During that time, cultural appropriation was an unfamiliar concept to us. Our society was filled with all sorts of cultural references taken from India, Africa, North America, and other areas where Britain had overseen its imperial past. TV shows like “The Virginian,” “Alias Smith and Jones,” and “The High Chaparral” ignited our imagination with the world of cowboys and Indians. Innocently, we engaged in imaginative play, emulating gun sounds BANG!!, playing with toy guns, oblivious to the tragic history of Native American displacement.
And it wasn’t just TV that built on that image. One nostalgic discovery I made this week was our old I-Spy books. These educational books featured challenges by Big Chief I-Spy, a wise Red Indian Chief, and were beloved by British boys and girls. “I-Spy in The Street” even guided us on becoming I-Spy tribe members and obtaining Redskin certificates.
Shifting our focus to the television show “HOW!,” it initially aired on Southern Television in 1966, targeting a Friday night audience returning from the pub. Designed to settle pub arguments, the show’s creator, Jack Hargreaves, recognised it was a better fit for children after the first episode. The show moved to the teatime slot and gained popularity across ITV companies.
The format of “How!” remained consistent from 1966 to 1981. Presenters Fred Dineage, Jon Miller, Bunty James, and Jack Hargreaves would greet viewers with a traditional Red Indian greeting, “HOW!,” before spending 25 minutes answering questions beginning with “HOW.” From history and geography to science and entertaining inquiries like lifting a saucer with a carrot, each presenter brought their unique style to make even mundane topics captivating. Jack Hargreaves, known for his soothing voice and vast knowledge, also hosted the countryside-themed show “Out of Town,” celebrating traditions and crafts at risk of fading away.
Although “HOW!” ended in 1981 with Southern Television losing its franchise, a brief revival in 1990 with Fred Dineage, Carol Vordermann, and Gaz Topp didn’t match the original. Many of us fondly recall the original series, imagining the wisdom Jack Hargreaves could have shared and the comforting sight of his pipe.
Did you enjoy the I-Spy books or watch “How!”? Did Jack Hargreaves inspire you to embrace pipe smoking or explore countryside activities? Share your thoughts on our blog at oliverc44.sg-host.com, find us on Facebook and YouTube @my70stvchildhood, tweet us @70stvchildhood, or email Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to join the conversation with your corrections and confessions at corrections@My70sTVChildhood.com.