3
   

Can Anyone help me, "I saw it on TV" -John Fogerty

 
 
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 05:21 pm
I would like help interpretting a few lines of the song that trouble me... They sent us home to watch the show comin' on the little screen;
A man named ike was in the white house, big black limousine;
There were many shows to follow, from 'hooter' to 'doodyville',
Though I saw them all, I can't recall which cartoon was real.

The coon-skin caps, yankee bats, the "hound dog" man's big start;
The a-bomb fears, annette had ears, I lusted in my heart.
A young man from boston set sail the new frontier,
And we watched the dream dead-end in dallas,
They buried innocence that year.

I know it's true, oh so true, 'cause I saw it on tv.

We gathered round to hear the sound comin' on the little screen,
The grief had passed, the old men laughed, and all the girls screamed
'cause four guys from england took us all by the hand,
It was time to laugh, time to sing, time to join the band.

But all too soon, we hit the moon, and covered up the sky;
They built their bombs, and aimed their guns, and still I don't know why
The dominoes tumbled and big business roared;
Every night at six, they showed the pictures and counted up the score.

I know it's true, oh so true, 'cause I saw it on tv.

The old man rocks among his dreams, a prisoner of the porch;
"the light," he says "at the end of the tunnel,
Was nothin' but a burglar's torch."
And them that was caught in the cover are all rich and free,
But they chained my mind to an endless tomb
When they took my only son from me.

I know it's true, oh so true, 'cause I saw it on tv.
I know it's true, oh so true, 'cause I saw it on tv.

1.Who is the "young man from Boston"
2. What is meant by the dominoes... my take on it was that they meant the spread of communism by the domino theory suggested by eisenhower.. but not sure
3. What does the last 4 lines mean about his son and the tomb??

thanx a lot, -Nick
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 4,460 • Replies: 5
No top replies

 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2004 07:33 am
1. JFK
2. You're right, probably. I suspect it's the domino theory
3. Not sure about taking my only son from me, but that sounds like the crucifixion (huh? Where does that fit in?). The rest of it mainly sounds like TV mind control, e. g. the singer's life has passed him by because he was just a passive viewer and not a doer of deeds.
0 Replies
 
Sinfoniarc
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2004 09:57 am
1. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
2. Yes this is in regards to the Domino Theory of Dwight Eisenhower's administration that if Vietnam fell to communism, so would the rest of Asia. It was an unrealistic assumption.
3. "The old man rocks among his dreams, a prisoner of the porch. The light he says at the end of the tunnel was nothing but a burglar's torch." refers to Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam. Johnson chose not to run again for the presidency in 1968, leaving VP Hubert Humphrey to take the Democratic nomination. Although frustrated by the war in Vietnam, Johnson wanted the presidency. He knew, however, that he had no chance of winning again due to the strong anti-Vietnam protest and thus decided not to seek a second term. Thus after his presidency he had nothing to do but "rock among his dreams" (as in a rocking chair), a prisoner of the porch because he primarily retired to the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Texas. The next lyric is, "The light, he says at the end of the tunnel was nothing but a burglar's torch." This is Johnson indicating that there is no light at the end of the torch. "It is nothing but a burglar's tunnel." It is false hope. There was no real hope that America was going to win Vietnam and the United States had a lot of blind faith that we would. "And them that were caught in the cover, are all rich and free" refers to the Watergate scandal. More specifically it refers to Richard Nixon, who was pardoned by Gerald Ford, after resigning in 1974.

I am not sure about the last line but I think it refers to the "boy in the bubble", David Vetter - the child who was born without an immune system. He was born in 1971, young enough to be Fogerty's son. He died in 1984, after surgeons attempted to do a bone marrow graft on him, removing him from the bubble. Fogerty's album "Centerfield", which "I Saw It On TV" appears on, was released in 1985, right after that event would have happened. Fogerty, himself, has 4 children and has only had one wife.
0 Replies
 
runfolk
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 May, 2015 07:29 am
The last verse is more metaphoric than the others. I think the old man refers to a father whose son was killed in "Nam." The light at the end of the tunnel was Nixon, he was supposed to save us fron the war. The burglars torch refers to Watergate which did Nixon in. Those involved in Watergate even if they did time eventually got out of prison and made money on books etc about the whole affair. Now the man who lost his son just rocks on the porch dreaming of an America that has been taken from him. And you know what? We Saw It On TV. God Save America.
gilliansl
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2016 03:47 pm
@runfolk,
At the time Centerfield came out, popular media culture was leading a big 50's and 60's boomer revival, as aging hippies tried to recall their glory days in the past and television shows such as 30-something were big hits. This song is part of that nostalgia, remembering what it was like to be a kid in the 50s and watch television. Bits of memories from the time such as Howdy Doody, the Dimaggio Yankee years, Annette Funicello on the Mickey Mouse Club, and so on are all mentioned in the song with typical boomer perspective - the dream and innocence died when JFK was shot, for instance, or the insistence that he never understood why anyone went into Vietnam.
Ike is Dwight Eisenhower . Yes this is in regards to the Domino Theory of Dwight Eisenhower's administration that if Vietnam fell to communism, so would the rest of Asia. It was an unrealistic assumption.
Yet there's another layer of boomer culture that he hits here. He mentions Cronkite's 6PM recitation of Vietnam statistics, talks of gathering in front of the television as a family every night. Television was the defining cultural phenomenon of the boomers. It was what shaped and informed their worldview and generation. He's being slightly facetious with the chorus, but they did believe everything they saw and heard on TV, no matter who presented it. Cronkite said the war was lost, so it was - no matter what the actual soldiers and generals on the ground said and knew. The whole nation was opposed to the Vietnam war, can't you see those huge crowds of protesters?
Four guys from England refers to the Beatles taking the world by storm and leading us into the birth of Rock and Roll. Bands popped up everywhere and there was a music explosion.
All to soon we hit the moon references the moon landing and man first walking on the moon in 1969.
But Vietnam still raged on, and a generation of young men were killed. However, corporations made a bundle from the war.
"The old man rocks among his dreams, a prisoner of the porch. The light he says at the end of the tunnel was nothing but a burglar's torch." refers to Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam. Johnson chose not to run again for the presidency in 1968, leaving VP Hubert Humphrey to take the Democratic nomination. Although frustrated by the war in Vietnam, Johnson wanted the presidency. He knew, however, that he had no chance of winning again due to the strong anti-Vietnam protest and thus decided not to seek a second term. Thus after his presidency he had nothing to do but "rock among his dreams" (as in a rocking chair), a prisoner of the porch because he primarily retired to the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Texas.
"The light at the end of the tunnel was nothing but a burglar's torch. That was the Watergate scandal when Nixon had people break into the opposing party's headquarters, and tried to cover it up by saying it was burglars and that was their flashlight seen. Quite a few people helped him try to cover this up, but they were all painted guilty as well. Some went to jail for short terms and once released, wrote books about the incident and became rich and famous, and now they were free of jail. He resigned in 1974 as impeachment proceedings were being brought against him. Nixon was later pardoned by his vice-president, now President Gerald Ford.
The old man was chained to an endless tomb by the death of his son in a senseless war (Vietnam) that was never officially a war but a police action. Obvious as it was the man's only son, he never recovered from the loss.

This blind trust in television and obedience to the pop culture icons was far too dominant for many boomers, it still goes on today. It must be true, Dan Rather said it. It must be accurate, it was on television. Younger generations tend to have this problem with the internet, as if writing something down makes it more valid and trustworthy. Back then, they knew it was so, because it was on TV, and seeing is believing - especially when it's entertaining.
However, news media has sought and received from a court of law, the right to LIE on television. Fox is one of the worst offenders.
Dahc33el
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 May, 2017 05:45 pm
@gilliansl,
Been reading about this myself. The more I think about it, I think "the tomb" is referring to the unknown soldier. The father in the song never saw his sons body recovered, and so he is left to wonder if that tomb is his son... chained my mind to an endless tomb.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Rockhead's Music Thread - Discussion by Rockhead
What are you listening to right now? - Discussion by Craven de Kere
WA2K Radio is now on the air - Discussion by Letty
Just another music thread. - Discussion by msolga
Classical anyone? - Discussion by JPB
Ship Ahoy: The O'Jays - Discussion by edgarblythe
Evolutionary purpose of music. - Discussion by jackattack
An a2k experiment: What is our favorite song? - Discussion by Robert Gentel
THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED . . . - Discussion by Setanta
Has a Song Ever Made You Cry? - Discussion by Diest TKO
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Can Anyone help me, "I saw it on TV" -John Fogerty
Copyright © 2017 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/28/2017 at 11:55:48