Great TV Shows of the 1950's

by Taylorfirst1 | created - 21 Aug 2016 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

Best of the early years of TV in no order!

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1. The Honeymooners (1955–1956)

30 min | Comedy, Family

A bus driver and his sewer worker friend struggle to strike it rich while their wives look on with weary patience.

Stars: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, Joyce Randolph

Votes: 4,289

2. The Phil Silvers Show (1955–1959)

30 min | Comedy, Family

Sergeant Ernie Bilko is the ultimate con man. He runs the motor pool at a small Kansas U.S. Army Camp. Colonel Hall, nominally in charge of the base, tries to keep Bilko's plans in check. ... See full summary »

Stars: Phil Silvers, Harvey Lembeck, Paul Ford, Allan Melvin

Votes: 1,248

3. Men Into Space (1959–1960)

30 min | Sci-Fi

The adventures of Colonel Ed McCauley, head of the American space program. He battles saboteurs, budget cuts, defective equipment and other problems in outer space.

Stars: William Lundigan, Joyce Taylor, Charles Herbert, Tyler McVey

Votes: 148

4. The Lone Ranger (1949–1957)

TV-G | 30 min | Western

The adventures of the masked hero and his Native American partner.

Stars: Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart, Chuck Courtney

Votes: 1,832

5. Adventures of Superman (1952–1958)

TV-G | 30 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The Man of Steel fights crime with help from his friends at the Daily Planet.

Stars: George Reeves, Noel Neill, John Hamilton, Bill Kennedy

Votes: 2,986

6. I Love Lucy (1951–1957)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

A daffy woman constantly strives to become a star along with her bandleader husband and gets herself in the strangest situations.

Stars: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

Votes: 20,895

7. Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

The misadventures of a suburban boy, family and friends.

Stars: Jerry Mathers, Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow

Votes: 6,038

8. Gunsmoke (1955–1975)

TV-PG | 60 min | Western

Marshal Matt Dillon keeps the peace in rough and tumble Dodge City.

Stars: James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis

Votes: 4,577

10. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955–1960)

Approved | 30 min | Action, Adventure, Family

Robin of Loxley, otherwise known as Robin Hood, and his band of Merry Men protect England from the evil machinations of Prince John while King Richard the Lionheart is away fighting in the Crusades.

Stars: Richard Greene, Victor Woolf, Archie Duncan, Alexander Gauge

Votes: 602

11. The Danny Thomas Show (1953–1965)

30 min | Comedy, Family

Danny Williams, a successful nightclub singer, encounters a variety of difficult or amusing situations in trying to balance his career with his family: his outspoken wife Kathy, teenage ... See full summary »

Stars: Danny Thomas, Rusty Hamer, Marjorie Lord, Angela Cartwright

Votes: 768

12. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952–1966)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

Ozzie and Harriet Nelson raise their two sons Ricky and David. As the sons age, they experience teenage dating problems, marriage and careers.

Stars: Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, David Nelson, Ricky Nelson

Votes: 1,010

13. Father Knows Best (1954–1960)

30 min | Comedy, Family

The popular radio show comes to life in this hit sitcom about a wise family man, Jim Anderson, his common-sense wife Margaret and their children Betty, Bud and Kathy.

Stars: Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin

Votes: 1,664

14. Annie Oakley (1954–1957)

30 min | Western

A fictionalized account of the life of legendary Wild West sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Set in the quiet western town of Diablo, Annie and her little brother Tagg made sure that outlaws who ... See full summary »

Stars: Gail Davis, Brad Johnson, Jimmy Hawkins, Bob Woodward

Votes: 201

15. Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958–1961)

TV-PG | 30 min | Western

A Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.

Stars: Steve McQueen, Wright King, Olan Soule, Mort Mills

Votes: 1,703

16. Have Gun - Will Travel (1957–1963)

Approved | 25 min | Western

The adventures of a gentlemanly gunfighter for hire.

Stars: Richard Boone, Kam Tong, Hal Needham, Stewart East

Votes: 2,094

17. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955–1961)

TV-PG | 30 min | Western

Marshal Earp keeps the law, first in Kansas and later in Arizona, using his over-sized pistols and a variety of sidekicks. Most of the saga is based loosely on fact, with historical badguys... See full summary »

Stars: Hugh O'Brian, Jimmy Noel, Ethan Laidlaw, Bill Coontz

Votes: 630

18. Maverick (1957–1962)

60 min | Comedy, Western

Bret and Bart Maverick are well dressed gamblers who migrate from town to town always looking for a good game.

Stars: Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore, Lane Chandler

Votes: 2,316

19. Wagon Train (1957–1965)

TV-PG | 75 min | Drama, Western

Stories of the journeys of a wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts, and Rocky Mountains.

Stars: Frank McGrath, Terry Wilson, Robert Horton, John McIntire

Votes: 2,153

20. Naked City (1958–1963)

60 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The cases of the N.Y.P.D.'s 65th Precinct.

Stars: Harry Bellaver, Horace McMahon, Paul Burke, Nancy Malone

Votes: 883

21. Lawman (1958–1962)

30 min | Western

This is the story of Marshal Dan Troop of Laramie, Wyoming, and his Deputy Johnny McKay, an orphan Troop took under his wing.

Stars: John Russell, Peter Brown, Peggie Castle, Emile Avery

Votes: 563

22. Cheyenne (1955–1963)

TV-G | 60 min | Western

After the Civil War, nomadic adventurer Cheyenne Bodie roamed the west looking for fights, women, and bad guys to beat up. His job changed from episode to episode.

Stars: Clint Walker, Clyde Howdy, Chuck Hicks, Lane Chandler

Votes: 1,234

23. Johnny Ringo (1959–1960)

30 min | Western

Ex-gunfighter Johnny Ringo is now the sheriff of a small Western town, and attempts to keep the peace with the aid of his deputy, Cully, and his girl, Laura Thomas.

Stars: Don Durant, Mark Goddard, Karen Sharpe, Terence de Marney

Votes: 95

24. Death Valley Days (1952–1970)

TV-PG | 25 min | Western

Western stories and legends based, and filmed, in and around Death Valley, California. One of the longest-running Western series, originating on radio in the 1930s. The continuing sponsor was "20 Mule Team" Borax, a product formerly mined in Death Valley.

Stars: Stanley Andrews, Robert Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Dale Robertson

Votes: 602

25. The Mickey Mouse Club (1955–1958)

TV-G | 60 min | Family, Comedy, Drama

Mickey Mouse hosts a youth oriented variety show.

Stars: Jimmie Dodd, Tommy Cole, Eileen Diamond, Annette Funicello

Votes: 588

26. The Rifleman (1958–1963)

TV-PG | 30 min | Family, Western

The adventures of a Wild West rancher wielding a customized rapid fire Winchester rifle and his son.

Stars: Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix, Joe Benson

Votes: 2,821

27. Lassie (1954–1974)

30 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The ongoing saga of the Martin family and their beloved collie, Lassie.

Stars: Lassie, Jon Provost, June Lockhart, Hugh Reilly

Votes: 2,597

28. Bat Masterson (1958–1961)

30 min | Western

Dressed-up dandy (derby and cane), gambler and lawman roams the West charming women and defending the unjustly accused. His primary weapon was his wit (and cane) rather than his gun.

Stars: Gene Barry, Allison Hayes, Allen Jaffe, Ken Drake

Votes: 770

29. The Abbott and Costello Show (1952–1957)

TV-G | 25 min | Comedy, Family, Mystery

Bud and Lou are unemployed actors living in Mr. Fields' boarding house. Lou's girlfriend Hillary lives across the hall. Any premise would lead to slapstick, puns, lots of gimmicks from their movies.

Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Sid Fields, Gordon Jones

Votes: 982

30. Perry Mason (1957–1966)

TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The cases of a master criminal defense attorney, handling the most difficult of cases in the aid of the innocent.

Stars: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, Ray Collins

Votes: 4,361

31. Dennis the Menace (1959–1963)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

Television episodes built around the same sorts of incidents found in Hank Ketcham's long-running comic strip.

Stars: Herbert Anderson, Jay North, Gloria Henry, Billy Booth

Votes: 1,594

32. Sea Hunt (1958–1961)

30 min | Action, Adventure

Mike Nelson is a S.C.U.B.A. diver in the days when it was still very new. He works alone, and the plot was mostly carried through his voice-over narrations. These gave the show a flavor of ... See full summary »

Stars: Lloyd Bridges, Ken Drake, Courtney Brown, Jan Harrison

Votes: 1,003

33. Highway Patrol (1955–1959)

30 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Powerful patrol cars, fast motorcycles, and superheterodyne two-way radios combine to fight crime on the rural highways of America's wide open spaces.

Stars: Broderick Crawford, Art Gilmore, William Boyett, Vance Skarstedt

Votes: 822

34. The Amos 'n Andy Show (1951–1953)

30 min | Comedy

Stories mostly centered on The Kingfish's schemes to get rich, often by duping his brothers in the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge. Andy was particularly dupable. Amos mostly narrated.

Stars: Alvin Childress, Spencer Williams, Tim Moore, Johnny Lee

Votes: 597

35. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962)

TV-14 | 25 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Series of unrelated short stories covering elements of crime, horror, drama, and comedy about people of different backgrounds committing murders, suicides, thefts, and other sorts of crime caused by certain motivations, perceived or not.

Stars: Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams, Patricia Hitchcock

Votes: 13,436

36. The Milton Berle Show (1948–1956)

60 min | Comedy, Family

The Texaco Star Theatre was one of the most popular shows in the history of television. In the first year, Milton Berle was not the permanent emcee, but once he replaced the rotation, the ... See full summary »

Stars: Milton Berle, Sid Stone, Jimmy Nelson, Hal Sawyer

Votes: 94

37. The Milton Berle Show (1958–1962)

30 min | Music, Comedy

The second incarnation of 'Mr. Television' Milton Berle's variety TV series.

Stars: Milton Berle, Billy May, Ed Herlihy, Jimmy Durante

Votes: 31

38. The Colgate Comedy Hour (1950–1955)

60 min | Comedy, Romance

This was a Colgate-sponsored comedy hour that featured many notable comedians and entertainers of the era as guest stars.

Stars: Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Al Goodman, Eddie Cantor

Votes: 409

39. The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1956–1958)

30 min | Western, Adventure

Set in the Louisiana Territory around 1830, wealthy planter Jim Bowie encounters many famous people in New Orleans or the backwoods, relying for protection on the knife he supposedly ... See full summary »

Stars: Scott Forbes, William Schallert, John Laing, Joyce Vanderveen

Votes: 164

40. Your Show of Shows (1950–1954)

90 min | Comedy

Best remembered by its posterior title, Your Show of Shows, this live variety show included comedy sketches with TV pioneers Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca.

Stars: Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Felisa Vanoff, Carl Reiner

Votes: 262

41. Tales of Wells Fargo (1957–1962)

TV-14 | 60 min | Western

Agent Jim Hardie shifts over its history from being mostly an Agent helping Wells Fargo cope with bad guys, to being the owner of a ranch near San Francisco, California, who still does some... See full summary »

Stars: Dale Robertson, Kit Carson, William Demarest, Lory Patrick

Votes: 462

42. Trackdown (1957–1959)

30 min | Western

Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman travels the Old West tracking down assorted killers, bank robbers, horse thieves and other evildoers.

Stars: Robert Culp, Norman Leavitt, Ellen Corby, Peter Leeds

Votes: 205

43. The Jack Benny Program (1950–1965)

Not Rated | 30 min | Comedy

The comic misadventures of the "skinflint" comedian and his friends.

Stars: Jack Benny, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Don Wilson, Dennis Day

Votes: 1,113

44. The Life of Riley (1953–1958)

30 min | Comedy

Riley worked in an aircraft plant in California, but viewers usually saw him at home, cheerfully disrupting life with his malapropisms and ill timed intervention into minor problems. His ... See full summary »

Stars: William Bendix, Marjorie Reynolds, Wesley Morgan, Tom D'Andrea

Votes: 311

45. The Life of Riley (1949–1950)

30 min | Comedy

Riley worked in an aircraft plant in California, but viewers usually saw him at home, cheerfully disrupting life with his malapropisms and ill timed intervention into minor problems. His ... See full summary »

Stars: Jackie Gleason, Rosemary DeCamp, Lanny Rees, Sid Tomack

Votes: 78

46. Dragnet (1951–1959)

30 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Sgt. Joe Friday and his partners methodically investigate crimes in Los Angeles.

Stars: Jack Webb, Ben Alexander, Olan Soule, Vic Perrin

Votes: 1,619

47. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954–1959)

30 min | Adventure, Family, Western

Rusty was orphaned in an Indian raid. He and his dog Rin Tin Tin were adopted by the troops at Fort Apache in Arizona, and helped establish law and order in and around Mesa Grande.

Stars: Lee Aaker, James Brown, Rin Tin Tin II, Joe Sawyer

Votes: 584

48. The Donna Reed Show (1958–1966)

30 min | Comedy, Family

The Stones consist of loving homemaker Donna, her pediatrician husband Alex, and their children Mary and Jeff. Many situations arise like when they found a baby on their doorstep or take in... See full summary »

Stars: Donna Reed, Paul Petersen, Carl Betz, Shelley Fabares

Votes: 1,199

49. Zorro (1957–1959)

30 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Don Diego de la Vega opposes the corrupt tyrants of Spanish California as the masked swordsman, Zorro.

Stars: Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon, Henry Calvin, Don Diamond

Votes: 2,779

50. The Spike Jones Show (1954)

30 min | Comedy, Music