The True Top 10 Television Shows Of All-Time
Stop Wondering - Find Out By Reading
I want this to be a mostly-serious story. But not so serious that you have to have an intreperter to read it to you as he looks over his college professor-type of bifocals. No, ladies, gentlemen, television freaks of all ages, I'm a simple man with a simple mind. Actually I do like the 80's band, Simple Minds, but that's another story.
In years past, today and in the future, there will always be polls. Poll that find out what we think, eat, drive, wear, and put on our feet before going to a restaurant. And yes, what restaurant is our favorite. Talk about annoying. Talk about prodding our privacy. This is NOT one of those polls that invade your dinner with the wife and kids as you share each other's day and form great memories. NO. This is a simple story that took me a long, long time to compile. A very long time.
Television has been a part of my life since the grand old year of 1961, the simple years before hippies, drugs, and Jimi Hendrix. Actually I do like Hendrix. These years in my youth I had to spend watching televison because my parents both worked at factories in out-of-town places leaving me home alone (no, the movie of the same title wasn't inspired by my young years) to occupy myself with chores for the home, being safe and watching my favorite shows on television. What a cheap babysitter, or childsetter, television was in the "great days of television." Nowadays, I cannot, with a clear conscience call shows on television in 2011, "great." Wish I could, but I cannnot.
Now my personal poll or list is not carved in cheap cement. There are, thanks to Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers, a thing called Freedom of Speech that you can form your own list of the Top Ten Television Shows of All-Time, if you want to. You have that freedom. Exercise it sometime. It's great. We owe Jefferson and his buddies a great debt of gratitude.
Okay. I want to start with Number 10 on my List of Favorite Television Shows of All-Time with:
10. BEWITCHED - with Dick York and Elizabeth Montgomery. Although it was ABC's answer to NBC's I Dream of Jeanne (and I did love Barbara Eden), it was a good show. The mother-in-law, Agnes Moorehead, Endora always hating-on Darrin got a bit old, but overall, Bewitched had redeeming qualities like Paul Lynde, the pranking Uncle Arthur and the distinguished, Maurice Evans, Maurice, Samantha's dad, kept the show going through all the rough sweeps weeks that networks have every year.
9. VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA - Richard Basehart, the always-stern Admiral Nelson and his crew of underlings made for weekly entertainment from all type of dangers like "Monsters" who ate through the submarine, Sea View's hull and invisible demons who took over the sub to escape planet earth. Irwin Allen, the all-time disaster show and movie master, designed the perfect mix of actors and situations to keep me and America watching. I always loved the giant squid almost swallowing the Sea View and how the crew would fall from side-to-side with sparks flying from the control panels. No one who was a star on this show ever died. I miss Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea. In this day of remakes, someone please upgrade and release Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea. Please?
8. WILD, WILD, WEST - athletic built, Robert Conrad (the slim one) and his sidekick Artemus Gordon, Ross Martin, two swashbuckling Secret Service men in the late 1800's was a great action series. And even the villians were great to watch. Each week, Jim West and Gordon were burdened to save the country, not just a town, from evil foes and monster machines. I didnt like the theater movie with Will Smith and Kevin Kline. It just didn't go down easy with me. West always looked great-combed and shaved as well as Gordon. Yes, West always got the damsel in distress and won the adalades of President Grant. What a great show to forget your worries.
7. PERRY MASON - Raymond Burr headed up a professional cast of actors and each week had a showdown in court with D.A., Hamilton Burger and Mason won every case. Was this realistic? No, but we were not into that much honesty in the black and white television days. We didn't disregard honesty, but rather enjoyed an hour each week of pure, unadulterated fantasy. What was wrong with this? Burr went on to recreate Mason in several network television movies and had an amazing hit on NBC, Ironsides where he played a crippled police chief who solved crimes with three employees and never baked down from a fight. Where are the Perry Mason's in 2011?
6. AMERICAN BANDSTAND - Saturday's "get-away" for pre-teens and teens across America. Ageless Dick Clark hosted a great show for teens only. And smooth wasn't the word for how he ran this show. Smooth as a Swiss Clock each week with famous rock and rollers and single singers and the Rate a Record segment was always fun. Why did ABC in their sometimes-enlightened wisdom, cancel this ratings monster? It could be easily revamped for 2011. Just an idea.
5. THE RIFLEMAN - Chuck Connors, who went straight from his outlaw days to raising his son Mark, aka, Johnny Crawford was one of the first single-parent shows set in the west. And the plots were very predictable. Each week, Lucas McCain/Connors, with the help of his special-designed rifle, would face outlaws, thieves and troublemakers and always come out smelling like gunpowder. True, Connors was THE star, but many of Hollywood's most successful got roles on the show such as Dennis Hopper, to name one. This is my number five. Sorry it wasn't higher on my list.
4. ADAM 12 - don't ask me the two stars of this blockbuster from NBC and executive producer and creator, Jack Webb, who will be seen again in a moment. The dialogue, dry. The action, predictable and limited due to the toning-down of violence on television. Hardly anyone on this show laughed. It didn't last long in the ratings. If you know the two stars of this show, please leave their names in my comments box.
3. DRAGNET - the ultimate police show. The epitome of acting, script and and screenplays and the plots were never dull. Each week a new criminal or criminals to face Jack "Sgt. Friday" Webb and Harry "Frank Gannon" Morgan, two ace detectives who always got their man and sometimes woman criminal. The remake for theaters with Dan Akroyd and Tom Hanks, sucked wind and even with the supporting cast of Elizabeth Ashley and Christopher Plumber and Dabney Coleman, I didn't spend my money on a ticket. I loved Dragnet. The music the cars, the shiny suits the guys wore and the well-groomed hair they wore. Terrific is all I can say and another thing: DO A REMAKE as close to the original as you can. Please. We need a Sgt. Friday and Frank Gannon to make us feel safe in 2011.
2. THE HONEYMOONERS- yes, The Honeymooners was very high in the ratings all because of a street-wise kid from Brooklyn named, Jackie Gleason. Gleason was a literal one-man show--writer, producer, actor and was "the king" and all around him knew that and never questioned this decisions. Gleason was Ralph Kramden, a city bus driver; Audrey Meadows was Alice "one day, bam! Zoom! To the moon," while Art Carney, a master comedian, played Kramden's best pal, Norton, a sewer employee and his wife, Trixie, Jane King, made up this master supercast who kept audiences rolling and the money rolling into CBS. Later, Gleason took his act and most of his cast to Miami Beach to where he also ruled the airways with The Jackie Gleason Show with famous celebrities each week to comlement Gleason's endless list of lovable characters. Sammy Spear was the most famous orchestra leader in the world for awhile as Gleason always introduced him at the beginning of each show. Earth is missing Gleason today, but you can bet he is entertaining people in Heaven.
1. THE RED SKELTON SHOW - what can I say except two words that spell: TALENT; WARMTH; COMPASSION; COMEDY AND CLASS, but Red Skelton. Before coming to television, Skelton was cast in many comedy and dramatic movie roles and succeeded greatly in each one. Skelton couldn't be touched with his vast array of impressions and one-liners that never grew old. Freddie The Freeloader, Klem Kadiddlehopper and San Fernando Red, were only a few of Skelton's sketch characters. Skelton featured movie and television stars each week in corny sketches and seldom did anyone in the sketch get their lines right and they mostly were victim to Skelton's gift to break them up into show-stopping gales of laughter to the entertainment of the audiences. Skelton's high-moral life was evident in his comedy..he never used profanities. He didn't have to. He was just that talented. His humanity and compassion were on display each Christmas season in the Freddie The Freeloader Christmas Special where Freddie never asked for presents, but done what he could to give others a Christmas themselves. "Good night and may God bless," isn't heard anymore on ABC, CBS and NBC or any cable or satellite companies. The hole that Red Skelton left in the entertainment field has never nor will ever be filled. By anyone.
THESE AND ALL MY STORIES ARE BY KENNETH AVERY, HAMILTON, ALABAMA. I DID NOT COPY OR STEAL ANY OF MY IDEAS FROM OTHER HUBBERS, NOR WILL I RESORT TO THAT TO GET A STORY PUBLISHED.