TV Shows – 1950s

Ann Sothern Show, The

1 9 5 7 – 1 9 6 2 (USA) Ann Sothern, an important film actress in the 1930s and 1940s, was one of the first Hollywood stars to have a popular situation comedy series on television. Private Secretary was on the air from 1953 until 1957, when Sothern decided to change the format of her series(…)

Annie Oakley

1 9 5 3 – 1 9 5 6 (USA) 81 x 30 minute episodes A gun-toting, pigtailed Annie Oakley (an actual American Wild West character starring with the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show in the late 1800’s) became the main character of a 30-minute television adventure series directed towards younger viewers. Mostly fiction, the(…)

Appleyards, The

1 9 5 2 – 1 9 5 7 (UK) 160 x 20 minute episodes BBC television’s first foray into soap opera was actually children’s programme The Appleyards, which went out once every two weeks from 1952 to 1957. Its tales of serial ordinariness made it the junior version of the BBC’s own The Grove Family, which ran(…)

Armchair Theatre/Armchair Cinema

1 9 5 6 – 1 9 7 3(UK) 1 9 7 4 – 1 9 7 5 (UK) 457 x 60 minute plays Armchair Theatre was a long-running series of single episode self-contained plays and programmes which gained a reputation for gritty down-to-earth ‘kitchen sink’ dramas’. For many years, Armchair Theatre was an essential part of Sunday(…)

Armstrong Circle Theatre

1 9 5 0 – 1 9 6 3 (USA) Narrated by a succession of hosts (most famously Douglas Edwards), this CBS show specialised in dramas based on true-life stories. The excellent series was seen every other Wednesday, usually at 10pm EST. A number of episodes had quite an impact . . . One programme dramatised(…)

Army Game, The

1 9 5 7 – 1 9 6 1 (UK) 157 x 30 minute episodes Debuting on ITV in 1957, The Army Game was British comedy at its best, very much in the style of Carry On films which were to start the following year (Indeed some of the Army Game cast developed into Carry On regulars). William Hartnell (who in time became the(…)

Arthur Godfrey And His Friends

1 9 4 9  – 1 9 5 9 (USA) One of the most popular stars on US radio throughout the 1940s, Arthur Godfrey’s arrival on television in 1949 became one of the most talked about events in the United States, even though very few Americans had television receivers in their homes at the time. Most(…)

Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts

1 9 4 8  – 1 9 5 8 (USA) The first of four Arthur Godfrey series’ to air on television, and memorably sponsored by Lipton tea and Lipton soups, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts has often been confused with Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour. The two shows were actually very different. Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour usually presented untried talent(…)

Arthur Haynes Show, The

1 9 5 7 – 1 9 6 6 (UK) 158 x 35 minute episodes After years in show business, Arthur Haynes achieved TV fame in 1956 with his infamous silent character Oscar Pennyfeather, a thick-skinned social menace and know-all. Nicholas Parsons watched on a monitor and provided a voice-over for Oscar’s thoughts – all live(…)

Arthur Murray (Dance) Party, The

1 9 5 0 – 1 9 6 0 (USA) For 10 years as it moved from time slot to time slot and station to station, The Arthur Murray Dance Party (sometimes called The Arthur Murray Show and The Arthur Murray Party) continued to generate a loyal viewing audience who remained faithful to the show the entire time. Hosted by dance(…)

As The World Turns

1 9 5 6 – Current (USA) 11,000+ x 30/60 minute episodes Set in the town of Oakdale, As The World Turns is one of the longest running daytime soap operas in the world. First broadcast on April 2 1956 – The Edge Of Night premiered on the same day – the series has the usual mix of deceit, love(…)

Ask Pickles

1 9 5 4 – 1 9 5 6 (UK) Many modern TV shows owe a considerable debt to this show which began in May 1954 and was presented by professional Yorkshireman Wilfred Pickles and his wife Mabel. Ask Pickles made dreams come true (a la Jim’ll Fix It), it reunited folk with long-lost relatives (the blueprint for Surprise! Surprise!?)(…)

Autumn Affair

1 9 5 8 – 1 9 5 9 (Australia) 156 x 15 minute episodes “I, Julia Parrish, am now 43, the early autumn time of life, the season of pastel shades, quiet memories, or so I said to myself, but now I don’t know.” So began this daytime soap from Channel Seven, Australia’s first regular dramatic TV(…)

Bachelor Father

1 9 5 7 – 1 9 6 2 (USA) 157 x 25 minute episodes Smooth John Forsythe starred as Bentley Gregg – a successful Hollywood lawyer and ladies’ man who becomes guardian to his thirteen-year-old orphaned niece, Kelly, when her parents are killed in a car accident. Typical storylines involved Kelly trying to find Uncle(…)

Bandstand (Australia)

1 9 5 7 – 1 9 7 2 (Australia) Bandstand was the longest running Australian pop television show of its time, and throughout its fifteen years it featured the same host (bespectacled Channel Nine newsreader Brian Henderson) and the same format. Based on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, the Australian show was pre-recorded before a studio audience, with singers(…)

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