Short lived but lively musical series based on 'The Wizard Of Oz' and starring Jack Wilde, who had shot to fame as The Artful Dodger in Lionel Bart's Oscar winnig film 'Oliver.' In the opening episode, Jimmy (Wilde) and his magic talking flute named Freddie are lured to a fantasy land in a beautiful boat which is then shipwrecked by the nasty sorceress Witchiepoo, who is intent on stealing the instrument. Luckily, the dragon mayor of Living Island, H.R. Pufnstuf, spotted the boy in distress and sent his Rescue Racer team to bring him ashore. Thereafter, Jimmy shared a series of adventures in the company of Judy the Frog, Cling and Clang, Ludicrous Lion and Dr. Blinky. Although Witchiepoo scuppered all of Jimmy's attempts to leave the island, she never got her hands on the flute. The non-human characters were represented by life-size puppets and the entire series was made to the most highest of production values. A feature film was released in 1970.
17 episodes of 30 minute duration. US NBC: 1969-70. H.R. Pufnstuf - The Complete Series  [DVD]
THE HANGED MAN
There have been three attempts to kill Lew Burnett. After the third attempt Burnett decides to stay ‘dead’ - so that he can stay alive. Burnett, owner of an international construction company, begins scouring his past to find out who hated, loved or envied him enough to want him out of the way for good; he is not running from his enemies but trying to draw them out. Undercover and on borrowed time, he has been given a second chance at life. In this state of transition - symbolised by the Hanged Man of the Tarot - he can no longer fall back on his money or influence, just the wits and hands with which he built up his own small empire. In the process, he is forced to confront some painful truths. In an exceptional performance, acclaimed RSC player and character actor Colin Blakely stars as Lew Burnett alongside Michael Williams as Alan Crowe and Gary Watson as hired assassin John Quentin. This powerful eight-part thriller series also features guest appearances from Jane Seymour, Gareth Hunt, James Grout and Frederick Jaeger, and is scripted by Edmund Ward, whose previous credits include The Power Game and The Main Chance. Ward found inspiration for the series in his own experiences in the often morally dubious world of international construction; The Hanged Man is both a story of self-discovery, and a journey into dark places where the global reach of money ultimately holds the power of life or death.
8 episodes of 60 minute duration. Yorkshire Television. 1975. The Hanged Man - The Complete Series (2 Disc Set) 
This sitcom starred Dick Kallman as Hank Dearborn, a teenager who was left to care for his younger sister Tina (Katie Sweet) after their parents were killed in a car accident. To earn a living, Hank decided to take classes at fictional Western University. Of course, having no money, Hank resorted to “auditing” courses–finding out who didn’t show up and posing as that person through elaborate means (which would be considered identity theft today) . Dr. Lewis Royal (Howard St. John) was the registrar at Western, who was on the hunt for the young man auditing classes–not realizing the culprit, Hank, was dating his daughter Doris (Linda Foster). Moreover, the college’s track coach spots Hank racing to class, and invited him to join the track team. Every week, Hank was forced to stay a step ahead of Dr. Royal and social workers who could take Tina away to foster care. Hank had a small but loyal following–too small for NBC, which canceled the series after one season. But in an unusual move, the network allowed “Hank’s” producers to tie up loose ends in the series finale: Hank was finally caught posing as an absent student, but because he did so well on a recent exam, Western University offered Hank a full scholarship. The final scene had Tina remarking “There goes my brother–the registered student.” “Hank’s” theme song lyrics were written by none other than Johnny Mercer!
Dick Kallman was one of a number of promising performers hand-picked by Lucille Ball for her “Desilu Workshop,” a project motivated in part to keep her mind off her upcoming divorce from Desi Arnaz. The young actors were featured in a Christmas special on “Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse” in 1959. Kallman went on to a moderately successful music and stage career before he was murdered inside his New York City apartment in 1980.
26 episodes. NBC. 1965-66
Comedy serial written by Peter Ling (co-creator of Compact and Crossroads) made by the BBC Children's Television department and broadcast throughout the school holidays of 1954. In it, real life husband and wife John Le Mesurier and Hattie Jacques play Mr and Mrs Mulberry - a childless couple, who, for the summer, look after four children whose own parents are in Ceylon. When the Mulberry's London flat proves to be too small to accomodate all of them they take off for the seaside where the action takes place at the end of a disused pier. Clive Dunn also appeared in the series as the suitably named Mr Grimble. The studio scenes were filmed at the BBC's Lime Grove studios and the exterior seaside scenes were shot on location at Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. The six episodes were shown fortnightly on Saturday afternoons between July and September.
6 episodes of 30 minute duration. BBC. 1954
HARPERS WEST ONE
Written by future IBA Director-General John Whitney and Geoffrey Bellman, Harpers West One - subtitled Shopping With The Lid Off, took viewers behind the scenes at a busy, but fictional, West End department store employing around 4,000 staff. Said Whitney: "Customers rarely think about the life and organisation of a store. In Harpers we hope to show a department store with the lid off, and in doing this bring to light the dramas and comedies that go on behind the smooth service. We built Harpers on information from many of London's leading stores. The characters are 'real,' the carpet is plush, the atmosphere is authentic..." Most of the concentration for the drama was set on the sixth floor offices. Jan Holden (pictured behind Vivian Pickles) played widowed personnel officer Harriet Carr, PR man Mike Gilmore was played by Tristram Jelinek, male staff controller Edward Cruickshank was played by Graham Crowden. Chairman of the board, Aubrey Harper was played by Arthur Hewlett. The store closed its doors after two series but before that it was responsible in lifting 1961's Johnny Remember Me to the top of the pop charts - after singer John Leyton turned up in the series singing it - as fictional pop-star Johnny St Cyr.
ITV 1961 - 1963
A Cabinet minister is gunned down outside his home in London by a member of the Provisional IRA. Security protocols come into immediate effect, but the assassin evades them and manages to get back to Belfast unscathed. The military send in Captain Harry Brown - a soldier who specialises in deep cover work in hostile situations - into the Falls Road area of Belfast, a place notorious for civil unrest. His mission: to infiltrate himself into the local population, hunt down the assassin and kill him on his own territory - proving to the IRA that they are not safe, even in their "own back yard". It is a terrifying game of cat and mouse, taking place in a civilian-occupied war zone, where one mistake means certain death. Based on a best-selling novel by ex-ITN correspondent Gerald Seymour, this critically-acclaimed top ten ratings winner stars Ray Lonnen as Captain Harry Brown and Derek Thompson and its haunting theme - by the Irish group Clannad - reached the top five in the UK singles charts. The theme music was nominated for a BAFTA and the series won director Lawrence Gordon Clark the prestigious Golden Leopard's Eye award at the Locarno International Film Festival. Harry's Game was not actually shot in Northern Ireland but rather in Leeds, England. Yorkshire Television shot most of the scenes in now demolished housing in the Burley area of the city adjacent to their Leeds Studios.
3 episodes of 50 minutes duration. ITV. 1982. Harry's Game The Complete Series  [DVD]
This was considered a family sitcom—if you stretched the definition of “family” to include two humans and their three chimpanzees. Jack Weston was real estate agent Walter Hathaway; Peggy Cass his wife Elinore—who was the booker to their trio of chimps Candy, Charlie and Enoch. Elinore treated the chimps as real children, which always worried Walter (did she care more about the chimps than him?). Watching TV authors Harry Castleman and Walter Podrazik called The Hathaways "possibly the worst series ever to air on network TV...utterly degrading...total worthlessness.” Ratings were so low, ABC found only one sponsor—cereal and pet food maker Ralston Purina—willing to even sponsor half the series. Fortunately for all involved, it was cancelled after just one season. Candy, Charlie and Enoch were real performers, billed as the Marquis Chimps. They were a popular act, appearing in commercials, and on Jack Benny and Ed Sullivan's programmes—certainly more dignified settings than The Hathaways could offer.
26 episodes ABC 1961-62
Children can sometimes have an instinct for situations that are beyond the grasp of their young minds. Twelve-year old Cathy (Christine Rees) somehow knows that the trouble with her father, Rolf (John Thaw) is more complex than the deep and natural grief he feels-and which she too has felt-over the death of her mother. It is 10 months now since the fatal car accident, and Rolf is not getting over it. He has withdrawn from all social contacts and has wrapped himself in a cocoon of memories that imprison his mind in the past. Cathy's teacher, Kate (Suzanne Neve), to whom she tries to explain her home situation, is an old friend who has her own reasons for staying away since the tragedy. But Kate can't resist the child's plea - especially as she believes that some, at least, of Rolf's memories of his wife and his marriage are rooted more in illusion than in reality. The Haunting by Ian Curteis was a one-off play presented as part of ITV's Saturday Night Theatre on 28 June 1969.
60 minute duration. ATV Network Production. 1969
Private eye series billed as 77 Sunset Strip in Hawaii, and with good reason. Both series were produced by Warner Bros., and it was not unusual for the characters in one show to turn up in the other. Stars of the series (apart from the weekly parade of beautiful women) were Robert Conrad as Tom Lapaka and Anthony Eisley as Tracy Steele , two young and handsome private detectives who were based in the poolside offices of the Hawaiian Village Hotel. The main leads alternated with each episode and both had assistance from local nightclub songstress "Cricket" Blake as played by Connie Stevens and local cab driver Kazuo Kim, who was played by a Hawaiian actor with the name Poncie Ponce (honest). Grant Williams joined the cast as fellow detective Greg MacKenzie and Eisley left the series in 1962, his gap being filled for the final season by Troy Donahue as the hotel’s social director.
60 minute episodes. Warner Bros. 1959-63.
HAWKEYE AND THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Based on John Fennimore Cooper's character, who battled the Huron Indians in the northern frontier of upstate New York during the 1750's, Hawkeye was played by John Hart, who had previously taken the reins from Clayton Moore -but only temporarily, of another Western hero,
The Lone Ranger. Hawkeye was a trapper, fur trader and scout for the US Cavalry and was joined on his adventures by his redskin 'bloodbrother', Chingachgook, the 'Last of the Mohicans' of the title, played by Lon Chaney Jnr. Chaney's father had been a famous Hollywood actor who was known as 'The Man of a Thousand Faces' (James Cagney portrayed him in a 1957 film of the same name), playing amongst others, The Phantom of the Opera. Junior had reluctantly followed his father's footsteps into the same movie genre, appearing in the 1941 Universal production of The Wolfman.
39 episodes of 26 minute duration. Black and White. Canada. 1957. Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans - The Complete Series [DVD]
Based on Ted Key's long running cartoon strip published in the Saturday Evening Post, Hazel starred Shirley Booth as the titular housemaid to the Baxter family who ran the family home far more efficiently than George Baxter (Don DeFore) ran his office, where he was a highly successful corporation lawyer for the firm of Butterworth, Hatch, Noll and Baxter. Hazel had a nose for everyone else's business, although ultimately this proved to be to everyone's advantage. George's wife, Dorothy (Whitney Blake) was more likely to be found shopping than housekeeping and it was Hazel's organisational skills that kept the Baxter household running smoothly. In 1965 the show moved networks so George and Dorothy were 'transferred' to the Middle East on assignment leaving Hazel and their son, Harold (Bobby Buntrock) to move in with George's brother's family. Steve Baxter (Ray Fulmer) was insistent that Hazel would not take over his home. She did!
154 shows of 30 minute duration. NBC 1961-1965 and CBS 1965-1966.
When James Hazell was forced to retire from the police force due to an on-duty injury he took to the bottle, became an alcoholic and destroyed his marriage. By the time television viewers were introduced to him he was almost a reformed character, having dried out and, with the help of his cousin, Tel, formed his own private detective agency in an area frequented by London's more seedier residents. Nicholas Ball played private eye Hazell like a Cockney Phillip Marlowe (complete with commentary voice over) in this stylishly film noir series based on the books of former footballer (and future England coach) Terry Venables and Gordon Williams, who also contributed to the TV version. The raunchy theme song was written by Andy McKay of Roxy Music and was a minor hit for Maggie Bell in April/May 1978.
22 shows of 60 minute duration. ITV 1978-1979. Hazell - The Complete Series [DVD]
HE AND SHE
Real life husband and wife Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss starred in this domestic/workplace comedy that was slightly ahead of its time. Benjamin played Dick Hollister, a successful New York cartoonist who created the superhero character “Jetman,” which was turned into a television show. Veteran actor Jack Cassidy played Oscar North, who portrayed “Jetman” on the fictional series. Dick's wife, Paula (Prentiss) was an off-centre social worker whose problems also became Dick's. Kenneth Mars was the couple's fireman friend Harry Zarakardos, and Hamilton Camp played the building's superintendent Andrew Hummel. But despite critical raves and a time slot following Green Acres, He And She was never the hit it deserved to be. One of its producers, Allan Burns, was later part of the Mary Tyler Moore Show team. Ironically, Cassidy turned down the part of that show's pompous newscaster Ted Baxter, saying it was too similar to his He And She role. CBS aired reruns of the series during the summer of 1970.
26 episodes CBS 1967-68
HEAD OF THE CLASS
This above-average high school sitcom starred Howard Hessman (who gained fame as Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP In Cincinnati) as Charlie Moore, an out-of-work actor who became a substitute history teacher at Manhattan’s Millard Filmore High School. One of his classes included members of the school’s Individualized Honors Program. They were a group with above-average intelligence, but they weren’t so great with social skills. The IHP class included nerdy Arvid Engen (Dan Frischman); overweight and blustery Dennis Blunden (Dan Schneider); conservative Yuppie Alan Pinkard (Tony O’Dell); spoiled rich girl Darlene Merriman (Robin Givens); grounded Sarah Nevins (Kimberly Russell); overachiever Maria Borges (Leslie Bega); Indian exchange student Jawaharlal Choudhury (Jory Husain); artist Simone Foster (Khrystyne Haje); 11-year-old student Janice Lazarotto (Tannis Vallely); and greaser Eric Mardian (Brian Robbins), who was intelligent despite his dislike for anything academic. It was up to Charlie to give the IHP students street smarts, along with book smarts–much to the dismay of blustery principal Doctor Harold Samuels (William G. Shilling) and the admiration of his assistant Bernadette Meara (Jeanetta Arnette). Head Of The Class became the first modern American entertainment series to film an entire episode in the Soviet Union (Charlie and the IHP class went to Moscow to face their Russian counterparts in an academic tournament). The show also featured the cast doing mini-musicals; once each season, the students would perform such productions as Hair and Little Shop Of Horrors. During the show’s run, Givens became a media sensation, thanks to her marriage to controversial boxer Mike Tyson. There was gradual turnover among the students; several left before the show’s demise and a few new IHP members were added, including problem student T.J. Jones (Rain Pryor). Hessman also decided to leave the series after four seasons; his replacement was Scottish-born comic Billy Connolly as Billy MacGregor, who was more of a stand-up comic compared to the droll educator Charlie Moore was. The series ended its five-season run with the remaining IHP students graduating from Filmore High, which was waiting to be demolished. Dan Schneider (who played Dennis Blunden) went on to produce and write a string of successful teen sitcoms on the Nickelodeon cable channel, including iCarly; The Amanda Show and Zoey 101. The New York Times later called Schneider the Norman Lear of children’s television. Co-star Brian Robbins also worked with Schneider, and later produced such network series as Smallville and One Tree Hill.
114 episodes of 30 minute duration, ABC 1986-91
HEAVEN FOR BETSY
Real life husband and wife Jack Lemmon and Cynthia Stone co-starred in a twice-a-week 'live broadcasted' domestic comedy. Each episode only lasted 15 minutes and featured the misadventures of newlyweds Pete and Betsy Bell. Unlike other domestic sitcoms it was the husband who was responsible for much of the mayhem with his tendency to jump headlong and headstrong into a problem before realising the possible consequences. It was his wife, an ex-secretary turned homemaker, who would get Pete out of trouble. He was an assistant buyer in a New York department store and they lived together in a two-room apartment. The series had a short run, September to December 1952. Lemmon and Stone divorced in 1956. She only enjoyed a brief career in television whilst Jack Lemmon went on to a hugely successful movie career. Their son, Chris Lemmon, is a successful author.
Approximately 22 epsisodes of 15 minute duration. 1952.
HELEN-A WOMAN OF TODAY
After Helen Tulley (Alison Fiske) discovers that her husband, Frank (Martin Shaw), has been having an affair with another woman her friends and family urge her to forgive and forget and stand by her man. Perhaps there was a time and a television drama when she would have done, but this was now the 1970s and there was an increasing awareness of the feminist movement, and so we see Helen bravely decide to leave the cheating Frank and go it alone with her two children (Diana Hutchinson and Christopher Ballantyne). The thirtysomething mother turns to study and becomes self reliant as she goes through the traumatic changes in her life. One of the first series to actually explore the woman's point of view and make her the centre of the drama.
13 episodes of 50 minutes duration. LWT. 1973
Hello Cheeky brought Radio Two’s long-running 1970s comedy show to television, featuring the legendary talents of Goodies star Tim Brooke-Taylor, fellow I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue stalwart and comedy writer Barry Cryer, and writer and actor John Junkin; composer Denis King provided musical accompaniment (and frequently became the object of ridicule for the other three). The half-hour shows were pre-recorded in front of a live audience and replicated the original series’ trademark mix of preposterous sketches, appalling jokes, raillery and general silliness. Improvisation abounded, with the occasional blunder retained in an irreverent approach summed up by Cryer as ‘Laugh-In without the gloss, only desperation and rot’. A typical show might feature advice on looking after an armadillo, teaching your dog to samba or making your very own space rocket from a yard of lint, an operation on a false moustache, or even a gala dinner with the officers and crew of the Nancie Celeste. The first television series, containing eight episodes, was broadcast between 19 January and 22 March 1976. The second series, containing five episodes, was broadcast between 26 May and 23 June of the same year.
Yorkshire Television. 1976 Hello Cheeky [DVD]
THE HEN HOUSE
The Hen House was a one-off 30 minute sitcom broadcast as part of the Comedy Playhouse series on 10 January 1964. With CP's original writers Alan Simpson and Ray Galton busy creating comedy legend with Steptoe and Son (the first episode of the second series debuted the same week as this Comedy Playhouse offering), it was up to others to pen the one-off sitcoms in the hope that their own offering might lead to a full series. This particular one, written by George Evans and Derek Collyer, didn't-even though it starred Beryl Reid, Barbara Windsor and Dermot Kelly (pictured). The Hen House is a girls' hostel, Khartoum House, where the chances of a quiet bit of courting are as scarce as snowflakes in August. Only on one evening a week are the residents allowed to invite their boyfriends into the lounge-and only then for nice quiet pencil-and-paper games. As for lingering goodnights on the doorstep, they're out of the question. In the eyes of Mrs Teresa Fanwyn (Reid), hostel warden, a single kiss can lead to a postivie porchful of orgy: 'Once men and women get together, they orge...' The only way of fooling the watchful Teresa, it seems, is to instal a TV set in the lounge. Then, with the lights turned low, the boyfriend evenings could become more interesting all round. Not that the girls have in mind cosy sessions with such programmes as Panorama. The set would be used-to quote Cynthia (Windsor)-'as a back row of the pictures.' But Teresa Fanwyn is anti-television; and it is the efforts of the girls and the janitor-handyman-dogsbody, Edwin (Kelly), the pursuade her to change her mind that provide the farcical flavour of The Hen House.
30 minutes duration. BBC 1964
Starring Hollywood Oscar winner Broderick Crawford as Chief Dan Mathews, Highway Patrol is today seen as the father of the TV Cop show genre with it's all-action storylines involving the pursuit of murderers, bank robbers, smugglers and hijackers, by car, bike or helicopter across the highways and byways of the Western United States. Made on a shoestring budget and starring no other regulars apart from the star himself (who was also a part-owner in the production company that made the series, Ziv TV), the series was a massive hit around the world. In Italy it was known as Policia Della Strode, in Spain –Petrulla de Seguridad and by various other titles in twenty other countries. Its most enduring legacy was the introduction to the phrase 'Ten-Four', meaning 'message received and understood.' Crawford, a Californian, had begun his career in the 1930's playing tough gangster roles and won his Best Actor Oscar in 1949 for ’All The King's Men’, plus a special critics award for ’Of Mice and Men’. He insisted on doing most of his own stunt work and as a result of this incurred a number of injuries, as he explained in 1958. "Running around filming in helicopters and fast cars for three years you're bound to have accidents, and I've certainly had my share. So far I've fractured my skull, broken an arm and an ankle and taken hundreds of falls." The series ran from 1955 to 1958 and at the end of its run Crawford secured the lead in King of Diamonds and later in The Interns before popping up as a guest star in Get Smart, Burke's Law and Fantasy Island, to name a few.
156 episodes of 30 minute duration. Ziv TV. 1955-1959.
HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN
After playing Little Joe on Bonanza and patriarch Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, Michael Landon’s third series for NBC placed him in the unusual role of an angel. But it wasn’t a stretch for the man who was beloved by millions of viewers–and despite the network’s misgivings, Highway To Heaven became a success. Landon (who also produced the series) starred as Jonathan Smith, an angel placed on “probation” and sent down to Earth to help others. Each week Jonathan and his human friend Mark Gordon (Victor French) received their marching orders from God (also known as “The Boss”) to help people assert their good natures in the face of adversity. “Heaven” dealt gently with illness, money, prejudice, sometimes using humour to help turn situations around. A number of guest stars populated the stories, including Landon’s former Bonanza dad, Lorne Greene, who appeared in a 1985 episode. Getting the series on the air was a miracle in itself. Brandon Tartikoff, NBC’s head programmer, allowed Landon to write a pilot script and film an episode. Landon told Tartikoff he wanted to “play an angel of God who comes down each week and changes somebody’s life, just like Clarence did for Jimmy Stewart (in the 1946 Frank Capra classic film It’s A Wonderful Life).” When the finished pilot arrived at NBC, some jaded executives referred to the project as “Jesus of Malibu.” They argued against buying the show, but NBC had a series commitment with Landon–and passing on the series would cost the network millions of dollars. So Tartikoff asked for a tape of the pilot, and took it with him for a visit with his parents and family. In his autobiography, the late NBC programmer put the tape in the VCR when his wife’s father came into the room: “At six o’clock we were called to dinner. I got up; he stayed. ‘Where’s Jack?” everyone was saying. That was my first indication that we jaded TV executives might not be the best judges of Landon’s show.” Tartikoff was right: The pilot, which aired in the fall of 1984, was an instant hit–and ran for five seasons, paving the way for other series with angelic themes, including Touched By An Angel. In June 1989, Victor French died of lung cancer. Landon went on to produce a new series–this time for CBS–called Us. Sadly, just the pilot was produced before he died of pancreatic cancer in July 1991. But supporters of family-friendly television drama had no greater champion than Michael Landon.
111 episodes of 60 minute duration. NBC 1984-89 Highway To Heaven - Season One [UK DVD]
THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE
This old-fashioned variety hour was ABC’s answer to CBS’ long-running Ed Sullivan Show. Unlike Sullivan, there was no permanent host; a guest star assumed the hosting duties every week and introduced a variety of acts from singers and dancers, to acrobats and stand-up comics. The Hollywood Palace was born from the failed rubble of “The Jerry Lewis Show.” The comic’s expensive and live two hour series was quickly panned by critics and shunned by audiences. After ABC bought out Lewis’ contract at the end of 1963, it was still stuck with the old El Capitan Theater in Hollywood that was home base for Lewis’ show. Network executives decided to use the theater for an hour-long variety show. Bing Crosby was the first star who agreed to host; he would assume the duty 31 times during the “Palace’s” run. Other guest hosts included such names as Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Judy Garland, Jimmy Durante and even stars of ABC series such as Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched. The Hollywood Palace was structured much like the live vaudeville shows that were popular in the early years of the 20th century even down to having an attractive woman come out and present a card that introduced the next act to audiences. One of the early “card girls” was a shapely actress named Raquel Welch. The Hollywood Palace also introduced some popular musical acts to viewers. The Rolling Stones, for instance, made their first American appearance on “Palace;” when they were featured in a June 1964 telecast, guest host Dean Martin mocked them on the air. Martin’s comments were deleted when the “Palace” episode was later repeated. But there was no mocking the Jackson 5 (fronted by a young and obviously talented Michael Jackson) when they made their national TV debut on “Palace” in October 1969. As was the case with many ABC programs of the period, The Hollywood Palace aired in black and white; it would not broadcast in color until the fall of 1965. (Sullivan’s show also switched to tint around the same time.) Crosby hosted the last installment of The Hollywood Palace; the February 7th, 1970 “clip episode” featured the best moments from the show’s run. One year later, CBS would give the ax to Ed Sullivan after 23 years anchoring Sunday nights. The demise of both vaudeville-style variety shows marked the end of an era in American television.
192 episodes. ABC. 1964-70
HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET
Based on a well-regarded book by David Simon, this police procedural centered on the work of homicide detectives in Baltimore, Maryland. It was praised for its gritty feel and stellar ensemble cast, but was never a front-line hit. A loyal but relatively small audience kept the series going, as did critical acclaim. Homicide was produced by film director Barry Levinson, who saw the series more suited to television than a movie. Levinson approached screenwriter Paul Attanasio, who developed the book and characters for TV and gave the series a dark, downbeat feel. A core group of detectives became as the focus of the stories, with several storylines in each episode. The initial cast included Detectives Stanley Bolander (Ned Beatty), John Munch (Richard Belzer), Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin), Kay Howard (Melissa Leo), Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson), Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) and Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor). Leading the group was Lieutenant Al Giardello (Yaphet Kotto). Each character was clearly defined with strengths and weaknesses, professional concerns and personal problems. There were few shootouts or car chases on Homicide; the stories about the various cases and the relationships of the detectives held each episode together. The squad room’s dry eraser board with listed cases (red for those still open, black for closed cases) was a running feature of the show. But like many out-of-the-norm programmes, Homicide didn’t attract much of an audience after its early 1993 debut. NBC stuck by the series, even though fewer episodes were ordered per season than most other shows, they were generally slotted in tough time periods. But the network continued to press for changes to attract more viewers, including more scenes with romance and violence. (Homicide also featured several crossover episodes with another NBC crime drama, Law & Order.) Over the show’s seven seasons, a number of actors came and went and there was a long list of guest stars, including Robin Williams, Lilly Tomlin, and many others who seldom worked on television. Perhaps the best-known regular cast member was the intense Pembleton, whose questioning of suspects helped Andre Braugher win an Emmy for best acting in a drama. Belzer’s quirky Munch character moved to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and other shows after Homicide’s demise. In an unusual move, Homicide: Life on the Street aired a two-hour television movie in May 1999, wrapping up the show’s loose ends. David Simon would soon after create a critically-acclaimed series for HBO, The Wire, which took an even harsher look at the city of Baltimore beyond the police department. That doesn’t take away from the merits of Homicide: Life on the Street probably one of America’s best cop dramas of the 1990's.
122 episodes of 60 minute duration plus two-hour TV movie, NBC. 1993-99 Homicide: Life on the Street - The Complete Collection [DVD]
As originally created by author Clarence E. Mulford, Bill 'Hopalong' Cassidy, the star of twenty-eight pulp fiction novels, was a rude, hard-living, tough-talking, wrangler of the old Wild West who got his nickname after being shot in the leg. On screen he was an entirely different character. Reserved and well spoken, with a fine sense of fair play who did not smoke, drink or swear and who always let the bad guy start the fight. The drink of his choice was the nonalcoholic sarsaparilla. In 1935, actor William Boyd was offered the supporting role of Red Connors in the movie Hop-Along Cassidy, but boldly asked for the title role which he was given. The film series eventually ended in 1947 after 66 films, with Boyd producing the last 12. Anticipating television's rise, Boyd had the prescience of mind to purchase the rights to the Hopalong Cassidy character, books and films. They didn't come cheap-but his $350,000 investment was paid back handsomely. In 1949, he released the low-budget films to television, and the first network Western television series became a sensation almost immediately. The following year alone, Boyd earned an estimated $800,000 from the telecasts, merchandise and endorsements. More than 100 companies sold Hopalong Cassidy products, including children's dinnerware, pillows, roller skates, soap, wristwatches, and jackknives. Hopalong Cassidy was also featured on the first child's lunchbox to bear a commercial image. The success of the show and tie-ins inspired several juvenile TV Westerns, including The Gene Autry Show and The Roy Rogers Show. With all the movies finally released to television original made-for-TV episodes were filmed from 1952 to 1954. Hoppy was still owner of the Bar 20 Ranch and his sidekick, Red Connors, was the perfect foil for Cassidy, who, unlike most cowboys heroes, dressed all in black and, with snow-white hair, cut quite a figure atop his horse Topper. On June 7, 2011, Timeless Media Group released Hopalong Cassidy: The Complete Television Series on DVD in Region 1. The 6-disc set features all 52 episodes of the series restored and remastered.
Hopalong Cassidy: Complete Series [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
HUGH AND I
Hugely popular long-running comedy series starring former stage partners Hugh Lloyd and Terry Scott as a type of modern day Laurel and Hardy double-act, forever finding themselves in hot water and situations that tested their friendship to the limits. At his mother's house at 33 Lobelia Avenue, Tooting, Scott was the overbearing work-shy bachelor who aspired to wealth in a number of 'get-rich-quick' schemes. Lloyd was the rather dim-witted, hapless lodger who worked at a local aircraft factory and who was easily led from one misadventure to another by his boisterous partner. By the end of the fifth series both Lloyd and Scott decided to call it a day, but after some persuasion by the BBC they returned for another series but with a different setting. After Lloyd won £5000 on the Premium Bonds the pair left behind Terry's mum (Vi Stevens) and two sets of nosey neighbours (the Crispins and the Wormwolds) to go on a world cruise. The pair teamed up one more time after this in a parody of a US adventure series in 1968 -Hugh and I Spy.
79 episodes of 30 minute duration. Black and White. 1962-1968.
*Although most shows are shown as 30 minute or 60 minute duration they can vary in length. A thirty minute show on British commercial television may only last 25 minutes while a thirty minute BBC show may be 28 minutes. A thirty minute US show can be even shorter. The times shown here do not reflect the actual running time of the show but the time slot they would fill when broadcast on television.