Mini. A true classic in my opinion.

(Find last week’s Throw Back Thursday episode here.)

Episode 009: Throw Back Thursday – Canon A-1

This Podcast is published on Anchor.FM or you can subscribe on iTunes, PocketCasts, TuneIn, and Stitcher.

This is the second segment of Throw Back Thursday. I have a feeling this segment may not have the same appeal as some of my others though. If you don’t find this segment interesting, please let me know. If you do, then share some of your Throw Back moments in the comments of this show in my blog or by calling into the podcast using the Anchor app.

The Canon A-1 was the flagship camera of the A-series

Canon A-1

Today I thought I would talk about the first SLR camera I ever owned, a used Canon A-1 which I purchased in my teens from what was then called Fripps Rosebank, the store is known (since 1998) as Kameraz, still located in Rosebank Johannesburg.

Between some savings and selling my birthday present, a desktop PC, (a big deal back then for a kid to own), I got enough money together to purchase a used SLR camera.

I had found out about Fripps (Kameraz) through my Gran who had happened upon the store while living in the area. To me, it was like being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Cameras that graced the ads in National Geographic, lined the window display.

Richard (who still works in the store on my last visit there) helped me out and sold me a Canon A-1 with auto-winder, 50mm lens, and a teleconverter. It was not in mint condition, but it got me started. It was a rough learning curve given the many electronics and lack of a camera manual for several weeks, I almost gave up on photography after the first two rolls or so of film that came back from the lab.

I changed the camera before the first year was complete I believe, hooked on a notion that a different camera would help me take better pictures. It took many years and a lot of pricey camera changes to accept the truth of what others told me, that it was not the cameras fault.

The A-1’s Place in History

Today I regret selling many of the cameras I have owned, but I likely regret the trading of that Canon A-1 the most now. It took me a long time to realize the place this camera held in history.

Canon revealed the A1 to the world in 1978 and ran till 1985. It launched long before digital and even before Autofocus in a camera.

In fact, the Canon A-1, the top end model of the A-series of cameras, was the first camera to offer a fully electronically controlled, autoexposure mode. Basically the P-mode on just about every D/SLR that followed this camera came trace it roots back to this machine.

It was also the first camera to the best of my knowledge, to have a fully digital exposure readout in the viewfinder. Rather than a needle that you had to get balanced in the center of a kind of scale window, this Canon A-1 had red LED in the style of a calculator display that gave you the camera’s aperture and shutter speed values.

It really was a strong competitor in a world that often seemed extremely Nikon dominated.

I still find myself itching to own one again. Who knows, maybe I will.

(If you liked this edition of ‘Throw Back Thursday’ and have not check out last week’s edition, you can do so here.)

(Learn more about the Canon A-1 on the Canon Camera Museum site. Image of the Canon A-1 take from the same website)

Episode 004: Throw Back Thursday – First Cellphone

This Podcast is published on Anchor.FM or you can subscribe on iTunesPocketCastsTuneIn, and Stitcher.

So it is the fourth episode of my podcast and the first Throw Back Thursday. I had a couple of options that I thought about sharing but, I decided to kick this feature off with a look at the first cell phone I ever owned.

Ericsson GH197

I cannot recall the exact year… I know I must have been over 14 because I bought the phone with my own money, heavily influenced in the choice of the phone by a friend who had the same thing. It was bought from a used electronics store and was the Ericsson GH197.

The phone itself had been released (based on my research) in 1993. I can still recall getting an MTN Pay As You Go starter pack and making a call to my dad – with excitement – the moment the SIM card was active.

The truth is, the phone was a brick, even at the time I had bought it used, there were better phones out there. It was simply was a large box with a rubber antennae that flipped up from the side of the phone.

The reason for getting it was because I spent a lot of time cycling back then and was also working part time. So I reasoned it was good in case of an emergency. It also allowed my father to call me when he was close to fetching me from work (there were no rules back then about not talking on your phone while driving) and lastly, I also thought I was cool to have a phone.

Durability like a Brick

I recall having taken the phone on a cycle with my friend on one occasion to his house. Close to his place the phone unclipped from my belt and went into the back wheel of the bike. Unlike today’s glass laden smartphones, this Ericsson GH194 looked fine, I think it bent a spoke on my bike though.

Apart from the durability, however, there were some serious limitations to this phone compared to the luxury we enjoy on today’s feature phones yet alone smartphones.

Perhaps the most glaring issue as I look back on images of that phone now is that the screen was basically like a calculator. Granted it had two rows on it but the type of display was not that much different to a calculator. Can you image using for text messaging?

Still, I look back on that phone with fondness now which gets me wondering, what was the first mobile phone you owned?