October is Western Month
Annie Oakley: “Shadow at Sonoma”
Gail Davis starred as Annie Oakley in this syndicated show of the mid-1950s. Ms. Davis was a trick rider and rodeo performer discovered by cowboy star Gene Autry.
The Rifleman: “A Reasonable Man”
North Fork, New Mexico, was the setting for this western. Chuck Conners and Johnny Crawford starred in this ABC telecast, which aired from 1958 through 1963.
Bonanza: “Feet of Clay-The Hard Truth”
Bonanza was one of the most popular westerns ever, and was the first to be broadcast in color. Ben Cartwright (Lorne Green) and his son Little Joe ( Michael Landon) were particularly engaging characters, keeping up their Ponderosa Ranch near Virginia City, Nevada.
The Cisco Kid
156 syndicated episodes of this western aimed at kids, were produced between 1950 and 1956. It was one of the first filmed shows made for television during an era when most programs aired live. The Cisco Kid and his sidekick Poncho had an easy-going camaraderie.
The Adverntures of Jim Bowie: “The Squatter”
Set in the Louisiana Territory in the 1830s, this show aired on ABC between 1956 and 1958. It starred Scott Forbes.
November is Comedy Month
The George Gobel Show
George Gobel had a quiet, restrained sense of humor compared to many of his contemporaries. His quaint expressions such as “Well, I’ll be a dirty bird!” and “You don’t hardly get those no more” caught on with the public.
I Love Lucy: “Lucy Gets Into Pictures”
I Love Lucy is one of the most memorable comedy shows of early TV. It was on the air for a decade (1951-1961) and continued with reruns for many years afterward. It was in the top three shows for most of its existence. In an era of kinescopes, this show was filmed, making it easy to preserve the content for reruns.
The Jack Benny Show: “Income Tax Show with Jimmy Stewart”
Jack Benny had a successful radio show long before transitioning to television. The television shows lasted from 1950 to 1977 although during some of those years the shows were infrequent specials rather than a weekly program. Most of the cast of the radio show (e.g., Don Wilson, Mel Blanc, Frank Nelson) continued into the television era.
Lum and Abner, 1949
Lum and Abner had a highly successful radio show, but never made a successful transition to television. This is a pilot for CBS.
November 29-Dec. 1
Ceasar’s Hour, 1954
Sid Caesar was noted for his zany and imaginative comedy routines. Sidekicks Carl Reiner and Howard Morris contributed much to the skits. The show aired on NBC from 1954 through 1957.
December is Santa’s Big Broadcast Month
The Beverly Hillbillies
CBS got high ratings for this slapstick situation comedy about the Clampett family for almost a decade (1962-1971), at times garnering 60 million weekly viewers.
George Burns and Gracie Allen
George Burns and Gracie Allen had been popular radio performers since the 1930s before their television show was launched in 1950. The program aired on CBS from 1950 through 1958 (when Gracie chose to retire).
Four Star Playhouse: “The Gift”
A dramatic anthology, Four Star Playhouse featured four regular stars, David Niven, Charles Boyer, Dick Powell, and Ida Lupino, plus occasional other guest stars. CBS carried it from 1952 through 1956.
Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
The real-life Nelson family played themselves on this long-running TV show (1952-1966), portrayed as a typical suburban American family of the era. In this Christmas show Ozzie Nelson plays Santa and Scrooge.