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Classic Television Memories

Updated on August 12, 2017

The 1960's: The Decade of Great Television

To my mind, the decade of the 1960s would arguably be called the Era of Great Television. As a child, I spent countless hours from the time I got home from school, until the time I went to bed in front of that black and white television set with the "rabbit ears" antenna mesmerized at the shows of the time. While the other kids were outside playing ball or whatever, I was enthralled with the adventures of Batman, The Green Hornet, The Wild, Wild West. I laughed myself silly over the misadventures of the castaways of Gilligan's Island, Get Smart, and Green Acres. I fought alongside The Gallant Men, The Rat Patrol, and the soldiers of Combat! I slept with the lights on many times after watching The Outer Limits, and Twilight Zone. I even enjoyed intrigue with Mission Impossible, Man From UNCLE, and I Spy.

In stark contrast to today's world of Satellite TV, Cable, Digital, High Def, etc, with its 500 plus channels, those days boasted only three, specifically ABC, CBS, and NBC, and I have to tell you that the shows of yesteryear spawned by these three broadcast titans more than surpasses what makes for "quality" progamming these days.

There were the westerns such as The Big Valley, The Rifleman and Rawhide. Comedy such as Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Andy Griffith Show. Variety shows like The Hollywood Palace, The Jackie Gleason Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. Police dramas, Hawaii Five-O, Ironside, and Mannix. Family shows, My Three Sons, Family Affair, and The Brady Bunch. Science Fiction offerings, Lost In Space, Star Trek, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to The Bottom of The Sea, and Land Of The Giants.

Shows such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Wizard Of OZ, were shown once a year, so these were truly an event.

An inportant aspect of these shows (with a few exceptions) is that they were "family friendly". The whole family could gather around the set, and not run the risk of being offended by objectionable lanuage, overt sexuality, and excessive violence, such as found in today's offerings. Some shows of the day imparted positive values without being "preachy".

I truly lived for the weekend as a child, specifically Saturday Mornings. Childrens' programs started around 6:00 am, and lasted until 1:00 pm. Cartoons ruled the day on all three channels. There was Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Tom and Jerry, Beeny and Cecil, Casper The Friendly Ghost, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel. I was more drawn to the superheroes, Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Space Ghost, Frankenstein Jr. and the list goes on. Many of the classic toons are no longer aired, but many can be found on DVD.

With the creation of Retro-TV channels such as TVLand, and more recently my personal favorite METV, I'm reunited with the shows, the actors and actresses that made themselves and their shows household names, Suddenly television is fun again.

In the coming months, I plan to put out hubs focusing on the shows and artists of the era of the 1960s, and provide links to where these shows can be obtained.

Until Then... This concludes today's broadcast.


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