Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (2022)

Ever see the television schedule for the week and wonder if those 25-some series that you are watching were all that were released in the 1950s and 1960s? We never wondered that, but just in case you did, here is a list of some forgotten television series of the era. There's no particular order to this list, it's just a mulligan stew of shows - some good, some bad - that aired between television's infant days and the invasion of the Beatles in '65.

Let us know which of these series you heard of, which ones you've seen, and which ones you enjoyed because quite frankly we never saw any of them!

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (1)

The Four Just Men

The Four Just Men galloped about the globe righting wrongs, each in his own manner. These men were portrayed by Jack Hawkins, Vittorio de Sica, Richard Conte, and Dan Dailey. In spite of its great premise the show didn't last long and petered out the same year it was released- 1959.

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (2)

Pride of the Family

The pride of the family the title was referring to was the lovable but bumbling papa, Albie Morrison, played by Paul Hartman. Fay Wray was Momma and the children were Bobby Hyatt and - you guessed it - Natalie Wood. The show debuted in 1953 but was cancelled after one season as well.

Paris Precinct

Americans like variety...and not just the plate-spinning acrobatic kind to be seen on Sullivan. This show, premiering in 1955, delivered international crime stories for those who were tired of the usual Chicago and New York kind. Criminals of the Paris precinct were brought to swift justice by the head honcho of the police department, the handsome Louis Jourdan. Ooo la la!

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (3)

Wonderful John Acton

Did you know that there were period sitcoms made in the early 1950s? Yep, there were. This show, which came out in 1953, was about an Irish-American family living in the Ohio River Valley in the years after WWI. Harry Holcombe, Virginia Duyer, Ronnie Walken and Ian Martin starred.

(Video) 1960s Short Lived Tv Shows

Jamie

Brandon De Wilde ( Shane ) was such a popular child actor that he was thrust into a television series of his own. Jamie premiered in 1954 and featured Kathy Nolan ( TheReal McCoys ) as his big sis and Polly Rowles and Ernest Truex as his parents.

Our Man Higgins

If stage actress Shirley Booth could make a success playing a maid called Hazel, than surely
Stanley Holloway could find equal fans as a butler. Not quite, but it was worth a try. This
amusing series launched in '61 and was canned that same year. The sets were dismantled so fastthat they didn't have enough time to collect dust for Higgins to sweep.

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (4)

Bourbon Street Beat

Before Richard Long got his masters degree and became Professor Everett and raised three kiddies with the aid of a nanny, he worked in an office in New Orleans, along with Andrew Duggan and Arlene Howell, solving mysteries and getting into sundry scraps in this 1959 series.

The Halls of Ivy

The great English actor, Ronald Colman, gave the new tiny-tube medium a try in 1954 as well. In TheHalls of Ivy, he portrayed Dr. William Todd Hunter Hall, President of Ivy College and got to seehis wife, Benita Hume, co-star as Mrs. Hall. Producers gave it a grade "F" and it was pulled fromthe network after only one season.

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (5)


It's a Man's World

This imaginative comedy took on a houseboat -- much like Dear Brigitte -- and starred Glenn
Corbett, Jan Norris, and Randy Boone. The houseboat-owning audience must not have been avid TVwatchers in 1963, when this series debuted.

(Video) The Most Watched TV Series of the 1960s (By Year)

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (6)

Broadside

Anchors aweigh! Hollywood's busty cast-offs literally cast off in this naval comedy series,which debuted in 1964. Kathy Nolan, Joan Staley, Lois Roberts, and Sheila James portrayed WAVEmechanics assigned to a Pacific island during World War II. Flotation devices not necessary.

Mona McClosky

Clint Eastwood look-a-like Denny Miller played an Air Force sergeant struggling to support his wife -- the glamorous Hollywood star Mona McClosky ( Juliet Prowse ) -- on his service salary. The show struggled as well and Mona was a Bona-fide flop in 1965.


Tales of Tomorrow

If audiences were tired with tales of today being reenacted on shows such as The U.S.SteelHour and Playhouse 90, they could watch Tales of Tomorrow specializing in science fiction melodramas, one of the first of its kind.

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (7)

Heaven for Betsy

Jack Lemmon wasn't the big name actor in the early 1950's, but he was a happily married man and a star on the rise so, of course, that winning combination of good fortune earned him his own series too. Lemmon and Cynthia Stone ( Mrs. Lemmon ) starred in this domestic comedy which played twice a week beginning in 1952.

The Hathaways

BeforeLancelot Link... andThe Monkey's Uncle... there wereThe Hathaways,Peggy Cass starred as the foster mother to a gang of hooligan monkeys living in her suburban home. When the series debuted in 1961, it skyrocketed the Marquis Chimps to stardom ... well, not really. But they did get to appear onThe Ed Sullivan Show- what more could a monkey want in show business?

Convoy

(Video) Do you really remember the 1950s and 1960s TV Shows? - TV Show Quiz

There was Combat, and then there was Convoy. John Gavin, Linden Chiles and John Larch starred in this brief series, debuting in 1965, about the merchant ships and destroyer escorts out on the great Atlantic ocean.

They Stand Accused

Why watch Perry Mason solve fictional cases when you can watch real ones reenacted on thisDuMont-network series?....

The Verdict is Yours

....and even better than watching real court cases was the opportunity to match your verdict against that of a real jury. The Verdict is Yours gave you this thrill but played at an odd daytime slot. Jim McKay was the host.

George Sanders Mystery Theater

George Sanders, the actor who often portrayed archetypal debonair villains oozed suave introductions to the forthcoming half-hour mysteries which aired on this program in 1957.

Follow the Sun

Hunky heartthrobs Gary Lockwood and Barry Coe were suntanned freelance magazine writers who struggled to find material - and often found trouble - in exotic locales. The series debuted in 1961.

Janet Dean, Registered Nurse

Doctor series were a dime a dozen in the 1950's. Lovely Ella Raines, the former Universal star, was the lucky gal to star in the first series about a woman in white.


Peck's Bad Girl

We all love watching the antics of Beaver and Dennis and the Menace, but what show featured a mischievous girl menace? It was Pecks' Bad Girl, debuting on May 5, 1959, and lasting for one whole half season before being shelved. Patty McCormack was such a hit as the beastly Bad Seed gal that she was put in this series also starred Marsha Hunt and Wendell Corey.

(Video) Top 10 Decade Defining TV Shows: 1950s

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (10)

Mystery Theater

Tom Conway spent most of his film career playing crime fighters of one sort or another. On
television, he played them, too. Mystery Theater featured Conway as Detective Mark Saber
working for the homicide squad. James Burke, as Sergeant Maloney, aided Saber.

The Man Behind the Badge

If Charles Bickford looked like one tough man to cross than just imagine how criminals quivered when Bickford pinned on a badge and became a crime fighter. You'll have to keep that thought in your imagination now because that series never happened. On The Man Behind the Badge, Bickford only acted as a narrator for tales of police derring-dos.

Captain David Grief

Good grief! Why audiences failed to grasp at the adventure to be had in this series we fail to fathom. Jack London's stories of shipwrecks and doomed passengers were brought to life in this short lived series starring Maxwell Reed as the captain.

Forgotten Television Shows of the 1950s & 1960s (12)


The Eleventh Hour

Not only did this show feature lovely theme music ( by C. King Palmer ), but it also starred sour faced star Wendell Corey. He played a sympathetic psychiatrist much in the vein ofDr. Kildare. The show boasted great guest stars and lasted for an astounding two seasons.

If any of these titles sound interesting, than good luck trying to find them on Youtube or DVD. Many of these titles are available but only in part. Nevertheless, its a swell way to spend a rainy afternoon ( exactly what we did ).

(Video) FORGOTTEN TV COMEDY, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s.

FAQs

What shows were popular in 1956? ›

Top-rated United States television programs of 1956–57
RankProgramNetwork
1I Love LucyCBS
2The Ed Sullivan Show
3General Electric Theater
4The $64,000 Question
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What were the 4 most popular TV shows in the 1960s? ›

Top-rated United States television programs of 1960–61
RankProgramRating
1Gunsmoke37.3
2Wagon Train34.2
3Have Gun – Will Travel30.9
4The Andy Griffith Show27.8
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What is one of the oldest TV shows? ›

35 Oldest Popular TV Shows
  • I Love Lucy (1951–1957) TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family. ...
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962) ...
  • The Twilight Zone (1959–1964) ...
  • The Flintstones (1960–1966) ...
  • The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968) ...
  • The Bugs Bunny Show (1960–1975) ...
  • The Jetsons (1962–1963) ...
  • Doctor Who (1963–1989)

What was on TV in 1959? ›

1959-60 Top-Rated TV Shows
RANKSHOWNETWORK
1.GunsmokeCBS
2.Wagon TrainNBC
3.Have Gun Will TravelCBS
4.The Danny Thomas ShowCBS
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What is the most watched show in television history? ›

The Most Watched TV Finales of All Time, Ranked
  • 8 All in the Family (40.2 Million)
  • 7 The Cosby Show (44.4 million)
  • 6 Magnum P.I. (50.7 million)
  • 5 Friends (52.5 million)
  • 4 Seinfeld (76.3 million)
  • 3 The Fugitive (78 million)
  • 2 Cheers (80.4 million)
  • 1 M*A*S*H (105 million)
17 Aug 2022

What TV show started in 1955? ›

1. The Honeymooners (1955–1956)

What TV show debuted in 1957? ›

1. Perry Mason (1957–1966)

What shows premiered 1954? ›

Father Knows Best (1954–1960)

What TV shows aired in 1968? ›

Top-rated United States television programs of 1968–69
RankProgramNetwork
1Rowan & Martin's Laugh-InNBC
2Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.CBS
3BonanzaNBC
4Mayberry R.F.D.CBS
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What was the most watched TV show in the 60s? ›

After two seasons, NBC moved Bonanza to Sunday nights, and people finally tuned in. In fact, so many people watched Bonanza, it was the most popular show in America from 1964 to 1967. It stayed on the air for 14 years, remaining among the 10 most popular shows for all but four of those years.

Was there color TV in the 60s? ›

The Color Revolution: Television In The Sixties. Although limited color broadcasts took place during the 1950s, it wasn't until the early 1960s that color TV started to take off. Thanks in large part to NBC, color TV grew at a furious pace, culminating in the color revolution of 1965.

What is the oldest still running TV show? ›

Guiding Light

This American television soap even holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running television drama in the country's history.

What is the longest running TV series of all time? ›

The Simpsons

It's also the longest-running scripted television show of all time.

What was the first TV show in color? ›

The first national color broadcast (the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade) occurred on January 1, 1954, but over the next dozen years most network broadcasts, and nearly all local programming, continued to be in black-and-white.

What TV show started in 1958? ›

1. The Rifleman (1958–1963)

How much did a TV cost in 1959? ›

$790.88

What was the most popular night time TV Show of 1959? ›

1. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

What's the number one sitcom of all time? ›

1 Friends (1994 - 2004)

The highest-rated American sitcom on many lists, Friends is, by far, deserving of its accolades. The show allows the audience to bond with the characters and makes them feel as if they are a part of the friend group.

What is the best series finale ever? ›

10 Best Series Finale Of All Time, According to IMDB
  1. 1 Six Feet Under: Everyone's waiting - 9.9.
  2. 2 Breaking Bad: Felina - 9.9. ...
  3. 3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Victory and Dead - 9.9. ...
  4. 4 Mr. ...
  5. 5 The Office: Finale - 9.8. ...
  6. 6 Avatar: The Last Airbender: Sozin's Comet, Part 4 - 9.8. ...
  7. 7 Chernobyl: Vichnaya Pamyat - 9.8. ...
16 Jun 2022

What is the #1 TV show in America? ›

"NFL Sunday Night Football" was the most watched TV show in the United States in the 2021/2022 season, with roughly 18.14 million viewers. "NFL Thursday Night Football" ranked second with approximately 15.4 million viewers.

What did people watch on TV in the 1950s? ›

During this time, many of the genres that today's audiences are familiar with were developed – westerns, kids' shows, situation comedies, sketch comedies, game shows, dramas, news and sports programming.

What was on TV in 1947? ›

Television shows
SeriesDebutEnded
In the Kelvinator Kitchen19471948
The Walter Compton NewsJune 16, 1947January 1948
Major League Baseball on NBCJuly 8, 1947October 17, 2000
Musical Merry-Go-Round19471949
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Who made the first TV show? ›

Television

Which TV show from the 1950s featured the most traditional American family? ›

Shows like Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet all showed traditional, clean-cut, and normal American families. In 1950s America, such families were considered both the norm and the ideal. Most adults in the 1950s had survived The Great Depression and World War II.

What TV shows were popular in 1952? ›

Top-rated United States television programs of 1952–53
RankProgramRating
1I Love Lucy67.3
2Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts54.7
3Arthur Godfrey and His Friends47.1
4Dragnet46.8
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What was the original Disney TV show called? ›

The Disney Channel launched nationally as a premium channel on April 18, 1983, at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The first program ever aired on the channel was also its first original series, Good Morning, Mickey!, which presented Disney animated shorts.

What was the very first Disney show? ›

' ” On Christmas Day, 1950, Walt Disney Productions aired its first ever television special. One Hour in Wonderland was a charming concoction of cartoon clips (including the yet-to-be-released Alice in Wonderland), appearances from stars of the day, and Walt Disney himself.

What TV shows premiered in 1966? ›

TV Series, Released between 1966-01-01 and 1966-12-31 (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969) ...
  • Batman (1966–1968) ...
  • Mission: Impossible (1966–1973) ...
  • Dark Shadows (1966–1971) ...
  • Family Affair (1966–1971) ...
  • The Time Tunnel (1966–1967) ...
  • The Rat Patrol (1966–1968) ...
  • The Monkees (1966–1968)

What TV show debuted in 1969? ›

Sesame Street (1969– )

What is the most popular film during 1968? ›

Funny Girl

When did color TV come out? ›

The world's first public colour TV service began in the USA. Colour television was available in select cities from 1954 using the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee)-compatible colour system championed by RCA. A small fledgling colour service was introduced briefly by CBS in 1941.

How many TV channels were there in 1960? ›

Television in the 1960's was very different from today's T.V. You were only allowed watch the networks on that were put on and that's it. There was only three channels available; ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Was TV popular in the 1960s? ›

By 1960, television was firmly entrenched as America's new hearth. Close to 90% of households had a TV, making the device almost ubiquitous. The ensuing decade would see the medium grow in both importance and range.

How much did a color TV cost in 1955? ›

Cost: $1,000. Sept. 28, 1955: First color coverage of World Series baseball games.

What year did most homes have color TV? ›

Although colour TV was introduced to consumers in 1954, less than 1 percent of homes had a colour set by the end of that year. Ten years later, in fact, nearly 98 percent of American homes still did not have one. It was not until 1964…

How much was a color TV 1968? ›

If you wanted color TV your options were limited. By the mid-1960s a large color TV could be obtained for only $300- a mere $2,490 in today's money.

What TV show has made the most money? ›

The Simpsons, Friends and the Most Profitable TV Shows of All Time.

What is the top 10 longest running TV show? ›

Top 10 Best Longest-Running TV Shows
  • #8: “M*A*S*H” (1972-83) ...
  • #7: “Coronation Street” (1960-) ...
  • #6: “South Park” (1997-) ...
  • #5: “Saturday Night Live” (1975-) ...
  • #4: “Sesame Street” (1969-) ...
  • #3: “Gunsmoke” (1955-75) ...
  • #2: “The Simpsons” (1989-) ...
  • #1: “Doctor Who” (1963-89; 2005-)

What is the oldest TV channel in the world? ›

In 1928, WRGB (then W2XB) was started as the world's first television station.

Who has played the same TV character the longest? ›

As of 2022, William Roache holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-serving actor in a television soap opera, having played Ken Barlow on Coronation Street since 1960.

What TV show has the most seasons in the world? ›

The Simpsons

What is the longest ever movie? ›

The longest film | Ever made is over 85 hours. The Cure for Insomnia is a video that was released in 1987. It is known as the longest video ever released and lasts over 85 hours. Very few people have ever seen the whole video, but it is a famous topic in film classes and quizzes.

How much did a color TV cost in 1965? ›

In an attempt to broaden the market for color television, the 1965 RCA Victor line will have a starting price of $399.95, or $50 below 1964's lowest list price.

When did they stop making black and white TVs? ›

Color television sets finally surpassed black & white in 1972. Even if the networks had all gone color, our living rooms had not. It wasn't until 1972 that sales of color TV sets surpassed those of black & white sets.

Do they still make black and white TVs? ›

It is no longer possible to buy a new black and white set, though many are still offered for sale on sites such as Gumtree and eBay.

What did people watch on TV in the 1950s? ›

During this time, many of the genres that today's audiences are familiar with were developed – westerns, kids' shows, situation comedies, sketch comedies, game shows, dramas, news and sports programming.

Which TV show from the 1950s featured the most traditional American family? ›

Shows like Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet all showed traditional, clean-cut, and normal American families. In 1950s America, such families were considered both the norm and the ideal. Most adults in the 1950s had survived The Great Depression and World War II.

Was there TV in the 1950s? ›

Through the 1950s, the US went from 20 percent of homes having a television to nearly 90 percent. The number of television stations, number of channels, and available programming all grew to meet the demand of a public.

What was on television in the 1940s? ›

Television shows
SeriesDebutEnded
NBC News with Lowell ThomasFebruary 21, 1940July 30, 1940
The Esso Television ReporterMarch 27, 1940May 31, 1940
Boxing from Jamaica ArenaJuly 8, 1940May 18, 1942

What was the most advertised product of the 1950's? ›

By the mid-1950s, automobiles surpassed packaged goods and cigarettes as the most heavily advertised products.

How much did a TV cost in 1952? ›

$857.75

What was the first color TV show in America? ›

The first national color broadcast (the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade) occurred on January 1, 1954, but over the next dozen years most network broadcasts, and nearly all local programming, continued to be in black-and-white.

When was the Golden Age of TV? ›

As noted above, the period that ran roughly between 1948 and 1959 is referred to by many historians and scholars of the medium as the “Golden Age” of television.

What channels play old TV shows? ›

The following 68 pages are in this category, out of 68 total.
...
M
  • MeTV.
  • Movies!
  • MTV 80s.
  • MTV 90s.
  • MTV Classic (American TV channel)
  • MTV Classic (British and Irish TV channel)

What major cultural value of the 1950s did television most promote? ›

Television contributed to the homogenizing trend by providing young and old with a shared experience reflecting accepted social patterns. But not all Americans conformed to such cultural norms. A number of writers, members of the so-called "beat generation," rebelled against conventional values.

What were the first TV channels? ›

In 1928, WRGB, then W2XB, was started as the world's first television station. It broadcast from the General Electric facility in Schenectady, NY. It was popularly known as "WGY Television".

When did color TV come out? ›

The world's first public colour TV service began in the USA. Colour television was available in select cities from 1954 using the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee)-compatible colour system championed by RCA. A small fledgling colour service was introduced briefly by CBS in 1941.

How many TV channels were there in 1960? ›

Television in the 1960's was very different from today's T.V. You were only allowed watch the networks on that were put on and that's it. There was only three channels available; ABC, CBS, and NBC.

What was on TV in 1945? ›

Television shows
SeriesDebutEnded
The War As It HappensFebruary 21, 19441945
The World in Your Home19441948
Missus Goes A ShoppingAugust 1, 19441949
Dr. Death19451945
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How much did a TV cost in the 1940s? ›

In the late 1940s local stations did broadcast TV. This was the hippest thing to hit the airwaves and TVs themselves cost a small fortune to buy. In 1948 the “big-picture” TV set from Magnavox cost $279.50, which would be $3,025 in today's money. Talk about a big purchase!

What year were TVs in homes? ›

The number of television sets in use rose from 6,000 in 1946 to some 12 million by 1951. No new invention entered American homes faster than black and white television sets; by 1955 half of all U.S. homes had one.

Videos

1. 101 MORE Iconic TV Shows of the 1960s (The greatest decade for TV ever)
(FredFlix)
2. TV Shows from the 1950s
(Dave Pratt)
3. TV Shows That Went Too Far Then Got Cancelled
(Facts Verse)
4. 32 FORGOTTEN TV THEME INTROS OF THE 50s
(RwDt09)
5. British T.V. from 1950s
(wko)
6. My Little Margie 50s sitcom episode 1 of 88
(Timeless Television)

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