• 1
    Bonanza

    Bonanza

    Follow
    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.
    moreless
  • 2
    Tom and Jerry

    Tom and Jerry

    Follow
    CBS (ended 1980)
    Tom and Jerry was originally the very first, and earliest of the Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. It went through many phases and took place from anywhere from inside a house, to anywhere in outer space. The show was of course, about a cat and a mouse, and several other characters. The two never really talked, even though they do sing, yell, gasp, laugh, count, or say "Aha!!"; and that several other characters spoke more often. They would later end up in several TV series, and also in a few movies, however many would say that they didn't like the way the movies turned out. All of the episodes were distributed by MGM. Here's more info about the show in general: Pilot Episodes: The Pilot Episode was called "Puss Gets The Boot" and was also the first one with Mammy in it. Tom looked very different and was called Jasper. It was produced by Harman-Ising Productions. Fred Quimby: Fred Quimby was the Producer of Tom & Jerry for many years. He is also the Producer of Tex Avery's Cartoons. Tom's fur would eventually become blue. CinemaScope: These cartoons had more people in them. There were narrators, and many conversations between the adults. Lewis Marshall became an Animation Director, and Hanna-Barbera were the Producers. Rembrandt: Only seeing the older Tom & Jerry cartoons, and not having enough information on the show, Ted Pierce, Gene Deich, and William L. Snyder and the rest of the crew had trouble in producing their episodes of Tom & Jerry. Sib Tower 12 Incorporated: One of the last producers of Tom & Jerry, this version has the famous opening with the yellow background and the red letters (except for the 5 letters O and J) where Tom hisses and Jerry waves. The producer was Chuck Jones, and the cartoons look ahead of their time. There were several new characters, including a yellow bulldog, and Tom's Girlfriend, The Shark, Jerry's Dog, and several robots where Tom was a security operator at a cheese mine. Other people that worked on the show were Les Goldman, Maurice Noble, Michael Maltese, Tom Ray, Earl Jonas, Lewis Marshall, Eugene Poddany, Bill Lava, Dean Elliott, Carl Brandt, Mel Blanc, June Foray, Abe Levitow, Ben Washam, Don Foster, and Walter Bien. They would later do several Dr. Seuss cartoons along with Depatie-Freeling Entertainment, the Cricket seties, Duck Dodgers, and many other Award Winning shows. Filmation: Many years later, Filmation attempted to produce Tom & Jerry. It was a TV show called The Tom & Jerry Comedy Show. It seemed to look like all the Tom & Jerry cartoons in the 1950s and 1960s. They also aired and produced some other MGM cartoons, like the ones that are directed by Tex Avery. The episodes of The Tom & Jerry Comedy Show are mentioned here. TV: The New Tom and Jerry Show and The Tom and Jerry Kids Show: HB's TV versions. Neither lasted long, but several people still remember Them. They weren't that violent either. They were about the characters trying to solve everyday problems. Tom & Jerry Kids had other charachers as kids that were also produced by Fred Quimby, Including Tex Avery's Cartoon Characters. Now: Tom & Jerry was recently produced by AOL Time Warner and Turner Home Entertainment. They aren't the best cartoons. Tom and Jerry is currently airing on Cartoon Network! Check your local listings! Every episode of Tom & Jerry can be seen on Cartoon Network and Boomerang for one hour, and also The Sib Tower 12 Inc Cartoons can be seen with The Chuck Jones Show.moreless
  • 3
    Maverick

    Maverick

    Follow
    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
  • 4
    Adventures of Superman

    Adventures of Superman

    Follow
    (ended 1958)
    Announcer: "The Adventures of Superman" Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound! Voices: "Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!" Announcer: "Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands; and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way." "And now, another episode in the exciting Adventures of Superman."moreless
  • 5
    The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger

    Follow
    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
  • 6
    The Adventures of Robin Hood

    The Adventures of Robin Hood

    Follow
    ITV (ended 1958)
    This Robin Hood series, intended primarily for children, featuring Robin of Locksley and his merry men in Sherwood Forest, who protect England from the evil machinations of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham, while good King Richard is away at the Crusades. An unusual television series at the time in that it frequently re-used the same actors in different roles, or different actors in a recurring roles.moreless
  • 7
    The Public Defender

    The Public Defender

    Follow
    CBS (ended 1955)
  • 8
    Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans

    Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans

    Follow
    (ended 1957)
    Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans was set in New York's Hudson Valley during the French and Indian war in the 1750's and depicted the adventures of Hawkeye and his Indian blood brother, the last member of the Mohican tribe. The series based on stories by James Fenimore Cooper.moreless
  • 9
    The Adventures of Jim Bowie

    The Adventures of Jim Bowie

    Follow
    ABC (ended 1958)
    This series recounts the exploits of the legendary frontiersman, adventurer, plantation owner, and entrepreneur, Jim Bowie. It takes place primarily in the Louisiana Territory (recently purchased from the French) in the 1820's and early 1830's, before Bowie's permanent move to Texas (then part of Mexico) and his untimely death at the Alamo in 1836. He encounters many historical figures of the era, such as Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, John James Audubon, and Davy Crockett. Produced by Louis Edelman, based on the novel "The Tempered Blade" by Monte Barrett. The rousing theme song was by Ken Darby and The King's Men. As to the pronunciation of Bowie's name, people pronounced it bow-ee in Louisiana, but boo-wee in Texas.moreless
  • 10
    Fury

    Fury

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1960)
    Fury chronicled the story of Joey, an orphan boy befriended by Jim Newton a recently widowed horse rancher, who's wife and son were killed in an auto accident by a drunk driver. Joey was brought to court for breaking a window. Jim had seen the whole incident and went to court with Joey, he told the Judge that Joey was innocent, and convinced the Judge to let Joey come stay at the Broken Wheel.moreless
  • 11
    Tales of Tomorrow

    Tales of Tomorrow

    Follow
    ABC (ended 1953)
    Tales Of Tomorrow was a science fiction anthology program that aired on the American Broadcasting Company network between 1951 and 1953.
    The episodes aired live and featured the top sci-fi stories up until that time, with a total series run of 85 half hour episodes over two seasons.moreless
  • 12
    Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion

    Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1957)
    Welcome to the Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion guide at TV.com.
  • 13
    Buffalo Bill Jr.

    Buffalo Bill Jr.

    Follow
    (ended 1956)
    It's the 1890's and Buffalo Bill, Jr. is the marshall in the town of Wileyville, Texas.
  • 14
    26 Men

    26 Men

    Follow
    (ended 1960)
    Twenty-Six Men was based on true official files of the Arizona Rangers in the final days taming the old west. In 1901, a law enforcement organization was formed, known as the Arizona Rangers, consisting of twenty-six men: a captain, a lieutentant, four sergeants, and twenty privates. The Rangers preserved and maintained law and order in the Arizona Territory, making arrests of criminals in any part of Arizona. As one of the original members reportedly recalled: "The reason there was only twenty-six of us was because the Territory couldn't afford no more." The series, incidentally, was shot on location in Arizona, and many residents of Tulsa and Phoenix played supporting roles.moreless
  • 15
    Follow That Man

    Follow That Man

    Follow
    Alpha Home Entertainment
    Follow That Man, aka Man Against Crime, a crime drama broadcast by CBS, NBC and DuMont Television between 1949 and 1956, was a true original. This series paved the way for modern day shows featuring private detectives. The main character Mike Barnett (Ralph Bellamy, 1949-1955 and Frank Lovejoy, 1956), a freelance private eye based in New York, opens the series with a bang - well, a spray of gunfire to be more precise. This classic tough guy oozes the alpha machismo and wise cracking savvy integral to that era. During the series Barnett takes on the wiliest criminals and the most dangerous cases that have him on the trail of jewel thieves, rescuing friends from con men and even partnering up with a female cop in one episode to help him recover over $200,000 worth of stolen diamonds. This series is for any fan of vintage detective procedural, with plenty of violence and heroic action to ease even the jitteriest jones for classic crime drama.moreless
  • 16
    The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu

    The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu

    Follow
    Alpha Home Entertainment
    The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu was a television series in 1956. From September 1956 to November 1956, Hollywood Television Service produced 13 episodes and one season of the Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu. Hollywood Television Service's main company, Republic Pictures, paid 4 million dollars to Sax Rohmer to produce 78 episodes, but they were not produced due to a court battle between Sax Rohmer and the producers of the show. The character Dr. Fu Manchu was created by Sax Rohmer and he was played by Glen Gorden in the television series. Dr. Fu Manchu is an mad scientist who plans to destroy western civilization because of revenge for unknown events that happend in the past. The television series depicts these malicious plans and the acts of another character named Sir Dennis Nayland Smith, who thwarts these plans. The television show is directed by famous serial director Franklin Adreon, and it is very similar to a serial.moreless
  • 17
    Lock Up

    Lock Up

    Follow
    Alpha Home Entertainment
    Cases taken from the files and case histories of renowned Philadelphia defense attorney Herbert L. Maris.
  • 18
    Railroad Detective

    Railroad Detective

    Follow