the Sixties, the three networks previewed new fall shows on one-hour
specials. Three to five minute teasers for each series were created
so that viewers could sample what they might like before the shows
historical purposes, here are a few examples of fall previews
for some well-known (and forgotten) TV shows.
Run, Buddy, Run
get more requests for this program than almost any other, this
dizzy sitcom starred trumpet player Jack Sheldon (Merv Griffin
Show) as a guy on the run from comical criminals.
plot: Buddy Overstreet is enjoying a steam bath when he overhears
a big-time mobster, played by Bruce Gordon (The Untouchables),
planning the death of a colleague.
he's discovered hiding by the gangstas, Buddy is on the run in
this sitcom version of The Fugitive, a kid fave on CBS
Monday nights wedged between Gilligan and Lucy. Jim
Connell played the mobster's wimpy, incompetent son.
Sheldon was also a regular on 'The Cara Williams Show' and The
Girl With Something Extra but is best known today as the vocalist
on several classic 'Schoolhouse Rock' tunes.
Gordon played this same mobster character as a guest on dozens
of sitcoms (like The Lucy Show and Sanford and Son)
over the following three decades.
1966 - Aug 1967
CBS kid favorite from 1966 - produced by Sherwood Schwartz,
creator of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's
Island (then in its third and final year on CBS).
(Jack Mullaney and Frank Aletter) break the time barrier and take
up with cave dwellers played by the great Joe E. Ross (Car
54, Where Are You?) and Imogene Coca (Your Show of Shows)
. Despite the popular cast, ratings were prehistoric.
people and Astronauts returned in the spacecraft to present-day
1967 and the focus of the show shifted to stars Coca and Ross
as they encountered a rough time adjusting to 20th century New
1966 - Aug 1967
funny sitcom starring Anne Sheridan, Douglas Fowley and Ruth McDivett
Hank's family of Wretched, Colorado (daughter, Grandmother and
Grandfather) - who could out draw and out gun anybody in the wild
Sheridan died before the season ended and Pistols and Petticoats
died with her (up against Get Smart on NBC).
McDivett was a regular (as the ditzy little old lady) on Mr.
Peepers, Young Doctor Malone, The Everly Brothers, All in the
Family (73-75) and The Night Stalker.
Jean Arthur Show
Sept 1966 - Dec 1966
casualty of the '66 season. Jean is a defense attorney - her son
(Ron Harper) is a recent law school grad, so naturally they practice
law together (and sometimes against each other).
Arthur made few TV appearances, Ron Harper did long stints on
several soap operas during the 70s and 80s.
Arrest and Trial
1963 - Sept 1964
unusual format - two 45-minute shows running back to back with
intertwining plots. In the first show, the arrest of a felon is
affected, in the second, the perp is given a trial.
Gazzarra stars on the arrest side, Chuck Connors (The Rifleman)
portrays a public defender in the second show.
was typical sixties law and order nonsense. Here we're supposed
to believe that the prosecutor would allow the defense attorney
to harass and confuse a witness because "we're both looking
for the truth here." Today's law shows are a bit more realistic.
45-minute format was tried again by ABC in 1969 with The New
People and The Music Scene, tho these two shows weren't
The Bill Cosby Show
Sept 1969 - Sept 1971
from his success on I-Spy, Bill Cosby begins a two-year
run as high school gym teacher Chet Kincaid.
was a thinking person's sitcom, there was no overbearing laugh
track and the humor came from character
interaction, uncommon for late-sixties sitcoms. In comparison,
a listing of hot sitcoms in 1969 would include - Laugh-in,
Bewitched, The Flying Nun, I Dream of Jeannie and Mayberry
his later shows, in this production Cosby played a single guy.
Lillian Randolph (Madame Queen on Amos and Andy) played
Chet Kincaid's mom in the first season, other old-time Black character
actors like Mantan Moreland also appeared.
series was not all that highly-rated, but NBC gave producer and
star Bill Cosby a two-year commitment and stuck with it.
Welcome To It
Sept 1969 - Sept 1970
acclaimed, well-written, with a superb cast, My World and Welcome
To It presented life as interpreted from the writings and
drawings of humorist James Thurber. Thurber's cartoons were actually
drawn into the series, with many scenes mixing live-action and
Windom (The Farmer's Daughter) starred as John Monroe,
a cartoonist who was constantly musing on his disappointing life
and his dysfunctional relationships with women - and daydreaming
about what could be.
guy, he cowered in fear whenever confronting his battle-ax wife
Ellen (Joan Hotchkiss) or pre-teen daughter Lydia (Lisa Gerritsen,
later Phyllis' daughter).
animated sequences were quite clever, bringing to life the Walter
Mitty stories that inspired the series.
fall preview short outlining
ABC's Thursday night line-up in 1965 - wall-to-wall
variety shows for the old folks.
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Sept 1963 - Sept 1967
Richard Kimble's wife is murdered by a one-armed man and he is
unjustly convicted of killing her. Based on a true story.
escapes, running from place to place using assumed identities
and helping people in distress, all the time searching for the
real killer - always just a step away from his pursuer, Lt. Gerard
drama ran for four years starting in 1963, thanks to strong storylines,
slick production and an unbeatable concept. A concept so solid
it spawned a host of 60's imitations, spoofs (see left), a hit
1992 movie, a real-life version in 1994 starring OJ Simpson (who's
presumably still looking for the real killer) and a revival on
CBS in fall, 2000.
1957 - Sept 1962
is a promotion for the second season, featuring both Bret (James
Garner) and Bart (Jack Kelly) Maverick doing what they did best
- cheating at poker and chasing pretty women and talking about
their coveted timeslot.
Moore joined the cast as Cousin Beauregard Maverick in 1960 when
James Garner walked off the series in a salary dispute. He never
1963 - Jan 1966
a second of three years with a new timeslot, Wednesdays at 9:30.
This sexy ad concentrates on that message.
the next (third) season, the show changed format to Amos Burke,
Secret Agent - hoping to cash in on the spy craze sweeping
TV and movies. It didn't work.
1960 - Sept 1966
short is from 1963, the third out of six prime-time seasons for
the venerable stone age family.
strong ratings for The Flintstones, there was not another
long-running cartoon series in primetime until The Simpsons
came along in 1986.
wasn't for lack of trying. In 1964, Hanna-Barbera and ABC launched
Quest , an animated adventure series that lasted
one season in primetime. Like The Flintstones, Jonny
Quest was rerun on Saturday mornings (on all three networks)
between 1967 - 1981.
77 Sunset Strip
1958 - Sept 1964
was the last year for 77 Sunset Strip and it began with
big changes - moving from Friday nights to Wednesday nights with
new producer Jack
Webb (Dragnet), new director William Conrad (Cannon),
new surroundings (no more Sunset Strip) and all the regular stars
gone but Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
character was now cast as an international spy chaser. Despite
the bit of the familiar music in this promo, the theme music was
changed for the 1963 season. In essence, this was an entirely
new show with a familiar name and star.
new format was launched with a five-part storyline that was packed
with guest stars, but it failed to click and reruns featuring
the old gang (including Kooky) filled out the season.
Sept 1969 - Sept 1970
Reynolds played a housewife who spends her time snooping into
other people's business and avoiding sex with her husband (Don
Chastain). Maybe Ellen wasn't the first lesbian sitcom
was basically a rip-off of Here's Lucy (rated number six
in 1969), with Debbie running around in disguises and getting
into stupid trouble with her sister (Patricia Smith).
Bosley (Happy Days) appeared as Debbie's wiseacre brother-in-law.
This show followed I Dream of Jeannie on Tuesday nights.
Andy Williams Show
1969 - July 1971
is a promo for the second NBC incarnation of 'The Andy Williams
Show' ('62-67), this time produced and written by the guys who
were behind 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' and who would
make Sonny and Cher a TV hit just two years later.
laugh-in style comedy routines featuring The Bear are interspersed
with William's sublime vocals and special musical guests (like
Bread and Donovan) aimed at a younger audience.
variety hour was successful at giving young and old people something
to watch together. Networks put all they had into their variety
shows of the Sixties and this was an attempt to loosen up the
stiff format a bit.
honestly believe that this show could be revived, with the original
producers and star, and it would be a hit today. Andy Williams
can be seen at in Branson, Missouri and on tour.
Sept 1965 - Sept 1968
far as I'm concerned, LIS was the greatest sci-fi adventure
series ever - and this is an exciting fall preview with footage
culled from the original pilot - before Dr. Smith and the Robot
were added to the cast.
from the first and second season always began with a variation
of: "Last week, as you recall, we left our young space pioneers
rehearsing a harmless play, unaware that their unexpected guest
star was to be a hideous, alien life form."
first few episodes of Lost in Space are as good as any
TV drama, later episodes were silly but still entertaining. Who
likes TV shows that take themselves too seriously, anyway?
is Jonathan Harris in 1967 doing a fall season plug for a CBS
station in Florida.
Sept 1963 - Jan 1965
best sci-fi anthology series is previewed here with a variation
of the familiar series opening sequence - "There is nothing
wrong with your television set."
series' eerie first episode is teased here - "The Galaxy
Being". The shimmering alien creature was created by filming
a treated rubber suit with a special polarized lenses.
of the few TV series of the 1960s that could actually be chilling.
Many Happy Returns
Sept 1964 - April 1965
sitcom about the return window of a department store and the
unrelenting guy who runs it.
McGiver, who starred in Many Happy Returns, was a regular
supporting player on shows like The Patty Duke Show, Mr.
Terrific and The Jimmy Stewart Show and he was a
guest star on dozens of other shows.
might recognize many of the stars from the shows featured on
this page. They turned up frequently as guests and regulars
on just about every TV show in production throughout the Sixties
Happy Returns featured Elinor Donahue (Father Knows Best)
and Mark Goddard (Lost In Space) as a young married couple.
1965 - 1966
night cornpone starring Debbie Watson in the role made famous
in the popular film series by Debbie Reynolds and Sandra Dee.
featured: Denver Pyle ('Dukes Of Hazzard') as Grandpa. 'Tammy'
lasted only one season on ABC despite the popularity of a number
of down-home comedies like Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies
and Petticoat Junction.
previous season, Debbie Watson starred on NBC as another teenager
1963 - Sept 1966
of a rare breed - a successful series based on a hit movie (from
1948). Inger Stevens assumed the role of a Swedish girl who goes
to work as a Congressman's housekeeper. William
Windom (My World And Welcome To It) played the lovestruck
an attempt to revive ratings for the 65-66 season, the Congressman
and housekeeper got married. Just
like modern politics, except for the marriage part...
career stalled after the show's cancellation. Just as her career
started heating up again in 1970, the beautiful blonde actress
mysteriously committed suicide.
Stevens introduced the ABC lineup for Tuesday nights in 1965.
1965 - 1966
and betrays every premise of the original"
on the hit play and movie - high-seas hijinks with Ensign Pulver,
Mr. Roberts and the crew of the USS Reluctant during World War
II. War movies were popular on TV in the mid-Sixties and Hogan's
Heroes became a hit in '65, but this light comedy failed to
attract an audience.
of a great Friday night lineup on NBC that included Camp Runamuck,
Hank, Convoy and
The Man From UNCLE.
Of Eddie's Father
family fare based on the 1963 movie starring Glenn Ford and Ronnie
Howard, the TV show featured Bill Bixby as single dad Tom Corbett
and Brandon Cruz as his son Eddie.
Umeki played Mrs. Livingston, the housekeeper and James Komack
was Tom's boss Morman Tinker.
was the producer of several hit shows including Welcome Back
Kotter. Jodie Foster was a frequent guest as Eddie's pal Joey
1963 - Dec 1963
lost millions when they signed box office champ Jerry Lewis in
1963 to a multi-year contract to star in his own two-hour LIVE
talk/variety program on Friday nights.
this promo, one can only guess how bad the show must have been.
Ten points if you know who Newton Minnow is.
show ran only until December, when ABC bought out the loud-mouthed
is a little update to address your comments about The Jerry Lewis
Lewis was given the two hour live ABC program on the heels of
his tremendous success as fill host on The Tonight Show
between Jack Paar and Johnny Carson in 1962. The first installment
of Jerry Lewis LIVE will filed with technical problems.
entire balcony at the Jerry Lewis Theater (formerly the El Capitain
Theater) was unable to see the show as the giant projection screen
went out and the studio lights and equipment blocked the view.
Downstairs the audio problems and the difficulty in being able
to see and hear the show made it worse.
Lewis was not totally prepared, but working ³off the cuff² was
his successful style... when everything else is going well. Without
giving the program another chance, it was cancelled after the
FIRST episode. The first words Jerry spoke on the second week
was, 'Well, I guess you heard the news about the show!'
the show ran 14 weeks, and grew better and better in time. A two
man show with Sammy Davis, a fabulous program with Ethel Merman,
and a much more at ease Lewis pumped the ratings higher, and the
program was quite popular in the end. But the fate was sealed.
ABC bought The Jerry Lewis Theater from Mr. Lewis and renamed
it The Hollywood Palace. And now you know the rest of the story!"
1964 - Sept 1965
Gracie Allen decided to retire in 1958, the highly-rated George
Burns and Gracie Allen Show became the low-rated George
flopped again without Gracie in Wendy and Me. George played
the old man downstairs (you know the type) from two newlyweds
played by Connie Stevens and Ron Harper (Jean Arthur Show).
the fourth wall, Burns directed most of his comments into the
camera like a commentator on all the 'action' taking place upstairs.
Nobody likes a gossip!
1964- June 1965
series cast Bing as a family man - he was anything but that in
real life. When Bing remarried, he dumped the family members he
had been celebrating Christmas with on TV for years and replaced
them with his new family.
He was a heck of a businessman, tho - Bing Crosby's production
company was responsible for many hit shows of the Sixties, including
Ben Casey and
another 1964 entry on CBS -
a political drama with Richard Crenna that made it through a season
and a half.
Sept 1969 - June 1973
rotating 'wheel' of dramas. During the first season, the lineup
consisted of The New Doctors, The Lawyers and The
Protectors. This was an expensive experiment for NBC, costing
an unheard of $200,000 an episode.
at Universal Studios, the executive producer was the legendary
Roy Huggins (The Fugitive, 77 Sunset Strip).
New Doctors (with E.G. Marshall, John Saxon and David Hartman)
was the only show to last the entire series run. It was also the
most elaborate, with a real working operating room for a set.
Hartman was quoted as saying, "Television is bringing back
the medical shows because in this way they can have blood without
ran until 1972, with Burl Ives, Joseph Campenella and James Farentino.
Ives played basically the same character he did in Rudolf,
The Red-Nosed Reindeer, mostly walking around smoking a pipe
and saying "Hold on there!"
The Protectors, Leslie Neilsen (Police Squad) plays
a by-the-book Deputy Police Chief who clashes with liberal District
Attorney played by Hari Rhodes (Daktari). Rhodes was one
of the first Black actors to wear his hair in a 'natural' style
on network TV.
segment was dropped after one season, replaced by The Senator.
Sept 1969 - Dec 1970
steamy melodrama that took place in Hollywood, behind the scenes
in the sleazy movie business where, as you know, everybody's screwing
everybody (true fact).
the first season, Bracken (a big time movie producer) was never
seen, only referred to.
the short second season, Leslie Nielsen took on the role of the
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