Of all the characters in them, Perry Mason, Della Street and Paul Drake remained fresh in my memory. So it was natural that I would be attracted to its visual version. And I always loved music and never missed India’s most popular countdown, Binaca Geetmala every Wednesday night on Radio Ceylon, moderated by silky smooth voice of Ameen Sayani.  Another natural draw for me was England’s weekly hit parade,  Top of the Pops. I still remember Petula Clark belting out Downtown and bare feet Sandy Shaw performing  her Eurovision hit Puppet on a string. And I watched occasional current affair broadcasts like Harold Wilson’s Labor Party winning the election, Winston Churchill’s funeral and Queen Elizabeth’s opening of the parliament parade.

When I was brought back years later to live and work for Playboy in Chicago, and my very pregnant partner Carolyn and I merged our combined household possessions in our newly acquired condo in Hyde Park,  she too came without what was then often referred to as an “idiot box”.  But it was when we bought a house in Evanston and our daughter Anjuli was about to start her school, did Carolyn feel that we needed to buy a TV for her to at least watch popular kid’s programs, such as Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and other shows, of which  Reading Rainbow was her all time favorite, so that she would be able to make informed conversation with other kids in the school.  We went out and bought her a smallest screen TV we could find, and put it into her room.  Even so, she was allowed maximum of an hour to watch it. As it turned out, it was fine with her. She took the TV with her to the college and when it died, bought another one equally as small and non-visible as the first one – to be tucked away in an obscure corner. Because other than some of her favorite programs, and renting of video cassettes to watch movies, she too never got into watching television in any significant way.

Without going into psychoanalysis of why I never got into watching the boob tube, an honest answer is: Television has never appealed to me. It wasn’t  something  even on my lowest priority list. I did have a television in each of my two Prague apartments.  But they came furnished, and I ever barely turned them on.  Ironically, I was editor-in-chief of Serial, the magazine devoted entirely to television shows. I did then have a television set installed in my office which beamed as many as 500 channels from around the world. That too, I barely watched.  Zapped was more like it.  Once I got the gist of a new series and a feeling of what the show was all about, enough knowledge to be able to discuss it coherently with my editors was all I needed to know. They would tell me the rest. I must confess though, that when I was invited by the PR department of  The Bold and the Beautiful, to spend a couple of days on its set and given access to interview any and all of its stars of the time, I did watch the show in its entirety for a couple of weeks prior to landing in Los Angeles. In those episodes, not much happened on the day-to-day basis. But I could see how easy it would be to get hooked to something like that.

But still!

So the day the light blinked on my ringing desk phone in my office, I wasn’t too thrilled at the news it brought. On the other line was Millie Gunn, former wife of Mr. Playboy himself, Hugh M. Hefner and the mother of his two oldest children, David and Christie Hefner.

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