What are your top 5 favorite shows from the 1950s?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by benbess, May 13, 2014.

  1. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    The first half of this decade was the golden age of live TV, with people like Milton Berle and Sid Caesar bringing laughter to living rooms across America. Unfortunately, those shows weren't filmed like I Love Lucy was, and so what remains of them is difficult to enjoy today imho. But my knowledge of these shows is very limited, and I guess mainly comes from a movie I saw more than 30 years ago called My Favorite Year, which stars Peter O'Toole as a movie star trying to do live TV. Anyway, this thread, like the one on the 1960s, is for you to list your top 5 (or more, if you want) favorite drama and comedy shows on prime time network television. If you're willing to do more than a list, please let us know why these shows are part of your personal hall of fame. Lists of favorite episodes from favorite shows are most welcome and appreciated. Also, I hope people will share any memories they have of watching tv if they were fortunate enough to be around for the dawn of television. Did it seem almost like magic the first time you saw a TV? What a change from listening to the radio! Here are the top ten shows in the ratings for 1951-52 television season, as well as a vintage TV set ad....

    [*]Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (CBS) - 53.8
    [*]Texaco Star Theater (NBC) - 52.0
    [*]I Love Lucy (CBS) - 50.9
    [*]The Red Skelton Show (NBC) - 50.2
    [*]The Colgate Comedy Hour (NBC) - 45.3
    [*]Arthur Godfrey and His Friends (CBS) - 43.3
    [*]Fireside Theater (NBC) - 43.1
    [*]Your Show of Shows (NBC) - 43.0
    [*]Jack Benny Program (CBS) - 42.8
    [*]You Bet Your Life (NBC) - 42.1
    [/list]
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I was too young to have seen Your Show of Shows when it was first broadcast (I'm not sure we even had a television then), but some years ago, they put out a film taken from kinescopes of the show called Ten from 'Your Show of Shows,' and it was simply hilarious, so I'm including the show in my top five listing because of that highlight feature film.

    {in no particular order}

    I Love Lucy
    December Bride
    Dragnet
    The People's Choice
    Your Show of Shows

    Runner-Up: The Adventures of Superman
     
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  3. Roy Wall

    Roy Wall Supporting Actor

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    Let's see....Purely 50sI Love LucyThe Adventures of SupermanM SquadNaked City (half hour)The Honeymooners50s (including crossovers)GunsmokeHave Gun Will TravelThe Twilight ZoneI Love LucyThe Honeymooners
     
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  4. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    There are so many from this decade I haven't seen, but right now my top 5 are

    1. The Twilight Zone
    2. I Love Lucy
    3. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
    4. Bonanza
    5. Lassie (even though I haven't seen it for about 40 years)
     
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  5. GMBurns

    GMBurns Stunt Coordinator

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    I wasn't born in this decade so anything I know from the 50's I saw in re-runs as a kid or have been first introduced to on dvd. Either way there are a lot of great shows from the decade, and sticking to five is really hard, so I cheated a little bit.1. Perry Mason: far and away my favorite from the 50's. I could never guess whodunit, but I really enjoy the rapport between Perry, Della and Paul.2. Leave it to Beaver: loved it in reruns and it was a blast to see my children also enjoy the show. My son (now a freshman in high school) has a good friend that we affectionately compare to Eddie Haskell.3. Cheyenne/Maverick (tie): never saw either of these shows until Warner released them on dvd but they have been great fun.4. Have Gun Will Travel: never saw this until so many folks on HTF recommended it but it's been a great find.4-1/2. 77 Sunset Strip: hoping Warner can start releasing this one soon.5. The Honeymooners: it was just plain funny when I first saw it, now I've been able to appreciate the heartfelt performances.
     
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  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    By far, this is the decade that I know the least about but here's my list of favorites (alphabetically):

    The Adventures Of Superman
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents
    Dragnet
    I Love Lucy
    Leave It To Beaver

    If I had to pick one, I'd say that Leave It To Beaver is my favorite. The Twilight Zone would have made the list but I consider that a 1960's show.
     
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  7. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    I couldn't limit myself to just five, but here they pretty much in order, so take the top five if you must and leave me the rest:

    I Love Lucy
    Your Show of Shows
    Jack Benny
    Burns and Allen
    Make Room for Daddy
    Bob Cummings Show
    Dragnet
    The Honeymooners
    Texaco Star Theatre
    Mr. Peepers
    December Bride
    Studio One
    Father Knows Best
    Leave It to Beaver
    Our Miss Brooks
    My Little Margie
    Oh Susanna
    Private Secretary
     
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  8. bretmaverick2

    bretmaverick2 Supporting Actor

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    Maverick (started in the 50s, so I'm countin it!)
    The Honeymooners
    Adventures of Superman
    The Bob Cummings Show/Love That Bob
    Leave It To Beaver
     
  9. JoeDoakes

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    I Love Lucy
    Phil Silvers Show
    Leave it to Beaver
    Maverick
    Adventures of Superman
     
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  10. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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    1. Have Gun Will Travel - My dad loved it growing up and I caught it in reruns some as a kid. I've gotten back into a habit of catching it on Encore Western lately and it never gets old or boring. Paladin is the ultimate escape artist; no matter what situation he winds up in, he comes out smelling like a rose.

    2. Leave it to Beaver - Geez, fellas, how could I NOT pick Beaver? It was in reruns pretty frequently on local TV when I was a kid and even up to my early teenage years. I don't know of anyone who actually wore a suit and tie to dinner like Ward did or anyone who cooked in heels and a dress like June but it was still such a cute show. The situations Beaver got into are still things a kid today could get into.

    3. The Adventures of Superman - Another one syndicated here when I was a kid. He was my mother's hero when she was a kid. It used to come on Saturday afternoons and I don't remember any daily syndication but it's still burned into my memory. I caught it again last year on Warner's streaming service and the Man of Steel still holds up quite well for me.

    4. The Lone Ranger - Another Saturday-only syndicated show. Saturday mornings were special. Bugs Bunny early, then Championship Wrestling on WMC and after Jerry Lawler had beat up all the bad guys hatin' on Memphis, we capped it off with The Lone Ranger and Tonto finishing up the job in the old west by taking care of the bad guys there. Honestly, some of the earliest episodes seem dated and a bit contrived but once the show gelled, it couldn't be beat. This is one I wish was treated better on DVD.

    5. Gunsmoke - I used to say I preferred the color episodes. They're good and have good production value but I've caught a lot of the b&w ones on Encore Western in the last couple of years. Especially the early episodes, there's really no "fluff" just hard-hitting storytelling. You know Marshall Dillon is going to win in the end but it's still quality watching.
     
  11. John Maher_289910

    John Maher_289910 Second Unit

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    THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET
    THE HONEYMOONERS
    NAKED CITY
    HIGHWAY PATROL
    LEAVE IT TO BEAVER

    Everyone of these was a favorite when I was a kid and remains so, today.

    Honorable mention: THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS, which is really more of a 60s sitcom, and I should have included it in my list, there. It premiered during the '59/'60 season.
     
  12. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    1. The Twilight Zone

    2. Sea Hunt

    3. Highway Patrol

    4. Sky King

    6. Men Into Space

    7. Death Valley Days

    8. The Adventures of Superman

    9. I Love Lucy

    10. I Led Three Lives
     
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  13. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    One Step BeyondScience Fiction TheatreAmos 'n' AndyPlayhouse 90Mr. Peepers
     
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  14. ljgranberry

    ljgranberry Second Unit

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    I Love Lucy
    The Twilight Zone
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents
    The Honeymooners
    Gunsmoke
     
  15. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    The Twilight Zone (going by the initial 1959-60 season only)

    Rawhide (ditto)

    Leave It to Beaver

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    Maverick

    Honorable mention:

    Dragnet
    M Squad
    The Honeymooners
    Amos & Andy
    Suspicion
    The Rifleman
    The Jack Benny Program
    What's My Line?
    Rocky & His Friends
    The Untouchables
     
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  16. Roy Wall

    Roy Wall Supporting Actor

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    Great List.....absolutely.
     
  17. davidHartzog

    davidHartzog Cinematographer
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    Peter GunnPerry Mason77 Sunset StripThe RiflemanHave Gun Will Travel
     
  18. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    Sorry, I say Twilight Zone is EITHER 50's or 60's, and since we all picked 60's, it's disqualified. :P

    And I have to be the lone voice sticking up for This Is Your Life--Yes, it was the whipping boy of a thousand comedy parodies (especially Ralph Edwards' voice), but it's still crack-addictive:

    Amos & Andy was whipped by a generation that had forgotten radio and wanted easy targets for larger issues, but it's still got the second best sitcom-slapstick on 50's TV second to the Honeymooners:

    (And frankly, I was never that big of a Lucy fan--It's better to see smart people end up in frustrating slapstick than characters we expect to be scatterbrained. Fortunately, Desilu already had Eve Arden and Our Miss Brooks: )

    Paladin was THE Western badass, back when Clint Eastwood was still rounding up cattle. :cool:
     
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  19. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    Counting shows that had at least 50% of their runs in the 1950s:The HoneymoonersThe Phil Silvers ShowAlfred Hitchcock PresentsMaverickHave Gun, Will TravelIf we broaden the scope to include shows that ran at least a substantial number of episodes in the 50s, then Perry Mason gets an honorable mention on my list.
     
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  20. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    I hadn't seen enough of Maverick to put it on the list (I was just starting to, when Starz and Netflix had their big breakup :angry: )
    But it wasn't until I caught "Gun-Shy" on Warner disk that I realized why my dad, when I was growing up, always used to make jokes about "Want me to stand a little closer, Marshal?"
     
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