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Bena Mae's Kitchen: It’s déjà vu all over again


Mary Tyler Moore, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Mission Impossible, The Fugitive, Barney Miller, Perry Mason, Kojak, Peter Gunn, Route 66... these shows and many more in their original form and filmed in black and white, have made a resurgence in a new channel, ME (Memorable Entertainment). I have become captive to the station and so has my grandson who majored in film in college.
One of the delights in watching this new channel, is seeing young stars who really made it big on the big screen after their careers began flourishing. The other night I watched a young Robert Redford in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller long before he, Redford, became an icon in the movies. But the biggest pleasure is the nostalgia of remembering the first time I watched these films with the family sitting on the couch together.
We weren’t watching to be titillated or shocked by sexy scenes, embarrassed by the coarse dialogue, or insulted by scantily-clad females. We watched for pure entertainment which never disappointed. Like Perry Mason’s wrap-up of a case with a surprising witness being the murderer -- remember Alan Hale of Gilligan’s Island. You could always see someone who later became famous appearing from nowhere in these old episodes. And that’s part of the fun of watching them.
Blessed, blessed Betty White who played the ditsy Sue Ann Nivens in the Mary Tyler Moore Show. What a marvelous career she has had and is still going strong -- I think in her nineties. And Lou Grant, the dearest old curmudgeon who never had us fooled for a minute? And the finale where the whole cast heads for the door, saying their final goodbye with a group hug. Who can ever forget that scene?
And never forget the old Bob Newhart Show -- who I hope will never die.
I don’t know if you can get this channel on your TV but you may look for it, especially if you would like to turn away from the tiresome crap we’re being spoon-fed every day. It would certainly be worth a try. And if you have a teenager in the house, try to get him or her to stop texting for a few minutes and take a look back at what TV used to be like.
They’ll probably think we lived in an alternate universe. And maybe we did. But at least we didn’t go to bed worrying about a crazed chain saw murderer probing the dark for helpless victims.

A good side dish for Christmas dinner.

Pineapple Casserole

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
9-10 cups ½” bread cubes
cinnamon, optional

In a large bowl, whisk together the pineapple, sugar, eggs, and butter. Add enough bread cubes to soak up almost all the liquid. Pour into a casserole dish. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to let the bread soak up the mixture.
Sprinkle mixture with cinnamon, if desired. Heat oven to 350°F and bake 1 hour.
Notes: This can be prepared a day ahead and placed in the refrigerator overnight. Before baking bring back up to room temperature, about 2 hours on the counter.