Ten TV Shows
The following is a list of what I feel are the best shows on DVD from television's first full decade. While a number of TV series from the 1950s have enjoyed success on DVD, shows from the early-1950s are harder to come by, mostly because so many of the productions ended up in the trash bin. It was not uncommon for networks to destroy shows after airing so they couldn't be rerun again elsewhere, few envisioned a day when programs could be syndicated to stations around the country and no one imagined a time when you could take a series home to enjoy.
10: Sky King - these simple Saturday morning TV tales are a joy to watch and it's a remarkable glimpse into life in the 1950s.
9: Perry Mason - the mysteries are intriguing, even when you know who did it. Perry Mason keeps you guessing in the tradition of modern dramas like Law & Order.
8: Adventures of Superman - a terrific DVD collection, Warner Bros. really did this one right. The stories are simple but the cast is so fine the series never loses it's luster. Enjoyable for the entire family.
7: Alfred Hitchcock Presents - surprise endings that rarely fail to deliver a payoff. Some of the best scripts of any show in the entire decade.
6: You Bet Your Life - laugh out loud funny. Groucho Marx is at his very best in this collection, even hilarious when you watch them a second or third time.
5: Gangbusters - television noir at its best, early-1950s dramatizations of the capturing of real life gangsters like Alvin Karpas, John Dillinger and Durable Mike.
4: The Victor Borge Show - the first few episodes of this unlikely sitcom / variety show are funny as heck, Borge at his best. One of the greatest comedians of TV's early years.
3: The Phil Silvers Show / Sgt. Bilko - first class DVD treatment for a true classic comedy. This show really holds up today, doesn't feel a bit dated.
2: The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes - Jackie Gleason, Art Carney and Audrey Meadows at their peak.
1: Amos 'n' Andy - gets my vote for the funniest sitcom of the era, maybe of all time.
Of course, any list should include I Love Lucy and The Twilight Zone but I figured they were too obvious.
I asked Bob Huggins, an expert on shows on DVD from that era, for a list of his favorites and he came up with quite a few winners that I failed to mention.
Bob writes: There are simply tons of shows that have either been released in their entirety or have had some selected episodes released. My list is far from comprehensive, these are simply shows that I would add to your list, plus a few obscure favorites of mine which I’ve placed at the end. Incidentally, if you go to Amazon, they list in excess of 900 releases for the 1950s decade. A quick spot check indicates that not all of the DVDs are truly from the 1950s (Color Honeymooners? No way.), but there are plenty of shows from which fans of this decade can select.
Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (I prefer Mill Creek’s
collection of 100 public domain episodes, but Shout! Factory has the official
Kid Shows & More:
'TVParty.com, a TV history website... its links to Amazon.com help sell TV DVDs."
- Boston Globe,
1 / 07
the coolest, strangest, most absurd shows and peculiar tube trends ever
-- they're all part of the wallow that is TVparty!"
Five Sites - Interviews and articles... are must reads.'
too good to be true. Put together by Billy Ingram, TVparty.com has gossip,
scandal, sex, singing, dancing, action, drama and celebrities with their
'An ingenious tribute that elevates the TV past to artlike proportions.
Site guru Billy Ingram has compiled features both over-the-top and museum
worthy, blissful nostalgia for those born in the '40s or the '80s. A+
'Every decade expresses its kooky collective unconscious on the tube,
celebrated affectionately at Billy Ingram's TVparty. Ingram provides a
hilarious glimpse into the American pop psyche.'
'TVparty is hands
down the best site on the Web for classic TV.'
Video Vault / Holiday Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the Seventies / The Eighties / TVafterparty / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
1950's TV Shows / Fess Parker & Davy Crockett / 1952 Olympics Telethon / Amos 'n' Andy / Little Rascals & Our Gang / Howdy Doody / The Lone Ranger / The First 'Black' Show - Beulah / Women on TV in the 1950s / The Today Show / Serious 1950s TV shows / Remembering David Susskind / TV's First Rerun Series / The Ken Murray Budweiser Show / Two Variety Shows of the Fifties / Game Shows of the Fifties /1950's TV Wrestling / Mr. Adams and Eve / TV's First Star / Bob Hastings / TV's First Star / History of the Laugh Track / The First Interactive Video Game / Designing Winky-Dink / Interview with a Show Business Legend / The Soundies / Snaders Telescriptions / Steve Allen Interviewed / Racket Squad / The Big Show / Beverly Garland & Decoy / Roger Muir / Noel Coward's 1955 TV Special / Jon Provost Interview / 1950's TV Shows on DVD / 1950's Old Time TV Thanksgiving / Outrageous 1950's Commercial! / The Real Superman? / Mickey Mouse Club's Cheryl / NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade Telecasts / Julie London / The Goldbergs / 1950's Female Singers / The Dead End Kids / Bowery Boys / Fred Allen / Ed Wynn / Mr. Belvedere Movies / Art Linkletter / The Bickersons / Marty & Live TV / George Gobel & Red Buttons / Barbara Billingsley / Billy Gray Interview / Abbott & Costello Show / The Honeymooners / Three Stooges' Joe Besser / Whirlybirds / Burns & Allen Show
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / Gay Icon T-Shirts / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|