Lucy, Lassie, The Beav: What Were The Best '50s TV Shows?

By | March 30, 2018

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Left: Tony Dow as Wally Cleaver and Jerry Mathers as Beaver Cleaver in 'Leave It to Beaver,' circa 1960. Right: James Arness and Amanda Blake in 'Gunsmoke.' Source: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images; IMDB

In the '50s, TV was breaking new ground -- the medium was young, and the shows created were setting templates that would exist for decades to follow. We were seeing the first TV sitcoms, the first dramas; we were watching storytelling evolve from radio and movies into a serial format delivered to our living rooms ever week. The creators could hardly know the permanence of their work -- shows like The Honeymooners, Ozzie And Harriet, and Leave It To Beaver would keep people laughing for years and years afterward as they were re-run in syndication. Thanks to specialty networks and streaming services, we can still watch Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The Twilight Zone today. Here's a look back at some of the best viewing from the golden age of television.

'The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet' (1952-66)

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The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was a sitcom about an American family that starred the real-life Nelson family. After a long run on radio, the show was introduced to television, where it continued its success. The program initially ran simultaneously on radio and TV. The show starred Ozzie Nelson, his wife, who was a singer, Harriet Nelson, and their sons, David and Eric "Ricky" NelsonDon DeFore was the Nelsons' friendly neighbor "Thorny.”