1960's Television

1960's Television.mp4

1960's Television

By the end of the 1960's nearly 95% of American's had a television in their home.  As a result you see a dramatic rise in the number of shows, the diversity of shows and a decline of Drive-In and traditional movie theaters.  

Westerns continue to be a proven winner in terms of ratings and returns, but as the nation's interests diversified and television became more prevalent a growth in Game Show programming began and produced some of the most popular game shows ever to air including The Price is Right and Jeopardy.

The rise of the Saturday morning cartoons became popular during this time as well with shows that promote traditional values and cultural trends. Shows like The Jetsons built on America's fascination with space and the future and shows like Scooby-Doo played on our growing interest in police and detective dramas.

During this time we also see a rise in broadcast journalism reporting the news of the day both locally and nationally.  While many of the shows of the time portrayed the mainstream culture in America the news showcased the rising tensions and complex political climate of the times.


Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)

Task 2: Review the provided videos and attached links for television during the 1960's (10 minutes)

Task 3: Dig deeper into one of the Television Shows presented in this area of focus for the 1960’s (25 minutes)

Task 4: Share Your Findings With The Class (With Anyone Who Completed the Same Show) (10 minutes)


Television dramas really got their start in the 1960s. Although there were a few dramatic programs in the 1950s, they didn’t really catch on until the 60s, when hour-long programming began to grow more popular. Many of the biggest shows of the decade were more dramatic than the ever-popular sitcoms. Westerns were huge in the 60s, with hit dramas like "Bonanza," "Gunsmoke," and "Have Gun—Will Travel." These western programs lasted longer than most TV shows in history. Bonanza aired for 14 seasons, while "Gunsmoke" lasted 20. (https://www.ranker.com/list/best-60s-drama-shows/ranker-tv )


Original Release September 10, 1955 – March 31, 1975 

No. of Seasons 14

No. of Episodes 402

Stars James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Dennis Weaver, Burt Reynolds, Ken Curtis, Roger Ewing, Buck Taylor

Network CBS

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

The Little House on the Prairie

Original Release September 11, 1974 – March 21, 1983 

No. of Seasons 9

No. of Episodes 204

Stars Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson, Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, Matthew Labyorteaux, Richard Bull, Katherine MacGregor, Alison Arngrim, Jonathan Gilbert, Kevin Hagen, Dabbs Greer

Network NBC

"The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the nineteenth century American Midwest. " - IMDB

The Real McCoys

Original Release October 3, 1957 – June 23, 1963

No. of Seasons 6

No. of Episodes 225

Stars Walter Brennan, Richard Crenna, Kathleen Nolan, Michael Winkelman, Lydia Reed, Tony Martinez, Madge Blake, Andy Clyde 

Network   ABC (1957–62), CBS (1962–63)

" From the hills of West Virginia, Amos McCoy moves his family to an inherited farm in California. Grandpa Amos is quick to give advice to his three grandchildren and wonders how his neighbors ever managed without him around. "- IMDB

Game Shows

In the 1960s, television was still relatively new, and there wasn’t much in the way of programming. The concept of games on television began in the 1950s, so many of the earliest game shows aired during the 1960s as well. Some of the world’s most famous game shows got their start in the 1960s, such as "The Dating Game," "Jeopardy," and "The Newlywed Game." Not all the game shows that aired in the 1960s had a long shelf life. Shows like "PDQ," "Dream House," and "The Generation Gap" were short lived but enjoyed by audiences nonetheless.  (https://www.ranker.com/list/best-60s-game-shows/ranker-tv )

The Price is Right

Original Release November 26, 1956 – September 3, 1965 

No. of Seasons 9

Stars Bill Cullen 

Network NBC (1956–1963), ABC (1963–1965) 

"In the original version of "The Price is Right," four contestants one a returning champion competed throughout the show. After a merchandise item was displayed (often by beautiful models aka Pretty Purchasers), the contestants, one at a time, bid on the item. Unless otherwise specified, each bid had to be higher than the previous bid; each contestant could "freeze," or stop bidding, if they believed their next bid would cause them to overbid, thus disqualifying themselves from winning the prize. The bidding continued until an undefined time limit expired. Host Cullen then announced the price of the item; the contestant who bid closest without going over won the prize (and on occasion, won either a bonus prize or got to play a bonus game). The last prize of the day usually was the most valuable and often determined the day's champion, who got to return to the next show. A special feature of the original "Price is Right" allowed home viewers to bid on special showcases. When the show moved to ABC, contestants competed against a celebrity player, who played for a home viewer." - IMDB


Original Release March 30, 1964 – Present 

No. of Seasons 39 (and counting)

No. of Episodes 8,000+

Stars Art Fleming, Alex Trebek, Mayim Bialik, Ken Jennings

Network NBC

"The classic game show with a twist; the answers are revealed, but it's up to the contestants to supply the questions. Three contestants, including a returning champion, competed. Six categories are announced (e.g., Pro Football, Presidents, Science and Nature, Famous Bobs, Automobiles and Words), each having five answers ostensibly graded by difficulty, from $10 to $50. The champion chose a category and dollar amount (e.g., "Presidents for $10"), to which host Fleming reads the answer ("The Father of our country; he really didn't chop down a cherry tree"). Contestants had to respond in question form ("Who was George Washington?") ; if correct, they won the value of the question; if he/she was incorrect, failed to answer in time or phrase in the form of a question, that amount was deducted (hence, the dollar amount was "always in jeopardy") and his/her opponents could answer; having enough incorrect answers often led to negative scores. Thereafter, the contestant providing the last correct question selected next, and the process repeated. Hidden behind one of the answers was a "Daily Double" space, with the contestant selecting that space able to wager up to all his/her current winnings (or up to $50 if he/she had less) on the answer. After all 30 answers have been revealed (or sometimes, an undefined time limit expired), the game moved into "Double Jeopardy!" Gameplay was the same in "Double Jeopardy!" except six new categories were announced and the answers had values of $20 to $100 and two "Daily Double" spaces were hidden (with contestants able to wager up to $100 if they had less). At the end of the "Double Jeopardy!" round, all contestants with at least $1 were eligible to play "Final Jeopardy!"; however, anyone with $0 or a negative score was eliminated and given consolation prizes.  " - IMDB

Match Game

Original Release December 31, 1962 – September 26, 1969 

No. of Seasons 7

No. of Episodes 1,760

Stars Gene Rayburn, Ross Shafer

Network NBC

"This is The 1st Edition of the program. Composed of 2 Teams of 3 Members (2 In-Studio team members and 1 Star Team Captain) are writing answers to an question {e.g.: Name a part of a chicken} that'll/this'll read(ing) by the host/star (Gene Rayburn) and one(1) member of the team wrote/writes the answer {e.g.: Leg}. The 1st and 2nd Members of the team has/having the same answer is/are matched and that'll/this'll be worth 10 - 25 points and the star team captain matched the same answer and that'll/this'll be worth 20 - 50 points. The 1st Team score 100 points wins the game and collect $100 and played "The Studio Audience Match." In "The Studio Audience Match", That/This has 3 Secret Survey Questions which it This/That all occurs the date this/that held/holds the 3 Questions prior to the broadcast of "The MATCH GamE". Each 1 of the 3 secret survey questions that/this has/having the all-time popular answer will be match by the same 3 members of the winning team called "THE BEST ANSWER." Each matching answer that'll/this'll determine what he or she thinking up that/this answer of their judgment is valued at in the following - 1 Person Matched worth $50, 2 People Match worth $100 and All 3 People Match includes A Star Team Captain worth $150 and the possible total of the 3 questions is worth $450 and that/this can be added to $100 and can be the perfect total of $550. The Game Continues before time's up with the sound of whistle blow and the 2 members of the team has the highest cash amount became today's winners."  - IMDB


From their post-WWII inception, American sitcoms showcased primarily affluent, aspirational, white families; think of the Cleavers on “Leave it to Beaver,” the Anderson's on “Father Knows Best,” and the Nelsons on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” An academic study of 262 situational comedies from 1946-1990 revealed that only 11 percent of programs featured blue-collar characters as heads of household - the most notable were the two “ethnic” comedies that came directly from old radio programs like “The Goldbergs” and “Amos ‘n’ Andy.” In the 1950s and 1960s, the genre was dominated by professional, college-educated protagonists and their impressive, pristine homes. (The only real exception was “The Honeymooners,” which aired in the mid-1950s and starred Jackie Gleason as New York City bus driver and would-be domestic batterer Ralph Kramden.) Everything changed in the 1970s, when the media “discovered” the American working class... (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/history-working-class-families-american-sitcom-180968555/ )

The Addams Family

Original Release September 18, 1964 – April 8, 1966 

No. of Seasons 2

No. of Episodes 64

Stars Carolyn Jones, John Astin, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy, Blossom Rock, Ken Weatherwax, Lisa Loring

Network ABC

"The Addams Family is not your typical family: it takes delight in most of the things of which normal people would be terrified. Gomez Addams is an extremely wealthy man and is able to indulge his wife Morticia's every desire, whether it's cultivation of poisonous plants or a candlelit dinner in a graveyard. People visiting the Addams Family just don't seem to appreciate the 7-foot-tall butler named Lurch or the helping hand (which is just a disembodied hand named Thing). " - IMDB

Gilligan's Island

Original Release September 26, 1964 – April 17, 1967 

No. of Seasons 3

No. of Episodes 99

Stars Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise, Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells

Network CBS

"During what was supposed to be a three-hour tour, the S.S. Minnow is shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island following a typhoon. The seven castaways include the blustery captain, his bumbling first mate Gilligan, a millionaire couple named the Howells, curvaceous movie star Ginger Grant, sexy farm girl Mary Ann Summers, and a science professor known as the Professor. Despite their dire situation, they managed to survive on a diet made up of fish and coconut cream pie, and were aided by their trusty transistor radio and a seemingly never-ending parade of guest stars who managed to drop by their "deserted" island (including a big game hunter, a movie producer, a mad scientist, a rock band, Russian cosmonauts, foreign spies, and a jungle boy), yet never managed to bring them to safety " - IMDB

The Beverly Hillbillies

Original Release September 26, 1962 – March 23, 1971 

No. of Seasons 9

No. of Episodes 274

Stars Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer Jr., Raymond Bailey, Nancy Kulp, Bea Benaderet, Harriet MacGibbon

Network CBS

"A nouveau riche hillbilly family moves to Beverly Hills and shakes up the privileged society with their hayseed ways. " - IMDB


Saturday morning cartoons have been an integral part of the American television scene since the 1960s. Saturday morning is unlike any other time of the programming week in that the viewing audience is more monolithic than any other. At no other time do so many stations broadcast such similar material for such an extended period of time, all aimed at the same audience: children. Several generations of children have planned their weekends around the ritual of pouring huge bowls of sugar-saturated cereal and gathering about the television for the week's dose of animation.  (https://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/saturday-morning-cartoons )

The Flintstones

Original Release September 30, 1960 – April 1, 1966 

No. of Seasons 6

No. of Episodes 166

Stars Alan Reed, Jean Vander Pyl, Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Gerry Johnson, Don Messick, John Stephenson, Verna Felton, Doug Young, June Foray, Howard Morris, Harvey Korman

Network ABC

"This popular animated television cartoon featured two Stone Age families, the Flintstones and their neighbors, the Rubbles. Much of the humor was based on its comic portrayals of modern conveniences, reinterpreted using Stone Age 'technology.' Most notably were their cars, complete with absence of floorboards to allow them to be 'foot-powered.' " - IMDB

The Jetsons

Original Release September 23, 1962 – March 17, 1963

No. of Seasons 1

No. of Episodes 25

Stars William Hanna, Joseph Barbera 

Network ABC

"The Jetsons are a family living in the future. They have all manner of technological appliances to help around the house. George Jetson works at Spaceley's Sprockets, doing his best for his family."  - IMDB

Scooby Doo Where Are You! Mine Your Own Business.mp4


Original Release September 13, 1969 – October 31, 1970

No. of Seasons 2

No. of Episodes 25

Stars Don Messick, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Nicole Jaffe, Stefanianna Christopherson, Heather North

Network CBS

"A group of teenage friends and their Great Dane (Scooby-Doo) travel in a bright green van solving strange and hilarious mysteries, while returning from or going to a regular teenage function. " - IMDB

Talk Shows

Late-night talk shows are truly an American contribution to the world of TV. They founded their origins from variety shows which started to take off during the 1940s and the 1950s. They were called “variety shows” because they showcased different kinds of entertainment such as comedy sketches, music and dance numbers, acrobatics, magic tricks, juggling, etc. Variety shows were typically shown on the prime-time slot (usually 7:00 to 10:00 in the evening), where most families would usually stay in their own living rooms and watch TV after a tiring day of work and household chores. 

Late night talk shows really hit its stride when Johnny Carson took over in 1962, and it’s from that point when The Tonight Show became a permanent fixture among the night-owls. The Tonight Show, as well as Carson himself, transformed into TV legends. Carson continued hosting The Tonight Show until his retirement in 1992, and comedian Jay Leno eventually took over the hosting chores.   (https://mentalitch.com/the-short-history-of-the-late-night-talk-show/ )

The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson

Original Release October 1, 1962 – May 22, 1992 

No. of Seasons 30

No. of Episodes 6,714

Stars Johnny Carson

Network NBC

"Johnny Carson's Tonight Show established the modern format of the late-night talk show: a monologue sprinkled with a rapid-fire series of 16 to 22 one-liners (Carson had a rule of no more than three on the same subject) was followed by sketch comedy, then moving on to guest interviews and performances by musicians and stand-up comedians. Occasionally, Carson interviewed prominent politicians such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Robert F. Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey, however Carson refused to discuss his personal political views on the show out of concern it might alienate his audience." - IMDB

American Bandstand

Original Release October 7, 1952 – October 7, 1989  

No. of Seasons 35

No. of Episodes 3,000+

Stars Bob Horn, Lee Stewart, Tony Mammarella, Dick Clark, David Hirsch

Network WFIL-TV (1952–1957), ABC (1957–1987

"Dick Clark hosts a daily to weekly dance show that features the latest hit music for the attending teens to dance to. In addition, the show has performances by popular musicians and audience members rate songs. " - IMDB

Ed Sullivan Show

Original Release June 20, 1948 – March 28, 1971

No. of Seasons 24

No. of Episodes 1,068

Stars Ed Sullivan

Network CBS

"Ed Sullivan's show was straight out of old vaudeville; brief acts of every description, from slapstick comedy to operatic arias. At least once, he showed a film, the only known film of Anna Pavlova (doing her Swan Dance). The Muppets' first TV appearance was on Ed Sullivan. Stiff and expressionless, with a peculiar voice and a talent for mispronunciation, Sullivan was at least as recognizable as Cronkite to early 60's viewers." - IMDB

The NFL on TV

Congress’ 1961 decision to allow sports leagues to negotiate their own collective television contracts let the NFL set up a system to share annual television revenue equally among all teams.

Before then, big-market teams like the New York Giants could earn 10 times as much money as small-market teams like the Green Bay Packers, which gave the Giants much more cash to sign the best players. But by equally distributing the television revenue — in addition to sharing revenue from other sources, such as merchandising and ticket sales — the league ensures that every team has the financial ability to compete on and off the field.

The NFL’s revenue sharing has maintained competitiveness across all teams and has helped the league avoid financial disparities faced by other sports that gave teams nearly insurmountable advantages. (https://operations.nfl.com/the-game/impact-of-television/ )

The Birth Of The Super Bowl 'The Timeline The Merger' 3 min.mp4

National Football League Hosts First Super Bowl

Super Bowl I took place on January 15, 1967, and included the NFL’s Green Bay Packers against the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.

The game was held at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and even though ticket prices averaged just $12, it was the only Super Bowl that didn’t sell out.

Still, the game aired on two different networks and drew in an audience of more than 61,000 fans.

The Packers outperformed the Chiefs, winning 35-10. The next year, the Packers decisively won again in Super Bowl II, defeating the Oakland Raiders 33-14. Many began to question whether the AFL teams could hold their own in the NFL.

But the next year, the AFL’s New York Jets, led by quarterback Joe Namath, defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Super Bowl IV was the last game played between the two leagues, and the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7. (https://www.history.com/topics/sports/super-bowl-history )