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    Gunsmoke

    Gunsmoke

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    CBS (ended 1975)

    Dodge City, known as the Sodom and Gomorrah of the plains, is a typical frontier city of the late 1800s with typical problems ranging from rumored Indian raids to bank and stage robberies, cattle rustling, and family feuds. All of these must be dealt with within the law and that task falls to Matt Dillon, US Marshal (James Arness).

    Dillon is a man who prefers the use of logic over the use of the gun but the nature of the people passing through Dodge doesn't always leave him that choice. Aided by various assistants and deputies over the years (played by Dennis Weaver, Burt Reynolds, and Ken Curtis), he does his best to keep the lawless element out of his town and his territory. Matt often solves his crimes through keen observation and deduction, an innovative approach for the times.

    Crucial information about cases is often provided by his beautiful companion, Long Branch owner Kitty Russell(Amanda Blake), while they drink beer or whiskey in her establishment. Matt also often exchanges banter or bounces his theories off of the crusty town doctor, Galen Adams (Milburn Stone).moreless
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    Bonanza

    Bonanza

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    NBC (ended 1973)
    White-haired Ben was the proud patriarch of the Cartwrights, the family at the center of one of TV's most beloved and long-running series. Their ranch, the Ponderosa, was 1,000 square-miles (600,000 acres) in size and sprawled from mountainous shores of Lake Tahoe to the desert terrain near Virginia City in the Nevada Territory. Ben oversaw his frontier empire with the help of his three sons: Adam, Hoss, and Joe. The series was set in 1859 when the series began and would progress through and following the Civil War.
    ---------------------------------- Series creator and producer David Dortort, who oversaw the series during its 14 year network run on NBC, says he first first got the idea for the series writing the 1953 episode of "Fireside Theatre" titled "Man of the Comstock."
    ---------------------------------- By 1959, NBC wanted a big filmed series to promote the sales of color television sets. NBC was the only network investing in color programs since its parent company RCA owned the electronic color transmitting system used by TV. "Bonanza" was just the type of show the network needed to "show off" its living color. In its initial season, it floundered in the ratings on Saturday nights against CBS' "Perry Mason"; it's said its renewal had a lot to do with its being shot in color. In the second season, "Bonanza" more than held its own in the Nielsens. It was the network's decision to move the series to Sunday nights that allowed it explode into a Top-10 hit.
    ---------------------------------- "Bonanza" differed in many ways from the dozens of other westerns on the air during its run. It relied more heavily on the characters than it did on action--though there was plenty of that. Good and bad weren't always as simple as "black hats" vs. "white hats"; many times, good people didn't live happily ever after. Despite that, Ben imparted a high code of ethics upon his sons. Among the principles: 1-Intolerance and bigotry were not acceptable. The Cartwrights often came to the defense of Indians, Chinese, and others who were the targets of the narrow-minded. 2-Once a man had paid his debt to society and was released from prison, he deserved a clean slate and a chance to start over. 3-The land was sacred. Ben's greatest business headaches came from his refusal to allow his land to be polluted and destroyed for profit. When the Cartwrights cut down a tree for lumber, they planted another. Their environmental concerns remain unique for a television series.
    ---------------------------------- Ben's path to his dream home of the Ponderosa (named for the Ponderosa Pine, plentiful in that area) was a long time in coming. He was a seaman, acting as first mate for Captain Abel Stoddard, when he met his boss' daughter Elizabeth and fell in love. She died after giving birth to first child Adam. Leaving the sad memories behind in the Northeast, he traveled to St. Louis and opened a trading company. He met and married the Swedish stunner Inger Inger Borgstrom who loved horses and shooting. She gave birth to son Hoss en route to the frontier, but was killed by an arrow during an ambush. Moving to New Orleans, Ben became an importer/exporter and fell for Creole beauty Marie DeMarigny. He made her wife number three and finally made it to the West. They established the Ponderosa and she gave him another son, Joseph. Marie died several years later in a riding accident. The story of each of these romance were detailed in individual episodes early in the series' run.
    ---------------------------------- The high mortality rate of women encountered by Ben and his sons, known jokingly as the "Cartwright Curse," became a running gag among comedians and viewers alike. If a female became a love interest to any of the show's men, even money says she'll be sick, dying, or dead by the end credits.
    --------------------------- Location filming kept the series from feeling "studio bound" and gave Bonanza a chance to highlight its color cinematography. Though much was filmed on a huge sound stage at Paramount Studios, scenes were regularly shot on the studio's outdoor "Western Street" and on locations throughout Southern California and Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The rising cost of shooting at Paramount eventually forced a move to the Warner Brothers studio in Burbank. To explain the new appearance of Virginia City, Season 12 began with "The Night Virginia City Died" where a huge fire destroyed the "old" town.
    ---------------------------------- Changes inevitably took place among cast members during "Bonanza"'s long run. After several years of complaining about being held back from a movie career, Pernell Roberts was finally sent on his merry way after of Season 6. Prior to that, amid fears of Roberts' departure, Guy Williams was brought in for a few episodes as Ben's nephew Will Cartwright. It's said the cast resented his character being added and he disappeared after five appearances. Beginning with "Sense of Duty" in Season 9, David Canary joined the cast as Ponderosa ranch foreman Candy Canady. He practically became a Cartwright, appearing in roughly a third of the series' total episodes. He disappeared with no mention at the end of season eleven after failing to get a raise from producer Dortort. Young orphaned teenager Jamie Hunter did become a real fourth Cartwright son when he was taken in by Ben in Season 12 and legally adopted in "A Home for Jamie" the next season. In the wake of Dan Blocker's death following Season 13, the cast was beefed up. David Canary returned as Candy (reportedly Michael Landon personally asked him to appear) and Tim Matheson was added a Griff King, a young man paroled into Ben's custody who was hired as a ranch hand.
    ---------------------------------- The loss of Blocker left a hole that simply couldn't be filled. This, combined with the show's move to Tuesday nights after eleven years on Sunday, dealt the series a death blow. Ratings took a nosedive and Bonanza aired it final episode in the middle of Season 14 on January 16. 1973.
    ---------------------------------- After all these years, Bonanza remains hugely popular. Besides the quality of the program itself, having filmed in color has kept it from looking "old". Episodes began to be released by CBS/Paramount on DVD beginning in 2009, and were uncut from their network airing with all the original music intact.
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  • 3
    Perry Mason

    Perry Mason

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    CBS (ended 1966)
    There are few actors so closely tied to a persona than Raymond Burr as Perry Mason. This long-running series was built upon Erle Stanley Gardner´s many novels about a brilliant defense lawyer and his staff, that solved many a crime with surprise witnesses and stern cross-examinations. It was the first mystery series to feature chalk or tape outlines to mark the spots where bodies were found. Filmed almost exclusively in the Los Angeles area, Raymond Burr had Gardner's seal of approval in the role. The cases were usually won by way of pivotal confessions of witnesses, solicited by Perry Mason (Burr's) surgeon-like examination or with last-minute, key evidence brought into the courtroom by private investigator Paul Drake (William Hopper). Della Street (Barbara Hale), Perry´s faithful secretary, was always at Perry's side in the courtroom where hapless Hamilton Burger (William Tallman) was the Los Angeles District Attorney who never seemed to win. As to the myth that Perry Mason never lost, there were two episodes where it did occur... but you'll have to watch to find out. The show was revived in 1973-74, with other actors in the familiar roles (Monte Markham as Mason), and then again with the some of the original cast, in a string of feature length TV films from 1985 until Raymond Burr´s death in 1993.moreless
  • 4
    The Twilight Zone

    The Twilight Zone

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    CBS (ended 1964)
    The series was a collection of various tales that range from the tragic to the comedic. They may be scary or just thought-provoking. Most episodes have unexpected endings and a moral lesson. But, no matter what, it's "a journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are that of the imagination." Rod Serling, creator and host of the series, won two Emmys for outstanding writing (1960 & '61), and the Golden Globe in 1962 for best TV director/producer. Reruns of the original Twilight Zone can be seen on the US Sci Fi channel. This is the Original 1959 series, not the CBS The Twilight Zone (1985) version nor the UPN The Twilight Zone (2002) version. CBS Programming History October 1959-September 1962 ..... Friday 10:00 January 1963-September 1963 ..... Thursday 9:00 September 1961-September 1964 ..... Friday 9:30 May 1965-September 1965 ..... Sunday 9:00 Note: Seasons 1-3 & 5 have a running time of 30 minutes. All of the episodes in Season 4 have a running time of one hour.moreless
  • 5
    As The World Turns

    As The World Turns

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    CBS (ended 2010)
    As the World Turns first premiered on April 2, 1956, and has been a mainstay on CBS daytime ever since. The show takes place in the fictional town of Oakdale, Illinois, and revolves around the lives of it's inhabitants. Originally the central family was the Hughes', however today the stories mostly resolve around the enormous Snyder family. As the World Turns is produced by Proctor and Gamble, the same company that produces Guiding Light, the only show to have a longer on-air tenure than ATWT. This year, ATWT celebrated its 54th Anniversary of being on the air in April 2010, the show will end it's run on Sept 17th 2010.moreless
  • 6
    Have Gun - Will Travel

    Have Gun - Will Travel

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    CBS (ended 1963)
    Paladin was not your normal gunfighter. He was an educated and a traveled man. A West Point graduate, he served as a Union officer during the Civil War. After the war, he went west and became a high-priced 'gun for hire.' He was based at the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco and enjoyed the finer things in life. He dressed in fancy clothes, enjoyed fine wine, gourmet food, opera, expensive cigars and he could play the piano. He read newspapers from all over the West looking for situations in which he could help, for a fee. Sometimes Hey Boy, the Oriental porter who worked at the Carlton, would bring Paladin a letter or 'wire' asking for his help. Usually, within the first few minutes, he was dressed for 'business' and on the trail. When working, he dressed completely in black including a black hat with a band of silver conchos and a custom holster with a silver chess knight on it. He carried a custom made pistol which was perfectly balanced and had a rifled barrel. He preferred to settle problems without violence whenever possible, but if forced to fight, he excelled. A master marksman and a quick draw, he was a match for most any man. And for those 'difficult times' he kept a derringer hidden under his belt, which saved his life on many occasions. His rifle, which was rarely used, also had a silver chess knight on the stock. This leads us to believe it was as carefully made as the pistol he carried. Before resorting to violence, Paladin would put his rich education and experience to work to try to find an alternate solution. In spite of his profession, he had a deep respect for the law and would often turn on his employers if he found they were the guilty party.moreless
  • 7
    The Untouchables

    The Untouchables

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    ABC (ended 1963)
    The Untouchables is a classic crime drama series about an elite group of government law enforcement officers headed by the incorruptible Eliot Ness and their battles against organized crime and gang lords such as Al Capone, Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, Joe "The Teacher" Kulak and others.
    The series, based on the auto-biography of the real Ness, ran from 1959 to 1963 on ABC and sparked great controversy in its day both for its violent content and its portrayal of Italian-Americans.moreless
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    One Step Beyond

    One Step Beyond

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    ABC (ended 1961)
    Outside the known is irreality, and one step beyond that is Surrealism. John Newland introduces reported cases of supernatural phenomena, whose poetry is revealed in magnificent and almost brutally compressed dramatizations. One Step Beyond was mainly filmed at M-G-M Studios, Hollywood, and partly at M-G-M British Studios, Borehamwood, Herts. It premiered nine months before The Twilight Zone, and was also known as Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond. All episodes are directed by Newland himself, a dab hand whose trademark is subtle, balletic camera work. This series fed the nation's growing interest in paranormal suspense in a different way. Rather than creating fictional stories with supernatural twists and turns, this program sought out 'real' stories of the supernatural, including ghosts, disappearances, monsters, etc., and re-creating them for each episode. No solutions to these mysteries were ever found, and viewers could only scratch their heads and wonder, "what if it's real?"moreless
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    Guiding Light

    Guiding Light

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    CBS (ended 2009)
    The late soap journalist Christopher Schemering once wrote that soap operas are not just dramas; "they're little pockets of American history." So it's only fitting to consider that at one time, The Guiding Light,-the longest running program in broadcast history, spanning 71 years-- brought fifteen-minute bits of escapism to war-weary housewives, as their men trudged off to fight the indignities of WWII. It brought social awareness to a nation that began to think about the big picture beyond their picket fences and suburban streets. Soap opera is a truly dynamic genre that reflects life as it is lived, the quintessential American art form. Although berated and belittled, the soap opera has an illustrious lineage, with no less than the books of Charles Dickens as an inspiration. Created by the legendary, if not iron-fisted Irna Phillips, The Guiding Light began its life on January 25, 1937. Originally, the show focused on the Chicagoan suburb of Five Points, a bustling enclave of German-Jewish immigrants hoping to find their own piece of the American dream. Giving them the hope and inspiration they needed was a kindly minister named Reverend John Ruthledge (voiced by Arthur Peterson of Soap fame). The Reverend's sermons of hope and forgiveness made such an impression that a bestselling book was published of his most popular homilies. The Reverend's message could be summed up by his favorite mantra from Edwin Markum "There is a destiny that makes us brothers, none goes his way alone, all that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own." On the desk near his window, the minister placed an old lantern, a "guiding light" to those parishioners passing in the cold, hopeless night. In the 1940's the Reverend Ruthledge enrolled as a chaplain to do his part of the war effort. However, when the production of the show moved to the west coast, Peterson refused to join them, so Irna Phillips had the minister die when his plane was shot down overseas. His "friendship lamp" went too with the production move to the town of Selby Flats, California. Reverend Matthews took over for the late Rev. Ruthledge as the center of hope and inspiration. However, by the time that the show was slated to move to television, the religious undertones of the show were virtually gone and the focus was moved yet again to the family Bauer. * Guiding Light was cancelled on April 1, 2009 and the last episode aired on September 18, 2009.moreless
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    Rawhide

    Rawhide

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    CBS (ended 1966)
    Rawhide is the continuing saga of a group of Texans taking a 3000 head herd of cattle north to market.
  • 11
    Wagon Train

    Wagon Train

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    NBC (ended 1965)
    Wagon Train followed the trials and tribulations of pioneering families as they set out from the East to carve out a new life in the West soon after the American Civil War. For some of the travellers it was a happy ending, but not for all, which only heightened the drama along the way. Such a structure ensured that the scriptwriters had a wide scope for their stories which , more often than not, revolved around the characters rather than the action, although the series had more than it's fair share of that too. With a new storyline nearly every week and a larger than average budget for the time, it was never difficult for the producers to attract well known guest stars in front of the cameras with some famous names behind the cameras too. Wagon Train was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic between 1957 and 1965. It survived cast changes to the leading actors and changes to the format which is testimony enough to the show's popularity. Even now fans who watched it back then remember it with fondness, and regular re-runs ensure it's continuing popularity with newer generations.moreless
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    Highway Patrol

    Highway Patrol

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    (ended 1959)
    Destined to become one of the most popular syndicated television shows of all time, Highway Patrol screamed onto the scene with fast cars and the catch phrase "10-4". Each week, Broderick Crawford played Highway Patrol's Chief Dan Mathews, leading his troops into another harrowing roadway adventure. Crawford's depiction of Mathews was as a tough, no-nonsense Chief of the Highway Patrol, that was in actuality based on the California Highway Patrol, though no state is named on the show. The actual head of the CHP acted as show consultant for the first season and during that season, the actors who portrayed officers wore CHP uniforms, without the name California on the shoulder patch. Using high powered cars, motorcycles and helicopters, Highway Patrol appealed greatly to young males and many future law enforcement recruits watched faithfully each week as narrator Art Gilmore proclaimed: "Whenever the laws of any state are broken, a duly authorized organization swings into action. It may be called the State Police, State Troopers, militia, the Rangers, or the Highway Patrol. These are the stories of the men whose training, skill, and courage have enforced and preserved our state laws."moreless
  • 13
    Playhouse 90

    Playhouse 90

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    CBS (ended 1960)
    The most ambitious and acclaimed of all the anthology series', Playhouse 90 was in a league of its own. "Requiem of a Heavyweight," written by Rod Serling, garnered numerous Emmys and remains one of the best live dramas. Each week the series aired a complete 90 minute live drama. The list of talents is amazing: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Hiller, John Brahm, Arthur Penn were a few of the directors. Every angle and every shot left an impact on the viewing public. It was a treasure of a show, that rare gem that lives on.moreless
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    Zane Grey Theater

    Zane Grey Theater

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    CBS (ended 1961)
    Welcome to the Zane Grey Theater guide at TV.com. Zane Grey Theater were adaptations of short stories and novels of the West by author Zane Grey, when the material began to run out stories from other authors were used. Host Dick Powell introduced the episodes and starred in several himself. Wonderful tales of the Old West laden with history and adventure. The opening and closing orchestration was conducted by Harry Lubin, the song was called "Way Out West". There were five episodes which became series' of their own, they include: "Trackdown" which aired 3May57; "The Rifleman" which aired 07Mar58; "Black Saddle" which aired 23May58; "Johnny Ringo" which aired 05Mar59; "The Westerner" which aired 26Mar59. Stars like Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Lloyd Bridges, Eddie Albert just to name a few, appeared throughout the series. A Classic!moreless
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    Davy Crockett

    Davy Crockett

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    ABC (ended 1955)
    The classic Walt Disney series featuring the life of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, starring Fess Parker (Daniel Boone) and Buddy Ebsen (Beverly Hillbillies, Barnaby Jones) as the legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett and his best friend, Georgie Russell.

    The series followed their adventures through the Indian Wars, Davy's tenure in Congress, travels down the Missisippi River, and the last stand at the Alamo.

    The five episodes of the series aired as segments of "Disneyland"; in 1954 and 1955. Later, they were re-edited and packaged into the theatrical releases Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. In 1989, Disney launched a revival series, with Tim Dunigan and Gary Grubbs. Though good in its own right, it never reached the popularity of the original Fess Parker episodes.

    The popularity of the shows made the "Ballad of Davy Crockett" a chart-topping single and inspired children across the country to sport coonskin caps.moreless
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    The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger

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    ABC (ended 1957)
    "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi Yo Silver!" The Lone Ranger. "Hi Yo Silver, away!" With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!" ======================= Company credits: Production Companies * Apex Film Corp. (1949-1954) * Wrather Productions Inc. (1954-1957) Awards Emmy Awards 1950 -- Nominated -- Best Film Made for and Viewed on Television 1949moreless
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    Cheyenne

    Cheyenne

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    ABC (ended 1963)
    Cheyenne Bodie was a big man, a former army scout who went west after the American Civil War and drifted from job to job, here a cowboy, there a lawman, and always a larger-than-life hero.moreless
  • 18
    Lawman (1958)

    Lawman (1958)

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    ABC (ended 1962)
    Dan Troop is the new marshall in Laramie, Wyoming. He quickly hires Johnny McKay as his deputy, and together they work to clean up the town. Each week, the two lawmen are engaged in helping the citizens solve problems, fight injustice, and keep peace. Dan is tall, taciturn, and has the highest moral standards. Johnny tries hard to live up to Dan's example. After the first year, Lily Merrill opens the Bird Cage Saloon, and soon the three lonely people form a bond, much as a family, looking out for one another's interests. This western was a highly professional show in the midst of a time when formula westerns were the norm. It ran four years before it was cancelled.moreless
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    Wanted: Dead or Alive

    Wanted: Dead or Alive

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    CBS (ended 1961)
    Welcome to the Wanted: Dead or Alive guide at tv.com.


    Wanted: Dead or Alive originally aired in Black and white on CBS. The pilot aired on the series "Trackdown in March 1958.
    Bounty hunter Josh Randall was unlike any bounty hunter, he usually gave half or all of his reward money to good causes. He was a gentlemen and very respectful of the elderly. He was a man of few words and seemed to lack emotion but he was adept at using his gun, not an ordinary gun but a .44-.40 sawed-off 1892 Winchester carbine which he had on his "Mare's Leig", BUT the cartridges in his belt were .45-.70! His catch phrase in almost every episode was "Let's Go" which he spoke softly and sounded more like les goo. A treasure one not to be missed, especially to see Mr. Cool himself, Steve McQueen.


    http://www.bountyhunterspecial.com/

    Special thanks to Bruce P. for clarifying the caliber of the bullets and for more information on the gun check out:


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    The Edge of Night

    The Edge of Night

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    CBS (ended 1984)
    The Edge of Night was television's first 30 minute soap opera. The program premiered the same day as As The World Turns which was also (at the time) 30 minutes long. While the show did begin on CBS, it moved in 1975 to ABC when Procter & Gamble wanted to expand As the World Turns to a full hour. During its 1798 episode run the show had an audience of almost 50% men, something unheard of in today's soap world. The show itself was sold as a soap with a strong background in mystery. The show initially worked and became the second most watched serial by 1966. By the end of its run in 1984 however the show dropped to 14th.moreless
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