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Forgotten Shows of the 50s, 60s & 70s

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Television is an amazing creation. Yes, many today switched to mobile phones and streaming, but television still goes strong and keeps up with new trends and tech. It’s fun, creative, and initially created to make people laugh and remind them how beautiful life is. In fact, television has created something for everyone: from drama shows to hilarious romantic moments… One-stop for every emotion! The only downside of television is the number of shows.

There are new programs released every year, and it can be difficult to keep track of every edition. As result, certain shows eventually become the ghosts of productions past. Before Netflix ruled the planet, and streaming service was an everyday offer, NBC, CBS and ABC covered the majority of the shows. They were and still are one of the major networks. They owned a number of shows that are forgotten today but were loved by many just a few decades ago. Moreover, these shows paved the path to many shows that we enjoy today. Check this list to see titles that are long forgotten, but your parents loved.

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24. My Favorite Martian

Starring: Ray Walston, Bill Bixby, Alan Hewitt, Pamela Britton
First Aired: September 29, 1963
Number of Seasons: 3
Estimated Production Cost: $70,000* per episode with inflation

People loved stories about life on other planets during the ’60s. At the time, America was determined to get to the moon, and every media followed that desire. Eventually, America achieved its goal and in the meantime, people were entertained with the show My Favorite Martian.

The show lasted for three seasons, with the first two seasons having 75 episodes in total. The show was about an alien that looks like a human and meets a reporter who takes him in until he fixes his spaceship. At first, the audience loved adventures on alien-human relations, but around the third season ratings started falling and CBS had to cut it.

23. Bourbon Street Beat

Starring: Richard Long, Andrew Duggan, Arlene Howell, Van Williams
First Aired: October 5, 1959
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

People loved private-eye dramas, such as Columbo and Murder, She Wrote, so producers were sure that the Bourbon Street Beat would be a smashing hit. However, the show lasted only for one season. It simply didn’t have the right mix to keep viewers entertained enough.

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Still, in the ’50s this was one of the first major shows to feature a private detective agency. The show followed Rex Randolph (Long) and Cal Calhoun (Duggan) as they solved cases for 39 episodes before the show was canceled. However, Rex got another change as Long’s character moved to 77 Sunset Strip.

22. Tales of Tomorrow

Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Thomas Mitchell
First Aired: August 3, 1951
Number of Seasons: 2
Estimated Production Cost: $40,000* per episode with inflation

You have heard of Twilight Zone, and probably watched it, right? But did you know that Tales of Tomorrow paved the path to this planetary popular show? Episodes were packed with action and paranormal, and each episode lasted for 25 minutes. Stories like Frankenstein and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea were just some of the tales that kept people mesmerized in front of their screens.

The show aired on ABC and every episode focused on a different story which made things interested. Famous actors were often seen as guests including Boris Karloff and Leslie Nielson. Sadly, the show lasted only for two seasons.

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21. Shotgun Slade

Starring: Scott Brady
First Aired: October 24, 1959
Number of Seasons: 2
Estimated Production Cost: $52,000* per episode with inflation

Oh, how much people loved western TV shows and movies inthe the 1950s. In fact, this genre was so much loved that by the ’60s knocked in the audience was done with a western vibe. This is the main reason why Shotgun Slade proved popular because viewers wanted something different. This was one of a kind Western mystery, with guest appearances from big-name stars at the time, including, Ernie Kovacs, Brett King, Brad Johnson, and more.

The main character, Slade was a private investigator who would take on special cases, which was unusual in a Western. This original show lasted for two seasons and in total had 78 episodes. After the show was canceled, Scott Brady continues with his acting career and appeared as Sheriff Frank in 1984’s Gremlins.

20. Flying High

Starring: Kathryn Witt, Connie Sellecca, Pat Klous, Howard Platt
First Aired: August 28, 1978
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

The ‘50s and ‘60s had been largely dominated by male-led TV shows. Then the ’70s came and television started offering more female-led shows. One of them was Flying High, a comedy abotu three beautiful air hostesses and their work and personal life. Production directly went after models to star in the show. They were hoping to attract viewers faster.

In fact, the sales head of CBS, Harvey Shephard, saw the three models on the elevator after the pitch, he called the head of the network and said, “We need this show.” Hopes for the show were big, but the show ultimately lacked substance and the show was canceled after 18 episodes, due to low ratings and high compression to Charlie’s Angels.

19. The Hathaways

Starring: Peggy Cass, Jack Weston, Marcy Grace Canfield, Harvey Lembeck, Barbara Perry
First Aired: October 6, 1961
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

Experienced people from the show biz world claim that working with children and animals is a show new level, but ABC didn’t care much when they ordered The Hathaways. Peggy Cass and Jack Weston portrayed loving parents to chimpanzees. Talking about plot twists, right?

The show was sponsored by General Mills and was one of the earliest sitcoms to feature animals on TV. From the commercial side, the show wasn’t successful, but viewers loved it, in a way. All in, the show was a disaster from day one, while costing the network a real fortune. Critics called the show “possibly the worst series ever to air on network TV” and dubbed it “utterly degrading.”

18. Peck’s Bad Girl

Starring: Wendell Corey, Marsha Hunt, Patty McCormick, Ray Ferrell
First Aired: 1959
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $45,000* per episode with inflation

The biggest issue with Peck’s Bad Girl from the 1959’s was the audience. They simply didn’t get it no matter how much the reduction team put the effort into it. At the time parodies weren’t understood or welcome.

Moreover, the whole idea of a family sitcom was too much to digest. The original film Peck’s Bad Girl was actually a silent film released in 1918. The show was canceled faster than it was released. In fact, this show is so unknown that there isn’t even a Wikipedia page abotu it.

17. Broadside

Starring: Edward Andrews, Dick Sargent, Sheila James, Kathleen Nolan, Joan Staley
First Aired: September 20, 1964
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $65,000* per episode with inflation

War dramas tend to focus on the male side of things. However, the Broadside decided to shake things a bit. This 1964 show, focuses on the women of the Navy int he World War II, with Kathleen Nolan in a starring role. The show was a success because it was something taht no one expected.

This show had great lines, an appropriate setting, and an enthusiastic cast that loved the show. Sadly, the show was canceled after only 32 episodes, because the production company simply didn’t have enough space to use the tropical exteriors on the lot.

16. Convoy

Starring: John Gavin
First Aired: September 17, 1965
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $12 million*

Convoy followed Commander Dan Talbot (John Gavin) and his faithful crew on a cargo ship and their daily adventures. Their main task was to supply troops with food and other items in World War II. The biggest downside was the show’s black and white color. They choose to go with black and white color, so they could use old war photos.

However, the audience was more into shows with vivid colors. Plus, some real-life NAVY people disagreed with various moments of the show, including the fact taht women also traveled in convoys. Due to low ratings, the show was canceled.

15. Holmes & Yo-Yo

Starring: Jack Sher, Lee Hewitt
First Aired: September 25, 1976
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $40,000* per episode with inflation

Every great network knows people love seeing fun duos on TV. Remember Starsky & Hutch, or Cagney & Lacey? Sadly, Holmes & Yo-Yo lasted shortly, although ABC had high expectations from the show.

Holmes & Yoyo was an ambitious show, but it was eventaully marked as a complete disaster. It was eventually named on TV Guide’s List of the Worst 50 TV Shows of All Time.

14. The Brothers Brannagan

Starring: Stephen Dunne, Mark Roberts, Barney Phillips
First Aired: September 24, 1960
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

The Brothers Brannagan was a low-budget show that production run in a very smart way. The story followed two brothers, Mike and Bob while using their detective skills to solve crimes. Since the idea wasn’t fresh, the show lasted for a short run.

Yet, that didn’t stop the crew to be extremely enthusiastic. The show even had high-profile guest stars, including Flip Mark, Ron Hagerty, and even Burt Reynolds. All in, the show lasted for 39 episodes.

13. Coronado 9

Starring: Rod Cameron
First Aired: September 6, 1960
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $60,000* per episode with inflation

Rod Cameron was very popular in the ’50s and 60’s and producers of Coronado 9 hoped to get the most from his fame. The series focused on Dan Adams (Cameron) as he used his US Navy experience to solve cases as a private investigator. You can see clips of this show today on YouTube.

The show lived for a brief period and had only 39 episodes. Not even appearances from famous faces, such as Beverly Garland and Doug McClure couldn’t save the show. Timeless Media released the series on DVD in December of 2010.

12. Diver Dan

Starring: Allen Swift, Frank D. Freda, Suzanne Turner
First Aired: January 4, 1960
Number of Seasons: N/A
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

Back in the ‘60s, kids could easier be entertained than today. Smartphones didn’t exist and anything played on TV was fun and educational. Plus, they had to work on their imagination and non-tech toys. The most popular TV format was cartoons, and Diver Dan was on the top of the list. This original cartoon was made by Brian Cartoons made the show, and ITC Entertainment distributed it.

NBC took over years later. John Verlaine was the creator of the series. A cartoonist himself, he developed the idea from his comic strip called Fish Tales. The show was all about a singel diver who explores the underwater world. It was filmed with puppet fish and as a live-action series. Episodes lasted for 30 minutes and there were 104 episodes in total.

11. Dog and Cat

Starring: Lou Antonio, Kim Basinger, Matt Clark
First Aired: March 5, 1977
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

Kim Basinger was a big star in the 1970s. Before she took over the television world, she was already a well-established model transitioning to acting. Dog and Cat was a turning point in her career, although it lasted only six episodes.

Basinger starred alongside Lou Antonio as two partners working together in the Los Angeles Police Department. The show had some unusual plots and was also criticized for trying to emulate Charlie’s Angels, due to female-lead.

10. Johnny Midnight

Starring: Edmond O’Brien, Arthur Batanides, Barney Phillips, Yuki Shimoda
First Aired: January 3, 1960
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $50,000* per episode with inflation

Yes, private detective shows were extremely popular a few decades ago. That how we ended with action movies after all. Johnny Midnight focused on the gritty New York City detective played by Edmond O’Brien.

In many ways, this show is a homage to shows that came before. Producer Jack Chertok was the lead man behind this show and later on, he worked on My Favorite Martian.

9. Sea Hunt

Starring: Lloyd Bridges
First Aired: January 4, 1958
Number of Seasons: 4
Estimated Production Cost: $40,000* per episode with inflation

Underwater shows are always popular. People love exploring the depth of the sea. The only issue with these shows is that they cost money. Lloyd Bridges starred in the lead role of former Navy frogman Mike Nelson. As a freelance scuba diver, Nelson is tasked with helping out in times of trouble.

Sea Hunt was filmed in one of the most beautiful places in the world, including Nassau and Cypress Gardens. It’s fair to say that the show was extremely popular, but eventaully was canceled due to problems with syndication.

8. David Cassidy: Man Undercover

Starring: David Cassidy, Simon Oakland, Wendy Rastatter
First Aired: November 2, 1978
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $90,000* per episode with inflation

David Cassidy was at the pick of his fame in the 1970s. After all, can you imagine The Partridge Family without Cassidy? Once this show ended, David moved on to an Undercover undercover cop Dan Shay.

Sadly, not even he could save the show. Each episode told the story of Dan going undercover trying to bust the most challenging cases. However, not even getting to the heart of the crime could save the show. The show survived for only ten episodes.

7. It’s a Man’s World

Starring: Glenn Corbett, Michael Burns, Ted Bussell, Randy Boone
First Aired: September 17, 1962
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $85,000* per episode with inflation

Who doesn’t like comedy on friends sharing an apartment? There are countless hilarious moments when you put four guys sharing a houseboat. It’s a Man’s World saw an original mix of plots, stories, characters, unusual situations, and big-name guest stars.

Sounds like success-formula, right? However, this couldn’t help save the show. As result, NBC canceled the series mid-season. Many experts said that this show was ahead of its time and therefore destined to fail.

6. Me and the Chimp

Starring: Ted Bessell, Anita Gillette, Scott Kolden, Kami Cotler
First Aired: January 13, 1972
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $1 million* per episode

Ted Bessell portrayed dentist Mike Rusell, in the ‘70s called Me and the Chimp. The show was a real story abotu a regular family, who also has a former space chimp, Buttons. The show’s chimpanzee was owned by Lou Schumacher, a veteran animal expert.

As expected, Button was a source of much mischiefs around the Rusell family, but the story didn’t click with the target demographic. Eventually, Buttons was returned to his trainer to have more peaceful and acting-free days.

5. Supertrain

Starring: Edward Andrews, Nita Talbot, Harrison Page, Robert Alda, Patrick Collins, Charlie Ball
First Aired: February 7, 1979
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Over $1 million* per episode

Supertrain was a big investment. Simply said, this show cost NBC a fortune. In fact, the network paid $10 million (rough to today’s $35 million) to create the set. They gave even more money to promote it.

Only nine episodes were aired and it was the most expensive show at the time. Eventually, the network couldn’t recoup expenses. The show was canceled.

4. Another Day

Starring: David Groh, Joan Hackett, Hope Summers, Lisa Lindgren, Al Eisenmann
First Aired: April 8, 1978
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: $62.8 million*

Stars of Another Day definitely had no idea that this show would last only for a few weeks. Premiered in 1978, the Another Day was canceled in the same month that it debuted.

Some things are just not meant to last. The producer behind this sitcom was James Komack, with David Groh in the main role. The show was described as baseless, droll, and without energy. After only four episodes CBS realizes that they have made a mistake, and decided to cancel it.

3. Doc Elliott

Starring: James Franciscus
First Aired: May 1, 1974
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

Doc Elliot moved from a big city to a small town in a rural area of Colorado. There, he spends his days making house calls and helping his patients live better. People expected a lot from this show, but it only lasted for 14 episodes.

Franciscus passed away in 1991 from emphysema. The reason? RAtings were slow from the start. Leading man James Franciscus found more work later on in Italian cinema.

2. Gemini Man

Starring: Ben Murphy, William Sylvester, Katherine Crawford
First Aired: September 23, 1976
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

Some shows are better than others, and Gemini Man sounded like the next best thing. Ben Murphy was the best choice to play secret agent bad boy Sam Casey, who turned into the invisible man.

During only 11 short episodes, Sam had to go through some unusual situations. Fans dislike the show and there wasn’t room for the second season.

1. The Blue Angels

Starring: Dennis Cross, Don Gordon, Morgan Jones, Warner Jones, Michael Galloway, Robert Knapp, Ross Elliott
First Aired: September 26, 1960
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Production Cost: Unknown

The show took a hard look at the United States Navy, focusing on many fictional events. Legendary actor Burt Reynolds even stepped in to star twice as the character Chuck Corman.

There were other popular names appearing in the show, including Dick Jones, and Don Haggerty. The show was well-known, but there were not enough high views from the audience. After 39 episodes and one season, the show was canceled.

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