TV Shows – 1950s

Whirligig

1 9 5 0 - 1 9 5 6 (UK) Approx. 110 x 60 minute episodes This fortnightly Saturday afternoon variety show - the first such show designed especially for the short-trousered crowd - was initially presented by puppeteer Humphrey Lestocq ("Goody goody gumdrops") and his wooden assistant, Mr Turnip (pictured at right). Over the seasons(...)

Whirlybirds

1 9 5 8 - 1 9 6 2 (USA) 111 x 25 minute episodes PT Moore and Chuck Martin were ex-American Air Force pilots operating a Bell helicopter charter service - the Whirlybird Service of Longwood Field, California - with some crime-fighting on the side, of course. They were also hired for daredevil rescues -(...)

White Heather Club, The

White Heather Club, The

1 9 5 8 - 1 9 6 8 (UK) Andy Stewart was the star of the BBC’s The White Heather Club, which commenced in 1958 and was networked three years later, and from 1960 until 1968 it dominated the BBC’s New Year’s Eve television – one Hogmanay edition achieving viewing figures of over ten million.(...)

White Hunter

1 9 5 7 - 1 9 5 9 (UK)

Winky Dink and You

Winky Dink and You

1 9 5 3 - 1 9 5 7 (USA) Praised as "the first interactive TV show", the show's central gimmick was the use of a "magic drawing screen", which was a large piece of clear clingy plastic that stuck to the television screen via static electricity. A kit containing the screen and various Winky Dink(...)

Wire Service

1 9 5 6 - 1 9 5 7 (USA) 39 x 60 minute episodes The adventures of globetrotting reporters working for Trans-Globe - an international newspaper wire service. Dane Clark, George Brent and Mercedes McCambridge rotated in the lead role over 39 hour-long episodes. The series was sometimes re-run in the US as Deadline for Action. Dan(...)

Wonderama

1 9 5 5 - 1 9 7 7 (USA) This American Sunday morning children's variety show was originally hosted by the engaging Sandy Becker, who entertained his young viewers with games, puppetry, and skits, as well as interviews with guest performers. Becker’s co-host, Pat Meikle, would draw pictures and perform home-cooking lessons as well. The(...)

Wonderful World Of Disney, The

1 9 5 4 - 1 9 8 3 (USA) 1 9 8 6 - 1 9 9 0 (USA) This pioneering example of cooperation between a film studio and a television network also happens to be the longest-running running show in the history of television. Not bad for a 'kiddie programme'. Known over the years by(...)

Woodentops, The

1 9 5 5 - 1 9 5 8 (UK) The Woodentops joined the line-up of Watch With Mother in 1955 - It was Friday's offering on the show, and was brought to the screen by the same team responsible for Andy Pandy and The Flowerpot Men. The Woodentops were Daddy Woodentop (seldom seen with a shirt on his back), Mummy(...)

Woody Woodpecker Show, The

1 9 5 7 - 1 9 7 7 (USA) With arguably the most famous laugh of any cartoon character in history, Woody Woodpecker pecked his way into our lives through a 1940 Andy Panda theatrical short entitled Knock Knock. Woody continued to appear in short films throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s, and in 1957, the Kellogg's(...)

World of Giants

1 9 5 9 (USA) 13 x 30 minute episodes This early sci-fi series starred Marshall Thompson as mini-secret agent Mel Hunter. Shrunk to approximately 6 inches tall after being exposed to the radiation effects of a new rocket fuel, Mel travelled around in the briefcase of his buddy Bill Winters, played by Arthur Franz. It(...)

Yakity-Yak

1 9 5 6 (UK) McDonald "Mac" Hobley introduced ITV's Yakity-Yak - a panel game that would attract little support from the Women's Lib group. It was subtitled "the dizzy show" and encouraged the six female panellists to give silly answers to the questions.

Yes, It’s The Cathode-Ray Tube Show!

1 9 5 7 (UK) 6 x 30 minute episodes A Chelsea Pensioner (Peter Sellers) opens an iron gate and sees attached to the railings a notice reading "Kings Head Tavern 100 Yards". A little further on he reads a newspaper placard "World to End in Ten Minutes" - He picks up some coins from the(...)

You Bet Your Life

1 9 5 0 - 1 9 6 1 (USA) They called it a game show, but nobody really watched You Bet Your Life to see people win fabulous prizes. There were bigger quiz shows for that. No, the real reason people tuned in to NBC on Thursday nights was a glasses-wearing, cigar-smoking, sharp-tongued man(...)

Young Dr. Malone

1 9 5 8 - 1 9 6 3 (USA) Set in fictional Denison, Maryland, this daytime serial from NBC (adapted from a popular radio serial of the 1940s) focused on the father and (adopted) son team of doctors Jerry (the original "young" Dr Malone) and David Malone, who practiced at Valley Hospital. Young Dr Malone was(...)

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