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1950s TV shows on DVDTop Ten TV Shows
of the 1950s on DVD

(and more...)
by Billy Ingram with Bob Huggins

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.

Perry Mason on DVD10: 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.

You Bet Your Life on DVD6: 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.


Leave it to Beaver on DVDI 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.

All of these releases are available at Amazon (with the possible exception of The Rifleman which MPI no longer is issuing).

Father Knows Best on DVDSitcoms

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (I prefer Mill Creek’s collection of 100 public domain episodes, but Shout! Factory has the official set)
Leave It To Beaver (Universal)
Mister Peepers (S’more Entertainment)
Make Room for Daddy a/k/a The Danny Thomas Show (S’more Entertainment, Questar)
I Married Joan (VCI Entertainment)
My Little Margie (VCI Entertainment)
The Real McCoys (Infinity Entertainment)
Father Knows Best
Donna Reed Show
Private Secretary
Abbott and Costello Show


Wanted Dead or Alive on DVDWesterns

Gunsmoke (Paramount)
Have Gun Will Travel (Paramount)
Wanted Dead or Alive (BCI Eclipse)
Cheyenne (Warner)
The Rifleman (MPI Home Video); now out of print
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (Rhino, Timeless Media Group)
Rawhide (Paramount)
The Deputy
Wagon Train
The Tall Man
Roy Rogers
Frontier Doctor


Crime Drama

Dragnet (various public domain labels)
Decoy (various public domain labels)
Peter Gunn (A&E)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Mill Creek Entertainment)
The Untouchables
Perry Mason
Passport to Danger



Studio One on DVD
Live Television

The Howdy Doody Show (Image Entertainment)
Tales of Tomorrow (Image Entertainment)
Suspense (Infinity Entertainment)
Studio One (Video Service Corp.)
Person to Person


Costume Adventure


The Adventures of Robin Hood (Mill Creek Entertainment)
The Buccaneers (Mill Creek Entertainment)


Anthology/Documentary


One Step Beyond (various public domain labels)
Victory at Sea (A&E, Mill Creek Entertainment)
Suspense
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Four Star Playhouse


The Beulah Show on DVD
Obscure/Forgotten Series

Man with a Camera (Charles Bronson), (Infinity Entertainment Group)
Ramar of the Jungle (Alpha Video)
The Beulah Show (Alpha Video)
Medic (Richard Boone), (various public domain labels)
Dateline Europe a/k/a Foreign Intrigue (Alpha Video)
M Squad
Riverboat
Checkmate

Dateline Europe

I was going to add Image’s Naked City, but all of the episodes released by them are from 1960 and beyond


Kid Shows & More:

Winky Dink & You

Little Rascals

Queen For A Day

Super Circus

1950's Saturday Mornings

Pinky Lee Show

Steve Canyon

Victory At Sea

Wonderful World of Disney

This Is Your Life

Tales Of Tomorrow

Sky King

Sgt. Bilko

Sea Hunt

Ramar of the Jungle

Playboy After Dark

Candid Camera

Beany & Cecil

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Classic Commercials on DVDDoris Day Christmas Shows on DVD


Magic Garden on DVDZoom on DVD

TV on DVD/ /Holiday Specials on DVD
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Carol Burnett Show on DVD

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Diver Dan TV show on DVD Family Feud on DVD Soupy Sales Show on DVD Honey West on DVD Price is Right DVD Lancelot Link Secret Chimp on DVD Tennessee Tuxedo on DVD
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