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Best Comedy Sitcoms of The 1940s

Updated on March 15, 2017

1940s Classic Situation Comedies

The Goldbergs was a sitcom that was a hit in the 1940s and a hit on radio in the 1930s The show tried to remain comical from start to finish.
The Goldbergs was a sitcom that was a hit in the 1940s and a hit on radio in the 1930s The show tried to remain comical from start to finish. | Source
The Life of Riley was one of television's first ever sitcoms. It was a short lived sitcom but, it still had a large viewing audience.
The Life of Riley was one of television's first ever sitcoms. It was a short lived sitcom but, it still had a large viewing audience. | Source
The Jack Benny Program was produced for television in the early 1940s. Jack Benny was a staple of the radio era, and he brought his expertise to the television market.
The Jack Benny Program was produced for television in the early 1940s. Jack Benny was a staple of the radio era, and he brought his expertise to the television market. | Source

Which is The Best?

Which is your favorite 1940s sitcom?

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The Alrich Family: 1940s Sitcom

3 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of The Alrich Family

Jack Benny Show DVD on Amazon

Ten For The Ages


Television was very new back when these shows came out. Hollywood actors had to make up each television show as they went along week by week. They did a hilarious job. They made mistakes every once in a while but, those guys from the 30s and 40s were very funny to say the least. I truly wish they would colorize some of these black and white television classics.

1. The Goldberg's (1949): This show first aired on radio and then went on to air on television from 1949 until 1956. This Jewish family lived in Bronx, New York and was a fifteen minute sitcom. They were a meddlesome family and laughter was abundant in every argument.Some of the subjects a humor of this sitcom is still meaningful and funny today. Like most shows of the day, this show would have been rated G if, a ratings board would have been in place at that time.

2. The Growing Payne's (1948): This play type of television show had constant gags similar to; I Love Lucy and it was a constant riot in action. This was a great television show to get together with friends and laugh the night away. The best part of this two season show is that the actors make mistakes and they still air it that way without editing it. I have never seen this show live in the 1980s but, I did get to watch re-runs on VHS tape.

3. The Life of Riley (1949): This series aired for three seasons and aired twenty complete episodes. This show centers around a dysfunctional married couple. The four kids that they have are a handful themselves. It is a very funny show for its time and although it is not realistic who cares it is still hilarious. This show greatly exaggerates everyday life but, it will keep you giggling, all the way.

4. The Aldrich Family (1949): This show aired from 1949 until 1953 and before that, it played on the radio. The show centered on teenage issues and problems as well as everyday family life. The show was a success and helped spawn many other future ideas that ended up becoming sitcoms.

5. Mary Kay & Johnny (1947): This series aired for three years on black and white television. This show was instrumental in producing around three hundred (300) episodes during that span of time. Fifteen minute episodes sounds like it is a lot of episodes and it is a lot of shows in a short amount of time. Consider one show each day and it's not like today when shows could be recorded in advance. This was the first show to show a real life married couple, real life pregnancy and two people sharing a bed. Kind of risky behavior for such an early time period.

6. Wren's Nest (1949): This fifteen minute sitcom aired twice weekly on ABC. The show was about a New York City married couple and their twin children. The show features silliness such as Sam not being able to cook but, attempting it anyway. Slap stick and long winded stories fill this sitcom sound bite from the past. This came out before my time and I do not remember seeing re-runs of this show.

7. Jack Benny Program (1950): This situation comedy lasted on television from 1950 until 1965. Fifteen years of producing fifteen and thirty minute comedy programs. Jack consistently made fun of the other people on his show. This show is also one of the most famous radio shows ever aired. It is great to see that someone could do the same job in a talking role, then, you are doing right.

8. The Swift Show (1948): This show aired for a short one year with eighteen recorded programs for viewing. It was a contestant filled quiz show filled with many topics and top notch real life humor. The Swift Show was not consistent in humor. Sometimes it was very funny but, others were not that funny.

9. Burns & Allen Show (1950): This sitcom was televised for eight seasons and had 291 episodes or skits hit the sets. The show was first produced live and then later it was filmed without a live audience. Also, the show was set in Beverly Hills, California.

10. Party Line (1947): This was a game show that lasted one season and only a couple of the shows remain watchable. It features real life guests and it is credited with being the first ever television game show in history. Party Line was the first ever television game show that provided entertainment for most everyone. It is a good thing that game shows were improved upon.

* If you have ever seen any television shows from the 1940s please share your thoughts about them with me in the comments capsule located at the bottom of this hub.

Clip of The Jack Benny Program

Thanks For The Laughs

Television used to use a lot of slapstick comedy over the years and it was hilarious. Thanks for the memories, thanks for the laughs and thanks for paving the way for I Love Lucy and the Chevy Chase guys. The 40s were a time of television growth and learning so that the 50s boom would come right on time. This was a good time to buy a television. It worked because when mistakes were made it did not matter because television was still so new.

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      Great work! Those were days... No cursing etc. I don't know any of these shows, but they sure look fun, and I may be able to catch some of them, since they play a lot of reruns.