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    Leave It to Beaver

    Leave It to Beaver

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    ABC (ended 1963)
    Leave It to Beaver portrayed the iconic postwar American family: June the perfect housewife, Ward the dad (what did he do for a living, anyway? And why did he always wear a suit to dinner?), big brother Wally, and of course Theodore ("The Beaver"), the good-hearted kid whose adventures propelled the show. Leave It to Beaver debuted in October of 1957 on CBS. In the fall of 1958, CBS dropped the series. ABC picked it up and ran it for an additional 5 years. Few people know that Leave it to Beaver was the first American television show broadcast behind the Iron Curtain -- perhaps part of the reason for so many references to God, Sunday School, Breaking Bread, etc. In several episodes, there are subtle references to the Soviet Union. In episode #31 ( New doctor ): Wally, has a model plane. Look close, it,s a Russian bomber. With, the red star decals. In episode #119 ( Beaver's House Guest ), the two boys are wearing their camp sweatshirts. With the name Camp Chekov on it. Propaganda? Maybe. What the average American family was like in the 1950's? I don't think so. What ever, I guess it worked. The series focuses on Theodore Cleaver (Beaver). Beaver (who was 7 when the series began) is your basic everyday little boy who had a knack of getting himself into trouble at every turn. His older brother Wally, is just entering his teen years and often wonders out loud how Beaver could be so dumb to get himself into stupid situations. (Examples: getting himself locked in the principals office, letting the bathtub overflow, letting the washing machine overflow, getting his head stuck in a fence at the park, constantly losing things (cats, change, etc.) His parents are your everyday 1950's parents, June and Ward Cleaver, who do their best to understand and support Beaver and Wally as they grew up. Other characters were mostly friends of Wally and Beaver. Wally's friends included Lumpy Rutherford and the two-faced Eddie Haskell. Eddie was courteous to June and Ward but when the grown ups weren't around he was a bully to Beaver and his friends. Beaver's friends include Whitey Whitney, Gilbert Gates/Bates/Harrison (inconsistent last name), Larry Mondello and Richard Rickover. Beaver's teachers, Miss Canfield and later Miss Landers were seen frequently as well as Lumpy's father, played by Richard Deacon known for his role on The Dick Van Dyke Show. While most people lump in Leave it to Beaver with other family sitcoms, such as Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, this series was truly an original, and very much ahead of its time. It showed the world through the eyes of a young boy, and sometimes dealt with rather controversial subjects. One episode ("Beaver and Andy") dealt frankly with the subject of alcoholism. Another episode ("Beaver's House Guest") showed how divorce can affect a child. In 1985, Leave It to Beaver was in a full blown revival after a 1983 reunion movie, Still the Beaver, when a spin-off series, with the title of the reunion movie, was proposed. It later begin airing in syndication under the title, The New Leave It to Beaver and starred all of the original cast members except Hugh Beaumont who died on May 14, 1982. First Telecast: October 4, 1957 Last Telecast: September 12, 1963 Episodes: 234 B&W Episodes +1 Unaired B&W Pilot Theme Song: "The Toy Parade" Written by: Melvyn Leonard, Mort Greene & Dave Kahn Spin-offs: The New Leave It to Beaver NOTE: All air dates have now been verified through TV Guide. CBS Broadcast History October 1957-March 1958----Fridays----7:30 p.m. March-September 1958----Wednesdays----8:00 p.m. ABC Broadcast History October 1958-June 1959----Thursdays----7:30 p.m. July-September 1959----Thursdays----9:00 p.m. October 1959-September 1962----Saturdays----8:30 p.m. September 1962-September 1963----Thursdays----8:30 p.m. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 30 or Better) Never hit the top 30moreless
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    Maverick

    Maverick

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    ABC (ended 1962)
    Maverick told the story of the Maverick brothers, Bret and Bart, card sharps who lived during the Old West era. The show was originally a straightforward adventure tale, but it evolved when the writers began adding comedy to the scripts. Bret quickly became the television western's first quasi-mercenary, a character who would help the forces of justice but usually only if he stood to profit from doing so. When he resorted to gunfire, he wasn't the West's finest marksman. In fact, he was much more likely to outsmart his opponent or slip out the back door once trouble began. The writers also added a foil for Bret - his brother Bart. Bart was more conservative than the devilish Bret, but just as unlikely to join any fight that could be avoided. The two characters began alternating as leads on the show as they journeyed through small towns with odd names like Oblivion and Apocalypse. Along the way, they associated with fellow card sharps like Dandy Jim Buckley and Gentleman Jack Darby. There was also Samantha Crawford, a lovely female rogue who loved to challenge the Maverick brothers to see who could out-con the other.

    All these elements helped make Maverick a television western that stood apart from the crowd. Audiences responded to the mix of traditional Western adventure and good-natured humor, making the show an instant hit. Bret Maverick, in particular, became a hero for many armchair cowboys. As a result, the writers began to play up the comedy elements even more, expanding the storylines to satirize other prime time programming. Maverick lampooned everything from Gunsmoke to Dragnet. The show would also use actors known for other roles, like Edd "Kookie" Byrnes from 77 Sunset Strip, for cameo roles designed to make viewers' heads turn.

    Maverick continued to enjoy solid ratings through the end of the 1950's, but hit a snag in 1960 when James Garner left the program over a contract dispute. To replace him, the producers introduced a new Maverick cousin, Beau. Beau had been sent to London for disgracing the family name during the Civil War (by winning a medal). Beau would be played by Roger Moore, who would later move on to greater fame as James Bond. The show also briefly added another brother, Brent, played by Robert Colbert, before finally ending its run in the summer of 1962. Since then, Maverick has continued to be a popular member of the cult television pantheon. Its enduring status as a beloved show led to two short-lived follow-up series, Young Maverick and Bret Maverick. There was also a 1994 movie version of Maverick which featured James Garner alongside Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. The follow-ups proved that the magical Maverick mixture of laughter and tumbleweeds was an enduring, age defying source of great family entertainment.

    Aired Sunday nights at 7:30pm on ABC. The final season aired Sunday nights at 6:30pmmoreless
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    The Real McCoys

    The Real McCoys

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    ABC (ended 1963)
    The McCoy family moves from the mountains of West Virginia to California's San Fernando Valley. The leader of the clan is Grampa--a cranky old geezer with a distinctive voice and gait--but underneath it all, he has a heart of gold. Living with him are his grandson, Luke, and Luke's bride, Kate. Due to the death of Luke's parents, these three adults are raising Luke's teenage sister, Hassie, and his younger brother, Little Luke.moreless
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    Disneyland

    Disneyland

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    ABC (ended 1990)
    Walt Disney, one of Hollywood's most ambitious producers, was first approached to do television in 1950, when The Coca-Cola Company offered him a one-hour special. The one hour special, "One Hour in Wonderland," aired December 25, 1950 on NBC and garnered 90% of the television viewing audience. A second special, "The Walt Disney Christmas Special," aired December 25, 1951 on CBS. When Walt had drawn up plans for a theme park, known as Disneyland, he found a hard time obtaining funding; critics, including Walt's brother Roy, thought that it was unfeasible and that it would be a fiasco. At the same time, the ABC television network offered him a deal for a television anthology series. Walt wouldn't agree to it unless they put up partial financing for Disneyland (a term that had kept CBS and NBC from signing with him). ABC agreed, and also paid him $50,000 per program, an exorbitant sum for the time. The show, titled Disneyland, premiered on October 27, 1954 and was an immediate success. Historically, the show is significant for two reasons. First, with thirty-four seasons, it is the longest-running prime time network series in history (not counting news programs; if one were to count news programs, 60 Minutes would take that title). Second, it was the first original television production by a major Hollywood studio. Other studios resented television for fear that it would keep people from going out to the movies. Thus, they refused to produce television programs, and they refused to let networks or stations use any of their more recent or better-known material. Walt Disney was the first Hollywood producer to do so. Disneyland was a mixture of cartoons, live-action adventures, documentaries, and nature stories. Some of these were made expressly for television, but others were former theatrical releases. Many of the early programs were designed to promote upcoming theatrical releases. One particular early success of the Disneyland series was the Davy Crockett trilogy. This was a phenomenal success in every aspect; the merchandising bonanza that followed sold $300 million worth of Crockett memorabilia. Thus, ABC wanted more adventure stories along the lines of Davy Crockett. Disney provided them, but none were nearly as successful. Along the way, in 1958, it was retitled Walt Disney Presents. Eventually the show became more reliant on original material, though pre-existing material was used at times. In 1961, his contract with ABC expired. He moved his show to NBC where he could broadcast it in color (ABC would not have the capability for color broacasting until 1962). It was rechristened Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, with an original theme song by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (who went on to write the song scores to such well-known Disney films as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and Bedknobs and Broomsticks). It premiered on NBC on Sunday, September 24, 1961. On NBC, he was able to re-air many of the ABC shows in color, as they had been filmed that way as insurance for possible future airings once color broadcasting, or "colorcasting," took hold. In September of 1966, doctors told Walt Disney, a lifetime chain-smoker, that he had lung cancer. Though the cancerous lung was removed, doctors told him that the cancer had been detected too late, and he died on Thursday, December 15, 1966. Knowing full well that no one could replace him as a host, Walt Disney Productions dropped the hosted introduction segments after the season's end. Luckily, Walt had filmed that all of that season's host segments before it was too late. The show changed its name to The Wonderful World of Disney on September 14, 1969, and dropped the Sherman Brothers theme song in favor of various alternating medleys of well-known songs from Disney movies and parks. The trusted Disney name continued to insure high ratings for the next few years. As popular tastes changed dramatically during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the public seemed to have largely begun to turn away from anything Disney (except theme parks and merchandise), seeing the name as symptomatic of a square, uptight, and unhip mindset that young people were coming to reject. The studio itself suffered from the lack of hit movies and accusations of incompetent management at the time. The ratings of the anthology series, however, remained reasonably stable, enough so that NBC renewed Disney's contract through 1978. In the fall of 1975, the show began a ratings decline when it was moved back to 7 PM from 7:30 PM. Disney's ratings fell from the Top 30 and continued to fall every year afterwards. The following year went face to with CBS's 60 Minutes. Though it had begun in 1968 and was scheduled on Tuesday, the CBS newsmagazine had been scheduled on Sunday evenings since the 1971-1972 season, and had been held back until after football season due to the risk of pre-emptions; it was this year that the show finally began its season in the fall. The show was easily able to beat ABC's Sunday night offerings but trailed the CBS newsmagazine by a wide margin. As the number of original installments decreased every year, so, too, did the ratings. In 1979, NBC (which, as a network, was also in the midst of a very public, humiliating decline) threatened Disney with cancellation unless the ratings improved. That fall, Walt Disney Productions rechristened the anthology series Disney's Wonderful World and commissioned a new, original theme song by John Debney and John Klawitter, new opening and closing credits, and a new announcer, Gary Owens (longtime announcer Dick Wesson committed suicide in January of that year). In a flashback to the original themed format, many episodes initially were divided into one of four categories: "Fantasy Night," "Adventure Night," "Comedy Night," and "Animation Night." Beneath the "happy new face" sung of in the new theme song, however, was more of the same: too little original material, airings of theatrical movies, and far too many reruns. In spite of this, the face-lift helped the ratings, so the show was renewed for the 1980-1981 season. But the next season saw only 10 installments that had not been aired on the anthology series before, and pre-emptions were far more frequent. Ratings for the show's 27th season did not improve, and in on December 30, 1980 NBC announced that it would not be renewing the series for next season. All was not lost that year, as the show was then immediately picked up by CBS. It was moved from its longtime Sunday night slot to Saturday night at 8 PM, as the network would not displace its highly-rated pride and joy 60 Minutes. Retitled Walt Disney, the show promised to present more original programming than it had in its final years on NBC. On September 26, 1981, after a huge advertising campaign by the network, the series premiered on CBS. Ratings improved against mediocre competition, and the show was renewed for another season (its 29th on network television). A few of these shows were pilots for series that were never picked up. The second CBS year saw an increase in the number of reruns (as opposed to last year's increase in new episodes), and the ratings dropped. Disney did, however, produce several midseason replacement series for CBS, but all of them failed. On Monday, April 18, 1983, Walt Disney Productions and Westinghouse Broadcasting launched The Disney Channel, a cable network created to showcase the large library of Disney cartoons, movies, and TV shows (the anthology series was rerun under the name Walt Disney Presents). Thus, in the eyes of CBS, the anthology series had outlived its purpose and was canceled. There were occasional network and syndicated specials, but all of Disney's television resources were concentrated on the cable service. When Michael Eisner became CEO of Walt Disney Productions in September of 1984, one of the first things he and his new regime did was express an interest in reviving Disney's presence on network TV. He had some success, as the Emmy-winning, Touchstone-produced sitcom The Golden Girls and the Saturday morning cartoon (a medium with which Walt Disney himself had refused to get involved due to fears of compromised quality) Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears both premiered on NBC on Saturday, September 14, 1985 and lasted several years. However, these particular shows were the exception, not the rule; a number of series that the new regime eventually launched failed (Wildside and The Ellen Burstyn Show, for instance). Also, of course, did the company plan to revive the anthology series. Now known as The Disney Sunday Movie, it made its much-hyped return to network television on February 2, 1986 after a hiatus of 2 years, 4 months, and eight days, replacing the dismally-rated Ripley's Believe it or Not. Just as Walt Disney had hosted the original until his death, Michael Eisner appeared in an introductory segment at the beginning of each episode. Nostalgia and ratings were high initially, but both eventually wore off. The show premiered at a two-hour length, but in the fall of 1987, once again being soundly beaten in the ratings regularly by 60 Minutes in its first hour, and by Murder, She Wrote in its second, it was shortened to one hour for its third and final season on ABC. NBC, which had not been able to launch a hit show in Disney's old time slot in the seven years since the show was axed by that network, picked up the show, which was renamed The Magical World of Disney. At first, a rotating "wheel" format was used, utilizing three different genres; every fourth week would be a special. This lasted until a few months into the following season. Eisner continued to host the show, but ratings on NBC were no better than they had been on ABC, and it limped through a two-year run here before the network pulled the plug for good. After 36 years (save for the September 1983-January 1986 hiatus), one of television's last remaining institutions from its golden age came to an unceremonious end. In 1995, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to buy out the ABC television network, which went through in January of 1996. In the fall of 1997, a family-oriented movie time slot was set aside on ABC and christened The Wonderful World of Disney. Ratings to date have been middling. Though the show is not currently repeated anywhere (The Disney Channel dropped it and all vintage Disney programming in September of 2002), episodes are slowly being released on DVD in the United States, and its legacy of quality television entertainment for all members of the family lives on in the hearts and minds of many. Here is a chronology of titles used for the series: Disneyland: October 27, 1954-September 3, 1958
    Walt Disney Presents: September 12, 1958-September 17, 1961
    Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color: September 24, 1961-September 7, 1969
    The Wonderful World of Disney: September 14, 1969-September 2, 1979
    Disney's Wonderful World: September 9, 1979-September 13, 1981
    Walt Disney: September 26, 1981-September 24, 1983
    The Disney Sunday Movie: February 2, 1986-September 11, 1988
    The Magical World of Disney: October 9, 1988-September 9, 1990 The final name was used as an umbrella title for Disney movie airings on cable's The Disney Channel from September 23, 1990 to August 25, 1996. ABC Broadcast History (1954-1961):
    October 27, 1954-September 3, 1958: Wednesday, 7:30 PM-8:30 PM
    September 12, 1958-September 25, 1959: Friday, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM
    October 2, 1959-September 23, 1960: Friday, 7:30 PM-8:30 PM
    September 25, 1960-September 17, 1961: Sunday, 6:30 PM-7:30 PM NBC Broadcast History (1961-1981):
    September 24, 1961-August 31, 1975: Sunday, 7:30 PM-8:30 PM
    September 14, 1975-September 11, 1977: Sunday, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM
    September 18, 1977-October 23, 1977: Sunday, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM
    October 30, 1977-September 13, 1981: Sunday, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM CBS Broadcast History (1981-1983):
    September 26, 1981-January 1, 1983: Saturday, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM
    January 4, 1983-February 15, 1983: Tuesday, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM
    July 9, 1983-September 24, 1983: Saturday, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM
    (two irregularly scheduled airings on May 3, 1983 and May 21, 1983) ABC Broadcast History (1986-1988):
    February 2, 1986-September 6, 1987: Sunday, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM
    September 13, 1987-September 11, 1988: Sunday, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM NBC Broadcast History (1988-1990):
    October 9, 1988-July 2, 1989: Sunday, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM
    July 9, 1989-July 23, 1989: Sunday, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM
    August 6, 1989-February 25, 1990: Sunday, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM
    March 4, 1990-April 15, 1990: Sunday, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM
    April 22, 1990-May 6, 1990: Sunday, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM
    May 27, 1990-July 22, 1990: Sunday, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM
    August 5, 1990-September 9, 1990: Sunday, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM
    First Telecast: October 27, 1954
    Last Telecast: September 9, 1990 Episodes: 751 (180 black and white episodes, 571 color episodes [as far as the format in which they were first broadcast]) (NOTE: many of these were originally theatrical releases, and a small number were specials aired at other times, but for purposes of their first airing on the anthology series they are counted as episodes)moreless
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    The Mickey Mouse Club

    The Mickey Mouse Club

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    ABC (ended 1959)
    "Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?" Next to Howdy Doody (which it helped unseat), The Mickey Mouse Club was the defining children's television program of the 1950's. The show, which aired daily, featured a true variety of entertainment: singing, dancing, guest stars, classic Disney cartoons, serials, and a group of talented kids who became overnight sensations—the Mouseketeers. Led by adult leader Jimmy Dodd, and flanked by hefty Disney animator Roy Williams, the Mouseketeers sang and danced their way into the hearts of the first TV generation.

    The standout of the group was Annette Funicello. Young America watched as the lovely and talented teenaged beauty developed before their very eyes. Annette soon starred in her own serial on the show, and went on to a successful career in film and music.

    Another popular element of the show was the serialized adventures of The Hardy Boys and Spin and Marty. Veteran Disney child actor Tim Considine starred in both, making him what many refer to as the "Honorary Mouseketeer." Other serial performers included Tommy Kirk, David Stollery, and Roy Barcroft.

    Days of the Week: Monday - Fun With Music Day Tuesday - Guest Star Day Wednesday - Anything Can Happen Day Thursday - Circus Day Friday - Talent Round-Up Day Theme Song: Who's the leader of the club That's made for you and me M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there You're as welcome as can be M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

    Mickey Mouse!

    Mickey Mouse!

    Forever let us hold our banner High! High! High! High!

    Come along and sing a song And join the jamboree! M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

    Mickey Mouse club We'll have fun We'll be new faces High! High! High! High!

    We'll do things and We'll go places All around the world We'll go marching

    Who's the leader of the club That's made for you and me M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there You're as welcome as can be M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

    Mickey Mouse!

    Mickey Mouse!

    Forever let us hold our banner High! High! High! High!

    Come along and sing a song And join the jamboree! M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-Emoreless
  • 6
    The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet

    The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet

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    ABC (ended 1966)
    Welcome to The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet guide at TV.com. The real-life Nelson family - Ozzie, his wife Harriet and their sons David and Ricky - played themselves in this long-running sitcom, where Ricky got his start as a teen idol. When the Nelson boys grew up and married their sweethearts, Kris and June, their real-life wives played their TV wives. The series began as a radio program in 1944. At that time David and Ricky were played by actors. It wasn't until 1949, when radio personality Bing Crosby's sons began to play themselves on Bing's show that the real David and Ricky decided to join the Nelson family radio show. The "adventures" the family experienced every week involved very little conflict or friction. Problems and misunderstandings were solved quickly and with a shared laugh over the silliness of it all.moreless
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    Beulah

    Beulah

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    ABC (ended 1952)
    Beulah (The Beulah Show) was an early situation comedy about an African-American housekeeper and cook who works for a family named the Hendersons. Begun on radio (CBS) in 1945, the TV version aired concurrently on ABC beginning in 1950.

    The show was marked with some controversy. Though denounced by many African-American groups, its sponsors were not boycotted like those of Amos 'n Andy. Beulah was also known for several cast changes. After Ethel Waters left the title role, Hattie McDaniel (from the radio version) and Louise Beavers stepped in (McDaniel departed because of illness) before Beavers settled in for good as the final television Beulah. Some sources state that the six McDaniel episodes only ran in syndication. Practically every character role changed once or twice over the life of the show.

    Despite the protests of stereotypes promoted in some of the program's writing, the character of Beulah herself was actually the wisest and most capable of the entire show - and the series remained the only one to star an African-American woman until Julia aired in 1968.moreless
  • 8
    The Donna Reed Show

    The Donna Reed Show

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    ABC (ended 1966)
    The Donna Reed Show premiered on September 24, 1958, on ABC. The show revolves around housewife, Donna Stone, and her family--husband Alex who is a pediatrician, 14 year-old Mary, and 11 year-old Jeff. The Stone family reside in the midwestern town of Hilldale. Donna was the perfect American housewife and mother. She was always neatly-groomed, lovely, good-natured, thoughtful, and capable. Alex was handsome, well-respected in his profession, usually thoughtful and sometimes ill-tempered. Mary was a typical teenage girl of the time, pretty, popular, and prone to bouts of insecurity now and then. Jeff was the average boy, rambunctious, bright, preferred sports to studies, and a total burden to his sister. The episodes involved the usual family problems and adventures, with Donna usually saving the day in her quiet, capable way. In addition, Alex's career as a pediatrician figured prominently in many episodes, and the president of the AMA had a cameo in one episode, "Quads of Trouble" in season 7 . The show won many awards from various civic, educational, and medical groups due to it's wholesome nature and it's handling of topics like adoption, prescription drug abuse, home safety. In 1963, Shelley Fabares, who played Mary, left the show to pursue a movie career and thus Mary went away to college having up to that point been a student at the local college. To fill the void, Paul Petersen's real-life little sister, Patty Petersen, joined the cast as Trisha, a little girl adopted by the Stones. Also in 1963, Ann McCrea and Bob Crane joined the cast as the Stones next-door neighbors, Midge and Dave Kelsey. Bob Crane remained with the show till 1965 and Ann till 1966. Both Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen had short but successful recording careers during the run of the show. In January, 1962, Paul sang "She Can't Find Her Keys" in the episode, "For Angie With Love", and "My Dad" in the episode, "My Dad" from October, 1962. February, 1962, Shelley sang "Johnny Angel" in the episode, "Donna's Prima Donna", and "Big Star" in the episode, "Big Star" from November, 1962. The Donna Reed Show was on the air for 8 seasons on ABC. From September, 1958-September, 1959, it aired on Wednesdays at 9pm. Then from October, 1959-January, 1966, it aired on Thursdays at 8pm. And finally, from January, 1966-Spetember, 1966, it aired on Saturdays at 8pm. Donna Reed's husband, Tony Owen, was executive producer of the show, and the show was a "Todon Production", with "Todon" being a combination of the first syllables of their first names--"To" for Tony and "don" for Donna.moreless
  • 9
    The Trouble With Father

    The Trouble With Father

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    ABC (ended 1955)
    Early television was filled with bumbling fathers who were not the smartest member of the household. One of the earliest examples of this time-honored premise was Stu Erwin, head of the family, in "Trouble With Father".
    One of TV's first filmed sitcoms revolved around the Erwins who lived in an unnamed American town. Stu was a high school principal who, though not stupid, was something of a dullard who found himself in uncomfortable situations with regularity. June (Stu's real-life spouse) was his patient wife who busied herself by managing the household and being involved in numerous "ladies groups". Their oldest daughter was Joyce, a high school student, that was boy-crazy. Youngest daughter Jackie was a tomboy with a smart mouth who delivered most of the actual comedy lines. "Trouble With Father" is the prototype of the "perfect family" sitcom that one thinks of as representing the 1950s. Without the warmth of a "Father Knows Best" or "Leave it to Beaver", this series comes across today as heavy-handed and naive in it's depiction of life, social norms,and conformity: -There are no Eddie Haskells or Walter Dentons at Stu's school; all of the students at Hamilton High are earnest to the extreme. -Joyce's desire is only to get married once she decides on the boy. Her desire to wear a strapless gown is considered risque. -Stu regularly gives those types of long-winded speeches that "Green Acres" later made fun of by having "Yankee Doodle" play in the background. He'd pontificate with the utmost seriousness on most anything, from how studying Latin in school is crucial in life to freedom of the press to the superiority of men. The one "fly in the ointment" was young Jackie who said what was on her mind and delivered the zingers no one else would dare say. The series' recurring characters included handyman Willie, a rare Black character for the time, who was often employed in one of Stu's schemes. Though quite toned down, Willie was still in the tradition of the offensive Black servant stereotype: slow-moving, bugged-out eyes, and mumbling. Neighbors Harry and Adele Johnson were regularly seen friends/enemies of Stu and June. George Selkirk was a bossy school official who usually caused headaches for Stu. Actor Martin Milner played two roles in the series. Early on, he was Drexel Potter, a frequent boyfriend of Joyce. In the final season, he played Jimmy Clark, Joyce's new husband. "Trouble With Father" underwent several title changes during its run, including "Life With the Erwins", "The Stu Erwin Show" and finally "The New Stu Erwin Show". Airing on the then-struggling ABC network, the series aired new episodes in a bizarre fashion designed to get maximum usage out of the reruns. Season One consisted of 52 all-new episodes. Season Two (10/1951-4/1952) aired 26 new shows followed by 26 weeks of repeats. Beginning in the fall of 1952, every third episode was a rerun from previous seasons. For a full 65 weeks beginning in July 1953, ABC showed nothing BUT reruns. The final season was a traditional 26 episodes of new programs. It's during this last season that the series finally acquired a laugh track.moreless
  • 10
    Pride of the Family

    Pride of the Family

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    ABC (ended 1954)
    A sitcom about the head of a family who can't do anything right.
  • 11
    Jamie

    Jamie

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    ABC (ended 1954)
    A young orphan named Jamie Francis McHummer is shuttled from home to home following the death of his parents. He finally goes to live with Aunt Laurie and his Grandpa. The youngster and the old man become fast friends and share mischief together. Other members of the household include his teen cousin Liz and Annie Moakum, the woman who works with Aunt Laurie in her catering business. This live series ended abruptly with the second episode of Season Two because of a business dispute between ABC and the sponsor. Efforts to find another sponsor for the show or a timeslot on another network failed.moreless
  • 12
    The Ray Bolger Show

    The Ray Bolger Show

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    ABC (ended 1955)
    Originally entitled Where's Raymond? (1953-1954), the show was changed to The Ray Bolger Show from 1954-1955.

    The premise focused on Ray, a song and dance man. He was perpetually late, leading to the title line, "Where's Ray?" The second season, brought the name change and a focus change. Ray became involved with Susan, a struggling writer.moreless
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