60's tv shows

What was great about September? New TV shows!

the outer limits 1963 The fall season did force me back into the drudgery of school and homework, but it also brought a miracle to our household: the fall lineup of new TV shows. the addams family tv showEach year something new was guaranteed to premiere on our television screens, and the older shows that remained gained newer notoriety simply for the fact that they were popular enough to be granted another season. As a kid, the new fall lineup of TV shows made September worthwhile.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on the September TV guide to see what was in store for fall. Throughout the 60's decade, some of the finest television programs all presented themselves during the fall "opening season". Many of my favorites seemed to fall in the years of 1964-1965. Some new comic shows like The Addams Family, Bewitched and Gilligan's Island were brand new as well as some solid drama and action shows. combat tv showOld favorites still visited me on weekly basis via our television screen and some newer, more exciting shows like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Daniel Boone debuted. I had favorites that ranged from fantastic to duds. Despite all the new stuff and all the glitz and glam of the season premieres, nothing could pry me away from Combat!

Jonny Quest was a show that absolutely thrilled me. Bear in mind, that like most everyone else in my neighborhood, I had to see this marvelous show in black and white. Color television was just barely coming into its own. Color sets were introduced in the mid-50's, but very few TV shows were made in color, therefore it made little sense to own one. Around 1966, many more programs were being produced in color. Jonny Quest was top-notch all the way; the graphics and animation were of comic book quality-which at the time-was a very high standard. The show's often 3-D simulation, (something only financially feasible with animation), made it spellbinding and impossible to lift one's eyes from.

jonny quest

In our school English class, we were assigned to write a short story. I wrote a story called "Werewolf of the Timberlands". The title and the entire story line was stolen straight from a Jonny Quest episode I'd seen the week before. In short, I couldn't get this show out of my head.


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of TV Shows

the donna reed tv showAs a kid, I couldn't list the things that made a show great; all I knew was that if it was compelling enough to make me look forward to it each week, it was a great show. In the classical sense, a great show had fantastic production values, excellent scripts and top-notch camera work. It also had plenty of notable actors that appeared regularly, or in guest starring roles. the andy griffith showA superb television show had intrigue, was paced perfectly, and really engaged the viewer. Mediocre shows could not accomplish this, and the bad ones, well, they were just bad.

The Good:

Outstanding television shows came in all genres; they weren't limited to only dramas or action. A true gem of a program had a canned laugh track and ran for thirty minutes on TV, or it was powerfully dramatic, ran for an hour, and featured tremendous guest stars. There was no ceiling to a great television show. So, what constitutes a great TV show? Getting picked up by the networks for another season is always a good start...

60's color tv shows

Massive panoramas, curious angles or shooting from the ground up, were just a few classic techniques of a well-polished television program. Westerns took full advantage of these styles as did other dynamite shows like "The Invaders", "Combat" and "The Fugitive". One could tell from viewing them that they were meant to look as good as the movies they competed against. Many of these shows' directors, cameramen and writers went on their way to full scale Hollywood films or literary success. Let's not forget that best-selling author Sidney Sheldon created "The Patty Duke Show", or that Robert Altman directed several "Combat" episodes.

Season premieres came and went, but there was not one program that I revered so much as "The Outer Limits". the outer limits original series
I have a dedicated page here
for this wonderful program. Never had I been so spellbound, terrified, enrapt, or otherwise fully engaged with a TV show as I was with The Outer Limits. I can still remember being glued to the TV set during its first episode premeire of "The Galaxy Being", an episode that starred a creature who, by the way, insisted on hanging out in my bedroom in the dark when it was bedtime.

combat tv show"Combat" was almost equal, but it had too many episodes that didn't completely float my boat. Combat was still a serious program for me, but not every episode was a spell-binder, especially the shows that centered around the French townsfolk, women, or WWII spy episodes. On a comical note, as superior a program as "Combat" was, it wins the prize of having the most ridiculous and most prolific bloopers including, but not limited to, men in black suits walking behind the battle scenes, and dead soldiers re-adjusting themselves. (Continuity experts must have been hard to find).


The Bad:

Mediocre shows were sad in the sense that they could have had a chance, but were doomed from the start. They didn't seem to invest any thought, or style into their productions, and relied almost 100% on scripts and acting. That's like putting ketchup on everything; it doesn't always work. In the case of these so-so programs, the blend of scripts vs. stars often failed. Good directors and writers were like separating the wheat from the chaff. When a show skimped on its budget, relied solely on newbie directors, shifted a popular show into another time slot, cut back on guest stars, or all of the above, what was left was a recipe for disaster. Star Trek was a classic example of NBC's prime time suicide when all of these factors came into play. Star Trek was a superior program that was literally cut off at the knees, forced into a slow prime time death, washed ashore and left to flounder in its final season.

Another example of a mediocre show was "Cimarron Strip". Here was a program with a great star, but the show still sat around waiting for the bus. Cashing in on the unique 90-minute time slot idea originally mastered by the show's superior predecessor "The Virginian", Cimarron couldn't seem t' set a saddle.

the farmer's daughter

The Ugly:

TV show bombs were, well, bad. No other word describes them. The dud shows made me ask the question "what happened?" When I was growing up, looking forward to all of these wonderful new season premieres, these dud shows were like nothing more than prime time fillers.the good guys tv show I often watched them simply because there was nothing else. Interestingly enough, some of these shows I actually liked. One of these was "Kentucky Jones" that lasted only one season. It was in fierce time-slot competition with Gilligan's Island and Lawrence Welk. I rarely got to see the show as there were very few opportunities when the television set was not shared by others. There were quite a few bombs, and it seemed then like they outnumbered the good shows.


Scene-Stealing Co-Stars

Co-stars were what made up some great TV. Some of the best shows featured a never-ending supply of indelibly popular character players. These were the folks that turned up everywhere, on almost any show, and left a lasting impression. Some went on to be media superstars in the character actor category, while others, sadly, faded into obscurity. Some of these unforgettable players that become later media sensations were: Strother Martin, Bruce Dern, George Kennedy, John Cassavettes, Beau and Jeff Bridges, and Sally Field.

Below are a few actors and actresses that nearly stole the shows they appeared on. They are from L-R:
Susan Oliver, Albert Salmi, Strother Martin, Dub Taylor, Diana Muldaur and Vaughn Taylor.

60's character actors

Wow! 1966-68 in color!

60's color tv shows

family affair I remember flying into the color stirrups of "Bonanza" seeing all the splendor of Nevada in dynamic hues. Cartoons were, by far, the most intriguing of the color TV shows. They were rich and vibrant, and no human skin tone on earth could compare to an RGB red or orange. As the years progressed, the fall season premieres gave us some interesting, fun, and downright exciting shows.

In 1966, we got our first color TV set. The discoveries were amazing for me; Illya Kuryakin had yellow hair; The Lone Ranger had a blue shirt; Jonny Quest (then shown in syndication) came to life! Gilligan had a red shirt, and a new and fantastic series called "The Time Tunnel" exploded with wild color. (This program's opening credits are still a visual feast).

Some of these new later 60's shows were:

"Gentle Ben", "It Takes a Thief", "Love on a Rooftop", "The Invaders", "Garrison's Guerrillas", "The Rat Patrol", "The Guns of Will Sonnett", "Family Affair", "The Mothers-in-Law", "The Green Hornet", "Mission Impossible", "It's About Time", "He and She", "The Good Guys", "Mr. Terrific", "Captain Nice","The John Forsythe Show", "The Wackiest Ship in the Army", "Tammy", "Honey West", "Daktari" and ultimately spring-boarding into utter hipdom with "The Mod Squad".


Popular Shows of the 60's

gilligan's islandcheyenne the fugitive the virginian

1960-1961:
"Gunsmoke 1955-1975", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "Cheyenne", "Sugarfoot", "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1955-1962", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Perry Mason 1957-1966", "The Twilight Zone 1959-1964", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "The Real McCoys", "77 Sunset Strip", "Wagon Train 1957-1965", "Dennis The Menace" "Wanted: Dead or Alive"
1961-1962:
"Hazel", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Wagon Train 1957-1965", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1955-1962", "Gunsmoke 1955-1975", "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "Perry Mason 1957-1966", "The Twilight Zone 1959-1964", "Lassie", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Ben Casey", "My Three Sons", "Candid Camera", "Dr. Kildare", "Sing Along with Mitch", "The Flintstones", "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis", "The Donna Reed Show", "The Defenders", "Have Gun, Will Travel",
1962-1963:
"The Patty Duke Show", "The Beverly Hillbillies", "McHale's Navy 1962-1966", "The Virginian", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "What's My Line", "The Dick Van Dyke Show" "Rawhide", "Perry Mason 1957-1966", "The Twilight Zone 1959-1964", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 1962-1965", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Route 66", "Gunsmoke 1955-1975", "Stoney Burke", "Wagon Train 1957-1965", "Combat 1962-1967"
1963-1964:
"The Outer Limits", "The Addams Family", "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "Bewtiched 1964-1972", "The Travels of Jamie McPheeters", "Arrest and Trial", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "McHale's Navy 1962-1966", "The Patty Duke Show", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Candid Camera", "Petticoat Junction 1963-1970", "Perry Mason 1957-1966", "The Twilight Zone 1959-1964", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 1962-1965", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Wagon Train 1957-1965", "Combat 1962-1967" , "The Farmer's Daughter", "Burke's Law", "Gunsmoke 1955-1975"
1964-1965:
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1964-1968", "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. 1964-1969", "The Man from Uncle 1964-1968", "Gilligan's Island", "Bewtiched 1964-1972", "The Patty Duke Show", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "McHale's Navy 1962-1966", "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Candid Camera", "Petticoat Junction 1963-1970", "Perry Mason 1957-1966", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 1962-1965", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Gunsmoke 1955-1975", "Wagon Train 1957-1965", "Combat 1962-1967", "The Addams Family"
1965-1966:
"The Wild, Wild West", "Hogan's Heroes 1965-1971", "Gilligan's Island", "I Dream of Jeannie 1965-1970", "Bewtiched 1964-1972", "McHale's Navy 1962-1966", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "Get Smart 1965-1970", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1964-1968", "The Man from Uncle 1964-1968", "Perry Mason 1957-1966", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 1962-1965", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Combat 1962-1967" , "The Patty Duke Show", "The Addams Family", "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. 1964-1969",
1966-1967:
"Batman", "Bewtiched 1964-1972", "The Wild, Wild West", "Gilligan's Island", "McHale's Navy 1962-1966", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1964-1968", "The Man from Uncle 1964-1968", "Hogan's Heroes 1965-1971", "Perry Mason 1957-1966", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Combat 1962-1967" , "The Time Tunnel", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "The Addams Family", "I Dream of Jeannie 1965-1970", "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "It's About Time", "The Rat Patrol", "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. 1964-1969", "Family Affair", "The Monkees", "Get Smart 1965-1970", "Hogan's Heroes 1965-1971", "The Pruitts of Southampton," "Star Trek", "Green Acres", "Mission: Impossible 1966-1973"
1967-1968:
"The Wild, Wild West", "Tarzan", "Batman", "Bewtiched 1964-1972", "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. 1964-1969", "I Dream of Jeannie 1965-1970", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1964-1968", "The Man from Uncle 1964-1968", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Combat 1962-1967" , "The Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968", "It's About Time", "The Rat Patrol", "Family Affair", "The Monkees, "Get Smart 1965-1970"," "The Pruitts of Southampton," "Star Trek", "Ironside 1967-1975", "Mission: Impossible 1966-1973", "Hogan's Heroes 1965-1971", "Green Acres 1965-1971",
1968-1969:
"The Mod Squad", "The Wild, Wild West", "Bewtiched 1964-1972", "I Dream of Jeannie 1965-1970", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Mission: Impossible 1966-1973", "Land of the Giants", "Hogan's Heroes 1965-1971", "Mayberry R.F.D. 1968-1971", "Family Affair", "Star Trek", "Green Acres 1965-1971", "Get Smart 1965-1970", "It Takes a Thief", "Ironside 1967-1975"
1969-1970:
"The Mod Squad", "The Courtship of Eddie's Father", "Room 222", "The Brady Bunch", "Bewtiched 1964-1972", "I Dream of Jeannie 1965-1970", "My Three Sons 1960-1972", "The Ed Sullivan Show 1948-1971", "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1952-1992", "Bonanza 1959-1973", "Hogan's Heroes 1965-1971", "Mayberry R.F.D. 1968-1971", "Family Affair", "It Takes a Thief", "Land of the Giants", "Star Trek", "Green Acres 1965-1971", "Ironside 1967-1975", "Get Smart 1965-1970",