Friday, September 27, 2013

New Fall Shows -- From 50 Years Ago

Once again, we're in the midst of the annual hoopla over a new prime time television season. As a kid, I spent hours flipping through TV Guide's "Fall Preview" issue, drinking in (and practically memorizing) all the information on new shows, stars, and schedule changes. Today, I couldn't tell you for a $500 prize the names of more than two shows premiering on the networks' 2013 schedule. (Well, yeah, I could, if you give me a minute -- I'm a librarian, I know where to look).

The chart above shows what network TV viewers had to choose from 50 years ago. New shows for the 1963-64 season are displayed in white. Of the newbies, CBS' rural comedy Petticoat Junction would become the most enduring hit, running through 1970. Others that would catch on with TV fans included My Favorite Martian, The Patty Duke Show, and certainly The Fugitive. On the other hand, The New Phil Silvers Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, and Harry's Girls would never see a second season. If you're curious about two other short-lived shows from this season, The Bill Dana Show and Grindl, check out my book Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television: Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen.

Do you have a favorite show from the chart above? Which ones do, or would, you still watch, given the chance?

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