• 1
    I Love Lucy

    I Love Lucy

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    CBS (ended 1957)
    Cuban-born bandleader, Ricky Ricardo, and his wife, Lucy, live in a Brownstone apartment building on East 68th Street in New York City. The beautiful but daffy Lucy has the nasty habit of getting into jams, scrapes, and predicaments of all kinds. The Ricardos' best friends and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz, frequently find themselves in the middle of Lucy's outlandish escapades, whether she's plotting to land a part in her husband's nightclub act, determined to write her first novel, or concocting yet another sure-fire "get-rich-quick" scheme. After Lucy gives birth to their only child, Little Ricky, Ricky achieves great success as an entertainer. Ricky is asked to go to Hollywood to star in his first motion picture. Together, the Ricardos and the Mertzes drive to California for Ricky's big break. Along the way, they are held at gunpoint when they try to flee a rundown motel, square-dance their way out of a Tennessee jail, and put on a benefit show for Ethel's hometown friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once in Hollywood, star-struck Lucy spills a tray of desserts on William Holden, gets trapped in John Wayne's dressing room, and wrestles with with a dog guarding Richard Widmark's estate. By the time Ricky has finished his movie, Lucy has developed quite a reputation, and all of Hollywood is relieved to learn that the redheaded dynamo is on her way home. Shortly after the Ricardos return home to New York, the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra is booked for an extensive European tour, and Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel soon find themselves visiting England, France, Switzerland and Italy, where Lucy ends up barefoot in a vat - stomping grapes in a small vineyard. Back in the States, Lucy and Ricky decide to move to the country so that Little Ricky can enjoy the benefits of "clean, fresh, air and homegrown foods." The Ricardos break the news to Fred and Ethel and buy a home in Westport, Connecticut, but the Ricardos and Mertzes can't stay apart for long, and soon Fred and Ethel relocate to Westport, renting the Ricardos' guest house. With the Mertzes close by, Lucy grows tulips that melt in the sun, learns all about how NOT to raise chickens, battles with a runaway lawn mower, and experiences many other joys that country life has to offer. Nielsen TV Ratings History: #3 in the 1951-1952 season #1 in the 1952-1953 season #1 in the 1953-1954 season #1 in the 1954-1955 season #2 in the 1955-1956 season #1 in the 1956-1957 seasonmoreless
  • 2
    Bonanza

    Bonanza

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

    The Jack Benny Program

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    CBS (ended 1965)
    Jack Benny made his television debut after a long career in vaudeville, radio and film. During his radio series he cultivated the traits that his television character would have as well. Jack's on-air persona was of a vain, stingy character who always claimed to be age 39. Jack's radio show aired on NBC & CBS from 1932-1955, overlapping the TV show.

    Joining him from his radio cast were Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, as Jack's wise-cracking valet; Dennis Day, the naive, somewhat dense tenor who sang on the show; and Don Wilson the announcer.

    Seen on a more irregular basis was Mary Livingstone, Jack's real-life wife. On the show Mary did not play Benny's spouse (Jack's character always remained single) but her role was never defined. In Mary's first appearances she played a fan of Jack's; later she portrayed Jack's secretary. Mary, who suffered from stage fright, made few television appearances before retiring from show business in 1959.

    Also appearing were: - Frank Nelson (the man who always harassed Jack, greeting him with an obnoxious "YEEESSSS"), - Artie Auerbach (who played Mr. Kitzel), - Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny, who often played Professor LeBlanc, Jack's violin teacher as well as many other roles).

    Jack Benny moved into television slowly: - In his first season (1950-1951), he only performed 4 shows. - By the 1951-1952 season, Jack was ready to do 1 show approximately every 6 weeks. - In the third season (1952-1953), the show was broadcast every 4 weeks. - During the 1953-1954 season, The Jack Benny Program aired every 3 weeks. - From 1954-1960, the Benny programs aired every other week, rotating with such shows as Private Secretary and Bachelor Father. - Beginning in the 1960-1961 season, The Jack Benny Program began airing every week.

    It is also worth noting that the show moved from CBS to NBC prior to the 1964-65 season.moreless
  • 4
    Looney Tunes

    Looney Tunes

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    Cartoon Network
    Looney Tunes is a show that reruns classic cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, Pepe le Pew, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn and more. These classic characters were featured in 1000+ theatrical cartoons and many prime-time specials made for TV as well as numerous classic cartoon excerpts. Looney Tunes was originally aimed at an adult audience when it aired for the first time in 1955, but unfortunately it was censored. It eventually became a show for children known as The Bugs Bunny Show in 1960, which aired on ABC. Looney Tunes made it's way to Nickelodeon along with numerous Warner Bros. classic cartoons including some of their oldest black-and-whites and almost their complete canon of '60s cartoons. This show started in 1988 and ended in 1999. Now, the Boomerang block on Cartoon Network is the only place in the US where you can still see these timeless classic characters and their animated antics.moreless
  • 5
    Tom and Jerry

    Tom and Jerry

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    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
  • 6
    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
  • 7
    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
  • 8
    The Three Stooges Show

    The Three Stooges Show

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    AMC (ended 1959)
    The Three Stooges are Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and at various times, Shemp Howard, Curly Howard, Joe Besser, or Curly-Joe DeRita. They are three good-hearted fools who have a knack for screwing up even the simplest task. A typical episode of The Three Stooges Show includes Moe slapping Larry, several eye pokes, head conks, and the ever possible pie fight. Destruction seems to follow the Stooges around!moreless
  • 9
    Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best

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    CBS (ended 1960)
    Father Knows Best was the classic wholesome family situation comedy. It was set in the typical Midwestern community of Springfield, where Jim Anderson was an agent for the General Insurance Company. Every evening he would come home from work, take off his sport jacket, put on his comfortable sweater, and deal with the everyday problems of a growing family. In contrast to most other family comedies of the period, in which one of the other parents was a blundering idiot, both Jim and his wife Margaret were portrayed as thoughtful, responsible adults. When a family crisis arose, Jim would clam the waters with a warm smile and some sensible advice. When Father Knows Best went on television in 1954, the three children were aged 14 [Bud], and 9 [Kathy]. As the seasons passed two of them graduated from High School, first Betty [1956] and then Bud [1959]. Neither left home, howevery, both electing to go to Springfield's own State College. The Andersons were truly an idealized family, the sort that viewers could relate to and wish to emulate. The children went through the normal problems of growing up, included those concerning school, friends, and members of the opposite sex. They didn't always agree with their parents, but the bickering was miminal, and everything seemed to work out by the end of the half-hour. Father Knows Best began as an NBC radio series in 1948, with Robert Young in the starting role. He was the only member of the radio cast that made the transition to TV in 1954. The TV series was not partculiarly successful at first and CBS cancelled it in March 1955. A flood of viewer protests demanding that the program be reinstated and moved to an earlier time slot so that the whole family could watch it, prompted NBC to pick it up for the following season with an 8:30 p.m. started time. Father Knows Best prospered for the next five years.moreless
  • 10
    The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

    The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

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    CBS (ended 1963)
    The life and loves of a young dreamer as he progresses from high school to a stint in the army and then college. Stories related Dobie's continual thoughts about the future, his running battle with his father over the prospect of acquiring work, his relationship with his "good buddy", slacker Maynard G. Krebs, and his endless romantic heartaches, most of which center around Thalia Menniger, a beautiful, but greedy and self-centered young woman who struggles to improve Dobie and find him the job that will enable him to make "oodles and oodles of money" though not for her, the last hope her family has, but for her family, a sixty-year-old father with a kidney condition, a mother who isn't getting any younger, a sister who married a loafer, and a brother who is becoming a public charge. Season three related Dobie and Maynard's experiences as army privates. In season four, after completing their military service, and still undecided about life, Dobie and Maynard enrolled in college.moreless
  • 11
    Dennis the Menace

    Dennis the Menace

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    CBS (ended 1963)
    This is the 1959 CBS live-action situation comedy based on the comic strip by Hank Ketcham. Dennis is portrayed as the helpful menace that always seemed to cause chaos. Dennis Mitchell lived at 627 Elm Street with his parents, Henry and Alice. Next door was his best friend, Mr. Wilson (though the feeling was, certainly, not mutual). Dennis always was around to help Mr. Wilson whether he wanted the help or not. The allure of the series was to see how Dennis would unintentionally mess things up for Mr. Wilson. The series lasted four seasons, but, perhaps, could have lasted longer. Joseph Kearns, the actor who portrayed Mr. George Wilson, died during the show's third season. This left a huge void that even veteran actor Gale Gordon (Mr. John Wilson) couldn't fill. He was introduced toward the end of the third season, and the series was cancelled the following year. Main Title Theme Song "Dennis the Menace" by Irving Friedman CBS Broadcast History October 4, 1959 - September 22, 1963 ---- Sundays ---- 7:30 - 8:00 P.M. Nielsen Ratings - Top 30 Season 1 (1959-60) 16 (26.0) Season 2 (1960-61) 11 (26.1) Season 3 (1961-62) 17 (23.8) Season 4 (1962-63) Not In Top 30 First Telecast: October 4, 1959 Last Telecast: July 7, 1963 Episodes: 146 black-and-white episodesmoreless
  • 12
    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
  • 13
    The Goldbergs

    The Goldbergs

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    CBS (ended 1953)
    "Yoo-hoo,Mrs. Bloom" calls each of us to the intimate daily gossip of this warm ethnic family comedy. Gertrude Berg starred in the show and won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of "Molly" the Jewish Mother who cared a lot about everyone.moreless
  • 14
    Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends

    Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends

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    Classic Media
    Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends is a classic early 1960s cartoon comedy show produced by Jay Ward Productions. The show ran for 5 years and aired on both the ABC and NBC television network. The show's two main characters are Rocky J. Squirrel, a brave flying squirrel and his best pal, Bullwinkle, a dumb and clumsy moose living in the town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota. The series usually involves their misadventures involving enemies Boris and Natasha, the dastardly Russian spy duo bent on ending the noble antics of "moose and squirrel" and thereby gaining power over the fictional nation of Pottsylvania. Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends also featured short bookend stories- most notably Dudley Do-Right, the clueless Canadian Mountie always saving damsels from the villainous Snidely Whiplash, and another bookend involving Sherman and Peabody, a boy and dog brainiac who travel through time to discover the real story behind historical events and right the wrongs to make sure the events actually happen. Fun, vintage and famous for using groan-worthy puns, Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends is great for kids and kids at heart.moreless
  • 15
    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
  • 16
    Huckleberry Hound

    Huckleberry Hound

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    CBS (ended 1962)
    Huckleberry Hound is a blue-haired Southern dog with a fondness for the song, "My Darling, Clementine", and is a jack-of-all-trades cartoon star, appearing as a scientist (trying to neutralize a gigantic, thinking potato), a Scotland Yard detective (chasing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Victorian London or investigating reports of a mad scientist's Frankenstein-like weiner monster in early-1900s rural England), a Foreign Legion soldier (foiling a renegade Frenchman-turned-Arab), or a modern policeman (trying to subdue an impish ape named Wee Willie). Episodes of this television series begin and end with a Huckleberry cartoon. Sandwiched between them is a cartoon with two mischievous mice, Pixie and Dixie and a cantankerous cat named Mr. Jinks. Sometimes appearing in their stead in the middle cartoon was a free-spirited Hokey Wolf or the "smarter than the average" Yogi Bear.moreless
  • 17
    The Abbott and Costello Show

    The Abbott and Costello Show

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    CBS (ended 1954)
    The Abbott and Costello show is timeless humor as fresh today as it was 50 years ago. All of Abbott and Costellos classic routines such as 'Whos on first' can be found in this show. This program captures the two when they were at their peak of their comedic poweress. The cast include Mr.Field, Mike the Cop, Stinky, Bacciagalupe and Hillary. These shows stand today as perhaps the finest surviving representation of the art of burlesque comedy.moreless
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    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
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    The Dennis O'Keefe Show

    The Dennis O'Keefe Show

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    CBS (ended 1960)
    Dennis O'Keefe played Hal Towne, a widower who had a newspaper column called "All Around Towne." Other characters included Hal's son, Randy; his housekeeper, Sarge; and his girlfriend, Karen.
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    Ernie Kovacs

    Ernie Kovacs

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    Ernie Kovacs was a visionary, and between 1951 and 1962 he broke rules that hadn't even been made yet and created a "language" that is now taken for granted.
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