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 Popular Seventies TV Shows - H-M

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: January 15, 1974
LAST TELECAST: July 12, 1984
MUSIC: "Rock Around the Clock" (original recording by Bill Haley & His Comets); "Happy Days" (Gimbel-Fox); and recordings by Fats Domino, Connie Francis, Johnnie Ray, Kay Starr, and other stars of the 1950s and 1960s.

videos bullet iconNostalgia for the 1950s became big business in the mid-1970s, and leading the wave was this updated version of teenage life in the mid-1950s. It started modestly and built in popularity until in the 1976-1977 season Happy Days was the number one program in all of television. Along the way it made a major star out of one of its supporting actors.

Happy Days changed dramatically from the series that premiered in 1974. Originally it was the story of two high school kids, Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his pal Potsie Weber (Anson Williams), at Jefferson High in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley), Richie's father, ran a hardware store while Chuck (Gavan O'Herlihy, replaced by Randolph Roberts later in the first season) was Richie's college-bound older brother and Joanie (Erin Moran) his 13-year-old kid sister. Richie and most of his friends hung out at Arnold's Drive-In, a malt shop near the school.

Richie was supposed to be the innocent teenager and Potsie his more worldly pal. So as not to make the show too much like Ozzie and Harriet, however, the producers added some slightly more extreme counterpoint in the person of the leather-jacket, greasy-haired motorcycle kid, Fonzie (Henry Winkler). That was the move that made the show a hit. Instead of the fairly hackneyed Richie-Potsie relationship, the show came to center on the relationship between the "cool" dropout Fonz, and the "straight" kids represented by Richie. Henry Winkler made the character of Fonz three-dimensional, vulnerable as well as hip. One of the classic episodes, which ran traditionally every Christmas, was the one that first showed the Fonz's own pad, a dingy, cluttered room with his motorcycle in the middle of the floor -- and only a tiny, pathetic tree to indicate that it was Christmas. Too proud to admit to being alone for the holiday, the Fonz -- whose father had deserted him at the age of three -- nevertheless allowed himself to be brought into the Cunningham's home to share in their Christmas celebration.

As Fonzie's popularity spread (his thumbs up gesture and "aaayyh!" became trademarks), the show became a bigger and bigger hit. Winkler moved from his original fifth billing to third, then second behind Ronnie Howard and finally first when Howard left in 1980. But ABC claimed that there would be no spinoff series, because without the Richie-Fonzie contrast there would be no Happy Days. Not only did Fonzie's billing change as the series grew, but so did his residence. During the 1975-1976 season he moved into a small apartment over the Cunningham garage. He was thus always available to give Richie advice about life and girls (the Fonz made every girl in Milwaukee swoon).

Changes in the cast were fairly minor in the early years. Dozens of high school kids came and went, and Richie's older brother disappeared from the family early on, never to be referred to again. Arnold (Pat Morita), the Oriental who owned Arnold's, first showed his face in 1975 but was replaced by a new owner, Alfred (Al Molinaro), in 1976. (Pat Morita had gotten his own series that fall, Mr. T and Tina.) Two lower-middle-class girls (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams) who turned up briefly in late 1975 -- on a double date with Richie and Fonzie -- quickly went on to a series of their own, Laverne & Shirley. Chachi (Scott Baio) arrived in 1977, as Fonzie's younger cousin, the same season that Richie began going steady with Lori Beth (Lynda Goodfriend), with the performers who played both roles turning up together on an NBC series, Who's Watching the Kids, the following fall as well.

As the 1976-1977 season ended, Richie and the gang graduated from high school and it seemed that Fonzie, the dropout, might be left behind. But at the last minute it turned out that the Fonz, while working days at various garages, had been going to night school and would get his diploma too. Richie, Potsie and Ralph enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, with Fonzie still around (though not enrolled) to advise them on love and life. Richie enrolled as a journalism student and Potsie as a psychology major, while Ralph followed in his father's footsteps to become an eye doctor -- though he really wanted to be a comedian.

In 1980 series star Ron Howard announced that he was leaving (as was Danny Most, who played Richie and Potsie's pal Ralph Malph), so Richie and Ralph were written out as having joined the army. They were stationed in Greenland, and from there Ritchie corresponded with and eventually proposed to Lori Beth. Fonzie, meanwhile, had become so straight that he was now a co-owner of Arnold's and also shop teacher at Jefferson High. Marion's nephew Roger Phillips (Ted McGinley), a Yale man, also joined the faculty as basketball coach. It was now the 1960s and the focus of the program turned increasingly to the next generation, particularly the teenage love of Chachi and Joanie, and Joanie's independent, boy-crazy friend, Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers), who was finally seen on the show, after years of only being referred to.

The program had by this time become such an institution that in 1980 it was announced that Fonzie's leather jacket was being enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.

The origin of this immensely successful series was a skit that appeared on Love, American Style in February 1972, titled "Love and the Happy Day," and starring Ronnie Howard and Anson Williams. The original theme song for the series was Bill Haley's famous 1955 hit record "Rock Around the Clock," which promptly became a best-seller all over again in 1974 as a result of its exposure on the show. It was later superseded as the theme by an original composition, "Happy Days," which was itself on the hit parade in 1976.

ABC aired reruns of Happy Days on its daytime lineup from September 1975 to March 1979, and an animated Saturday morning version from November 1980 to September 1983. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: January 30, 1977
LAST TELECAST: August 26, 1979

videos bullet iconThe adventures of 16-year-old Joe (Shaun Cassidy) and 18-year-old Frank Hardy (Parker Stevenson), the teenage detective sons of world-famous investigator Fenton Hardy (Edmund Gilbert), were the basis of this series. Their exploits were usually on the non-violent side, involving ghosts, missing persons, smugglers and other "mysteries" rather than violent action. Often they had a contemporary youth orientation, to appeal to the teenagers who made up much of the audience to this show, as when the boys travelled to Europe to Transylvania to attend a rock concert at Dracula's castle, where they encountered strange goings-on. Helping out were Callie Shaw (Lisa Eilbacher) who worked part time in Fenton Hardy's detective agency, and Aunt Gertrude (Edith Atwater). Added in 1978 were federal agent Harry Gibbon (Phillip R. Allen) and CIA operative Harry Hammond (Jack Kelly).

At first the series alternated on Sunday nights with The Nancy Drew Mysteries, which starred Pamela Sue Martin in the title role. In the fall of 1977 the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew appeared jointly in some episodes, and then in February 1978, the two programs were combined into one, with the title changed to The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and all three leads appearing together regularly. Unhappy with the elimination of her separate series, Pamela Sue Martin left the program and was briefly replaced by 18-year-old Janet Louise Johnson. The character of Nancy Drew was dropped altogether in the fall of 1978, and the title was shortened to The Hardy Boys.

In addition to his adventures, Shaun Cassidy found time to launch a singing career while on this program, much as his older brother David Cassidy had done while on another series, The Partridge Family, seven years earlier. Shaun sang "Da Do Ron Ron" on an April 1977 telecast, and saw it become a number one record hit in the summer.

The Hardy Boys mystery books, on which this series was based, were the product of a remarkable "writing factory" founded in the early 1900s by Edward Stratemeyer, which was also responsible for the Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Rover Boys, and Bobbsey Twins series, and hundreds of other juvenile adventure best-sellers. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: August 25, 1979
LAST TELECAST: July 31, 1984

videos bullet iconJonathan and Jennifer Hart (Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers) were rich, stylish, and supersleuths. He was a self-made millionaire, head of the huge Hart Industries conglomerate (which never seemed to require his attention); she was an internationally known freelance journalist. From their mansion in Beverly Hills, they rekindled their continuing love affair by setting out each week on a new adventure. They roamed the glamour spots of the world in their private jet, hobnobbed with the rich, famous, and not-so-famous, and along the way solved crimes that baffled more pedestrian souls. Gravel-voiced Max (Lionel Stander) was their chauffeur and confidant, Freeway, their dog.

The series was created by best-selling novelist Sidney Sheldon. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 26, 1968
LAST TELECAST: September 26, 1978
THEME: "Hawaii Five-O" by the Ventures

videos bullet iconThough based in the Ionai Palace in downtown Honolulu, the men of Hawaii's Five-O group were not members of the Honolulu Police Department. They worked instead as part of the Hawaiian State Police and were accountable directly to the governor (Richard Denning). Stolid, unemotional Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) was the head of Five-O, and worked with his own men and the local police in solving various individual crimes and fighting the organized forces of the Hawaiian underworld. Most hated of all the evil men in the islands was the criminal genius Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh). He would pop up periodically to make life difficult for McGarrett, who was bound and determined to put him in jail. Though Steve did manage to interfere with Wo Fat's illegal operations, he couldn't piece together sufficient evidence to bring him to court.

Hawaii Five-O was filmed entirely on location and it may well have been the beautiful scenery as well as the action and adventure that made it so popular. Whatever the causes, Hawaii Five-O was immensely successful. It was the longest continuously running police show in the history of television. Surprisingly, there was very little turnover among the leads. Steve did go through two secretaries, May (Maggi Parker) being replaced by Jenny Sherman (Peggy Ryan) after the first season, and one of his assistants, Kono Kalakaua (Zulu), left after four seasons, but for most of the cast the working conditions in Hawaii were too pleasant to give up. After ten seasons, however, Kam Fong tired of the role of Chin Ho Kelly and was written out of the show by having his character killed in the final episode of the 1977-78 season.

At the end of the following season, James MacArthur decided he had enough of playing McGarrett's top assistant, Danny "Danno" Williams, and he too left Hawaii Five-O. That fall three new members were added to the Five-O team, including former policewoman Lori Wilson (Sharon Farrell). The ratings were falling, and the infusion of new people didn't help. It became obvious to all that this would be Hawaii Five-O's last season. Near the end of the run, on April 5, 1980, McGarrett's most bitter enemy was finally brought to justice. Disguised as a scientist, McGarrett sprung a trap that sent Wo Fat, seen for the first time in five years, to jail.

The Ioni Palace which in this series was the seat of the Hawaiian government, had at one time housed the Hawaiian Legislature. That time was long gone, however, as it had been a museum for many years prior to the start of Hawaii Five-O.

Reruns from the last season's episodes aired under the title McGarrett on CBS Late Night.

On September 20, 2010, CBS premiered a new "reimagined" Hawaii Five-O set in present-day Hawaii with a cast including Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett, Scott Caan (son of Oscar-nominated actor James Caan) as "Danno" Williams, Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly, Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua, and Jean Smart as Gov. Patricia Jameson. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: June 15, 1969
LAST TELECAST: July 13, 1971

videos bullet iconHee Haw was Country music's answer to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Blackouts, nutty running gags, cameos by assorted guest stars, and some of the worst "corny" one-liners imaginable, appropriately delivered from a cornfield, all contributed to the mix. An animated donkey was used on a regular basis to react to the humor, and to provide the "hee haw" of the title.

Although the humor was purposely cornball, the music on Hee Haw was first-rate Country material. Co-hosts Buck Owens and Roy Clark were both major Country stars, Clark being one of the best banjoist-guitarists in the business. Other big names from the Country field, both current and long-established, were also featured regularly. Hee Haw was in the Top 20 nationally when it was dropped from the network in 1971, a victim of CBS's decision to "de-ruralize" its programming (national advertisers want only young, urban audiences). Like Lawrence Welk, which was dropped by ABC for similar reasons, it promptly went into syndication with all new shows and was a major hit for several more years on a non-network basis. When co-host Buck Owens left the show after the 1985-1986 season he was not replaced. Instead, a policy of having Roy Clark joined by weekly guest co-hosts was instituted. Buy Hee Haw Collection - Premier + Laffs at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 1968
LAST TELECAST: September 1974

videos bullet iconTackling a series of her own, without husband Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball firmly established herself as the first lady of American television with The Lucy Show in 1962. With one exception, the supporting cast underwent numerous changes over the years, and by 1968, it was retitled Here's Lucy and included both of Miss Ball's real-life children. The one exception was Gale Gordon, who provided Lucy with a stubborn, stuffy foil for most of the show's run. The real constant, however, was Lucy and her special brand of slapstick humor, played off all sorts of guests and regulars. Such was her fame by this time that she could attract Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (and their well-publicized diamond ring) as special guests to open one season (1971), as well as many other stars who normally shunned television.

When it appeared in the fall of 1962, The Lucy Show cast its star as a widow with two children. Chris (Candy Moore) and Jerry (Jimmy Garrett), living in suburban Danfield, Connecticut, and sharing her home with a divorced friend, Vivian Bagley (Vivian Vance), and Vivian's son, Sherman (Ralph Hart). Both women were desperately looking to snag new husbands and Lucy, in an effort to keep busy and meet eligible men, eventually went to work part-time for Mr. Mooney (Gale Gordon) at the Danfield First National Bank. In September 1965, Lucy moved to San Francisco, as coincidentally did banker Mooney, and again she was working as his secretary, this time at the Westland Bank. Lucy's daughter Chris was no longer with the cast and Vivian Bagley, no longer a series regular, appeared only occasionally as a visitor from the East. Lucy's new cohort was friend Mary Jane Lewis (Mary Jane Croft). The last episode under this title aired on September 16, 1968.

In September 1968 the show returned with a new title (Here's Lucy), a couple of major cast changes, and a modified story line. Lucy had moved to Los Angeles and her last name was now Carter. She was still a widow and with two children, but they were now named Kim and Craig (played by her real-life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr.). She worked for the Unique Employment Agency, which was owned by her brother-in-law, Harrison "Uncle Harry" Carter. Gale Gordon was thus retained as her blustery, ever-suffering foil. During the summers of 1968-1971 reruns of the earlier Lucy Shows were aired. CBS aired weekday daytime reruns of The Lucy Show from September 1968 to September 1972, and of Here's Lucy from May to November 1977. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: December 17, 1979
LAST TELECAST: September 13, 1982

Dating someone with whom you work can create problems, as Charley Michaels (Wayne Rogers) and Ann Anderson (Lynn Redgrave) learned. He was a surgeon at Kensington General Hospital in San Francisco, a good doctor but less than enthusiastic about conforming to hospital rules and regulations. She was the hospital's new administrative assistant, an English lady with a commitment to keeping the hospital running efficiently. They were romantically involved but often at odds when Charley's concern for his patients conflicted with Ann's concern for the business side of Kensington. Others in the cast were Norman Solomon (Ray Buktenica), a neurotic young obstetrician; Amos Weatherby (David Wayne), the brilliant but absent-minded (some would say senile) chief of surgery; Ann's stuffy boss, Conrad Peckler (Marc L. Taylor); and Mrs. Phipps (Deedy Peters), a flighty hospital volunteer who provided patients with books, candy, and other inexpensive odds and ends.

Based on the motion picture starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson.

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FIRST TELECAST: February 12, 1978
LAST TELECAST: April 23, 1979

videos bullet iconJames Arness, the Marshal Dillon of the long running Gunsmoke series, returned to TV screens in 1978 in this mixture of western adventure and soap opera. Zeb Macahan (Arness) was a rugged mountain man who had spent ten years in the Dakota Territory before returning to Virginia, where his brother's family was preparing to make the long trek west. No sooner had they set out than the Civil War broke out. Zeb's brother Timothy returned east and his wife Kate was subsequently killed in an accident, leaving the four Macahan children in Zeb's care. Luke (Bruce Boxleitner), the eldest, had killed three men in self-defense, and was a fugitive from the law; Laura (Kathryn Holcomb) was pretty and ready for womanhood; Jessie (Vicki Schreck) was the tomboyish 12-year-old; and teenager Josh (William Kirby Cullen) was exuberant and anxious to become the man of the family. Aunt Molly (Fionnula Flanagan), Kate's widowed sister, came from Boston to help them on the long journey, through dangers and hardships caused by indians, renegades, nature and the other perils of an untamed West. After an initial run in 1978, the series returned in 1979 with eleven new two-hour episodes depicting the Macahans as they homesteaded a ranch in the Tetons, and began to raise Appaloosa horses.

Adding to the epic scope of the series was the spectacular setting; the program was filmed on location in Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Southern California. The executive producer was John Mantley, who had also been producer of Gunsmoke. The series was based on the 1963 motion picture of the same name, which was directed by John Ford and featured an all star cast, including John Wayne.

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FIRST TELECAST: July 31, 1974
LAST TELECAST: August 28, 1974

videos bullet iconThe Hudson Brothers (Bill, Brett and Mark) were, according to series producer Alan Blye, "a cross between the Marx Brothers and the Beatles." They sang reasonably well and did sketch and monologue comedy in this short-lived variety series. They were all in their twenties and much of their material was aimed at the under-35 audience. Cast regulars included Ronny Graham, Gary Owens, Stephanie Edwards and Ron Hull.

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Adventure Drama
FIRST TELECAST: March 10, 1978
LAST TELECAST: June 2, 1982

videos bullet iconDavid Bruce Banner (Bill Bixby) was a research scientist who had been experimenting with various means of determining the effects of stress on physical strength. In a freak accident in his laboratory, David was exposed to a massive dosage of radiation that had a dramatic effect on his physiology. Normally a quiet, peaceful man, David now found that every time he became angered he turned into The Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferringo), a huge, greenish, man-like monster of immense strength and primitive passions. David knew what was happening when the transformation started to take place but, when he calmed down and returned to normal, had no recollection of what he had done when he was the creature. Traveling around the country in search of a cure, and taking odd jobs to keep himself fed and clothed, David sought to avoid the pursuit of investigative reporter Jack McGee (Jack Colvin), who suspected his secret but who had no real proof.

The Incredible Hulk was based on the comic-book character created by Stan Lee in 1962. From September 1982 to September 1985, NBC aired an animated version of The Incredible Hulk as part of its Saturday morning lineup. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 14, 1967
LAST TELECAST: January 16, 1975

videos bullet iconRobert Ironside (Raymond Burr) had been chief of detectives for the San Francisco Police Department for many years, and a member of the force for 25, when a would-be assassin's bullet grazed his spine and left him paralyzed from the waist down. Forced to leave the force as a regular member, he convinced Police Commissioner Dennis Randall (Gene Lyons) to appoint him to a position as special consultant. Helping him wage his unrelenting war against crime were two former assistants, Sgt. Ed Brown (Don Galloway) and Policewoman Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson), and an ex-delinquent Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell) who became his aide and bodyguard. Confined to a wheelchair, Ironside made use of a specially equipped police van for transportation and some unused office space at police headquarters as a base of operations. When Barbara Anderson left the series at the end of the 1970-71 season over a contract dispute, she was replaced by Elizabeth Baur as Policewoman Fran Belding. Mark, who had found time to go to law school while working for Chief Ironside, graduated at the start of the 1974-75 season and got married. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: October 27, 1977
LAST TELECAST: July 27, 1978

videos bullet iconJames at 15 was one of TV's more honest attempts to portray the pains and joys of growing up in the 1970s. 15 year-old James Hunter (Lance Kerwin) was a bright, sensitive boy who found his world completely disrupted when his father, college professor Paul Hunter (Linden Chiles), moved the family from Oregon to Boston, Mass., in order to accept a new teaching position. At first James tried run away; then he began to learn how to cope with life in a new, city environment. Among his new friends at Bunker Hill High were a hip black named Sly Hazeltine (David Hubbard), who always had a little sage advice, or "slychology," when James needed it; and Marlene Mahoney (Susan Myers), a plain but very intelligent girl who always took the intellectual point of view. Sandy Hunter (Kim Richards) was James' teenage sister, and Kathy Hunter (Deirdre Berthrong) their older sister.

James was an avid photographer and also a daydreamer. One of the novel elements of the series was his periodic lapses into daydreaming of himself as he would like to be -- heroic, suave, etc. -- portrayed in special dreamlike sequences. Although there was comedy in James at 15, none of the main characters were caricatures, and likewise the subject matter was sometimes rather serious: a young friend who was dying of cancer, teenage alcoholism, venereal disease, the discovery that Kathy was having a pre-marital affair. Perhaps the most controversial episode was one in which James lost his own virginity in an affair with a Swedish exchange student, Christina Kollberg (Kirsten Baker). Although the subject matter in the series was tastefully handled, and NBC had high hopes for the show, it did not attract a large audience and was canceled after a single season.

Effective February 9, 1978, the episode dealing with James' affair, the series' title was changed to James at 16.

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: January 18, 1975
LAST TELECAST: July 23, 1985
THEME: "Moving on Up" by Jeff Barry and Ja'net DuBois
PRODUCER: Norman Lear

videos bullet iconGeorge Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) was the black Archie Bunker. In fact, he had been Archie's next-door neighbor in Queens for several years, a situation that created quite a turmoil between the two opinionated, blustery, bigoted individuals. George had started a small dry cleaning business and his success resulted in expansion to a small chain. It was at that point that this spinoff from All in the Family started, with George, his level-headed wife Louise (Isabel Sanford), and their college-student son Lionel (Mike Evans) moving into a luxury high-rise apartment on Manhattan's East Side.

One of the Jeffersons' neighbors was an erudite Englishman, Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict); another was Tom Willis (Franklin Clover), a white man with a black wife named Helen (Roxie Roker). Their daughter Jenny (Berlinda Tolbert) became Lionel's girl friend, fiancée, and finally wife when they were married in the 1976 Christmas show. George's quickly acquired wealth enabled his natural snobbishness to assert itself, and he was often pretty intolerable. He resented Lionel's involvement with the child of a mixed marriage and was continually at odds with Tom and Helen. Adding to the general level of discord in the Jefferson apartment was their wise-cracking maid, Florence (Marla Gibbs).

Mike Evans, who had played the role of Lionel on All in the Family and stayed with it when The Jeffersons first went on the air, left the show in the fall of 1975. He was replaced by Damon Evans, another young black actor, to whom he was not related. Early in the 1977-78 season a young, street-wise black named Marcus Garvey (Ernest Harden, Jr.) was added to the cast as an employee of the branch of George Jefferson's chain of cleaning stores that was located in the lobby of the building in which the Jeffersons lived. The following fall brought Allan Willis (Jay Hammer), Jenny's white brother, back from a commune to become a regular member of the cast and source of irritation to both his own father and George Jefferson. Damon Evans had left the cast and, although Lionel was occasionally referred to in various episodes, he was no longer seen until Mike Evans, the original Lionel, returned to the series in the fall of 1979. Lionel and Jenny had a baby girl, Jessica, the following spring. After graduation from college, Lionel found a job as an electrical engineer for Teletex Electronics. His career was moving along but his marriage was faltering, and in the fall of 1981 Lionel and Jenny separated. Although Lionel no longer appeared on The Jeffersons, Jenny, who had become a fashion designer, continued to show up periodically. Neighbor Bentley returned in late 1983, after a two-year stay in Russia, still his very proper self, and George's business, as well as The Jeffersons' ratings, continued to prosper. In 1984 George went into partnership, along with Tom Willis, in Charlie's Bar, a little place that became their leisure-time hangout, and the following January Lionel and Jenny filed for divorce. That summer, after a run of more than a decade, The Jeffersons finally faded from the CBS prime-time schedule.

CBS aired reruns of The Jeffersons as part of its weekday daytime lineup from February 1980 to September 1981. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: October 24, 1973
LAST TELECAST: March 28, 1978

videos bullet iconWhen they started out together in the New York Police Department, Theo Kojak (Telly Savalas) and Frank McNeil (Dan Frazer) had worked closely together and, for a number of years, been partners. Over the years, Frank had worked his way up the hierarchy to the point where he was now chief of detectives for the 13th Precinct in the Manhattan South district. Kojak, who had a cynical sense of humor and was determined to do things his way regardless of what his bosses thought, was now working for him. Kojak was outspoken and streetwise, and was not above stretching the literal interpretation of the law if it would help him crack a case. Working closely with him was plain-clothes detective Bobby Crocker (Kevin Dobson), as close to a regular partner as he had.

The supporting role of Detective Stavros was played by Telly Savalas' brother George who, during the first two seasons the show was on the air, was billed as Demosthenes in the credits rather than by his real name. Starting with the 1976-77 season, considerable location filming was done in New York with Kojak seen all over the city licking his trademark lollipops. Kojak received much favorable publicity from police departments around the country for its realistic portrayal of police work.

In 1989, years after the original series ended, 65-year-old Telly Savalas returned to the mean streets of New York to make some new Kojak films for ABC Mystery Movie. Kojak was now an Inspector, with a bright, young assistant named Det. Winston Blake (Andre Braugher). Det. Paco Montana (Kario Salem) was Blake's regular partner, and Pamela (Candace Savalas) was Kojak's secretary. Lollipops and "who loves ya, baby" were once again the order of the day, and in one episode a characer from the old series even turned up. Lt. Bobby Crocker (played by Kevin Dobson), now a hotshot assistant D.A., was out to prosecute his successor Blake for murder. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 13, 1974
LAST TELECAST: August 30, 1975

videos bullet iconStories of the bizarre and supernatural, seen through the eyes of Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin), crime reporter for Chicago's Independent News Service. The series was an odd mixture of reality and fantasy, with wisecracking reporter Kolchak and his common-sense investigations juxtaposed with inexplicable happenings. Instead of the usual hoods, Kolchak kept running into vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other esoteric phenomena. If he was sent to cover a crooked politician, he would find that the man had sold his soul to the Devil -- literally. If he was covering a museum opening, a 500-year-old Aztec mummy would come to life. Kolchak's main trouble was convincing his skeptical editor, Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland), to print his incredible revelations.

Kolchak was based on the highly successful TV movie of the same name. It premiered, appropriately enough, on Friday the 13th, but lasted for only a single season. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: October 14, 1972
LAST TELECAST: June 28, 1975

videos bullet iconKung Fu could probably best be classified as a philosophical Western. It attracted quite a bit of notoriety and a cult following in the early 1970s, due to its unusual protagonist. Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) was a shaven-headed Buddhist monk, and a hunted man. He had been born in China in the mid-1800s of Chinese and American parents, and was raised as an orphan by the monks of Shaolin Temple. They tutored him in a mystic philosophy of internal harmony and the "oneness of all things," and a code of non-violence. They also taught him the martial arts of kung fu -- just in case.

Then one day young Caine was involved in an incident in which he was forced to kill a member of the Chinese royal family. Fleeing China, he landed in the American West where he began a search for a long-lost brother -- while he himself was pursued by Chinese Imperial agents and American bounty hunters. Caine spoke very little, uttering occasional cryptic statements about the nature of being and universal harmony. He was usually a loner, although in the final season an American cousin, Margit McLean (Season Hubley), began to make occasional appearances. Kung Fu used many gimmicks to lend its surreal aspect, such as slow-motion photography, and included frequent flashbacks to Caine's days as a youth in China in which his teachers, Master Po (Keye Luke) and Master Kan (Philip Ahn), appeared, as well as Caine as a young boy (Radames Pera).

The star, David Carradine, was responsible for much of the publicity surrounding this show. A member of a respected theatrical family (his father, John Carradine, had appeared in many famous movies of the 1930s and 1940s), David dropped out of Hollywood's glittering world and lived a decidedly unconventional life in a ramshackle old house in the Hollywood hills, reflecting the same philosophy of mysticism and "oneness with nature" that Caine represented.

Kung Fu, incidentally, translates roughly as "accomplishment technique," and is China's ancient science of personal combat, from which karate and judo are derived. It enjoyed quite a vogue in the U.S. during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a result of the movies of Chinese-American actor Bruce Lee. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: January 27, 1976
LAST TELECAST: May 10, 1983
THEME: "Making Our Dreams Come True," by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox; sung by Cyndi Grecco.

videos bullet iconThis slapstick 1950s-era comedy was about two spunky girls from lower-class backgrounds, without much education, with no money, but with the determination to get ahead. They worked on an assembly line in the bottle-cap division of the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee. Laverne (Penny Marshall) was the quick-tempered, defensive one, always afraid of getting hurt (which she usually did) -- a glib realist. Shirley (Cindy Williams) was naive and trusting, a sucker for a sad story. Others in the cast included Lenny (Michael McKean) and Squiggy (David L. Lander), the girls' screwball neighbors and truckdrivers at the plant; amorous Carmine (Eddie Mekka), "The Big Ragu"; Laverne's father Frank (Phil Foster), owner of the Pizza Bowl, a local hangout; Mrs. Babish (Betty Garrett), the sardonic landlady who was first seen in the fall of 1976 (replacing the original landlady, Mrs. Havenwurst, played by Helen Page Camp, seen in only a couple of episodes); and Rosie (Carole Ita White), an uppity friend.

Laverne & Shirley was a spinoff of sorts from Happy Days, in which the girls appeared only briefly. It was set in the same city and period, and the girls' friend Fonzie sometimes stopped by to say hello. With friends like that Laverne & Shirley shot to the top of the ratings. During the 1977-78 season it was the number one program on television.

With the 1978-79 season, the program moved into the 1960s. Frank De Fazio and Mrs. Babish, both single, began dating, and in the fall of 1979 they were married. Then, in the fall of 1980, the whole crew picked up and moved to Burbank, California, all seeking to better their lot in a new environment. The girls began trying to get into the movies. Frank and Edna opened a restaurant, Cowboy Bill's. Carmine just wanted to be near his best girl, Shirley. New neighbors included Rhonda (Leslie Easterbrook), a caustic dancer and model, and Sonny (Ed Marinaro), a stuntman, and their apartment building manager.

Life behind the scenes on Laverne and Shirley had always been tumultuous, due to an intense rivalry between its two stars. Demands were made, writers fired, feuds erupted. Finally in 1982 Cindy Williams, who was pregnant, left the series. Her character, Shirley, married an army medic named Walter Meany who was assigned overseas. Laverne tried to go it alone, but, faced with withering competion from The A-Team on NBC, Laverne & Shirley quietly expired the following spring.

The theme song of the series was on the hit parade in 1976 in a recording by Cyndi Grecco, who was also heard on the show. Reruns of Laverne & Shirley were on ABC's daytime lineup from April 1979 to June 1980, and a Saturday morning cartoon version was seen from October 1981 to September 1983. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: February 9, 1977
LAST TELECAST: July 26, 1978

videos bullet iconSet in the Western United States during the late 1800s, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams was the story of a man (Dan Haggerty) accused of a crime he had not committed, who sought refuge in the wilderness and discovered that life there suited him better than life in the city. With the help of a friend named Mad Jack (Denver Pyle) and an Indian blood brother, Nakuma (Don Shanks), Grizzly built a sturdy cabin and determined to live in harmony with nature. A grizzly bear cub became his roommate. The bear was christened Ben, and though he grew to be an imposing animal weighing several hundred pounds, he remained friendly as a child. With Ben as his constant companion, the bearded Grizzly Adams found wilderness adventure dealing with nature, the elements, and strangers passing through. A frequent visitor was young Robbie Cartman (John Bishop), the son of a farmer living in the area, who loved to listen to Grizzly's tales.

Dan Haggerty, who starred in the series, played the same role in the movie The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, and a similar role in another film, The Adventures of Frontier Freemont. Haggerty was originally an animal trainer rather than an actor, and was chosen for the film roles partly because of his remarkable rapport with bears. Denver Pyle appeared as his costar in both films.

There was a real Grizzly Adams, upon whom this series was loosely based. He was born in Massachusetts in 1812, and spent many years in the Sierra Nevadas after having gone bankrupt through a series of unfortunate business deals. The real Grizzly was a bit less altruistic than his TV counterpart. Having deserted his wife and children, he spent much of his time hunting and killing animals and capturing others for zoos (a few of the larger beasts almost killed him on one occasion or another). The real Ben died in a zoo that Adams himself opened in San Francisco in the 1850s. But Adams also loved animals and cared for many of them throughout his wilderness days. He died while on tour with P.T. Barnum in 1860. Buy the pilot movie on VHS at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 11, 1974
LAST TELECAST: March 21, 1983

videos bullet iconThe time was the late 1870s/early 1880s, and the location was the American West, but Little House on the Prairie was not a Western in the usual sense. There were no cowboys, Indians or cowtown saloons in this version of frontier life -- it was more like The Waltons in a different setting, the story of a loving family in trying times.

Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon) was a homesteader struggling to make a living for his family on a small farm near the town of Walnut Grove, Plum Creek, Minnesota. The Ingalls had moved from the great plains of Kansas to Walnut Grove in search of a future in a young and growing community. With Charles were his wife Caroline (Karen Grassle) and three daughters, teenagers Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson) and Laura (Melissa Gilbert), and little Carrie (played alternately by a pair of identical twins, Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush). Stories related the experiences of family life and growing children, the constant struggle against natural disasters and ruined crops, and the dealings with other members of the little community in which they lived. Among the Ingalls' new friends were Mr. Hanson (Karl Swenson), the mill owner; Nels Oleson (Richard Bull), the proprietor of the general store; and Mr. Edwards (Victor French), a nearby farmer who became a good friend, despite his rather harsh exterior.

A lot happened on Little House since that simple beginning, as the program came to resemble a serial. First, Mr. Edwards left in 1977 (Victor French got his own series, Carter Country), and was replaced by Jonathan Garvey (played by former Los Angeles Rams star Merlin Olsen). Garvey had a wife named Alice (Hersha Parady) and a young son, Andy (Patrick Laborteaux). In 1978 Caroline gave birth to a fourth daughter, Grace (played alternatively by Wendy and Brenda Turnbeaugh), but oldest daughter Mary lost her sight and was sent to a school for the blind. Mary promptly fell in love with her instructor, Adam Kendall (Linwood Boomer), and they moved off to the Dakotas.

No sooner were they gone than the town of Walnut Grove fell on hard times, and Charles and his family (along with some other regulars) had to pack up and move to the bustling frontier city of Winoka, where their household was enlarged again by the addition of Albert, a young orphan they adopted. City life didn't sit well with the family, however, so they all moved back to Walnut Grove, which had miraculously recovered from its problems. Mary and Adam moved back too, and had a baby boy, who unfortunately perished (with Alice Garvey) when the school for the blind where Mary was teaching burned down.

Feeling left out amid all this travail, daughter Laura decided to become a teacher, and was courted by and eventually married Almanzo Wilder (Dean Butler), in the fall of 1980. Even nasty Nellie Oleson (Alison Arngrim) got married, although problems arose when it was discovered that her husband, Percival (Steve Tracy), was really Jewish and a decision had to be made about how to raise their children. Since Nellie had twins, everything was resolved by deciding they raise the son as a Jew and the daughter as a Christian!

Jonathan Garvey, now a widower, moved to nearby Sleepy Eye to manage a warehouse, and convinced Charles to set up a freight business between there and Walnut Grove. Meanwhile, over in the Adam and Mary subplot, Adam regained his sight in a freak accident, and was accepted to law school.

Michael Landon's decision to leave Little House prompted a number of changes in the fall of 1982. The title was changed to Little House: A New Beginning, and Laura and Almanzo became the principal stars. Economic problems forced Charles to sell the "little house" and move to Burr Oak, Iowa, where he had found a job. Moving into the former Ingalls home were John and Sarah Carter (Stan Ivar and Pamela Roylance), who ran the town newspaper, and their sons Jeb and Jason (Lindsay Kennedy and David Friedman). Laura gave up her teaching job to raise both her newborn daughter Rose and niece Jenny Wilder (Shannon Doherty), who was orphaned when Almanzo's brother Royal died. Laura's replacement at the school, Etta Plum, was portrayed by Michael Landon's daughter Leslie.

The series' audience had been declining for several years, and the revised version lasted only a single season.

The stories told on Little House were originally based on the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which contained her recollections of growing up on the American frontier. On the TV series, the actress playing Laura functioned as the narrator. Michael Landon, who starred in this series, was also its executive producer. Buy this series on DVD at

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Detective Drama
FIRST TELECAST: September 9, 1971
LAST TELECAST: August 10, 1972

videos bullet iconMike Longstreet (James Franciscus) was a New Orleans insurance-company investigator. While on a case he had the double misfortune of having his wife killed and his eyesight destroyed by people determined that he not solve the case. Despite his injury, Mike refused to quit the business. With his German shepherd guide dog Pax to help him get around, and an electronic cane to judge distances, Longstreet remained a remarkably successful investigator. If anything, blindness sharpened his other senses and analytical skills. Mike's girl Friday, Nikki Bell (Marlyn Mason), was his biggest booster; his insurance-company friend Duke Paige (Peter Mark Richman) worked with him on many cases.

Kung Fu expert Bruce Lee appeared in this series as Longstreet's self-defense instructor. Buy this series on VHS at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 20, 1977
LAST TELECAST: September 13, 1982

videos bullet iconIn the final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore show, Lou Grant (Ed Asner) and most of the news staff of WJM-TV in Minneapolis were all fired. Fifty years old, and out of work, Lou moved to Los Angeles where, next season, he got a new job. No longer involved in television news, he became city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune, a crusading newspaper under the autocratic rule of its owner-publisher, Margaret Pynchon (Nancy Marchand). Though he officially worked for managing editor Charlie Hume (Mason Adams), an old friend, Lou often found himself in a battle of wills with the widowed Mrs. Pynchon, a woman with personality traits -- stubbornness, toughness, and determination -- very similar to his own. Despite the fireworks that usually erupted when they disagreed, there was an underlying mutual respect between them. Other principals included Joe Rossi (Robert Walden), the hotshot, talented young investigative reporter; Carla Mardigian (Rebecca Balding), an ambitious young girl reporter [who lasted only a few weeks, to be replaced by Billie Newman (Linda Kelsey), another young reporter with similar aspirations]; Art Donovan (Jack Bannon), the assistant city editor; and Dennis "Animal" Price (Darryl Anderson), the staff photographer. Although essentially a dramatic series, Lou Grant did have its lighter moments, usually revolving around the interplay between the members of the paper's staff.

The personal life of reporter Billie Newman was the focus of the 1981-82 season premiere episode of Lou Grant, as Billie wed baseball scout Ted McCovey (Cliff Potts). The series concluded its run the following spring, amid a controversy not radically different from the type that had served as story material for Lou Grant. Despite CBS' statement that Lou Grant was canceled because of declining ratings, there were many who felt that the political statements of series star Ed Asner were the real reason. Asner himself accused CBS of dropping the show because of his unpopular and highly publicized condemnation of U.S. involvement in Central America. Buy this series on VHS at

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Comedy Anthology
FIRST TELECAST: September 29, 1969
LAST TELECAST: January 11, 1974

videos bullet iconThis imaginative anthology was a collection of short comedy playlets, starring all sorts of big names, and dealing with the all-important subject of love. Love was seen from all sides, young and old, rich and poor, unmarried and married, long married, and multi-married. Generally three or four playlets were presented on each episode, interspersed with short comic "blackouts" by a repertory company of six or seven young performers (including, throughout the show's run, Mary Grover, Stuart Margolin, Buzz Cooper, Barbara Minkus, Bill Callaway, Lynne Marta, Tracy Reed, Phyllis Davis, Jaki De Mar, Richard Williams, Jim Hampton, Jim Davis, James A. Watson, Jr., and Jed Allen). In 1972 a tasteful "Lovemate of the Week" centerfold was added, featuring a different girl each week.

A short list of those appearing in Love, American Style reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood: Phyllis Diller, Nanette Fabray, Tammy Grimes, Ann Southern, Paul Ford, Pat Paulsen, Milton Berle, Sonny & Cher, the Lennon Sisters, George Gobel, Dorothy Lamour, Wally Cox, Tony Randall, Paul Lynde, Burt Reynolds, Harry Morgan, Rich Little, Ozzy & Harriet, Tiny Tim (as a suspected vampire), Sid Ceasar, Imogene Coca, Jacqueline Susann, and Martha Raye. Ronnie Howard and Anson Williams appeared in a skit entitled "Love and the Happy Day," which served as the pilot for the hit series, Happy Days.

The first telecast, on September 28, 1969, was typical of the show's format. Act I, "Love and a Couple of Couples": Michael Callan is a suitor about to propose when his ex-wife turns up, spies the ring, tries it on -- and can't get it off. Act II, "Love and the Hustler": Flip Wilson is pool shark "Big Red," who undertakes to instruct a young lady in the fine points of the game. Act III, "Love and the Pill": Bob Cummings and Jane Wyatt are parents worried about their daughter's plans to embark on a "swinger's tour" of Europe with her boyfriend.

Love, American Style reruns were seen in ABC daytime from June 1971 to May 1974.

An updated series of romantic vignettes, titled New Love, American Style, was produced for ABC's week-day daytime lineup more than a decade later, running from December 1985 to August 1986.

Love, American Style reruns were seen in ABC daytime from June 1971 to May 1974. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 24, 1977
LAST TELECAST: September 5, 1986
THEME: "The Love Boat" by Paul Williams and Charles Fox, sung by Jack Jones.

videos bullet iconThe Love Boat was closely patterned after ABC's hit series Love, American Style, wich ran from 1969 to 1974. Both programs consisted each week of several short comic sketches dealing with love of all types, young and old, married and unmarried, and both featured famous guest stars in the sketches. The difference was that all of Love Boat's stories were set aboard the Pacific Princess, a luxury cruise ship which embarked each week on a romantic, sentimental and often hilarious voyage across tropic seas. The three or four stories told on each telecast were thus interwoven and often involved the ship's crew, consisting of Captain Merrill Stubing (Gavin MacLeod), Dr. Adam Bricker (Bernie Kopell), yeoman "Gopher" Smith (Fred Grandy), bartender Isaac Washington (Ted Lange), and cruise director Julie McCoy (Lauren Tewes), who were seen on the show every week.

Among those appearing in guest roles were many TV and movie favorites, including Raymond Burr, Pearl Bailey, Steve Allen, Ethel Merman, Jane Wyman, Don Adams, Helen Hayes, Mildred Natwick, and Dick Van Patten. Some stories revolved around the crew, with Capt. Stubing's womanizing brother Marshall (also played by MacLeod) showing up on occasion, and Vicki (Jill Whelan), Stubing's 12-year-old daughter by a past girl friend, becoming a regular cast member in 1979.

The Love Boat was filmed on two real cruise ships, the Pacific Princess and the Island Princess, during their regular voyages from the Virgin Islands to Alaska. Paying passengers were invited to participate as extras, getting a raffle ticket for each day they "worked." Most passengers were delighted to take part, and cruises on which filming was planned were always booked solid long in advance.

In the spring of 1986, at the end of the original series run, Capt. Stubing romanced and married Emily Heywood (Marion Ross). A number of new two-hour Love Boat specials were aired during the following season.

The series was based on Jeraldine Saunders' book The Love Boat (written about her experiences as a cruise hostess), and first aired as a series of specials during the 1976-1977 season. ABC aired reruns of The Love Boat on weekday mornings from June 1980 to June 1983. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 17, 1972
LAST TELECAST: September 19, 1983
THEME: "Suicide Is Painless," by Johnny Mandel

videos bullet iconIn 1972 America was still embroiled in a lingering war in Vietnam, a war that had polarized the population. The climate created by an unpopular war was the perfect environment for an antiwar comedy like M*A*S*H. The setting was different, Korea in the early 1950s, but the stories and situations could just as easily have been from Vietnam in the 1970s.

The cast and characters of M*A*S*H were all members of the 4077th M obile A rmy S urgical H ospital, stationed behind the lines during the Korean War. Their job was to treat the wounded being sent to them from the front lines and to try to save as many lives as possible. The environment was depressing; many of the doctors (who had all been drafted) could not really believe they were living under the conditions to which they were being subjected. There was an overwhelming sense of the futility and insanity of war that permeated their daily lives. A certain sense of humor was necessary for survival.

Most of the senior members of the M.A.S.H. unit had wives and families back home, but that never stopped them from propositioning every good-looking nurse they could con into their quarters. After all, they did need something to alleviate the depression that resulted from contact with a constant stream of maimed and dying young G.I.'s. Two of the surgeons were Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (Alan Alda) and Capt. John "Trapper John" McIntyre (Wayne Rogers). Like virtually everyone else, they were always breaking regulations. Hawkeye, despite his escapades, was probably the most intellectual of the doctors and was sometimes seen musing on the dehumanizing nature of war and questioning its moral validity.

Among others who were featured was Maj. Frank Burns (Larry Linville), who was possibly the worst doctor in the unit, and the constant butt of practical jokes perpetrated by Hawkeye and Trapper because of his arrogance and his feigned adherence to military regulations. Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit) was the head nurse who, despite her admonitions to both her nurses and the doctors about fooling around with each other, had been having an affair with Frank Burns for an extended period. Lt. Col. Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson), the commanding officer whose prime concern was the work of the doctors in the operating room, couldn't care less about what they did during their free time. Cpl. Walter "Radar" O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff) was the extremely shy and bumbling young aide to Col. Blake. There were also numerous nurses who came and went, with the same actress being referred to in different episodes by different names -- a large number of actresses were collectively called Nurse Able and Nurse Baker. Dr. Sidney Freedman (Allan Arbus), an army psychiatrist, made sporadic visits to the 4077th M.A.S.H. to check on the mental condition of the staff.

There were changes in the cast over the years. The most significant addition was that of Cpl. Maxwell Klinger (Jamie Farr), an aide to the doctors in the operating room. There was nothing really wrong with him; it was just that he always dressed in women's clothing in a desperate, though futile, attempt to get himself discharged as mentally unfit. McLean Stevenson left the series in the spring of 1975, to sign a long-term contract with NBC, and his character, Col. Blake, was written out of the show in the last episode of the 1974-75 season (he was discharged and on his way home, only to have the plane in which he was flying go down in the Sea of Japan). He was replaced by Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan), who was somewhat more sardonic and definitely less silly than his predecessor. In the summer of 1975 Wayne Rogers also left the series, in a contract dispute; his character, Trapper, got a discharge and returned home at the beginning of the 1975-76 season. Capt. B.J. Hunnicut (Mike Farrell) replaced Trapper as Hawkeye's tentmate and co-conspirator.

At the beginning of the 1977-78 season Larry Linville left, and so Major Burns was written out of the series. Having seen his love affair with Hot Lips end when she married Lt. Col. Donald Penobscott, Frank abruptly went AWOL and was permanently transferred. Replacing him was an aristocratic Bostonian, Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester (David Ogden Stiers). Hot Lips' marriage to Col. Penobscott, who was not stationed with the 4077th and who was virtually never seen with his wife after the honeymoon, ended in divorce during the 1978-79 season. Gary Burghoff, the only member of the cast who had played the same role in the movie version of M*A*S*H, departed in the fall of 1979. His character, clairvoyant company clerk Radar O'Reilly, received his discharge and returned to the States. Cpl. Klinger, after a rocky start, settled in as the new company clerk.

The series finale, a highly anticipated, two-and-a-half-hour episode entitled "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," aired on February 28, 1983, to one of the largest audiences in the history of television. We learn the end of the war is only hours away, but the casualties keep coming in. Finally, the surgical teams learn of the immediate cease-fire as they operate on a group of desperately wounded soldiers and civilians. The war is over.

At the noisy, joyful camp party that night, members of the company talk about their lives after the war. Col. Potter looks forward to becoming a semi-retired country doctor. Hot Lips declares she has opted for the States and a big city hospital. Klinger announces his engagement to a local Korean girl and says that he is staying in Korea to help find her parents. Charles is going back to Boston; devoted family man B.J., of course, wants to go home, yet refuses to actually say "goodbye" to the others. And Hawkeye? Perhaps, after all, he will not be going to the big city surgical post that he always dreamed of.

After Klinger and his new bride leave the camp in traditional Korean style, the other members of the company depart one by one. By now, the camp is a ghost town. Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) leaves to start a new life ministering to the deaf. Hot Lips is kissed and hugged. Charles himself exits with a company sergeant in a garbage truck. Col. Potter takes his beloved horse Sophie for one last ride before she is adopted by the orphanage. Finally, B.J. and Hawkeye go together on B.J.'s motorbike to meet Hawkeye's chopper. As Hawkeye looks down over the desolate camp, he sees a message B.J. has left on the pad: a "GOODBYE" marked out in stone.

Some members of the 4077th -- Col. Potter, Klinger, Father Mulcahy -- would meet again in a sequel the following fall, called AfterMASH.

M*A*S*H was based on the hit motion picture of the same name, which in turn was taken from the novel. The novel had been written by a doctor who had actually served in one of the Korean War M.A.S.H. units, but who used a pseudonym -- Richard Hooker -- in writing, so as not to compromise his medical standing by his revelations. Reruns of M*A*S*H aired on CBS' weekday lineup from September 1978 to September 1979. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: October 2, 1973
LAST TELECAST: May 20, 1974

videos bullet iconEarlier in his life, stage magician Tony Blake (Bill Bixby) had spent time in prison for a crime he had not committed. Prison had been a particularly distasteful experience for a man of his background, and had left him with a strong sense of concern for personal freedom and individual rights. Once released, he put his talents as an illusionist and escape artist to use helping people in danger and preventing crimes. Syndicated columnist and novelist Max Pomeroy (Keene Curtis) was a close friend of Tony's and was often responsible for bringing him cases. Max's paraplegic son, Dennis (Todd Crespi) although confined to a wheelchair, also became involved in the cases, as did Jerry Wallace (Jim Watkins), the pilot of Tony's private airliner, The Spirit.

When the series moved to Monday nights in January 1974, Tony had taken up residence at Hollywood's famous Magic Castle, where many of the most renowned magicians in the world performed, and some of them were seen on this show. The magic acts performed by Blake were also genuine: Bill Bixby himself was an amateur magician. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 16, 1967
LAST TELECAST: August 27, 1975

videos bullet iconMannix was one of the most violent detective shows of its time, and also one of the longest-running. The original format had Joe Mannix (Mike Connors), a Los Angeles-based private detective, employed by a sophisticated detective firm called Intertect. Despite the fact that the company was dedicated to the use of computers and other advanced scientific detection aids, Mannix seemed happiest when working with no implements other than his own intuition and fists. At the start of the second season he had struck out on his own, taking a small office on the first floor of the building in which he lived. Helping him in his new role as an independent investigator was his secretary and girl Friday, Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher). Her husband, a friend of Mannix's and a former police officer, had been killed in the line of duty. Lou Wickersham (Joseph Campanella), Joe's old boss from Intertect, was also seen occasionally during the second season. Lt. Adam Tobias (Robert Reed) joined the cast as Joe's friend and contact on the police force at the start of the 1969-70 season.

The high point of every episode seemed to be a wild brawl, and the body count even in the first few minutes of the show was sometimes appalling. On their radio show, comedians Bob and Ray ran a continuing parody on the series called Bummix, in which the hero always held a polite conversation with some suspect, calmly agreed that mayhem was the only answer, and then was invariably beaten to a pulp. Buy this series on DVD at

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Medical Drama
FIRST TELECAST: September 23, 1969
LAST TELECAST: May 11, 1976
MEDICAL ADVISOR: Dr. Robert Forten

videos bullet iconRobert Young was one of the few actors in television history to be closely identified with two highly successful and long running roles -- that of kindly family man Jim Anderson on Father Knows Best in the 1950s (8 years) and that of kindly Dr. Marcus Welby in the 1970s (7 years). The 62-year-old Young came out of a seven-year retirement to originate the role of Dr. Welby.

Marcus Welby, M.D. portrayed the cases of a veteran general practitioner in Santa Monica, California, whose thoroughness and dedication involved him in the lives of all sorts of patients. Assisting him was young Dr. Steven Kiley (James Brolin), who during the first season contracted work with Welby for one year before resuming his training as a neurologist (he stayed). Thus the inevitable tension between youth and experience was established, but in this case Welby tended to be the more unorthodox of the two, often confounding the dedicated but textbook-oriented Kiley with his psychiatric approach to medicine. Welby treated the whole patient, his temperament, fears and family environment, as well as his physical ailments. The ailments were certainly varied for a suburban GP: during the first season alone there were tumors, autistic children, strokes, pernicious anemia, blindness, emphysema, LSD side effects, leukemia, diabetes, Huntington's Chorea, faith healing, dope addiction, an overweight racing jockey, and a diver who kept getting the bends.

A love interest was provided for Dr. Welby during the first season by Myra Sherwood (Anne Baxter), but this role was soon dropped. The only other suggestion that Welby might have a life of his own came in the last season, when his married daughter Sandy (Ann Schedeen) and six-year-old grandson Phil (Gavin Brendan) were occasionally seen. There was no Mrs. Welby. The only other regulars over the years, in fact, were nurses Consuelo Lopez (Elena Verdugo) and Kathleen Faverty (Sharon Gless).

Although romance eluded Dr. Welby it did finally come to young Dr. Kiley, in the person of Janet Blake (Pamela Hensley), public relations director of Hope Memorial Hospital. They were married on the telecast of October 21, 1975.

Marcus Welby premiered in 1969 and soon became the biggest hit in the history of the ABC network to that time -- it was the first ABC series ever to rank number one among all TV programs for a full season (1970-71). Part of its success, truth to tell, was in scheduling; for its first two years it ran against a CBS news documentary hour and frequently against documentaries on NBC as well (First Tuesday). The limited appeal of these shows practically forfeited the audience to ABC. But once viewers had gotten used to Welby they stayed, against competition soft and strong. The program also won an Emmy and was held in very high esteem by medical groups, with Young serving offscreen as honorary chairman of numerous national fund drives and observances. Buy this series on DVD at

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Soap Opera
FIRST TELECAST: January 1976

videos bullet iconThis was the classic soap opera to satarize all soap operas. Mary Hartman (Louise Lasser) was a "typical American housewife" living in the small town of Fernwood, Ohio. She was totally impressionable and rather slow-witted, with the most significant things in her life coming from television commercials, which she believed totally. One of her early concerns was the prospect of "dirty yellow buildup" on her kitchen floor and how to avoid it. Pigtailed and plain, her life was full of one crisis after another -- her father George Shumway (Philip Bruns) disappeared, her daughter Heather (Claudia Lamb) was held hostage by a mass murderer, her husband Tom (Greg Mullavey) was impotent, and her best friend Loretta Hagers (Mary Kay Place) was an aspiring country music singer who became paralyzed. Eventually Mary's implacable calm collapsed and she had a nervous breakdown, as well as an affair with local cop Dennis Foley (Bruce Solomon). Mary's grandfather, Raymond Larkin (Victor Killian), was known to all as the Fernwood Flasher for his penchant for exposing himself in public; her sister Cathy (Debralee Scott) was a local swinger; and her mother Martha (Dody Goodman) was decidedly flaky. Tom Hartman was an assembly-line worker at the local automobile plant where he worked with Loretta's husband Charlie Haggers (Graham Jarvis). Jimmy Joe Jeeter (Sparky Marcus) was an eight-year-old evangelist whose career was cut short when he was electrocuted by a television set that fell in his bathtub. His father, Merle (Dabney Coleman) was Fernwood's mayor.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was the creation of producer Norman Lear and had been offered to the major networks, all of which rejected it as too controversial. Lear then sold the series to local stations as a syndicated entry in 1976 and had a much-publicized success with it. The novelty of a satirical soap opera attracted many viewers (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ran after the late local news in many cities). When star Louise Lasser left the show in 1977, it continued for another six months under the title Forever Fernwood with most of the original cast intact. However, Tab Hunter took over the role of Martha Shumway's husband George (with the explanation that Goerge had fallen into a chemical vat and been restored with plastic surgery); and new characters included Eleanor Major (Shelley Fabares), Tom Hartman's new love interest; Harmon Farinella (Richard Hatch), who sought an affair with Loretta Haggers; and Mac Slattery (Dennis Burkley), the truck driver. CBS, the network that had first rejected it, aired selected reruns of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman as part of its late-night lineup for a few months in 1980. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 19, 1970
LAST TELECAST: September 3, 1977

videos bullet iconThe Mary Tyler Moore Show was one of the most literate, realistic, and enduring situation comedies of the 1970s. Unlike the efforts generated by producer Norman Lear, typified by All in the Family and Maude, there was never a conscious attempt to humiliate or ridicule. Mary Richards was the idealized single career woman. She had come to Minneapolis after breaking up with a man she had been dating for four years. Ambitious, and looking for new friends, she moved into an older apartment building and went to work as an assistant producer of the local news show on television station WJM-TV. In her early 30s, Mary symbolized the independent woman of the 1970s. She would like to find a man and settle down to raise a family, but was not desperately grabbing at any chance for marriage. Sh would get married, but only if it was to the right man. She was warm, loving, and vulnerable, and although it was never bluntly thrown out at the audience, could spend the night with a man she was not madly in love with.

Mary worked for WJM-TV News producer Lou Grant (Edward Asner), an irascible, cantankerous, blustery man whose bark was much worse than his bite. Underneath that harsh exterior beat the heart of a pussycat. Lou had problems with his home life as well as his job. During the 1973-74 season he separated from his wife Edie (Priscilla Morrill) and they were later divorced. Though it never developed, there was an underlying feeling that he and Mary might have had a serious relationship, if they could have ever really gotten together.

Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod) was the head newswriter at the station. He was happily married, had a positive outlook no matter what happened, and was a good friend to all. Anchorman on the WJM-TV News was Tex Baxter (Ted Knight), not too bright, prone to put his foot in his mouth both on and off the air, and possessor of such a misplaced sense of his own wonderfulness that he was the butt of everyone's jokes. Ted's long courtship of bland, emptyheaded but well-meaning Georgette (Georgia Engel) culminated in a marriage he was not quite ready to commit himself to in November 1975. The following spring he and Georgette adopted eight-year-old David (Robbie Rist), and in the fall of 1976 had a baby of their own.

Mary's closest friend was one of her neighbors, Rhoda Morganstern (Valerie Harper), an interior decorator for a local department store who, like Mary, was still single though in her 30s. Unlike Mary, however, Rhoda was desperately looking for a husband. Unable to find one in Minneapolis, she moved back home to New York City, and to her own series, Rhoda, in the fall of 1974. The other neighbor see frequently in Mary's apartment was Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman). Phyllis was the building's resident busybody, and though it took quite a while to find out, also its landlady (her husband Lars, who was talked about but never seen, actually owned the building). Phyllis was oblivious to everyone else's feelings and had an extremely flaky personality. She, too, got her own series when, following Lars' death, she and her daughter Bess (Lisa Gerritsen) moved to San Francisco in the fall of 1975, and Mary moved into a more luxurious apartment high-rise.

As some of the regulars left the series, including WJM-TV's weatherman Gordy Howard (John Amos), others took up the slack. Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White) arrived at the station in 1973 with her "Happy Homemaker Show," and Georgette's role was expanded. Sue Ann was in her late 40s and extremely man-hungry. She was constantly trying to get every male in sight into the sack, but primarily Lou Grant. Mary eventually was promoted to associate producer to producer as Lou moved to the job of news director.

Mary Tyler Moore, who, with her husband Grant Tinker, produced The Mary Tyler Moore Show, decided that the series would end in 1977, despite its still large audience. In the last episode new management took over the station and, in an effort to bolster its weak news ratings, fired virtually the entire staff. Ironically, the one survivor was anchorman Ted Baxter, probably the primary cause for the news' low ratings. There were tearful farewells and everyone went their separate ways. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 12, 1972
LAST TELECAST: April 29, 1978
PRODUCER: Norman Lear

videos bullet iconMaude was the first spinoff from producer Norman Lear's enormously successful comedy, All in the Family. Edith Bunker's cousin Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) was upper-middle-class, liberal and extremely outspoken -- a perfect counterpoint to Archie Bunker's blustering, hard-hat bigotry. The character became so popular that in the fall of 1972 Maude was given a series of her own -- and it soon became almost as big a hit as All in the Family itself.

Maude lived in Tuckahoe, New York, with her fourth husband, Walter (Bill Macy), owner of Findlay's Friendly Appliances. Living with them was Carol (Adrienne Barbeau), Maude's divorced, 27-year-old daughter, and Carol's nine-year-old son Phillip (Brian Morrison).

Even though much of the comedy centered on Maude's determination to represent the independent, even dominant, woman, she herself always had a female servant in the house. In fact, during the course of the series, she ran through three of them. Maude's first maid was Florida (Esther Rolle), a bright, witty black woman who left early in 1974 to star in her own program, Good Times. (Her husband, Henry (John Amos), was renamed James in Good Times, even though the same actor continued in the role.) Florida was succeeded by a cynical, hard-drinking Englishwoman, Mrs. Naugatuck (Hermoine Baddeley). Mrs. Naugatuck was never as popular with viewers as Florida had been, and after marrying Bert Beasley (J. Pat O'Malley) in November 1976 she left the show, ostensibly to return to the British Isles. Her replacement was Victoria Butterfield (Marlene Warfield), who joined the Findlay household in the fall of 1977.

The Findlay's next-door neighbor, and Walter's best friend, was Dr. Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain). When the series began Arthur was a widower, but he subsequently began dating Maude's best friend, Vivian (Rue McClanahan) (who had just been divorced), and in February 1974 they were married. Everyone on this show seemed to be either married or getting married, except for Maude's daughter Carol. She came close with boyfriend Chris (Fred Grandy) in 1974, but that didn't work out and he soon disappeared from the cast.

Although this was a comedy show, the subject matter was often on the serious side. During the run, Maude became involved in politics, had a face lift, had an abortion (which drew heavy viewer protest mail) and went through menopause. Walter went through a severe bout with alcoholism, saw his store go bankrupt, and had a nervous breakdown. Maude could be very funny, but in its efforts to be realistic, it could also be controversial and sometimes depressing. Yet for several seasons viewers made it one of the top programs on television.

Finally in 1977-78 the audience began to decline, and some major cast changes were planned for the next season. The Harmons and Carol were to move out of town, and Walter was to retire from the appliance business. Maude would begin a career in politics, with a new supporting cast. But early in 1978 Bea Arthur announced that she was leaving the series. The producers candidly admitted that no one else could play the role as she had, and so after six years Maude ended its run.

The political career that had been planned for Maude was used as a basis for the ill-fated 1979 series Hanging In, starring Bill Macy and Barbara Rhoades. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 23, 1968
LAST TELECAST: September 6, 1971

videos bullet iconThis was the successor to The Andy Griffith Show, in which Andy had starred for eight years as the sheriff of quiet, rural Mayberry, North Carolina. When Griffith decided to call it quits in 1968, CBS kept most of the rest of the cast together, added a new lead in the person of Ken Berry, and continued the show under the title Mayberry, R.F.D.

Like Griffith's Andy, Berry's Sam Jones was a young widower with a small son, Mike (Buddy Foster). Sam was a gentleman farmer who had recently taken up residence near Mayberry. Not long after his arrival he found himself elected to the Mayberry Town Council, a position for which he had no prior experience. That hardly mattered in Mayberry, however, as in his friendly, bumbling way he attempted to perform his new duties and tend to the simple needs of the townsfolk. Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) moved in with him as his housekeeper for two years, then was replaced by Aunt Alice (Alice Ghostley) for the 1970-71 season. Millie Swanson (Arlene Golonka) was Sam's romantic interest.

For a couple of years Mayberry R.F.D. was virtually as popular as The Andy Griffith Show had been. The new program was one of the top four shows on television during its first two years (Andy Griffith had reached number one in its final season). It was still in the Top 20 when CBS canceled it in 1971, as part of an extensive cutback in "rural"-oriented programming.

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FIRST TELECAST: September 16, 1970
LAST TELECAST: August 28, 1977

videos bullet iconMcCloud was one of television's more tongue-in-cheek police series. Here was Deputy Marshall Sam McCloud (Dennis Weaver) from Taos, New Mexico, driving the New York City police crazy. He had originally arrived in New York to chase a prisoner who had escaped from him, and his direct, rather strong-arm methods were hard for the big-city police to cope with. After capturing his man, McCloud somehow found himself on temporary assignment in Manhattan's 27th Precinct under Chief Peter B. Clifford (J.D. Cannon). Although he was ostensibly there to learn the methods employed by a large metropolitan police department, McCloud usually took things into his own hands and reverted to type, much to the chagrin and frustration of Chief Clifford. Whenever McCloud went on a case he dragged Sgt. Joe Broadhurst (Terry Carter) with him and, though they usually solved the crime and got along well with each other, Broadhurst's association with McCloud didn't seem to be doing him much good with their mutual superior Clifford. McCloud really looked out of place on the streets of New York, with his cowboy hat, sheepskin jacket, and matching accent. He was full of Western homilies and used the catch phrase "There you go" quite regularly. His romantic interest, not seen in every episode, was writer Chris Coughlin (Diana Muldaur), who was working on a book that related to the fugitive he had chased to New York in the pilot for the series.

McCloud premiered in 1970 as the first of four mini-series aired under the collective title Four-In-One -- the others being San Francisco International Airport, Night Gallery, and The Psychiatrist. The following fall it became, along with Columbo and McMillan and Wife, one of the three original elements in the NBC Mystery Movie rotation. It remained with that series throughout the rest of its run. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 29, 1971
LAST TELECAST: August 21, 1977

videos bullet iconSan Francisco Police Commisioner Stewart McMillan (Rock Hudson) had a beautiful wife named Sally (Susan Saint James) who had a penchant for getting both of them involved in criminal cases which she inadvertently stumbled upon. Mac was very supportive, though occasionally bewildered by the situations Sally got them into, and was often called upon to help solve the cases. This mystery/comedy police series was patterned after the relationship between Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man movies and TV series of the 1940s and 1950s. There were elements of romance and comedy thrown in with the actual case being solved. Mac's aide was plodding but enthusiastic Sgt. Charles Enright (John Schuck), and Mildred (Nancy Walker) was the McMillans' sarcastic, sharp-toungued maid.

McMillan and Wife was one of the three original rotating elements in the NBC Mystery Movie -- the other two were McCloud and Columbo -- and remained with the series throughout its long run. When Nancy Walker and Susan Saint James left the series at the end of the 1975-1976 season, the former to star in her own series on ABC and the latter in a contract dispute, the title was shortened to McMillan and cast changes were made. Sally was written off the series by having her die in a plane crash, and Mac, now a widower, had a new maid/housekeeper named Agatha (Martha Raye), who happened to be Mildred's sister. Mac also acquired a second assistant in Sgt. Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland) (the dimwitted Enright had been promoted to lieutenant) and a new secretary named Maggie (Gloria Strook). Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 24, 1969
LAST TELECAST: September 6, 1976

videos bullet iconLocated in the Los Angeles area, Medical Center was an otherwise unnamed hospital complex that was part of a large university campus. Dr. Paul Lochner (James Daly) was the chief of staff, an experienced, professional, compassionate man. Dr. Joe Gannon (Chad Everett) was a young associate professor of surgery and close friend and colleague of Dr. Lochner. At the start of the show's second season, Dr. Gannon took on the added responsibilities of director of the student health service, an appropriate post for a young physician who could identify closely with the students. A number of other doctors and nurses came and went in the cast; Miss Wilcox (Audrey Totter), the extremely efficient head nurse, achieved co-star billing in 1972.

The personal and medical stories of the doctors and their patients, as well as others with whom they came into contact, provided the drama in this series. Gannon and Lochner embodied the youth vs. experience tension which seems to be a necessary element of every medical show. The elements certainly worked here, as Medical Center, with its seven-year run, was the longest-running medical series in the history of prime-time television. Buy this series on DVD at

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FIRST TELECAST: September 1970
LAST TELECAST: September 1971

videos bullet iconThe long-running drama The Virginian, first broadcast in 1962, was the first 90-minute Western series. It starred James Drury as the laconic, mysterious "Virginian," who never revealed his real name and who "forced his idea of law and order on a Wyoming Territory community in the 1890s"; and Doug McClure as the wild young cowhand Trampas. Setting for the saga was Shiloh Ranch, owned successively by Judge Henry Garth (Lee J. Cobb), the two Grainger brothers John (Charles Bickford) and Clay (John McIntire), and finally Col. Alan MacKenzie (Stewart Granger). MacKenzie took over during the last season, at which time the program was retitled The Men from Shiloh and the historical period was moved up a few years. Roy Tate (Lee Majors) and Parker (John McLiam) also became cast regulars at that time.

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FIRST TELECAST: September 24, 1968
LAST TELECAST: August 23, 1973
CREATOR: Bud Ruskin

videos bullet iconThe Mod Squad was probably the ultimate example of the establishment co-opting the youth movement of the late 1960s. Its three members were "hippie cops," each of them a drop-out from straight society who had had his own brush with the law. Pete Cochran (Michael Cole) was a longhaired youth who had been kicked out by his wealthy Beverly Hills parents and stolen a car; Linc Hayes (Clarence Williams) was the Afro-ed son of a ghetto family of 13, raised in Watts and arrested in the Watts rioting; Julie Barnes (Peggy Lipton) was the daughter of a San Francisco prostitute who had run away from home and been arrested for vagrancy. All three were on probation and looking for some way to make sense out of their lives when they were approached by Capt. Adam Greer (Tige Andrews), who recruited them for a special "youth squad." Their purpose was to infiltrate the counterculture and ferret out the adult criminals who preyed upon the young in Southern California (no finking on your own generation, thank you).

A contentious trio, always questioning their own motives and their differing cultural backgrounds, the Mod Squad nevertheless proved an effective undercover task force against adult crime. For the first season they rattled around in a battered old 1950 station wagon named "Woody," but this was killed off early in the second season (driven over a cliff).

Strangely enough, The Mod Squad was based on the true experiences of creator Bud Ruskin, a former police officer and later private detective. While a member of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department in the 1950s he was a member of an undercover narcotics squad composed of young officers, which served as the inspiration for The Mod Squad. He first wrote the pilot script for the series in 1960, but it took eight more years before it reached the air in this highly successful ABC program. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 14, 1978
LAST TELECAST: May 27, 1982

videos bullet iconMork & Mindy was a spinoff from an episode of Happy Days seen in February, 1978, in which an alien from the planet Ork landed on earth and attempted to kidnap Richie Cunningham. So popular was Mork, the nutty character created by Robin Williams, that Williams was given his own series in the fall of 1978, and it became an instant hit.

Mork was a misfit on his own planet because of his sense of humor (he was heard to call the Orkan leader, Orson (the voice of Ralph James), "cosmic breath"). So the humorless Orkans sent him off to study Earthlings, whose "crazy" customs they had never been able to understand. Mork landed, in a giant eggshell, near Boulder, Colorado. There he was befriended by pretty Mindy McConnell (Pam Dawber), a clerk at the music store run by her father, Frederick (Conrad Janis). Mork looked human, but his strange mixture of Orkan and Earthling customs -- such as wearing a suit, but putting it on backwards, or sitting in a chair, but upside down -- led most people to think of him as just some kind of nut. Mindy knew where he came from, and helped him adjust to Earth's strange ways. She also let him stay in the attic of her apartment house, which scandalized her conservative father, but not her swinging grandmother, Cora (Elizabeth Kerr).

After a season of simple slapstick and big ratings, both the producers and the network unfortunately got a little cocky and violated one of television's cardinal rules: "Don't tamper with a hit." In the process of doing so, they almost destroyed the program. The producers decided to shift to more "meaningful" stories, opening the second season with a strange, surrealistic episode in which Mork shrunk away to nothing and dropped into a never-never world filled with caricatures of good and evil. At the same time practically the whole supporting cast was changed. Simultaneously ABC decided to move the series from its established Thursday time slot to Sunday, to prop up their sagging schedule that night. Understandably confused, viewers deserted the show in droves and it lost nearly half its audience.

By December 1979 ABC and the producers were scrambling to undo their mistakes. Mork went back to Thursday, and stories got less complicated. Mindy's father, who had been dumped (along with the grandmother), returned for a third season. He was supposed to have sold the music store and gone on tour as an orchestra conductor, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Now he, but not Cora, was back full-time. Other changes in the second and third seasons included the addition of brother and sister Remo (Jay Thomas) and Jean (Gina Hecht) DaVinci, recently arrived from the Bronx. Remo ran the New York Deli and was helping put Jean through medical school. Nelson (Jim Staahl) was Mindy's cousin, an uptight young social climber with grandiose political ambitions; Mr. Bickley (Tom Poston) was the grouchy downstairs neighbor (he had been on before, but his role was enlarged); and Mork's friend Exidor (Robert Donner) was a crazed prophet and leader of an invisible cult, the Friends of Venus. Mindy, a journalism student, got a job at a local TV station, where her boss was Mr. Sternhagen (Foster Brooks).

All of this brought back some of the lost viewers, but Mork & Mindy never recaptured the enormous following it had during its first season.

The fall of 1981 brought the most surprising developments of all. Mork and Mindy were married, and honeymooned on Ork -- which proved to be full of bizarre creatures. Shortly thereafter Mork gave birth, by ejecting a small egg from his navel. The egg grew and grew and finally cracked open to reveal a full-grown Jonathan Winters! Mearth, as they called their first child, weighed 225 pounds and looked middle-aged, but babbled like a baby, calling Mork "Mommy" and Mindy "Shoe." Since things work backwards on Ork, he would gradually grow younger (instead of older) and never want for affection in his waning years.

Despite some hilarious scenes between Robin Williams and his idol Jonathan Winters, the series was by this time losing audience rapidly and left the air at the end of the season. It had succeeded primarily because of the versatile talents of Williams, who mugged, mimicked, and delivered torrents of one-liners and Orkan gibberish. At the end of each episode he reported back to his leader Orson, on Ork, twisting his ears and signing off, "Na nu, na nu" -- goodbye in Orkan. Buy this series on DVD at

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Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 29, 1960
LAST TELECAST: August 24, 1972

videos bullet iconThis long-running family comedy had a Disney flavor to it. Fred MacMurray and Tim Considine had starred together in the hit Disney movie The Shaggy Dog, and Don Grady was a former Mickey Mouse Club mouseketeer. Even little Stanley Livingston was a show-business veteran, having appeared in several episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.

The "family" in this case was all-male. Steve Douglas (MacMurray), a consulting aviation engineer, lived in a medium-sized Midwestern city (until 1967, when his job took him to North Hollywood) with his children. A widower, he seemed to spend more time raising his three sons than he did at his job, what with the usual growing pains of boys just beginning to date, going on camping trips, and the other "adventures" of middle-class suburbia. Steve also spent a good deal of time fending off attractive women, who wanted to marry him and take over that lovable, readymade family. Steve's father-in-law was "Bub" O'Casey (William Frawley), a lovable old coot who lived with them and served as a kind of housekeeper to the clan. When he left after five seasons to take a trip to Iceland (William Frawley had passed away during production), he was replaced by his brother, Uncle Charley (William Demarest), a retired sailor whose crusty disposition masked a soft heart. Others joining the cast in the early years were Sally (Meredith MacRae) as Mike's fianceé, and Ernie (Barry Livingston), the boy next door and Chip's (Stanley Livingston) pal (and real-life brother). When Tim Considine had grown out of the role as oldest son and wanted out of the series in 1965, Steve subsequently adopted the orphaned Ernie to reestablish the "three sons." Tramp was the family dog.

In the fall of 1967, Robbie fell in love with Katie Miller (Tina Cole), one of his fellow students at college, and their romance blossomed into marriage before the end of the season. In the fall of 1968, the newlyweds discovered that Katie was pregnant and during that season she gave birth to triplets, Steve, Jr. (Joseph Todd), Charley (Michael Todd), and Robbie II (Daniel Todd) -- three sons, of course. 1969 finally brought new love to father Steve in the person of widow Barbara Harper (Beverly Garland), one of Ernie's teachers. They were married during the season and Barbara's young daughter Dodie (Dawn Lyn) joined the family. Even Chip (who was by now 17) got into the act, eloping with his college girl friend Polly Williams (Ronnie Troup) in the fall of 1970.

From December 1971 until a few weeks after it ended its prime-time run in August 1972, CBS ran repeat episodes in its daytime lineup. Buy this series on DVD at

- excerpted from The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows - Fifth Edition by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh (New York: Ballantine Books, 1992).

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