On my Facebook page today, I posted a picture of Don Knotts as Barney on the Andy Griffith Show and asked my friends to share their favorite TV shows from back when most of the television sets were black and white and the shows were a half hour of fun. Except the Westerns. They usually got an hour to entertain us. Matt Dillion and Kitty in Gunsmoke. The bachelor brothers on Bonanza. It was dangerous having one of those boys fall in love with you because before the hour was over, you would be gone, often dead. Poor Pa, Lorne Greene, had zero chance of ever getting to be a grandpa.
When Laughs Came Easy
Most of the shows mentioned on my FB page were situation comedies. I Love Lucy. F Troop. Hogan’s Heroes. The Dick Van Dyke Show. The Beverly Hillbillies. I bet there’s hardly a person of a certain age who can’t sing that song. “Shooting at some food and up from the ground came a bubbling pool. Oil, that is. Black gold.” And do you remember how Jethro could cipher. Of course, he sometimes had to take off his shoes so he could count on his toes too if the problem was difficult. LOL. Then there was that little sea excursion that ended up stranded on Gilligan’s Island. Somehow they could build or come up with everything except a boat.
And how about Petticoat Junction? Those three girls needed to take a trip to Bonanza. We could have had some TV weddings. What I remember best about that show was they didn’t bother to send the characters off to school or kill them off when one of the actresses decided to quit. They just moved another actress in and let them take over the role. They figured we knew it was all a show and they were acting anyway. And we did.
Of course, father always knew best. That was true not only in Father Knows Best but in My Three Sons and Leave it to Beaver as well as others. I liked fathers knowing best and mothers too. Somewhere along the way the shows started making the parents out as more than a little nutty and hardly fit to be parents of the really smart, and often smart aleck, children. But you know what? There’s something comforting to a kid to know that adults have a few things figured out and that they are dependable people in control of their world.
So Many Great Shows
But there were action shows too. Zorro. The Lone Ranger. Superman. Dragnet. Help me out. I know I’m forgetting lots of them. Then we had Carol Burnett. Perry Como. The Ed Sullivan Show. Hee Haw. The Smothers Brothers. So much fun entertainment that you never had to worry about letting your kids watch.
It could be I’m romanticizing a little here. After all, I watched Bugs Bunny and now many parents think those cartoons are too violent for kids. But I knew it was all just silly stuff on television. I never once thought I could pop my sister on the head with a stick and not get in a pile of trouble.
How about you? What shows do you remember best and which ones made you smile?
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