Television was still studying what it was in the 1950′s, and comedy took a lot of distinct shapes as folks began to welcome the tube into their houses. The greatest comedies of the 1950′s are harder to define than in any other decade merely since they had been so long ago. There isn’t a broadcast network out there that airs these classics on a standard basis. They show up in special salutes, but that is about it. Some of the shows that blasted their way from the 50′s to the 60′s do manage to get aired, but so many other comedies have been ignored, which means they are not accessible for viewing on a normal basis.
With a couple of qualifications, I supply up my list of the best of the fifties, comedy-wise. I really feel I would be remiss if I didn’t say up front that some of these shows I’ve only observed once or twice, and other classics of that decade I’ve in no way seen. As a child of the Tv generation, though, I’ve possibly viewed more of these than those my age and under. Over the years, I’ve researched television, which includes several of these comedies, a great deal, so my understanding base is very wide. My point is that quite unintentionally, a very good show may possibly be left out or misplaced. I can only do my finest to pick the finest based on what I know and feel.
My other dilemma was if a show was selected for the finest of the 1960′s comedies, an write-up I wrote previously, ought to they also be in contention for the ‘best of’ here as nicely? For the most part, the answer is yes. The one exception I created was The Donna Reed Show, which debuted in 1958. The crux of this show was in the 60′s, so I’m leaving it to that decade solely.
That said, here’s the list of the best comedy shows in the 1950′s.
11) Our Miss Brooks – Eve Arden was full force in this show about English teacher Connie Brooks. The cast had some great standouts, including Gale Gordon and a young Richard Crenna. This was a spiffy show full of wit. It had to be to match Arden’s vivacious personality. She had attitude, that is for certain. She was, as the title indicates, single as nicely. Although she had a extremely strong liking for the school’s biology teacher, Miss Brooks was a strong, career-minded character who cared about her students. She brought them, and us, a lot of laughs.
10) Private Secretary – Ann Sothern played Susie McNamara, a private secretary. Efficient at the office, her personal life was an additional story. This series aired for 5 seasons and included a supporting cast of Jesse White, Don Porter, and Ann Tyrell. One of the earliest crossovers happened when Sothern appeared on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in an episode referred to as Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana. Sothern played Susie in this episode.
9) Mama – Peggy Wood played Mama and Judson Laire Papa to this quite popular series. The sad factor is that the placement of this show goes mostly from public acknowledgment of its success and high quality. The show was produced live and therefore not placed onto film until later in the series. Thus, most of the series is fully lost. There are no reruns to be enjoyed by the masses. The show was Dick Van Patten’s Tv debut, and I recall that when his show, Eight is Sufficient, aired that there was a lot of speak and recollections about the Mama series. It deserves a spot on this list, even if it is a show I’ve never observed. I trust what I’ve heard, and I do not think that our failure to capture the show for posterity should negate its location here.
December Bride – Spring Byington is one of my preferred actresses, and in December Bride, she stars as Lily Ruskin, who has moved in with her daughter and son-in-law. Harry Morgan is her neighbor, Pete Porter. He was as funny in this show as he was in MASH decades later. In fact, there was a spin-off series from this show known as Pete and Gladys. It’s the earliest one that I know of. Lily was a sweet, funny, and caring individual. Her loved ones was often attempting to fix her up with a husband. One of my favorites was a wealthy gentlemen that she really liked. At initial, the family members was pushing them together, but then they thought he was just a schemer. They had been wrong, of course, but by then, he and Lily had been finished. December Bride was a terrific show that was lots of enjoyable to watch.
7) Mr. Peepers – Although Mr. Peepers was only on a couple of seasons, it is a show I don’t forget fondly. Wally Cox was excellent as Robinson Peepers. He was mild-mannered and possessed all the stereotypical nerd qualities that this character needed. He was so low key and extremely funny. I can still picture him and hear that quirky sounding voice as he tried to deal with whatever difficulty was going on. Possibly in the annals of greatness, Mr. Peepers doesn’t compare to some thing like I Adore Lucy, but it’s a show that is memorable and that in itself makes it worthy of becoming on this list.
6) The Gale Storm Show (aka: Oh, Susanna) — Many say this show is even better than My Little Margie which has received a lot of good press over the years. In this show, Gale Storm plays Susanna Pomeroy, a cruise director. The show incorporated Storm’s musical talents and had a nice supporting cast which included the daffy Zasu Pitts, along with Roy Roberts and James Fairfax. I have observed a couple of these shows and what I keep in mind is some zaniness of the best kind. I laughed, and that’s what counts.
five) The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet – For well over a decade, the Nelson family members welcomed us into their house. The boys were young in the 50′s and acquiring into all kinds of trouble that was the norm for youngsters. Guiding David and Ricky were their parents, Ozzie and Harriet. There were often lessons to be learned, but there were often laughs to balance it out. The neighbors had been a hoot, too. I loved Don DeFore as Thorny Thornberry. When DeFore left the show, Lyle Talbot came on board as Joe Randolph. Occasionally watching Ozzie and his buddies commiserating was funnier than something else. The Nelson boys had been cute as could be, and America loved watching them go through adolescence. This loved ones comedy is undoubtedly 1 of the very best ever, and is, in truth, on my list of very best comedies of the 1960′s as well.
4) The Jack Benny Show – This show also produced my best comedy shows for the sixties. With no apologies, good is good, and that’s what The Jack Benny Show is. I remember in elementary school, reruns of The Jack Benny Show had been aired in the afternoons. I utilized to race home to watch it. Benny’s humor is dry and witty. He does as significantly by his mannerisms and demeanor as he does by actual jokes, and the cast he surrounded himself with were wonderful at working with that. I laugh, and I laugh a lot when I watch The Jack Benny Show.
3) The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show – This show could arguably be in the number one position, not just of the fifties but of all time. There are some who do proclaim it to be far better than any other show, such as I Really like Lucy. They could be appropriate. I adore The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. It is distinct from other shows in that there is a story, but at the very same time, George talks to the viewers a lot. There’s a personal really feel to this show that doesn’t exist for other people. It’s like we’re there, in their living room. Gracie Allen is phenomenal. Her husband, George Burns, typically stated that she was the star. He just stood there and let her speak. That’s what he stated, and Gracie could talk. She played the dumb blonde to perfection, and she earned millions of laughs as a result. The endings of the shows were constantly funny and gave us the classic banter of George requesting, “Say Goodnight, Gracie” and Gracie following it up with, “Goodnight.” It was like a go to with buddies. Possibly this does belong greater up on the list. It would make for an interesting debate.
2) Father Knows Finest – The Anderson loved ones warmed our hearts, taught us morals and values, and made us laugh along the way. Robert Young was the excellent father with Jane Wyatt the perfect mother. Aside from The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Finest is possibly the ideal family image in America. We all wanted our families to be like theirs. This Tv show ended after the 1960 Television season, but in 1977, it returned for two television movies which featured the original actors and which took the show to a natural progression. It was like we’d never stopped watching the Andersons. This show was all about the family members 1st and the humor second.
1) I Really like Lucy – This is potentially the greatest comedy of all time. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz owned the comedy camp with this series. Ball had to fight the networks to enable Arnaz to star in the show, and wow, was she right. Arnaz was the brains behind the comedy, though Ball usually received the credit. It was sad that their marriage couldn’t go the distance, especially because it’s pretty much common knowledge that they always loved every other. Regardless, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo continue to be household names. In no way has a Cuban bandleader been so loved as Ricky, and by no means has a redhead been so adored as Lucy. My favorite is the classic Vitametavegemin routine, but each I Really like Lucy is magic.
Honorable Mentions: I Married Joan, My Small Margie, Make Room for Daddy, Life of Riley, The Bob Cummings Show, Bachelor Father, Leave it to Beaver – All of these shows produced a mark on television comedy as well. Make Room for Daddy is in fact in my leading list of shows for the sixties, and both Bachelor Father and Leave it to Beaver received mentions in that article as nicely. I actually liked The Bob Cummings Show. It had a specific classy but goofiness to it that I identified extremely funny. Cummings has a a lot more sophisticated style of humor, and it was a hoot.
The 1950′s had been truly the birthing grounds for tv comedy. It set the mark for all comedies that followed to meet. Some were passed, but yet other people are classics for the ages. What matters most about these shows, nonetheless, is that they brought laughter into our homes, and laughter is excellent for the soul.