The sitcoms of the 1960s

The Andy Griffith Show [1960-1968]:
I do appreciate the sweetness and simplicity of small-town life that was depicted in this series, and I seem to remember liking Don Knotts in my childhood. On the other hand, I know I didn’t find this show particularly funny and I couldn’t stand the town drunk!. It’s decent nostalgia, but there’s funnier nostalgia out there.
My overall grade: 3

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The Beverly Hillbillies [1962-1971]: The only thing I recall liking was the secretary, Miss Hathaway. I loved her high voice, and her clipped English ways made her seem a more polar opposite to the Clampetts than the others in the cast. What I really want to know is, ever happened to Max Baer Jr. (Jethro)?
My overall grade: 3

Bewitched [1964-1972]: Seemed a bit dumb to me even as a kid. But the supporting cast was sometimes fun (Agnes Moorehead, Maurice Evans, Paul Lynde and especially Bernard Fox as Dr. Bombay). And for some reason I was fascinated by the advertising job that Darren had (I think that’s why I really paid attention to the details of commercials when I was a kid and realized at a very young age how manipulating they were!).
My overall grade: 4

The Bill Cosby Show [1969-1971]: Not to be confused with the lame family show produced in the 1980s. This show was more gritty and urban, and it had a real low-key humor instead of the typical “let’s make the audience laugh every thirty seconds” type of sit-com humor we see nowadays. The theme song (“Ooh Lord!”) rocked!!
My overall grade: 6

The Brady Bunch [1969-1974]: This show was incredibly popular when I was in my early teens. Marsha went to my brother’s school and we used to see other members of the cast around town. And I grew up in a white-bread suburbia just like the Brady’s, so I felt a kindred spirit to those folks. Why, I don’t know. I absolutely adore the Brady movies because of the way they sabotage the Brady’s image as well as the love/hate relationship that we have toward them, but I’ve no desire to watch the series again (I am anxious to catch any of their wonderfully bad music specials again though!).
My overall grade: 5

Candid Camera [1960-1967]: This show has aired on and off for years and apparently is still airing now, with Alan Funt’s son now taking the reins. I tried watching the show in the seventies when it started a new run, but despite the warmth and exuberance of Alan Funt’s nature, it was overly sweet and it had completely lost its edge. The sixties version was very raw because despite the show’s rising popularity, they really caught people off guard, and the element of absurdity was truly inventive. How do people react in a diner when they are given a glass of water with a goldfish swimming in it? What would you do if you were standing next to a phone booth and suddenly saw a man rush inside it and change into a superhero costume? These are all very simplistic ideas, but they were beautifully executed. In fact in one show, Buster Keaton appeared incognito and did a simple skit in a diner where he kept dropping things into his bowl of soup (his glasses, his watch, his tie, a salt shaker etc). As we begin to laugh at the beautiful timing of this comic genius, we find ourselves choking unmercifully in our laughter as we watch the bloated faces of those near him trying desperately not to laugh to the point where they’re about to blow a fuse! Often the funniest scenes in the show were watching people trying not to laugh at something that was excruciatingly funny. Whatever the situation, we were always laughing at ourselves. I suppose it’s fine if they want to make contemporary versions of this show but hopefully, the original series will not end up in oblivion.
Overall grade (for the 1960s only!): 9

The Courtship of Eddie’s Father [1969-1972]: What made this worth watching were the very hip James Komack (who as I recall was quite funny) and the lovely Miyoshi Umeki as Mrs. Livingston. Bixby and the kid were really not that interesting. But the show had a fairly nice tempered tone, a great theme song montage, and neat sets. It was also my first introduction to Jodie Foster, who I feel I’ve grown up with since!
My overall grade: 6

The Doris Day Show: [1968-1973]: Gag me with a spoon, I just have never been a fan of Doris Day! They tried out a variety of different formats for this series, but none of them worked for me. Fun wardrobe though!
My overall grade: 2

F Troop [1965-1967]: Although I didn’t watch most of the shows listed here very often, this one I only watched maybe three times because there was absolutely nothing about it worth tuning in for. Except, I am a sucker for those cavalry uniforms! This show was really lame though!
My overall grade: 1

Family Affair [1966-1971]: Offhand, I think this was the first sit-com to feature kids since the Father Knows Best/Beaver days. And boy, were they (and the teenager – eeew!) nauseating! Sebastian Cabot added a touch of class. Better they had just given him his own show.
My overall grade: 2

The Flying Nun [1967-1970]: What makes people think of plots like these? Sally Field back then was a proverbial Gidget, which meant I had no intention of hanging around at all! But I did make an effort to watch this once in a while in order to look at the very sexy Alejandro Rey and the beautiful Puerto Rican scenery.
My overall grade: 3

Gentle Ben [1967-1969]: I think I only saw this a couple of times. Dennis Weaver and Clint Howard were nice I’m sure, and knowing me, I loved the bear. But other than that and some interesting Everglades scenery, there wasn’t anything in the way of plot or character development that warranted my becoming a viewer.

The Ghost and Mrs Muir [1968-1970]: This one I can sum up in three words: Charles Nelson Reilly. Hope Lange was about as interesting as a Styrofoam cup, ghostand despite the fact that Edward Mulhare is a talented man, he was rather dull as the ghostly captain. I won’t even mention the kids! Reta Shaw was nice, but Charles Nelson Reilly was an enigma of insane gestures. When I did tune in, it was for him.
My overall grade: 3

 



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