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Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

Our look back at the Fall 1960 primetime TV schedule continues with Tuesday nights.

Although not included in our grids, CBS and NBC aired 15 minute national newscasts Monday-Friday from 715-730PM Eastern.

Fall 1960 Primetime Television: Tuesday
All Times Eastern

Net 7PM 7:30PM 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC Expedition! The Bugs Bunny Show The Rifleman The Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp Stagecoach West One Step Beyond LOCAL
CBS Father Knows Best The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis The Tom Ewell Show The Red Skelton Show The Garry Moore Show
NBC Laramie Alfred Hitchcock Presents Thriller Various Specials

It was quite interesting to look back at how Tuesday nights were programmed in 1960, as each network had a slight quirk in their lineup. ABC actually moved their programming up a half-hour to 7PM Eastern and ended a half-hour early at 10:30PM Eastern.

ABC led things off with a travel documentary series called Expedition! This was followed by the premiere of The Bugs Bunny Show, featuring Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. The memorable theme song “This Is It” debuted here. Bugs Bunny aired for two seasons in primetime before moving to its longtime home on Saturday mornings.

A two hour block of westerns followed Bugs Bunny: The Rifleman, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (final season) and Stagecoach West (only season). The latter starred Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H) and Robert Bray (Lassie 1964-70 era).

ABC wrapped up the night with the anthology series One Step Beyond, later revived in syndication as The Next Step Beyond (1978).

The Eye Network also had an unusual Tuesday night strategy in 1960. They allowed affiliates to program the 730-8PM Eastern half hour, followed by repeats of the classic sitcom Father Knows Best. FKB had ended its six season primetime run the previous spring but aired for another three seasons in reruns (2 on CBS, 1 on ABC). Season 2 of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis aired next, followed by the short-lived comedy The Tom Ewell Show.

The second half of CBS Tuesdays offered a 90-minute variety block featuring Red Skelton and Garry Moore. The half-hour Red Skelton Show’s head writer was Sherwood Schwartz, who would go on to create comedy classics The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island. The Garry Moore Show’s stellar ensemble cast included Alan King and Carol Burnett.

Tuesday nights on NBC started with the western series Laramie, which starred John Smith and Robert Fuller. Smith had previously starred in the 1958 western Cimarron City, while Fuller would land future roles in Wagon Train and Emergency!

Next on NBC was 90 minutes of anthology programming featuring Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the Boris Karloff-hosted Thriller. In addition to it’s famous actor-host, Thriller’s first season served up an impressive list of guest stars. That star-studded list included Mary Astor, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, Leslie Nielsen, William Shatner and Rip Torn.

NBC’s Tuesday lineup concluded with an hour of specials programmed in the 10-11PM Eastern time period.

Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

Continuing our look at the Fall 1960 primetime TV schedule, we move on to Monday nights.

Fall 1960 Primetime Television: Monday
All Times Eastern

Net 7:30PM 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC Cheyenne/Sugarfoot/Bronco Surfside 6 Adventures in Paradise Peter Gunn
CBS To Tell The Truth Pete and Gladys Bringing Up Buddy The Danny Thomas Show The Andy Griffith Show Hennesey Face The Nation
NBC Riverboat Tales of Wells Fargo Klondike Dante The Barbara Stanwyck Show Jackpot Bowling

The Alphabet Network’s Monday night lineup in 1960 started out with a Western wheel featuring 3 rotating series: Cheyenne, Sugarfoot (in it’s final season) and Bronco. Cheyenne starred Clint Walker and was TV’s first hour-long western.

Surfside Six aired next. This premise of the show was a Miami Beach detective agency based on a houseboat. It was actually a sequel to (or perhaps a retooled version of) the 1959 series Bourbon Street Beat, a show about a land-based detective agency in New Orleans. The Van Williams character Kenny Williams appeared in both series.

Rounding out ABC’s Monday night schedule: Adventures in Paradise and Peter Gunn. The former was created by author James Michener, the latter by producer-director Blake Edwards. Detective series Peter Gunn was in its third and final season, having moved over from NBC.

Monday nights on CBS started out with classic game show To Tell The Truth, followed by a pair of new sitcoms.

Pete and Gladys starred future Dragnet and M*A*S*H cast member Harry Morgan. This show was a spinoff of long-running 1950s sitcom December Bride. Bringing Up Buddy was a comedy created by the team of Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher. The duo had great success with Leave It To Beaver and (later) The Munsters, but Bringing Up Buddy lasted only a single season.

The Fall 1960 CBS Monday comedy block continued with The Danny Thomas Show and the premiere of what would become a classic: The Andy Griffith Show.

The military comedy-drama Hennesey aired next, with former child star Jackie Cooper both starring and producing. Face The Nation (a repeat of the previous morning’s episode?) wrapped up the night.

Westerns were in their prime back in the early 1960s. NBC’s Monday night lineup led off with a 2-hour block, including Riverboat, Tales of Wells Fargo and Klondike. Riverboat starred Darren McGavin, well-known to modern generations as the crusty dad in the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story.

NBC’s Monday westerns were followed by a new series from Peter Gunn creator Blake Edwards. Howard Duff played Dante, a gambler-turned-nightclub-owner. This gamble didn’t pay off for NBC, as it was cancelled the following spring.

Wrapping up the night were The Barbara Stanywyck Show, an anthology series, and Jackpot Bowling Starring Milton Berle. Both of those shows also ended in 1961.

Uncle Milty and bowling made for an interesting combination! Here’s an early 1961 episode on YouTube:

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Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

We’re launching a new feature today, taking a look back at some classic TV primetime schedules.

First up is Fall 1960, starting with Sunday nights. We’ll continue with the rest of the week’s schedules in future blog posts:

Fall 1960 Primetime Television: Sunday
All Times Eastern

Net 7PM 7:30PM 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC Walt Disney Presents (6:30) Maverick The Lawman The Rebel The Islanders Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years
CBS Lassie Dennis the Menace The Ed Sullivan Show General Electric Theater The Jack Benny Program Candid Camera What's My Line?
NBC Shirley Temple's Storybook National Velvet The Tab Hunter Show The Dinah Shore Chevy Show The Loretta Young Show This Is Your Life

Longtime Sunday night staple Walt Disney Presents aired on ABC from the 1950s until 1961, when it moved to NBC as Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. The anthology series changed titles and networks several times, later airing on CBS and back on ABC which Disney purchased in 1996.

On Sunday nights in 1960, ABC followed up Disney with a two-hour block of westerns, including Maverick, The Lawman and the final season of The Rebel. A short-lived adventure series, The Islanders, and documentary series about former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill rounded out the evening. The Churchill program later aired in the UK.

The classic family series Lassie led off Sunday nights for CBS in 1960, paired with sitcom Dennis the Menace. That was followed by The Ed Sullivan Show, a Sunday night institution from 1948-71. The half-hour anthology series General Electric Theater aired immediately after Sullivan. G.E. Theater was hosted by future president Ronald Reagan.

Rounding out the CBS Sunday night lineup: The Jack Benny Program, Candid Camera and What’s My Line?

The late Shirley Temple’s anthology series Storybook kicked off the Peacock network’s Sunday night lineup in 1960, airing under the title The Shirley Temple Show. Among the classic stories aired in the show’s final season: The Land of Oz, Winnie the Pooh and Pippi Longstocking.

Storybook was followed by a TV adaption of another popular book, National Velvet. Actress Lori Martin took over the role of Velvet made famous by Elizabeth Taylor in the classic 1944 movie. Martin later played Gregory Peck’s daughter in the original version of Cape Fear (1962). The Tab Hunter Show aired after National Velvet. Hunter played a cartoonist in this sitcom, which only lasted a single season.

NBC’s Sunday nights continued with The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The Loretta Young Show and This Is Your Life. The latter two shows were in their final seasons, although TIYL was later revived in syndication.

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Here’s your chance to own some classic adventure series on DVD and save some big bucks!

Route 66 aired from 1960-64 on CBS. It starred Martin Milner (Adam-12) and George Maharis (later George Corbett) as two buddies traveling the country on Route 66. This box set includes all 116 episodes on 24 DVDs for just $54.99 (MSRP 129.99).

Craig Stevens starred as cool private eye Peter Gunn, a series created by Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther). It originally aired from 1958-61 on NBC and ABC. This DVD box set includes all 114 episodes on 12 discs for only $42.99 (MSRP 99.99).

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DVD Deal of The Week

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This 1959-63 comedy stars Dwayne Hickman as girl crazy teen Dobie and Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island) as his beatnik buddy Maynard G. Krebs. Guest stars include Barbara Bain, Warren Beatty, Yvonne Craig, Marlo Thomas, Tuesday Weld and many more!

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