The 12 Best TV Shows of the 1960s
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One of the most common questions we receive at Blaze DVDs is, "Which item would you recommend for someone who is X years old"? Many people have DVDs as their gift of choice for holidays, birthdays, etc. and they just don't know what would be best for the gift recipient. Often the best gift is a TV show from many years ago that the recipient has fond memories of.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be spotlighting a variety of tv shows from the 60s and 70s. In the future we will be making list of popular current TV shows as well as popular children's shows.
This week we will be going over the 12 most popular TV shows in the 60s. This 60s TV shows list is sure to be a controversial one as there are many amazing 60s television shows. We will cover 1960s sitcoms, 1960 westerns, and all the other 1960s television shows. We will start with the 12th most popular show and work our way to number 1.
Don't have time to read the entire list? Check out the #1 TV show Here!
12. The Addams Family
The Addams Family premiered on ABC in 1964. The show ran as direct competition with The Munsters that aired on CBS during the same two year run that The Addams Family did. These two 60s TV series' were in a close race for the number 15 spot, but we eventually chose The Addams Family after much debate. What pushed it over the top was how timeless The Addams Family has proven to be. With 4 movies in the 1990s bringing in over $190,000,000 The Addams family has proved to be a TV show that has survived the years.
The Addams Family follows the lives of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Cousin Itt, Lurch, and Thing. The Addams live in a mansion that is filled with macabre interests as well as the supernatural (Thing being able to move by himself is a perfect example). The Addams always have people that are coming by to talk with them about their children, their house, and sometimes even trying to swindle them. Much of the humor of the show is derived from the odd interactions between the Addams and their visitors. The Addams were always ready to help or lend a hand to their visitors many times with very wacky results. Plot gags is how the majority of the 1960s entertainment achieved their comedic goal whereas current TV shows use jokes spoken by the actors to elicit laughter.
Check it out by clicking here.
11. Mister Ed
Mister Ed aired on CBS from 1961 until 1966. The talking horse concept is based on short books written by Walter Brooks. The show aired 143 episodes all of them in black and white. The show has two lead roles, Mister Ed, the talking horse, was voiced by Allan Lane. Wilbur, Mister Ed's owner, was played by Alan Young. Much of the comedy from the show comes from Mister Ed only talking to Wilbur. This often gets Wilbur in quite a few predicaments when people hear him talking to his horse. Another running gag of the show is Wilbur's clumsiness. He often causes harm to himself and those around him. Ed's ability to talk and think was never broached at any time during the shows airing. As with many 60s TV series' the viewer is just expected to take the show's premise at face value.Click here to enjoy every episode.
10. The Twilight Zone
Of all the 1960 TV shows on this list the Twilight Zone is certainly one of the most polarizing. Many of the show's critics see it as one of the worst of the 1960's shows. It takes a certain kind of person to appreciate subtleties of each story that is presented on each episode.
Many of the episodes involve a singular protagonist who find himself in an odd situation. Sometimes the person finds himself in a place he has never been and either the locale is odd or the people he encounters are. Sometimes the stories involve the person being able to see what their life would be like if a certain item was changed or if they had all that they ever wished for. Each episode is sure to keep you guessing as to what is going to happen next. You can't help but watch the next episode as you slowly become engrossed in the every changing and surprising stories.
Get The Complete Collection here.
9. Get Smart
Get Smart premiered in 1965. The show ran for a total of 138 episodes over 5 seasons. The show was a cross between James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. The show aired for a total of 138 episodes over its 5 years on air. The show follows the bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart, also known as Agent 86. He works closely with his female partner, Agent 99.
Together the two agents investigate and thwarts evil plots all around the world. Smart's bumbling nature and his requirement to always do things by the book always makes things difficult but together the two agents always save the day in the end. Most of the evil plots and gadgets in the series are parodies of James Bond.
Learn more about Get Smart here.
8. Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C
Coming in at number 8 we have the Andy Griffith spin-off, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. The show follows Gomer Pyle, one of the main characters from the Andy Griffith show, as he joins the Marines. The show aired on CBS from 1964 until 1969. As a spin off of one of the most popular 1960s shows, Gomer Pyle had amazing ratings for all of the 5 years that it ran.
The show is mainly a fish out of water type show since it featured a rural character severely outside his element. Another show that does this very well is the Beverly Hillbillies TV series.
Gomer is a sweet and lovable character but he certainly lacks the smarts to excel in the Marines. Gomer's naivete often gets him into trouble in the Marines especially with Sergeant Carter. As Gomer bumbles through his daily life there are plenty of laughs to be had often at his expense or because of his actions. If you love the Andy Griffith show, you will absolutely love this show as well.
7. Hogan's Heroes
Hogan's Heroes is a super popular TV series that aired from 1965 until 1971 for a total of 168 episodes. The show follows a group of POWs (prisoners of war) that are confined at a prison camp in Germany during World War II. The camp is called Stalag 13 which is run by the hapless Colonel Klink and the bumbling Sergeant Schultz. The prisoners are headed up by Colonel Hogan who makes it his job to sabotage the Germans as much as possible while they are imprisoned.
Hogan and the other prisoners have an elaborate tunnel system under the camp and come and go as needed to sabotage German's war effort as well as smuggle people and secrets out of Germany to London.
Each episode brings a new adventure to the prisoners as they must keep their activities secret while still being "imprisoned". With Klink and Schultz at the helm it is quite easy to come and go as needed but when the Gestapo or other army personnel interfere Hogan must get inventive to carry out the missions as planned.
Learn more about Hogan's Heroes here.
6. I Dream of Jeannie
As we continue our list of 1960s tv shows number 6 is I Dream of Jeannie. The show aired on NBC from 1965 until 1970 and ran for a total of 139 episodes. The show follows Astronaut Tony Nelson who finds a bottle on a deserted island when his ship crash lands. When he rubs the bottle a female genie comes out. He wishes she could speak English (which of course makes her speak English), and then he wishes for someone to rescue him. When a rescue helicopter appears he uses his 3rd wish to free Jeannie. As he climbs aboard the helicopter Jeannie rolls her bottle into his bag so she can go with him. Even though she is free she still wants to be with him as she has fallen fell madly in love.
As the series progresses Jeannie always seems to be causing problems for Captain Nelson. He is always having to cover up Jeannie's antics which causes NASA's psychiatrist, Alfred Bellows, to try and prove that Tony is either crazy or hiding something. All throughout the series Bellows tries to prove Tony's insanity but Tony and Jeannie always end up foiling him. I Dream of Jeannie was a popular show in the 60s but also had multiple spin offs from the series. There was an animated series called Jeannie that was broadcast from 1973 until 1975. There were also two movies released, one in 1985 and one on 1991.
Learn more about this amazing series here.
5. Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island aired on CBS from 1964 until 1967. The show follows 7 shipwrecked people that reside on a deserted island. Most of the episodes revolve around the castaway's attempts to get off the island. Some of the other episodes revolve around the conflict between the different characters. Often Gilligan is at the center of the conflict as his antics often rub the other castaways the wrong way. The show aired for a total of 98 episodes. The first 36 episodes were all filmed in black and white. The rest of the series was all broadcast in color. The show had decent ratings while airing on TV but has become far more popular in the last few decades than it ever was when it was airing.
Learn more about Gilligan's Island here.
The Batman TV series is one of the most popular TV shows in the 1960s. The four most popular TV shows in the 1960s are all in a tight race for the number one spot. An argument for Batman being number 1 on this list just simply because of the sheer amount of movies, tv series and more that were all spawned from this series. Adam West and Burt Ward are both viewed as the actors that helped launch Batman into the stratosphere.
Batman aired on ABC for a total of 120 episodes over 3 seasons. The show often had Batman and Robin advocating for healthy and safe living as well as kicking the villains butts. This classic 1960 TV show has become more comedic as time goes on. The Biff, Bapp, and other words that would pop up during the fight scenes are both iconic and hilarious parts of the show. Batman and Robin always seemed to get themselves captured by the master criminals but through some convoluted plan they would escape and justice would prevail in the end. This TV series is a must have for any classic TV lover or Batman aficionado.
Check out the other reviews of the series here.
3. The Andy Griffith Show
The Andy Griffith Show aired on CBS from 1960 until 1968 and aired a total of 248 episodes. 159 of the episodes were in black and white while the remaining 90 were in color. The show starred Andy Griffith in the role of the small town sheriff Andy Taylor. The town's deputy is Barney Fife which is played by Don Knotts.
In the sleepy town of Mayberry, the residents lead a quiet life. They go about their daily lives how many people in current day wish their lives could go back to. The biggest scandal in the town is someone going over the speed limit or a school boy riding his bike on the sidewalk. Each episode calls back to a simpler time where children can run around freely and everyone knows their neighbor's names. There are plenty of laughs throughout the series as Barney Fife is always messing something up. The series also features Gomer Pyle who's antics always bring a smile to your face. Because of his popularity on the Andy Griffith show Gomer ended up getting his own spin-off show where he enters the army.
We weren't quite sure if this show belonged on the list of 1960s TV programs or if it should go with the 70s list since it began in the 50s and ended in the 70s. We ultimately decided that since the bulk of the show aired in the 60s that it should go on this list.
Gunsmoke aired on CBS for a total of 635 episodes! It ran for a total of 20 years before finally being cancelled in 1975. The show was the longest running primetime live-action series of the 20th century. Gunsmoke is currently ranked in the number 4 spot for the longest running show in the world. The announcer for Gunsmoke worked for the series beginning with radio series and continued announcing for the TV series until 1975.
Gunsmoke follows Marshall Matt Dillon who is in charge in Dodge City. He must deal with the wide variety of frontier crimes including cattle rustling, bank robbery, gunfights, fraud, and more. The show actually attempted to sign John Wayne as the lead character but John suggested James Arness for the job. Gunsmoke is often placed among the best shows of any kind and of all time.Learn more about this fantastic series here
1. The Flintstones
With only having 12 shows on the list of 1960's shows, number 1 is guaranteed to be quite controversial. Many people would put Gunsmoke at the top of their list or even change entirely which shows we picked. The Flintstones at the top was a decision that was talked over extensively with our entire team. In the end we decided that since the Flintstones has stood the test of time and is still a popular show even in 2019 it deserved the number 1 spot. Without this series the cartoon tv series might have never taken off at all!
“Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, they’re a modern stone-age family.” Thus opens the catchy theme of the primetime series that boldly went where no animated show had gone before, into the record books as the first adult-targeted cartoon and longest-running series of its genre. The family shenanigans of Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty and their children were fresh and groundbreaking for the day. The notion of a “modern” cave society using dinosaurs, stone and wood in outrageously inventive ways was the gimmick that kept on giving, similar to the appeal of futuristic sci-fi characters casually using high-tech gadgetry to make life simpler. Fortunately, you possess the modern gadget for this historic occasion, as all 166 legendary episodes are available for your viewing pleasure.
See some of the reviews of this amazing show here!
That sums up our list of the 12 most popular TV shows in the 1960s. As mentioned above we are sure you will disagree with the order we have placed them in or even some of the sixties TV shows we have left off the list. Feel free to comment which of the 60s TV shows are your favorite and what your 60s TV shows list would look like.
Very interesting offerings. Do you have access to “The Show of Shows” with Side Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Riener, etc.?