Cast of the TV series ‘Star Trek’.

Iconic quotes from '60s TV shows

Written by:
July 20, 2023
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Iconic quotes from '60s TV shows

With so many great shows to choose from, it can be shocking to remember that television is a relatively new medium. By the time the 1960s rolled around, though, television was finding its groove. As the Library of Congress notes, 9 in 10 Americans owned a TV set by 1960—a leap from the 9% who owned one the decade before.

Television's skyrocketing popularity led to some of Hollywood's most enduring shows, from animated gems ("The Flintstones") to beloved black comedies ("The Addams Family") and cherished sitcoms ("The Dick Van Dyke Show"). The success of other endeavors, like the groundbreaking sci-fi series "Star Trek" and the espionage thriller "Mission: Impossible," led to franchises that continue to thrill audiences today.

Do you pride yourself on being a TV scholar who can rattle off iconic catchphrases from "The Dick Van Dyke Show" or "Looney Tunes" word for word? Test your 1960s TV knowledge.

Stacker compiled a list of 25 famous quotes from some of the most beloved TV shows of the 1960s. See which ones ring a bell. The following quotes were sourced from various sources, including TV archives and news articles.

Think you know everything there is to know about '60s television? Read on to find out.

'Th-Th-Th-That's all, folks!'

If you've watched any "Looney Tunes" cartoons—initially released in the 1930s— then you're well aware of their typical endings where Porky Pig (usually) wrapped things up with this catchphrase. The line was inspired by voice actor Joe Dougherty's real-life stutter and was later protested by the National Stuttering Project of San Francisco in 1991.

'We have a really big show tonight'

From 1948 to 1971, legendary TV host Ed Sullivan opened many of his Sunday variety shows with these enticing words. It often proved true. "The Ed Sullivan Show" was home to iconic performances like Elvis' 1956 set and the Beatles' 1964 appearance, the first time the legendary band would perform on live American television.

'You unlock this door with the key of imagination'

Rod Serling intones these words at the beginning of every "Twilight Zone" episode, inviting viewers to invest in whatever sci-fi horror parable they're about to witness. While its role in "The Twilight Zone" television show is unforgettable, many have probably encountered this iconic phrase while riding Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror—right before the floor drops under them.

'Nip it in the bud'

As the deputy sheriff of the fictionalized sleepy central town of Mayberry, North Carolina, on "The Andy Griffith Show," Barney Fife (Don Knotts) took any sign of trouble seriously, insisting the characters must "nip it in the bud." He often took things hilariously too far as a result, but his heart was in the right place.


Stone Age "The Flintstones" patriarch Fred Flintstone (Alan Reed) often utters this seemingly nonsense expression to express excitement in the classic cartoon. The classic quote can be traced back to Reed, who reportedly drew inspiration from his mother, who used to quote a Brylcreem commercial: "A little dab'll do ya." In the original "Flintstones" script, Fred simply said, "Yahoo!"

'Oh, Rob!'

Before starring on her eponymous comedy show, Mary Tyler Moore became a household name for her work as housewife Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." The actor coined the famous "Oh, Rob!" catchphrase, which Laura often whined in response to her TV writer husband's (Dick Van Dyke) antics.

'I'm smarter than the average bear'

The lovable Yogi Bear's declaration that he's "smarter than the average bear" is often hilariously ironic given the misadventures and sticky situations the cartoon bruin often gets himself into on "The Yogi Bear Show." The quote has become a common phrase over the years, typically referring to someone better at something than the average person.

'Y'all come back now, ya hear?'

This phrase was uttered at the end of each episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies." The quote refers to the characters' everyday Southern hospitality, even after moving from the Ozarks to a posh Beverly Hills, California, home.

'And that's the way it is'

For 19 years, legendary anchorman Walter Cronkite signed off from his nightly broadcast with these blunt words. Cronkite's former producer, Sandy Socolow, later told CNN the tagline originated after studio executives disapproved of his original sign-off, in which he encouraged viewers to check their local newspapers the following day.

'Here's Johnny!'

From 1964 until 1992, Ed McMahon used this catchphrase to introduce iconic "The Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson. Stanley Kubrick memorably paid homage to this famous quote in his 1980 film "The Shining," in which Jack Nicholson's terrifying character, Jack Torrance, yells the same thing as he hacks down a door with an axe.


In the futuristic world of "The Jetsons," even family dog Astro chimes in on the action, often expressing his dismay at a situation with his signature phrase, "Ruh-roh!" This quote was later adopted by fellow cartoon dog Scooby-Doo, voiced by the same actor, Don Messick.

'A three-hour tour'

If you've ever wound up trapped in a situation that's taken a ridiculously long time, you'll relate to this "Gilligan's Island" quote. Performed as part of the show's theme song lyrics, it explains how the show's characters set off on what they thought was a simple "three-hour tour" off the coast of Honolulu… only to end up shipwrecked together.

'Oh, my stars!'

"Bewitched" protagonist Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) often utters this quote when solving family problems with her witchy powers doesn't go exactly as planned. However, the phrase dates back to the 1590s, when Christopher Marlowe used it in the play "The Troublesome Raigne and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second."

'You rang?'

Given how iconic "The Addams Family" has become in popular culture—from the '90s films to Netflix's 2022 incarnation "Wednesday"—it's strange the original series ran just two years, from 1964 to 1966. Nevertheless, it gifted us with instantly memorable catchphrases, such as butler Lurch (Ted Cassidy) asking, "You rang?" as a gong rings out in the eponymous family's kooky, spooky home.

'Danger, Will Robinson!'

The sci-fi show "Lost in Space" centers on the Robinsons, a family struggling to survive in deep space. With such high stakes, it's no wonder that The Robot (voiced by Dick Tufeld) uttered this quote when tasked with protecting young boy Will Robinson (Bill Mumy). Despite its prominence, however, this phrase was only used once in the show's three seasons.

'Would you believe…'

The '60s spy-spoof comedy "Get Smart" centered on Maxwell Smart (Don Adams), a bumbling secret agent with a very ironic name who attempts to fight a competing spy agency, KAOS. Throughout the show, Smart often riddled his companions and adversaries alike with outlandish tales they didn't buy, prompting him to reply, "Would you believe…" followed by a slightly more believable version of the same story.

'Live long and prosper'

This phrase became famous thanks to its frequent use by the original "Star Trek" character Spock (Leonard Nimoy), who wished others well, along with a Vulcan salute consisting of a raised hand with the palm forward, the middle and ring fingers parted, and the thumb extended. In his 1975 autobiography, "I Am Not Spock," Nimoy wrote that he based it on the Jewish Priestly Blessing, a tribute to his Jewish heritage.

'This tape will self-destruct in five seconds'

Each episode of the original 1966 "Mission: Impossible" series kicked off with a mysterious voice on a tape giving the team their impossible mission before announcing that the top-secret tape they had received would self-destruct seconds later. This phrase has been repeated several times in the "Mission: Impossible" films, which feature Tom Cruise as Impossible Missions Force operative Ethan Hunt.

'To the Batmobile!'

Adam West's Batman often exclaimed this while chasing after Gotham baddies with his sidekick, Robin (Burt Ward), in the campy 1966 live-action "Batman" series. The line was later revived in 2014's "The Lego Movie."

'Book 'em, Danno!'

The classic police procedural "Hawaii Five-O" often wrapped up with Detective Captain Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) ordering his second-in-command, Danny Williams (James MacArthur), to "book" the criminals he caught. "Booking" refers to more mundane work, like getting the criminal's fingerprints, mug shots, and doing paperwork.

'I see nothing; I know nothing'

German Sergeant Schultz (John Banner) often said these words during the 1965 comedy "Hogan's Heroes." The series centers on several prisoners of war in Nazi Germany who often fooled Schultz and his fellow officers into doing their bidding. "Hogan's Heroes" aired for six seasons, becoming the longest run of a series about World War II on American television.

'Sock it to me!'

"Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" earned seven Primetime Emmys over six seasons and the top spot on network programming in its first three seasons for its rapid-fire sketch comedy. One of the most memorable running one-liners was coined by cast member Judy Carne, who encouraged other stars to "sock it to me" before being soaked with water, taking a fall, or otherwise getting the short end of the stick in comedic bits.

'Won't you be my neighbor?'

Fred Rogers poses this question in the eponymous opening song of his 1968 children's show, which highlighted the show's central thesis: extend kindness and care to others. The quote became the name for a 2018 Mr. Rogers documentary directed by Morgan Neville.

'Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!'

If you've ever felt stuck in the shadow of an older sibling, you'll relate to this quote from middle "Brady Bunch" sister Jan Brady (Eve Plumb). In one episode, she exasperatedly repeats her seemingly perfect older sister's name, Marcia (Maureen McCormick), in frustration after the blame for family mishaps falls on her.


Ever since "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" premiered in 1969, the Scooby gang has given pop culture no shortage of memorable quotes. This one is often uttered by laid-back amateur detective Shaggy (Casey Kasem) after the characters encounter a spooky mystery.

Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Paris Close.

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