Obscure TV Shows Generation X Kids Were Stuck Watching before Cable was a thing

Obscure TV Shows Generation X Kids Had to Watch

I’m a member of Generation X. And like every other Gen X kid who grew up in the 70s and 80s, we didn’t have cable or streaming TV like Netflix or YouTube.  Our choices sucked. Don’t believe me? Get a load of these obscure TV shows Generation X kids were stuck watching before cable TV.

Obscure TV Shows Generation X Kids Were Stuck Watching before cable

TV sucked for 70s & 80s kids before cable television. We didn't even have a remote! Who remembers these obscure TV shows Generation X kids were stuck with? Click To Tweet

It wasn’t called the Boob Tube for nothing!

You see children, before Cable, TV options were very limited.

In the 70s and 80s, there were only 5 or 6 channels to choose from (out of 13) and the rest was just snow.

Remote controls were not even a thing yet, so you actually had to get up and turn a dial every time you wanted to change the channel.

Kid shows were only on in the mornings before school and on Saturdays and Sundays.

We had 13 channels and about 7 of them were just snow.

We had 13 channels and half of them were just snow.

And while these days I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, for some reason, I can still remember these weird TV shows from when I was a kid.

Maybe this is why so many of us spent our youth outside.

Let’s go…

Dance Fever 

Dance Fever was a weekly disco dance competition where couples dressed up in amazing clothes (in my mind) and competed for a prize of $1000.

It was originally hosted by Deney Terrio and his two sexy female partners. But they eventually replaced him with Adrian Zmed.

All I know is that I wanted to be on this show so badly!

My dream was to go on Dance Fever when I was a kid.

My dream was to go on Dance Fever when I was a kid.

Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters

Besides disco, country music was also really popular in the late 70s.

The Mandrell Sisters was a weekly variety show featuring country singer Barbara Mandrell and her sisters, Louise, and Irlene – who was my favorite because she had the longest hair.

Shut up. I didn’t have a lot of options, remember?


Hee Haw

I remember thinking that this was a kids show when I was a kid because it had a cartoon donkey in the opening.

But it actually came on TV after my bed time, so I only got to see snippets of it.

All I remember was people sticking their heads in and out of barn doors telling jokes I didn’t get and singing religious country music songs.

Land of the Lost

This crazy show created by Sid and Marty Krofft was centered around a family that was stuck in an alternate universe and were constantly being chased by dinosaurs and creepy lizard things called Sleestaks.

I do remember that the Sleestaks used to give me nightmares when I was little. And for some reason I think they smelled like pee.

Oh wait. That was just me when I woke up in the morning after wetting the bed after those horrible dreams.

Land of the Lost was a trippy show from Sid and Marty Krofft. See the classic TV series before it became a movie starring Will Farrell

Land of the Lost was a trippy TV series from Sid and Marty Krofft before it became a movie starring Will Farrell.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

This is another one of Sid and Marty Krofft’s acid trips that featured giant puppets that sang and danced with some creepy red haired kid.

Kinda like a 70s version of Yo Gabba Gabba!

To be honest, I don’t know which one is scarier.

Family Feud

This game show is still on the air. Can you believe it?

Except before Steve Harvey (or whoever it is now) , back in the 70’s it featured this perv named Richard Dawson who was the host.

I’ll never forget him because he freaking kissed every female on the lips, often times right in front of their husbands!

According to this article, he was trying to prove a point. But all I know is, that would never fly today.

From young ladies to old ladies, Richard Dawson felt the need to kiss every woman on the freaking lips. This kind of thing would never fly today.

From young ladies to old ladies, Richard Dawson felt the need to kiss every woman on the freaking lips. Photo credit: Getty


I don’t know any kid who didn’t love Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang. I even had a Snoopy Lunch Box with a Woodstock thermos!

This show was extra super special because it was only on during the holidays.

I tried introducing it to my own son, but if it’s not Roblox or Minecraft, he’s not interested.

I don't know any kid who didn't love Charlie Brown.

I don’t know any kid who didn’t love Charlie Brown. Introduce it to your own kids with this DVD set from Amazon.

The Popeye Show

This was my Sunday morning jam. But I could never figure out what was so appealing about Olive Oil.

The host Tom Hatten, used to take drawings of squiggly lines sent in by kids and turn them into a picture of one of the Popeye characters.

No matter how many squiggles I sent in, mine never got picked 🙁

I never understood what Popeye and Bluto saw in Olive Oil. Maybe you can figure it out for yourself.

I never understood what Popeye and Bluto saw in Olive Oil. Maybe you can figure it out for yourself.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre

Who can forget Elvira Mistress of the Dark? Many people just know her for being a sexy Vampira with a huge set of knockers.

But did you know that she was also the host of her own show called Movie Macabre?

Movie Macabre taught me about awful B horror films like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Village of the Damned.

And between every commercial break, Elvira would talk on the phone with this creepy heavy breather who would talk dirty to her.

Poor Elvira. #MeToo

Who doesn't remember Elvira and her girls?

Who doesn’t remember Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark who never ages? Get her DVD collection here. Photo courtesy Orange County Archives


Ok, I never actually watched this show because it was on way past my bedtime. But I know so many people just loved it.

Except me. I hated it because of their awful theme song “Suicide is Painless“.

I mean, the show was a comedy, so why the hell did they use such a sad song as their opening?

Even today I won’t watch it because of that dreadful horn-filled song.

Suicide may be painless, but that theme song makes me want to commit homicide.

The Price is Right

Staying home sick from school was no piece of cake either although you could always count on The Price is Right. Bob Barker and his bevvy of beauties were delightful.

Until it was over. All that was left was the soaps – on EVERY STINKING CHANNEL!!!

Screw you, soaps. I’d rather poke my eyes out with scissors than have to watch that plastic, filtered garbage.

But Price is Right never let me down. In fact I still watch it today on DVR, but only at night when it depresses me less.


So the next time your kid complains about having nothing to watch on TV, let them know how much worse it was when we were kids.

Can you think of other obscure TV shows Generation X kids were stuck watching? What TV shows did you enjoy or hate growing up? Leave me a comment and let me know!


  • Gladys Parker November 10, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s–a Baby Boomer–We had some really great shows! Lassie for one–loved that show–as I got a bit older–I LOVED MASH–what I could not handle was when my grandmother came over and we were forced to watch the Lawrence Welk show–now that was torture!! I don’t remember watching too much TV back then but I probably did–and no we did not have remotes or cable or any other stuff that came after we were all practically all grown up!

    • Melanie Frost November 10, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      OMG. I totally forgot about that show. I remember Lawrence Welk also. All those bubbles!!!

  • Ruth November 11, 2018 at 8:08 am

    My dad is constantly talking about times like this when there was only 5 channels and such. These look like fun shows though 🙂

  • Linh November 11, 2018 at 8:42 am

    These shows are all part of anyone’s childhood. They’re amazing indeed. This post makes me feel nostalgic!

  • Lex November 11, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    I was taken back via this post right now. Am 80’s and yes it was harder way back having less options to pick from compared to now. Kids now really don’t know what it was like growing up then.

  • Kisha November 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Hahaha, I remember the Mandrel Sisters– what a stroll down memory Lane. Hated mash though, which was sometimes the ONLY thing on to watch. I also like how they’ve revamped Family Feud. It’s a classic.

  • Noor November 12, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Great to see some of the shows that I was following too when I was young back then. Hahaha! Now I can’t remember or I don’t have any favorite shows anymore.

  • Lyosha November 12, 2018 at 7:01 am

    oh it so takes me back. When I was little most of those shows were rebroadcast on our local tv so whated most of them. Sweet reminded

  • Adriana November 12, 2018 at 8:47 am

    OMG I loved watching Family Feud growing up!! I miss watching shows from back in the days

  • Alexis November 12, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Love this blast from the past. Price if Right and Mash were 2 shows I always watched.

  • Kylie November 12, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    When you have shows like “Dating Naked” I’m not sure the options have improved! 😉
    I absolutely loved Mash though and still watch it!

  • Fatima D Torres November 12, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    We loved Popeye as kids, it got us to eat our spinach. How innocent TV seemed back then.

  • Blair November 12, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    I watched most of these shows. Still watch M*A*S*H reruns. Good memories.

  • Kermilia November 12, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    I I grew up in the 90’s so I’m actually surprised that I know a couple of these. I still LOVE Family Feud and The Price is right, although I miss Bob Barker haha

  • Britney November 12, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    I’ve heard a handful of these. But I really loved The Price Is Right growing up.

  • Ruxandra November 13, 2018 at 12:58 am

    I grew up in the 90s and I am glad I had Cartoon Network, so many good cartoons there! Nowadays we have an insane amount of TV shows and movies, we’ll never be able to catchup

  • Emelie November 13, 2018 at 1:31 am

    Peanuts!!! I just love that show. I watched it in my childhood in the 90´s.

  • Flavia November 13, 2018 at 1:32 am

    What a walk down memory lane! Peanuts is still my favorite and one that I always watch at Christmas (their Christmas special is the best). Thanks for sharing 🙂


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