Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Mighty Power of TV

When I was a kid, I remember watching some detective show on TV where the murderer had "dunnit" by electrifying the metal handrail of the "dunnee's" shower, so that when he or she (can't remember which, but it's bound to be one of them) next took a shower, he or she would touch the rail with lovely wet hands and be killed.

Shortly after I had seen this masterpiece of televisual art, we had a shower installed – with (of course) a metal handrail.

I was convinced that the handrail would be electrified because I'd seen one just like it kill someone on the telly (I didn't realise then that someone else had rigged it up and, in fact, the whole whodunnit part is a sort of ex post facto rationalisation of my adult mind, based on a very dim memory).

I even convinced my little sister not to touch the handrail as well, so we spent our formative years balancing precariously on one foot whenever we needed to wash the other because it wasn't safe to touch the rail.

Never underestimate the power of TV on young, impressionable minds (and old ones, come to that).

Has anyone out there had a similar "'cos it was on the telly" experience?


  1. I can't recall anything that has had such an effect on me - but!

    When I was a kid I was highly influenced by the movies I used to see.

    Tarzan films, with Johnny Weismuller! I honestly thought they were REAL. I longed to go and live in the jungle treehouse with him, Jane and Boy - and Cheetah of course.

    Cowboy films, like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy had the effect of me coming out of the cinema, usually with my friend Bobby Clark, firing imaginary six-shooters at all and sundry - especially if they were dressed in a black suit!


  2. A similar story.
    When I was about six, we got a new gas cooker installed.
    There was a programme on Sunday afternoons called "All Our Yesterdays" which documented the Second World War day by day.
    Gas chambers were bad, therefore all gas was bad...

  3. I was addicted to a naff film called 'dot and the kangaroo'... I cried without fail every time at the end when the kangaroo went home and willie wagtail flew off...... for many years afterwards kangaroos and wagtails made me cry....
    Currently, the kid (my daughter).. is absolutely and completely convinced that when we do the lottery, we are inevitably going to win... (thus disproving these new age, say it and it's done, people).. Also went a bit mad a few years ago after watching an armegeddon documentary about meteorite death.... got panic attacks and everything... lol! (I'm better now)

  4. @PhilipH - I LOVED Tarzan too, a real Saturday morning treat!

    @Conan - Hello, thanks for stopping by and I'm glad I'm not the only one with TV-induced fears and hates.

    @Watercats - Glad you're over the big rocks falling on head thing and I've always had me doubts on "if you act you it's going to happen, it will" cosmic ordering nonesense, although I think if we all focus TOGETHER on something, it might happen?

  5. I used to get dressed downstairs in front of the telly as a kid until Noel "Swap Shop" Edmunds said "Stop getting dressed in front of the telly"

    I was convinced at the time that he could see me!

    But seriously - TV having an influence on me? Ask The Lord Tom "Almighty" Baker.

  6. No, at least I can't remember, but did you also learn how to electrify the rail? Now there'd be a lesson .......

  7. @DFTP - It's strange how the telly knows what you're doing! As for Tom Baker et al, they have influenced ALL of us!

    @Friko - No, I didn't learn the art of electrifying the rail, sadly, which is probably why I'm not blogging from a prison cell right now :-)

  8. When I was about 15, a friend and I went to see Psycho. I had never seen a horror film before and was so terrified that I was ready to leave my seat when it came to an end. Janet Leigh and Alfred Hitchcock both commented that many women told them they had a difficult time taking showers after seeing that movie. And I was one of them. For years, I would peak out from the shower curtain every few minutes to make sure the door was locked. It was a terribly flimsy door that wouldn't have stopped someone from coming in if they really wanted to. It took about 15 years for me to stop worrying about taking showers. But then a few years later, when my ex and I split and I bought a big old house where I lived alone, the fear sort of returned for a while, but I got over it. But now that I am thinking about it again, I'll probably feel a little creepy when I take my next shower.

    As to TV shows, my sister was frightened by the most mundane things. I wrote about a TV show that scared her and how I used her fear for some sweet revenge. Find that story HERE.


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