• 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
    The Gumby Show

    The Gumby Show

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1957)
    Gumby first appeared in the 1953 film short Gumbasia, (believed to be one of the first music videos). In 1956 Gumby and his horse friend Pokey hit the airways on The Howdy Doody Show in their first shorts in 1956. It was so popular that it became its own show in 1957 called The Gumby Show. The show contained the 1956 shorts along with new ones. Each episode contained 3 cartoons. In the 1960's Goo the blue mermaid, Prickle the yellow dinosaur, and Nopey the dog were introduced. The Blockheads sometimes chased after Gumby, Pokey, Prickle, and Goo with some scheme. Gumbo and Gumba were Gumby's Dad and Mother.

    The show stopped in 1967 due to problems in Art Clokey's family and another cartoon. In the 1970's Gumby was totally ignored. The 1980's brought back new life to Gumby with tons of toys and new episodes in a new series called Gumby Adventures in 1988. And a movie in 1995.

    Ever since Art Clokey created new episodes in the 80s, he dubbed out the original background music and character voices with new ones.

    Gumby is currently off the air. It was first shown on NBC through the 1950's till 1967. In the 1980's it was shown on Fox. In the mid-1990's reruns were shown on Nickelodeon. In the late 1990's it was shown on Cartoon Network at 1:00 am. It has been off the air since 2001.moreless
  • 3
    The Life of Riley (1953)

    The Life of Riley (1953)

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1958)
    1313 Blue View Terrace, Los Angeles, California, the residence of the Riley Family: Chester, a riveter with Stevenson Aircraft and Associates; his wife Peggy; and their children, Babs and Junior. Riley worked in an aircraft plant in California, but viewers usually saw him at home, cheerfully disrupting life with his malapropisms and ill timed intervention into minor problem.moreless
  • 4
    I Married Joan

    I Married Joan

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1955)
    I Married Joan is the epitome of the 1950s family sitcom. An upstanding, sensible husband (Judge Bradley Stevens) is married to a wacky, well-meaning wife (Joan Stevens) who causes problems with her hare-brained schemes.
    Early episodes opened with Judge Stevens in the courtroom relating to the parties involved some similar situation he had endured with his wife, Joan. Then the action would shift to the Stevens' story. (In syndication most of the opening courtroom scenes were edited out.)
    Slapstick and physical comedy was at the core of the show with lots of mugging, waving of arms, and crazy situations. Joan did everything from jitterbugging with a chimp to getting tangled in a harp.
    To say this series was patterned after TV's #1 show I Love Lucy would be an understatement. It was not uncommon to find whole chunks of Lucy plots lifted and re-purposed on this series, or physical business originally performed by Lucille Ball re-enacted by Joan Davis.
    The show featured several different actors and actresses as the friends of the Stevens' including Hope Emerson, Hal Smith and Dan Tobin. Also featured in seasons two and three was Beverly Wills, Joan Davis' real-life daughter, playing Joan's kid sister, Beverly.moreless
  • 5
    Dear Phoebe

    Dear Phoebe

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1955)
    In this comedy, Peter Lawford plays a college instructor named Bill Hastings who gave up teaching to become the writer of the advice-to-the-lovelorn column in the Los Angeles Daily Star. Bill Hastings wrote under the name Miss Phoebe Goodheart. His own love interest was Mickey Riley. A competitive female sports writer at the same paper. Mr. Fosdick played by Charles Lane was their boss. Humphrey played by Joe Corey was a copyboy trying to make it at the paper.moreless
  • 6
    The Adventures of Hiram Holliday

    The Adventures of Hiram Holliday

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1957)
    Hiram Holliday is a mousy-looking newspaper proofreader who has been rewarded by his publisher with a trip around the world, accompanied by a reporter who is to keep a record of his many adventures, in which he always displays surprising knowledge or ability in the face of danger because of his many years of private study in many disciplines.moreless
  • 7
    The Colgate Comedy Hour

    The Colgate Comedy Hour

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1955)
    The Colgate Comedy Hour was a big-budget variety series featuring some of the biggest names in show business. Variety shows hosted by a major comedian were common in the early fifties, but the Colgate show was different in featuring alternating hosts. Some performers, like Phil Silvers or Ray Bolger, would only host once or twice, while the "regular" hosts appeared roughly once a month. At that time, variety meant variety, so the talent featured on Colgate ran the course from opera to vaudeville, from adaptations of Broadway shows to dog acts; and always lots of comedy. During it's entire Sunday night run, its main competition was Toast of the Town on CBS, a program better known to us today asThe Ed Sullivan Show.
    The series was also one of TV's priciest. According to the 7/9/50 issue of the New York Times, the first season would cost $25,000 weekly in airtime and $50,000 in talent and production charges.
    The show was broadcast live from New York's International Theatre almost exclusively during the first season. The regular rotation of hosts were: Eddie Cantor, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (the sole surviving original hosts to stay with the series for its entire run), Fred Allen, Bob Hope and his fill-in Bobby Clark. Fred Allen called it quits after just a few telecasts. He didn't like television---and it showed. Once a month, an episode was sponsored by Frigidaire rather than Colgate. On those nights, the title of the series was shortened to The Comedy Hour. Those episodes are included in this listing. Colgate ended its first season as the fifth highest rated series on TV.
    Season two brought about a move to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood since television had, for the first time, the technology to broadcast live from the West Coast. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello joined the line-up of regular hosts, keeping company with Martin/Lewis, Cantor, Donald O'Connor and the occasional Hope. Jackie Gleason, then starring on DuMont's Cavalcade of Stars , kicked off the season of television's highest-budget series! This season, the series again ranked at number five.
    Season three found Eddie Cantor out for several months, having had a heart attack hours after his first show of the season. He would return in the spring, but more guests hosts than usual were employed during his recovery. For this season, Colgate ranked as seventh most popular.
    Jimmy Durante joined Martin/Lewis, Abbott/Costello, Cantor and O'Connor as hosts of the fourth season. The 11/22/1953 telecast was quite historic. It was the first public broadcast using NBC/RCA's new color technology. Several hundred sets were set up around New York for people to view the program. Donald O'Connor had the honor of hosting that week. For the first time in its run, the series didn't take an official "summer break"; the episodes that filled the time slot until the fall premiere are included in this listing.
    Season five found the series in decline. It dropped in the ratings from tenth to twenty-seventh, while Ed Sullivan's show rose to number five! This coincided with a new production team taking over the show and the departure of most of the series' regular hosts. Instead, big splashy events and musical extravaganzas were scheduled. The public was disinterested and the critics weren't very kind. With falling fortunes, the series found itself pre-empted often for special programs. Again, a summer edition of the series with the revised title The Colgate Variety Hour filled the hot months and those episodes are included here.
    The end was near for this once-great series. Martin and Lewis did appear twice, but shows were mostly hosted by Robert Paige or Gordon MacCrae. The Colgate Variety Hour ended its run on Christmas night 1955 with a program of holiday music. During this final half-season, the show didn't make it into the top thirty rated shows.moreless
  • 8
    The Bob Cummings Show

    The Bob Cummings Show

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1959)
    1940s film star Bob Cummings squeezed the last bit of career out his fame with this network-hopping sitcom. Cummings plays Bob Collins, a hot photographer we're supposed to believe is a freewheeling playboy, living in squeaky clean 1950s Hollywood. Bob's business consists almost exclusively of shooting glamour girls, who Bob pursues with a singleness of purpose. Bob rarely gets further than a peck on the cheek, thanks to his his home life, where he lives and is outwitted by his sister, Margaret, played by Rosemary DeCamp, who is determined to get Bob paired off. Also at home is Bob's nephew and surrogate son Chuck, played Dwayne Hickman, with matinee idol looks. Chuck often gets involved in Bob's schemes, doing his best to land a model for himself. At work, the brilliant Ann B. Davis milks the limited writing for more laughs than the words deserve, playing Bob's office girl, Schultzy. Schultzy only has eyes for Bob, but Bob just sees her as one of the boys. (Schultzy would later move to the valley and work as a live-in maid for the Brady family.) Also in hot-but-pointless pursuit is Pamela Livingston, played by character actress Nancy Kulp -- Miss Jane from the Beverly Hillbillies -- honing her own version of the comic spinster act. Bob jumped from network to network in his four-year run. Audiences liked Bob, but didn't quite love him enough to give him the longevity of Lucy. Credibility suffered as the rapidly aging Cummings tried to work the young cad angle for too long.moreless
  • 9
    Time For Ernie

    Time For Ernie

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1951)
    Ernie Kovacs starred in this weekday afternoon show telecast from WPTZ-Philadelphia. At the time, he was also hosting the station's morning show 3 to Get Ready. His improvisation humor had caught the attention of people at NBC and they gave him this, his first network series. A Philly-based group, the Tony deSimone Trio, provided the music.moreless
  • 10
    Jan Murray Time

    Jan Murray Time

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1955)
    Jan Murray Time was a variety series used to fill in a space after the Friday night bout on Cavalcade of Sports and the 11pm news. Comedian Jan Murray would perform his schtick and with his lovely featured singer Tina Louise, pianist Fletcher Peck and The Novelties (singer-instrumentalists) would perform for a 15 minute segment. Occasional guest stars and sketches, time permitting would be the only other offering of this short-lived show.moreless
  • 11
    Haggis Baggis

    Haggis Baggis

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1959)
    The premise of the show revolved around two contestants competing to identify pictures. The winner chose between "haggis" (a luxury item) and "baggus" (a practical item).

    The show ran briefly in primetime, before NBC moved it to daytime.

    moreless
  • 12
    Ethel and Albert

    Ethel and Albert

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1956)
    This classic sitcom about a constantly bickering married couple, which originated on radio, was broadcast on all three major television networks in succession: NBC (Spring 1953 to Spring 1955); CBS (Summer 1955); and ABC (Fall 1955 to Spring 1956). The program was written by Peggy Lynch, who starred as Ethel.moreless
  • 13
    Fibber McGee & Molly

    Fibber McGee & Molly

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1960)
    Welcome to the Fibber McGee & Molly guide at TV.com Based on the NBC radio series of the same name
  • 14
    Norby

    Norby

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1955)
    This was a sitcom, centering around Pearson Norby, the Vice President of the First National Bank in Pearl River, New York. This was the first network series that was filmed in color. Although, NBC had filmed in an earlier series in color, it wasn't compatible with black & white sets. Norby, however, could be seen in black and white or color. Often Bonanza is touted as the first such series, but Norby preceded that western by four years.moreless
  • 15
    Doodles Weaver

    Doodles Weaver

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1951)
    coming soon
  • 16
    Kate Smith Show

    Kate Smith Show

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1954)
    coming soon...
  • 17
    The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

    The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

    Follow
    NBC (ended 1973)
    Rocky and Bullwinkle began life in the 1950's television show, The Frostbite Falls Review. It was created by Jay Ward and Bill Scott. Their names in that show were Rocket J. Squirrel and Canadian Moose. The Frostbite Falls Review was not very successful so Rocky and Bullwinkle became the stars of their own show, Rocky and His Friends. The show was co-created by Alex Anderson and premiered on November 29th, 1959 on ABC. Added to the cast were Boris and Natasha, two Pottsylvanian spies. The show also featured various segments; Peabody's Improbable History, Fractured Fairy Tales, Mr. Know-It-All, and Aesop and Son. In 1961, the show moved to NBC and was renamed The Bullwinkle Show. In 1964 the creators moved the show back to ABC where it was cancelled at the end of that season. The next year the show did reappear back on ABC; Bullwinkle and Rocky were replaced by Hoppity Hooper, while the other segments remained. The show ran on ABC until 1974. It was then syndicated under the name of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. In 1996, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle was picked up by Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network. It has since moved to the classic cartoon network, Boomerang where it is still running today.moreless
  • 8:00 pm
    Caught on Camera With Nick Cannon Octane
    NEW
    NBC
  • 10:00 pm
    20/20
    NEW
    ABC