• 21
    Barney Miller

    Barney Miller

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    ABC (ended 1982)
    Captain Barney Miller and his officers fight crime in this humorous classic TV series. Captain Barney Miller is the consummate boss, earning the loyalty of the officers under him. The early shows featured scenes from Barney's home life, but it was soon put on the back burner to emphasize the characters with whom he interacted at the twelfth precinct. Detective Ron Harris would rather be an author, and even publishes a book about the precinct that isn't exactly flying off the shelves. Nick Yemana is a Japanese American cop from Omaha who is so low key he's almost napping. Wojciehowicz, or Wojo, is the innocent of the group who doesn't seem very bright but speaks for everyone with his simple statements of truth. Dietrich is the intellectual who could be doing anything for a living, but chooses to be a detective. Fish is the seen-it-all veteran who can't wait for retirement, even though that would mean more time with his wife, Bernice. All of them worked together to make one of the funniest sitcoms ever on the air.moreless
  • 22
    The ABC Afterschool Special

    The ABC Afterschool Special

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    ABC (ended 1996)
    The ABC After School special was geared towards teenagers and meant to be educational.
  • 23
    The Rifleman

    The Rifleman

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    ABC (ended 1963)
    In an unusual twist on the standard Western, widower Lucas McCain struggles to successfully homestead his ranch in North Fork, New Mexico territory, while raising his son Mark with integrity & common sense. In the 1880s, the Marshall of North Fork has his hands full handling the weekly "bad guys," & it is frequently necessary for Lucas to pick up his modified rapid-action Winchester Rifle to protect himself, his son, and his neighbors. The show included many guest appearances from later big-name actors, who were just getting started at the time.moreless
  • 24
    The Six Million Dollar Man

    The Six Million Dollar Man

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    ABC (ended 1978)
    "Steve Austin, astronaut, a man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology. We have the capability to make the worlds first Bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster." This series chronicles the adventures of Steve Austin, cybernetically enhanced astronaut turned secret agent employed by the OSI under the command of Oscar Goldman and supervised by the scientist who created his cybernetics, Rudy Wells. Steve uses the superior strength and speed provided by his bionic arm and legs, and the enhanced vision provided by his artificial eye, to fight enemy agents, aliens, mad scientists, and a wide vareity of other villains.moreless
  • 25
    Eight is Enough

    Eight is Enough

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    ABC (ended 1981)
    Based on the book by Thomas Braden, this family drama chronicles the lives of the Bradford family: the father Tom, who worked as a columnist for a Sacramento newspaper); the mother Joan; and their eight children: David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas.

    As anyone from a large family can tell you, get these many different people – related or not – under the same roof, and chaos will certainly ensue. Enter in all their relationships, school, and work problems, and you can guarantee something is always going haywire in the Bradford home.

    Diana Hyland died during season one and her character was "sent away" .So in season two, Tom married Abby, a school teacher.

    In season four, two of the Bradford children got married: David to Janet; and Susan to Merle, a baseball player. In France the show is known as Huit, ça suffit !.
    In Italy it was known as La famiglia Bradford ("The Bradford Family") on Channel One, but titled Otto Bastano on Channel Four.moreless
  • 26
    The Jetsons

    The Jetsons

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    ABC (ended 1987)
    With the success of The Flintstones, the modern Stone Age family, Hanna-Barbera decided to make a similar family cartoon, but set in their vision of the Space Age in the 21st century. This new series that debuted September 23, 1962 became The Jetsons. Set mainly in sky-high Orbit City, the show featured the family of George Jetson, Jane, his wife, their daughter Judy, and son Elroy living the average life in the future with flying space cars, instant transport tubes, and various robots and gadgets than can get their work done for them in a matter of seconds.

    George brought in the family income by working at Spacely Space Sprockets, run by his stocky, ill-tempered boss Cosmo Spacely, who's usually quick to fire George for any reason he could find. But somehow, he always managed to get his job back and continue supporting his family. He works as an indexer and is teamed with his helpful computer R.U.D.I. Other than the threats of firing by Spacely, George would also have to worry about any schemes carried out by Mr. Spacely's top business rival W.C. Cogswell, owner and president of Cogswell Cogs. If there's a dispute between the two businessmen, it's almost certain George would wind up in the middle of it. Most times, though, things always worked out in the end.

    Jane is the housewife who tends to the home, but loves to shop for the latest fashions and various items that can be a help to the family, like new gadgets that can help them in new ways. She's assisted by the family's robot maid Rosey (which can also be spelled Rosie). She's one of the older-fashioned models compared to most of the advanced robot maids of the future, but the Jetsons love her and regard her as a member of the family.

    Judy is the Jetsons' teenage daughter who attends Orbit High School and goes for the latest teen fashions, trends, and music, and seems to have a different boyfriend in most episodes. If she's lucky, she can even wind up dating a celebrity, like her favorite rock star Jet Screamer, much to her father's chagrin.

    Elroy is the Jetsons' genius son who attends Little Dipper Elementary School and is a straight-A student. He's a part-time inventor and can make new creations in hope to make a better future, and if fortunate, a little money on the side. But most times, he likes to be an average boy by playing various sports, and with his faithful companion, the family's dog Astro, who at times is overly affectionate, and can annoy George at times. But like Rosey, he's regarded as a member of the family.

    The Jetsons reside at the Skypad Apartments, which are properly cared for by superintendant Henry Orbit, who like Elroy is a mechanical genius. At times, he can invent gadgets that can help him with his maintenance work. His greatest accomplishment is his robot assistant Mac, who can get his work at the Skypad Apartments done in half the time. But he does have feelings for Rosey as the two are occasionally seen as a couple, but are mainly friends.

    Other recurring characters in this series include Mr. Spacely's family, particularly his wife Stella (sometimes called Petunia, likely her nickname), one of few people who can actually put a scare in him if he rubs her the wrong way. And they have a young son close to Elroy's age named Arthur. Common characters at Spacely Sprockets are Uniblab, an underling robot who at times is a stool pigeon for Mr. Spacely to George's dismay, as well as Spacely's secretary Miss Galaxy. Cogswell also had a few subordinates of his own. Among them were his assistant Harlan and his scientist Moonstone.

    The Jetsons ran for only one season on ABC, but the series was more successful in syndication. This led to a revival in 1985 with new episodes with more advanced animation that was richer in color and made the series even more futuristic than the 1960's version of the 21st century. New characters were introduced as well, including a new alien gremlin pet for the Jetsons, named Orbitty, who has springlike legs and suction cup feet, enabling him to hang upside down. He could also tinker with machines and change color in accordance to emotion. Another new animal for the revival was a robot dog for Cogwell named Sentro, who served as a guard dog and a spy often used against Mr. Spacely in efforts to beat him to the punch on his latest projects.

    These episodes aired in syndication, which generated the same level of success as the originals when they went in that direction. This led to 10 more episodes to finalize the series in 1987, as well as two TV movies, the music-themed Rockin' with Judy Jetson, which was preceded by the epic crossover The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, which brought the Space Age and the Stone Age together as Hanna-Barbera's most famous families had a grand adventure spanning two eras. The Jetsons had its true finale when Jetsons: The Movie hit the theaters in 1990, as this would be among the last voice work for actors George O'Hanlon (George Jetson) and Mel Blanc (Mr. Spacely) for they both had died just prior to the movie's release.

    Overall, The Jetsons may not have had the supreme popularity of The Flintstones, but it did have a wide appeal for families of any generation and certainly had a place in the heart for those who would turn on and watch the series.

    The Jetsons, like many Hanna-Barbera series, can be seen on Boomerang from Cartoon Network. Check your local listings. And the majority of the series can be seen on DVD, so it would be a good means to build your cartoon collection.moreless
  • 27
    Benson

    Benson

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    ABC (ended 1986)
    Benson, a spin-off of the controversial series, Soap, first aired in September of 1979 on ABC and would run for seven years, outlasting it's parent series. Created by Susan Harris, who would later create The Golden Girls and Empty Nest, Benson centered on Benson DuBois. In Soap, Benson was the butler for the Tate household. Jessica Tate sent Benson to help her widowed cousin, Governor James Gatling. Benson in essence soon began running the household of the Gatling mansion. Other constant characters included, Katie Gatling, the governor's daughter and Gretchen Kraus, the German housekeeper. Marcy Hill was the governor's secretary who was later married. John Taylor was the political aide who was later replaced by Clayton Endicott III. Pete Downey was the press assistant. Later, Benson was appointed state budget director and gained a secretary of his own, Denise who would later marry Pete. In 1986, ABC cancelled the series leaving the series ending on a cliffhanger, who won the election for governor, Benson or Gov Gatling?moreless
  • 28
    Marcus Welby, M.D.

    Marcus Welby, M.D.

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    ABC (ended 1976)
    These are the cases of Marcus Welby and Steven Kiley, a Santa Monica Family Doctor and his young partner. At a time when doctors still made house calls, Marcus Welby, M.D. was both entertaining and informative. Welby is able to address many of the health issues of the era while also helping to educate the viewing public at the same time. It was the highest-rated show in prime time for the 1970-1971 season.moreless
  • 29
    Hart to Hart

    Hart to Hart

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    ABC (ended 1984)
    Created by author Sidney Sheldon, the series started out under title Double Twist. Tom Mankiewicz was asked to revamp the script and it was soon renamed Hart to Hart. With Robert Wagner as self-made millionaire Jonathan Hart, Stefanie Powers as his journalist wife Jennifer and Lionel Stander as their trusty sidekick Max the "Hartbeat" began. Premiering on August 25, 1979, Hart was met with mixed reviews but by the end of the first season Jonathan and Jennifer Hart were household names. Guest appearances were made by everyone from Stella Stevens and Roddy McDowell to Jill St. John and Dorothy Lamour and even a cameo by Natalie Wood. The series would run for five seasons before leaving ABC in 1984. Hart to Hart is still airing in syndication in over 60 countries worldwide. In 1993 while touring together in A.R. Gurney's Love Letters, RJ, Stefanie and Lionel would return to television in the first of what would be eight 2-hour Hart movies. Jokingly dubbed "Hart to Hart: The New Generation", Jonathan and Jennifer still found themselves going from one adventure to the next. The first five would air as NBC Friday Night Mysteries. Sadly, Lionel Stander died shortly after completing the fifth movie and the sixth movie saw the Harts atending Max's funeral. The final three movies aired on The Family Channel. Interesting tidbit. The last movie aired on Aug 25 1996. Exactly 17 years (to the date) of the airing of the pilot movie. ======================== Company credits Production Companies * Columbia Pictures Television * Rona II * Spelling-Goldberg Productions Distributors * American Broadcasting Company (ABC) * Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001) * Independent Television (ITV) * Sony Pictures Television (2002-) ======================== Awards American Cinema Editors, USA 1980 -- Nominated -- Best Edited Episode from a Television Series -- Bob Bring [For episode "Max in Love".] Emmy Awards 1982 -- Nominated -- Outstanding Art Direction for a Series -- James J. Agazzi (art director), Paul Sylos (art director), Bob Signorelli (set decorator) [For episode "The Hart of the Matter"] 1982 -- Nominated -- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series -- Stefanie Powers 1981 -- Nominated -- Outstanding Art Direction for a Series -- James J. Agazzi (art director), Paul Sylos (art director), Bob Signorelli (set decorator) [For episode "Blue Chip Murders"] 1981 -- Nominated -- Outstanding Film Sound Mixing -- Blake Wilcox (production mixer), Robert L. Harman (re-recording mixer), William L. McCaughey (re-recording mixer), Howard S. Wollman (re-recording mixer) [For episode "'Tis the Season to be Murdered"] 1981 -- Nominated -- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series -- Stefanie Powers 1980 -- Nominated -- Outstanding Art Direction for a Series -- James J. Agazzi (art director), Paul Sylos (art director), Bob Signorelli (set decorator) [For episode "Man with Jade Eyes"] Golden Globes 1984 -- Nominated -- Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama -- Robert Wagner 1984 -- Nominated -- Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama -- Stefanie Powers 1984 -- Nominated -- Best TV-Series - Drama 1983 -- Won -- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV -- Lionel Stander 1983 -- Nominated -- Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama -- Robert Wagner 1983 -- Nominated -- Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama -- Stefanie Powers 1983 -- Nominated -- Best TV-Series - Drama 1982 -- Nominated -- Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama -- Stefanie Powers 1982 -- Nominated -- Best TV-Series - Drama 1981 -- Nominated -- Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama -- Robert Wagner 1981 -- Nominated -- Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama -- Stefanie Powers 1981 -- Nominated -- Best TV-Series - Drama 1980 -- Nominated -- Best TV Actor - Drama -- Robert Wagner 1980 -- Nominated -- Best TV Actress - Drama -- Stefanie Powers Young Artist Awards 1983 -- Won -- Best Young Actress, Guest on a Series -- Roxana Zal 1983 -- Nominated -- Best Young Actor, Guest on a Series -- Rossie Harris ===================== [opening narration] Max: This is my boss, Jonathan Hart - a self-made millionaire. He's quite a guy. This is Mrs. H. She's gorgeous. She's one lady who knows how to take care of herself. By the way, my name is Max. I take care of *both* of them, which ain't easy; 'cause when they met... it was *murder*! (Note: Max's opening narration differs in some episodes. Most episodes have him finish by declaring "When they met, it was murder!" but some episodes have him saying "Their hobby is ... murder!") =============================== Release dates USA -- 25 August 1979 UK -- 3 February 1980 France -- 11 July 1982 Sweden -- 1 July 1983 West Germany -- October 1983 ================== Filming Locations 20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA (studio) First Christian Church, Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA ========================moreless
  • 30
    The Partridge Family

    The Partridge Family

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    ABC (ended 1974)
    In 1970, the Partridge Family was among the top-selling recording acts, not to mention one of the top-rated TV shows of its time. Either way, it made David Cassidy a successful teen idol until the show's cancellation in 1974.

    The Partridge Family consisted of Shirley Partridge (keyboards, vocals) and her five kids: Keith (lead vocalist and guitar), Laurie (keyboards, vocals), Danny (bass guitar, vocals), Chris (drums), and Tracy (tambourine). Rounding out the cast was their manager, Reuben Kincaid.

    With the exception of Shirley Jones and David Cassidy, none of the actors on the show actually sang or played on the group's records. In fact this was done by professional studio musicians and singers, with the family lip-synching to the tracks on camera. In fact, David Cassidy was originally hired for his looks, but when the producers found out that he could sing they realized that they could use him in the real band.

    Many of the episode plots draw upon the comedic relationship between Reuben (Dave Madden) and Danny (Danny Bonaduce). These two were good friends both on and off the set. Other plot devices were Keith's good looks and popularity at school, Laurie's 70's style activism and some of the strange encounters that the family had when on the road in their bus.

    The Partridge Family was true wholesome family programming. At the time Shirley Partridge was one of the the first single mother's to be featured on a television show. Originally the scripts called for her to be divorced, but this was changed to describe her as a widow.

    Telecast: ABC September 25, 1970 - August 31, 1974 Broadcast History (all ET): Sept. 1970 - Jun. 1973, ABC Friday 8:30 - 9:00 P.M. Jun. 1973 - Aug. 1974, ABC Saturday 8:00 - 8:30 P.M. 96 Episodes In Color On Film.moreless
  • 31
    Starsky And Hutch

    Starsky And Hutch

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    ABC (ended 1979)
    First screeching onto television screens in 1975, 'Starsky & Hutch' brought much of the streetwise grit, the violence, and the sheer excitement from hit movies such as 'Dirty Harry' to the small screen. There had been Police series virtually since then beginning of television, but 'Starsky & Hutch' had something else – this show was undoubtedly "hip". A huge hit at the time, it now stands as one of the iconic cop shows of the 1970s, particularly thanks to the fashions and infamous car chases that went with it. On the surface, plain-clothes Detectives Starsky and Hutch were like oil and water. Ken Hutchinson opted very much for the quiet life, being well read, a deep thinker, and enjoying fine cuisine. Dave Starsky, on the other hand, was louder, more brash, enjoying street life and a diet of junk food. Their personalities might have contrasted, but once together, they meshed perfectly, practically operating and thinking as one, as they rid the streets of muggers, drug pushers, murderers, rapists, racketeers, and similar scum. Their methods weren't always the most orthodox and they weren't afraid to bend the rules, but they always got results. Huggy Bear was the duo's ultra-hip, jive talking, streetwise informant. It was sometimes lightly hinted that Huggy was a pimp, but this was never really confirmed (or denied) in the series. By the fourth, final season, things had become very watered down from the violent early days, with far tamer stories, and many episodes played firmly tongue-in-cheek, with the light-hearted "buddy-buddy" element at the fore more than ever. Glaser was still unhappy with his contract tying him to the series, and as a result, it was rumored that it was considered killing his character off in the final episode of the season, "Sweet Revenge". There was some speculation that for the fifth season, Hutch would be partnered by Starsky's younger brother Nicholas, introduced previously in the fourth season in "Starsky's Brother", but whether this proposal was ever seriously considered or not, nothing ever became of the idea. Either way, Starsky lived on, and Glaser was freed of the contract anyway when ABC decided not to renew the show for a fifth season, due to by then slipping ratings. All four seasons are currently available on DVD through Sony Pictures.moreless
  • 32
    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
  • 33
    Laverne & Shirley

    Laverne & Shirley

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    ABC (ended 1983)
    Laverne and Shirley debuted as a mid-season replacement in January of 1976 and was an instant hit ranking number three in the Nielsen ratings for the 1975-1976 season.

    On Happy Days, Laverne De Fazio and Shirley Feeney were two girls who were love interests for Richie Cunningham and Fonzie. Their occasional appearances led to their own series which takes place in the same city as Happy Days: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the 1950s and 1960s.

    Laverne and Shirley are lower-society girls who share an apartment and work together at the Shotz Brewery as bottlecappers. Laverne and Shirley are very different people. Laverne is feisty, quick-tempered, and man-hungry while Shirley is more naive and trusting and quite inexperienced when it comes to romance.

    Others in the cast includ Laverne's gruff father, Frank De Fazio, who runs the Pizza Bowl where Laverne and Shirley work on occasion. Edna Babish is the girls' landlady who later marries Frank. Carmine "The Bag Ragu" Ragusa is a singer/dancer who has an on-again, off-again romance with Shirley. The other two main characters of the series are the male counterparts of Laverne and Shirley. Lenny Kosnowski and Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggman live upstairs in the same apartment building as Laverne and Shirley and, also, work at the brewery. They constantly enter the girls' apartment with an annoying "hello."

    In 1980, the series changed scenery. The girls want something new so they decide to move to California. Lenny and Squiggy follow them along with Frank, Edna, and Carmine. The girls want to get into movies while Frank and Edna open a restaurant, Cowboy Bill's. New characters included stuntman and apartment building manager Sonny St. Jacques and neighbor and model Rhonda Lee.

    In 1982, Cindy Williams left the series with her character marrying Walter Meany, a military man who was assigned overseas.

    Main Title Theme Song "Making Our Dreams Come True" - written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox; performed by Cyndi Grecco

    ABC Broadcast History January 27, 1976 - July, 1979 ---- Tuesdays ---- 8:30 P.M. August, 1979 - December, 1979 ---- Thursdays ---- 8:00 P.M. December, 1979 - February, 1980 ---- Mondays ---- 8:00 P.M. February, 1980 - May, 1983 ---- Tuesdays ---- 8:30 P.M.

    Nielsen Ratings - Top 30 Season 1 (1975-1976) #3 (27.5) Season 2 (1976-1977) #2 (30.9) Season 3 (1977-1978) #1 (31.6) Season 4 (1978-1979) #1 (30.5) Season 5 (1979-1980) Not In Top 30 Season 6 (1980-1981) #20 (tie) (20.6) Season 7 (1981-1982) #20 (19.9) Season 8 (1982-1983) #25 (17.8)

    Emmy Awards Nominations Outstanding Costume Design for a Series 1979 - Alfred E. Lehman

    (source: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences)

    Golden Globe Awards Nominations Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy 1977 1978

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy 1978 - Cindy Williams 1978 - Penny Marshall 1979 - Penny Marshall 1980 - Penny Marshall

    First Telecast: January 27, 1976 Last Telecast: May 10, 1983 Episodes: 178 color episodes plus one reunion specialmoreless
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    It Takes a Thief

    It Takes a Thief

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    ABC (ended 1970)
    Alexander Mundy was a cat burglar and professional thief who had style, class and talent. He made only one mistake -- getting caught. While serving a sentence in San Jobel Prison, he was contacted by representatives of the US Government spy agency, SIA. They offered to get him out if he would put his talents to work stealing for the government. Accepting the offer, he worked closely with an SIA department head, Noah Bain, who was his boss, aide, associate, friend and watchdog. During the second season he was now a free agent and his new SIA contact was Wallie Powers. Alexander's dad Alister became a semi-regular who was also a retired thief, from whom he had learned all his skills, and who occasionally teamed with his son on special jobs.
    First air date: January 9, 1968 Last air date: March 23, 1970 Original air time: Tuesday 8:30:00 pm (Eastern)moreless
  • 35
    That Girl (1966)

    That Girl (1966)

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    ABC (ended 1971)
    Talented, young, and beautiful, and hoping to make a career as an actress, Ann Marie leaves her home in Brewster, New York and moves to Manhattan,where she acquires Apartment 4-D at 344 West 78th Street. Stories tenderly depict her world of joys and sorrows as she struggles to further a dream, supporting herself by taking various part-time jobs, cope with parents who don't understand her, and share the interests of her boyfriend, Don Hollinger, a reporter for Newsview magazine. Ann shared a romance with Don for five seasons and finally got engaged in the final season. Before they can could get married, the show was cancelled. Broadcast History: Sept. 8, 1966-Apr. 6, 1967, ABC Thursday at 9:30-10:00pm Apr. 13, 1967-Jan. 30, 1969, ABC Thursday at 9:00-9:30pm Feb. 6, 1969-Sept. 10, 1970, ABC Thursday at 8:00-8:30pm Sept. 25, 1970-Sept. 10, 1971, ABC Friday at 9:00-9:30pm The show never broke into the top 30 in the Nielsen ratings.moreless
  • 36
    The F.B.I.

    The F.B.I.

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    ABC (ended 1974)
    The F.B.I. was Quinn Martin Productions's longest running series. It was unique as its stories were loosely supervised by at the time, current FBI director J. Edgar Hoover himself who watched over the presentation of proper bureau procedure.

    After each week's episode, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. would step from behind the part of Inspector Erskine and directly address the audience, asking for help to catch real criminals that were on the run.

    The show was sponsored by the Ford company which provided numerous vintage cars for chasing, crashing, and, occasionally, simple transportation.

    After the Watergate scandal, the public's perception of the American government and its institutions was tarnished and changed forever. In 1974, The F.B.I. was cancelled after 9 years and 240 episodes.moreless
  • 37
    How the West Was Won

    How the West Was Won

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    ABC (ended 1979)
    How The West Was Won started on TV as a 1970s spin-off of the wildly popular Oscar wining Cinerama feature film of 1963. Told over several years of varying formats, it's the story of Zeb Macahan, a rugged mountain man who has spent ten years in the Dakota Territory before returning to Virginia where his brother's family is getting ready to make the long trip west to escape the coming violence of the Civil War.
    Just as the war begins, Zeb's brother Timothy returns east and his wife Kate is killed in an accident, leaving four children in Zeb's care. Luke, the oldest son, kills three men in self-defense and becomes a fugitive from the law; Laura is beautiful and ready to become a woman; Jessie is the tomboyish 12-year-old; and Josh is the exuberant teenager, anxious to become the man of the family. Aunt Molly, Kate's widowed sister, travels from Boston to help them on their travels, through perils and hardship caused by Indians, renegades, nature and other dangers.
    Adding to the scope of the series was the spectacular setting. It was filmed in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Southern California. The executive producer was John Mantley, who had also been the producer of Gunsmoke and the pilot movie was filmed only two years after James Arness left the saddle as Marshall Matt Dillon.
    How the West Was Won began it's TV run as the 1976 pilot movie The Macahans. It then returned as a top-rated miniseries in February of 1977. It came back for second "season" as a weekly series in 1978. Finally, the show returned for a third go around in early 1979 with 11 new two-hour stand-alone movies depicting the Macahans as they built a ranch in the Tetons and began to raise Appaloosa horses.
    The entire series was extremely popular overseas, but has not yet been officially released on DVD, though a bootleg of mediocre quality taped off of Swedish television is available online.moreless
  • 38
    S.W.A.T.

    S.W.A.T.

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    ABC (ended 1976)
    The show starring Steve Forrest was a spinoff of The Rookies. The show produced 39 episodes, 2 of which were really episodes of The Rookies that served as the pilot. The show ran from February 1975 until April 1976. Also starring was Robert Urich (who went onto star in Soap in September 1977), and Mark Shera. Thanks to hit programs like Adam-12, the cop show rose to a new level of prominence during the 1970's. There were several badge-flashing action dramas over the course of the decade, but perhaps none as interesting (or controversial) as S.W.A.T., a program inspired by the real-life crime-control units that rose to prominence in the U.S. after the civil disturbances of the late 1960's. Although its brutal level of action ensured that it had short life on television, S.W.A.T. became an impressive success during its short run and continues to be a cult favorite today. S.W.A.T. is an acronym for the 'Special Weapons And Tactics' unit, which was an elite five-man team of police officers who dealt with situations that were too dangerous for the police force to handle. Each had a specific job: Lt. Harrelson called the shots as the group's commanding officer, Sgt. Kay was the group's scout and Officer McCabe was the resident marksman. Each was also a Vietnam veteran, so they all adopted a military style (navy-blue fatigues) and used a combat mentality to deal with the problems they faced. During the show's run, the S.W.A.T. team had no shortage of psychos and crazies to deal with-everything from snipers to Satanists to scuba-diving jewel thieves. S.W.A.T. also had to deal with being the direct targets of these bad guys-Street dated a woman whose last few boyfriends were killed by a sniper in "The Bravo Enigma," and a family of criminals targeted the entire S.W.A.T. team for extinction in "Kill S.W.A.T." No matter who was plotting to kill whom, you could count on plenty of mayhem each week as the S.W.A.T. rolled from destination to destination in their specially-equipped van to dispense justice the hard way. S.W.A.T.'s combination of cool cops and brutal action made it a popular choice when it hit the airwaves in 1975. The show even produced a radio hit when its orchestral-funk theme song, performed by Rhythm Heritage, became a Top-10 smash on pop radio. Everyone loved the show except the critics. Media pundits regularly attacked the show for its high level of violence, the "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality of the heroes, and the fact that its heroes often dealt out more violence than the foes they were dealing with. The controversial but popular show enjoyed a two-season run before quietly disappearing from the television schedule in the summer of 1976. Today, S.W.A.T. periodically pops up in reruns and garners an enthusiastic response from the former kids who grew up on its tales of urban-guerrilla warfare. The show was even remade as an action epic for the movie theaters starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell. Whether the remake was a success or not, one thing is certain: S.W.A.T. has earned its place in television history as one of the most memorably intense cop shows of all time. (Extra info courtesy of YesterdayLand)moreless
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    Ben Casey

    Ben Casey

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    ABC (ended 1966)
    Dr. Ben Casey was a resident neurosurgeon at County General Hospital along with Dr. Zorba, the chief of Neurosurgery. Casey's hard nosed demeanor and no nonsense approach made him almost unlikeable but he saved lives and that's what counted.moreless
  • 40
    The Engelbert Humperdinck Show

    The Engelbert Humperdinck Show

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    ABC (ended 1970)
    The Engelbert Humperdinck Show was a British variety series an ATV production, executive produced by Gordon Mills. For American release the show aired on ABC and the guests were a combination British and American performers. The Jack Parnell Orchestra and the Irving Davies Dancers provided the background talent for Engelbert's variety musical program. Airing only 17 episodes the guests were the big names in entertainment field.moreless
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