TV

TV shows that turned 50 in 2019

Written by:
December 16, 2019
Hanna-Barbera Productions

TV shows that turned 50 in 2019

Over the past 50 years, the way the average viewer watches TV has totally changed. Though television is still one of the most popular mediums, everything from the shows airing on TV today to the technology itself is different. In 1969, the only way to catch a new episode of your favorite show was to make sure you were home when it aired; today, viewers can use their DVRs to record TV shows to watch later, or just catch the episodes the next day on streaming services like Hulu or through on-demand services provided by cable companies. The idea of appointment viewing—for instance, gathering around the TV at 8 p.m. every Wednesday to watch your favorite program—exists for few shows today.

Another example of just how much television has changed over the past 50 years? The plotlines and premises of the most popular shows in 1969. To get a better sense of just how much the medium of television has evolved, Stacker consulted IMDb to compile a list of 15 hit TV shows that turned 50 in 2019. Only shows that began airing in 1969 and received at least 1,000 user voters on IMDb were considered. The 15 shows listed below are ranked by their IMDb scores, with any ties broken by the number of user votes each one received. All of the data referenced was current as of December 2019.

We’ve provided a snapshot of the most popular TV shows from exactly 50 years ago, including family-friendly programs with a cult following, kids’ options filled with talking animals, and variety shows. Read on to learn what were the 15 top shows that appeared on broadcast television 50 years ago, and discover the one TV show from 1969 still coming out with new episodes.

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1 / 15
Paramount Television

#15. The Brady Bunch

- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- IMDb votes: 11,500
- Years on the air: 1969–1974
- Rating: TV-PG

This iconic family comedy followed the antics of the Brady clan, a blended family of nine formed when a widower (Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed) and a widow (Carol Brady, played by Florence Henderson) marry each other. Episodes featured kooky storylines like Mike installing a payphone in the house after the family runs up a huge bill, and Jan buying herself a curly black wig so she could stand out at school. Though “The Brady Bunch” only aired for five years, it has had an outsize cultural impact.

2 / 15
American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

#14. Love, American Style

- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- IMDb votes: 1,651
- Years on the air: 1969–1974
- Rating: data not available

Each episode of this comical anthology series set aboard a cruise ship featured different celebrities and a different storyline about love. Some of the most popular episodes on “Love, American Style,” include one where a father tries to stop his daughter (Jenny Sullivan) from marrying an older man (Harrison Ford), and another where three pals throw their newly divorced buddy (Henry Gibson) a shower to try to lift his spirits.

3 / 15
CBS

#13. Hee Haw

- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- IMDb votes: 1,171
- Years on the air: 1969–1997
- Rating: data not available

Comedy went country in this popular variety show that aired for nearly 30 years. Hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark, each episode of “Hee Haw” featured several guest performances by country artists like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, as well as skits and jokes.

4 / 15
Universal Television

#12. Marcus Welby, M.D.

- IMDb user rating: 7
- IMDb votes: 1,237
- Years on the air: 1969–1976
- Rating: TV-PG

In this medical drama, Robert Young played the title character Dr. Marcus Welby and James Brolin took the role of his young colleague Dr. Steven Kiley. The show spanned a wide variety of subjects, from the doctors helping the parents of a severely autistic son teach him how to communicate to informing a woman on the brink of divorce that she’s finally pregnant at age 42.

5 / 15
London Weekend Television (LWT)

#11. On the Buses

- IMDb user rating: 7
- IMDb votes: 1,780
- Years on the air: 1969–1973
- Rating: data not available

This goofy British sitcom followed bus driver Stan (Reg Varney) and his conductor Jack (Bob Harper), two lads who just want to have fun and chat up pretty ladies during the workday. Inspector Cyril Blake (Stephen Lewis) is less than amused, and many episodes of “On the Buses” revolve around Blake’s efforts to quash Stan’s and Jack’s fun.

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6 / 15
Hanna-Barbera Productions

#10. Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines

- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- IMDb votes: 2,867
- Years on the air: 1969–1970
- Rating: N/A

Originally a Saturday morning cartoon, “Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines” focused on Dick Dastardly, the leader of the Vulture Squadron, in his efforts to stop a villainous carrier pigeon named Yankee Doodle Pigeon. His canine sidekick Muttley was always by his side.

7 / 15
MGM Television

#9. The Courtship of Eddie's Father

- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- IMDb votes: 1,023
- Years on the air: 1969–1972
- Rating: Not Rated

This family comedy follows young Eddie Corbett (Brandon Cruz) who is always trying to get his widowed father Tom Corbett (Bill Bixby) remarried. The subjects of Eddie’s admiration in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” range from their beloved housekeeper Mrs. Livingston (Miyoshi Umeki) to a random woman he meets on a Hollywood studio tour.

8 / 15
Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions

#8. H.R. Pufnstuf

- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- IMDb votes: 1,396
- Years on the air: 1969–1970
- Rating: TV-Y

A young boy named Jimmy (Jack Wild) is the hero of this children’s TV show. Jimmy’s adventures in “H.R. Pufnstuf” start when a magical talking boat promises to take him on an adventure, but it’s really operated by a witch named Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes) who is trying to steal Jimmy’s talking flute, Freddie. Though that premise is an adventure on its own, the excitement really begins for Jimmy when he meets the title character, H.R. Pufnstuf (Roberto Gamonet), the dragon mayor of Living Island.

9 / 15
Thames Television

#7. The Benny Hill Show

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- IMDb votes: 4,127
- Years on the air: 1969–1989
- Rating: TV-PG

British comedian Benny Hill showed off his risque, burlesque-infused comedy during every episode of his eponymous TV show. Every episode saw Hill taking on a different character—from a messenger in 17th-century England to a boarding school student—for a series of hilarious slapstick sketches.

10 / 15
Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

#6. My Partner the Ghost

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- IMDb votes: 1,002
- Years on the air: 1969–1971
- Rating: Not Rated

When private investigator Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope) is killed in a hit-and-run, his partner Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt) thinks he has to solve the murder case himself. Wrong! Marty’s ghost sticks around to crack the case, then gets stuck in purgatory as a crime-solving spirit only Jeff can see in “My Partner the Ghost.”

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11 / 15
DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (DFE)

#5. The Pink Panther Show

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- IMDb votes: 14,385
- Years on the air: 1969–1976
- Rating: TV-G

Each episode of this animated series included two shorts about the Pink Panther—a heroic cartoon cat with signature pink fur—finding his way out of tricky situations. The other short in “The Pink Panther Show” followed the Inspector, a bumbling French cop.

12 / 15
Hanna-Barbera Productions

#4. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- IMDb votes: 27,537
- Years on the air: 1969–1970
- Rating: TV-G

In this beloved animated series, four California teenagers—Fred (Frank Welker), Daphne (Indira Stefanianna Christopherson), Velma (Nicole Jaffe), and Shaggy (Casey Kasem)—and a goofy Great Dane named Scooby-Doo (Don Messick) drive around solving strange mysteries. The gang always traveled in their groovy Mystery Machine, and often shouted out their signature catchphrases of “Zoinks!,” “Jinkies!,” “Jeepers!,” and “Scooby Dooby Doo!”

13 / 15
Universal Television

#3. Night Gallery

- IMDb user rating: 8
- IMDb votes: 4,341
- Years on the air: 1969–1973
- Rating: TV-PG

“The Twilight Zone” writer and producer Rod Serling also hosted “Night Gallery,” where he would tell tales of horror illustrated in dark, frightening paintings. Like “The Twilight Zone,” each episode featured a different story—however, these tales were much darker and more frightening.

14 / 15
Children's Television Workshop (CTW)

#2. Sesame Street

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb votes: 11,111
- Years on the air: 1969–
- Rating: TV-Y

The only TV show on this list still airing new episodes, “ Sesame Street” has been a favorite of children and parents alike for 50 years and counting. Jim Henson’s iconic puppets—including Elmo, Big Bird, Bert, and Ernie—teach children about friendship, kindness, acceptance, and other important subjects with fun songs and goofy jokes.

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15 / 15
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

#1. Monty Python's Flying Circus

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb votes: 62,282
- Years on the air: 1969–1974
- Rating: TV-14

The British public was first introduced to the Monty Python comedy troupe in 1969 when this hysterical sketch show debuted on the BBC. The surreal, absurd, and nontraditional series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” became hugely popular in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Feature films like “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Monty Python’s Life of Brian,” and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” soon followed.

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