60's television was the absolute best!
I guess that over the years, TV is TV,with equally good and bad shows, but there were some great ones back then. My favorites included: McHale's Navy, Bewitched, (well, I was never a true "Bewitched" fan, only a true Elizabeth Montgomery fan), The Addams Family and The Munsters. Newcomers like Gilligan's Island and Star Trek were among some of the most popular TV shows. Some of those old shows live on today as irrefutable classics, others as irrefutable bombs. There was one program called Kentucky Jones with Dennis Weaver about a guy who adopted a little Chinese boy.That's about all I can remember about it, except that I always wanted to watch it, but it came on opposite Gilligan's Island. Peter Gunn, a syndicated series from the 50's, was a classic during 60's syndication. Many of the shows that I loved were all syndicated 50's classics.
60's TV shows were often quite compelling, leaving no unfinished business at the end. Usually the suspense, or drama kept up until the very last minute of the show before being resolved. It always amazed me how the shows would hook me in, then keep up the excitement until the very last minute.
I really loved the old westerns and remember well so many wonderful programs with equally magnificent characters. Cheyenne, Wagon Train, Sugarfoot, Laramie, The Virginian, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Wanted Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, and Branded were all superb shows. I used to watch Death Valley Days with my dad in the early evenings. It came on at seven o'clock. We also used to watch Maverick and Annie Oakley.
Dramas were unique and offered some outstanding classics like The Fugitive, Combat, Route 66, and The Invaders. Life went on around us as the fugitive Richard Kimble sought the mysterious "one-armed man" from week to week. Nobody but me seemed to care that Sgt. Saunders of Combat! was holed up in a destroyed French chateau, surrounded by Nazis and only one clip left for his trusty Thompson. With the exception of one man, sleepy America had no idea that we were being "invaded" by aliens. The Invaders was a very cool show.
"The Invaders" audio promo provided by Scott Young
Secret agents and private eyes were on the rise, and incredibly inventive programs were spawned from the 60's. Honey West, The Avengers, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Wild, Wild West were hot. Sci-fi had its day too with The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, and of course, Star Trek.
Comedies came to life and assaulted television screens with comic fury. I used to love Saturday nights, sitting around with my dad watching The Jackie Gleason Show. Ozzie and Harriet was probably the most popular family show around with Leave it to Beaver barking closely at its heels. The Patty Duke Show was great. I was in love with both Patty and Cathy . Hogan's Heroes, Get Smart, and He and She, were also a few of the neighborhood favorites.
More family fodder came with Sing Along with Mitch. I remember sitting around the living room, staring at the tube, and watching the "bouncing ball" singing songs like "Waltzing Matilda" and "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."
Ted Mack's Amateur Hour was on every Sunday afternoon at five o'clock. I sort of liked High Q , but got bored with it fast. Me and my Mom loved The Match game and were pretty faithful "Match-gamers". She had her faithful soap operas like General Hospital, Search for Tomorrow and The Edge of Night.
I remember watching The Ed Sullivan Show faithfully. Some of my favorites were No Time For Sergeants, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Daniel Boone, Walt Disney, Daktari, and all the great cartoons.
These shows were all perfectly entertaining, but never have cartoons been any better than they were in the magnificent 60's when Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera were in their prime.
Saturday's were a real treat for television.
My brothers and I would sit around watching the likes of "Superman", "The Lone Ranger", "The Adventures of Zorro", "Roy Rogers", "Sky King", and "Science Fiction Theatre." Later in the afternoon, we'd all sit around and watch "Jon Gnagy" draw.
Another favorite on Saturday afternoons was "Supercar". You'd never catch me missing an episode. There was something so vastly intriguing about animated marionettes. I loved the backgrounds and the sort of 3-D appearance they presented. I was also highly into the marionette Christmas programs too. sci-fi TV Channel 12 was the station to watch if you were a kid in the early 60's. They used to run marathons of Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. I got to see all of the "On the Road" pictures with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. They ran these movies on Sunday at noon. On cold winter days, there was nothing better.
|Listen to some ABC Televisions spots for great shows!
Vintage promo audio clips restored by, and courtesy of Scott Young
|Ozzie and Harriett promo spot|
|My Three Sons promo spot|
|Perry Mason promo spot|
On Saturday evenings at 6:30, there was a program called "Alley Cat Theater" which played mostly old horror films. A shapely girl dressed like a cat would come out dancing in sparsely lit alley complete with garbage can. Her costume consisted of black tights, a tail, and ears. She danced to the song "Alley Cat" which made it all the more perfect. Hearing that song today makes me think of monster movies, and the great old drive-in classics that ended up on syndicated TV, and ultimately, "Alley Cat Theater".
There was truly nothing like the thrillers! Alfred Hitchcock was a number one favorite-especially during late night summer syndication. His hour-long season was great. One episode in particular, was called "The Jar" about this weird mess inside of a jar. It seemed like an eye was showing through or something. One Step Beyond was fun too. I remember an episode about a spot on the wall that nobody could clean off. As the show progressed, the spot began turning into a face. Too much for second grade! It was nightmare city after that.
With The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, I wouldn't know where to begin. These shows were dynamite-especially Outer Limits which became a life-long fascination for me. No show ever terrified me more than the "Limits" episode called "Corpus Earthling".
One cold and dark Saturday evening, Alley Cat Theater listed "The Thing" at 6:30. My Mom had seen it, we had not. She spent the whole day prepping us, getting us all excited, telling us how great it was. By the time she had the popcorn made, "The Thing" was not on! In its place was a movie called "X, The Unknown" which I rather liked.
Sadly, we didn't get to see "The Thing" until many years later. Saturday nights became the regular monster fests with some really wonderful horror films. What was great was the fact that my Mom would sit and watch them with us. "Dr. Cyclops" was one of our favorites of all time.
Oh, for the grand creation of the color television tube!
New life was given to old shows as they appeared to us for the first time in color! Cartoons were the best. My favorite was "The Lone Ranger" cartoon. The colors were incredibly vibrant, and the backgrounds were full of detail.
Better yet were the westerns like "Bonanza", "Gunsmoke", and "Cimarron Strip" that featured glorious colored landscapes and outdoor locations. Shows with delightful opening credits were brilliant in living color. We got our first color set around 1965. I remember seeing "Jonny Quest" for the first time in color. "The Time Tunnel" was another great show to see with all the colors in the world jumping out at me from all the differing time periods the two time travellers fell into.