Forgotten Shows Of The 1960s

Each decade, television shows come and go, with some leaving a more significant mark than others. While some older shows remain popular and continue to be played as reruns today, that’s not the case for many of them. Although some shows have their moment in the limelight, most don’t make it past the first season or two and are eventually overlooked altogether. These are the shows from the 1960s that were slowly forgotten. Do you remember any of them?

The !!!! Beat Was The Original MTV

Band on stage
ABC
ABC

The !!!! Beat was a syndicated 26-episode music television show in syndication in 1966. The program was hosted by Nashville-based disc jockey Bill “Hoss” Allen. The show also featured a house band led by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and was recorded in color at WFAA, the ABC affiliate in Dallas.

They did this because none of the Nashville stations had color facilities while the Dallas one did as well as recorded and syndicated episodes of the show.

The Brothers Brannagan Was Very Low-Budget

Two detectives
CBS
CBS

The Brothers Brannagan was an American crime drama show that aired from September 1960 to July 1961. The show follows to two brother detectives, Mike, and Bob Brannagan, played by Stephen Dunne and Mark Roberts, respectively.

The two detectives worked out of the Mountain Shadows and Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, where they solved the majority of their crimes. The series was shot on an incredibly low-budget although actors such as Barney Phillips, Paul Bryar, Vic Marrow, among others had guest appearances.

Death Valley Days Featured Ronald Reagan

Death Valley Days title page
McGowan Productions
McGowan Productions

Death Valley Days started as an old radio show but was soon turned into a television anthology series. The show told the real accounts of the Old West, particularly in the Death Valley region of southeastern California.

The radio show began in 1930 and ran until 1945. It then became a syndicated show from 1952 to 1970, with reruns with new narration continuing to 1975. The show was hosted by Stanley Andrews, Ronald Reagan, Rosemary DeCamp and Dale Robertson. Hosting the series was Reagan’s final work as an actor.

Before Top Flight There Was The Blue Angels

Blue Angels title
California National Productions
California National Productions

Running from 1960 to 1961, The Blue Angels was a syndicated show about the Blue Angels of the United States Navy. Dennis Cross starred as Commander Arthur Richards, the head of the flight squadron who tours the country giving flying demonstrations.

The show also starred Don Gordon, Michael Galloway. Morgan Jones, Warner Jones, Ross Elliot, among others. There were also several guests stars who appeared numerous times on the show including Burt Reynolds, William Bryant, Dick Jones, and more.

Coronado 9 Was All About Crime In San Diego

Coronado 9 TV ad
Revue Studios
Revue Studios

Taking place on Coronado Island in San Diego, California, Coronado 9 starred Rod Cameron as Dan Adams, a former United States Navy intelligence officer who becomes a private detective.

The show was named Coronado 9 because it was the character Adams’ address with the number 9 being showed on a rock by his front door in the opening credits. The series consisted of 39 episodes which aired between September 6, 1960, and May 31, 1961.

Diver Dan Was Short Segments For Kids

Dan talking to a fish
Brian Cartoons
Brian Cartoons

Made by Brian Cartoons, Diver Dan was a series of 104 seven-minute live-action shorts designed for children’s television. The show followed a diver named Dan who wore an old-fashioned diving suit and talked to the fish that passed him underwater. The show was filmed using puppet fish and by shooting through an aquarium.

The program was syndicated to numerous NBC affiliates and was sometimes edited to act as 30-minute shows with commercials. The main cast of the show included Allen Swift, Frank D. Freda, and Suzanne Tuner.

Everglades! Was A Unique Spin On The Crime Genre

Everglades opening
Ziv-United Artists
Ziv-United Artists

Everglades! was a crime-adventure series that ran from 1961 to 1962 as well as reruns. The show followed Constable Lincoln Vail, played by Ron Hayes, who is a law enforcement officer of the Everglades Country Patrol. The show focused on Vail traveling by airboat through the Florida Everglades and solving cases.

The original script for the series was written by actor and model Albert Wilmore, who grew up around Whitewater bay before the Everglades became a national park. The film featured countless guest stars as well as the local Seminole natives.

Johnny Midnight Took Audiences All Around New York City

O'Brien and Shimoda
MCA Television
MCA Television

Starring Edmond O’Brien as Johnny Midnight, the show was a crime drama that aired for one season in syndication from January 3, 1960, to September 21, 1960. Johnny Midnight is a New York actor turned private detective, whose cases usually take place on Broadway and Times Square, two places he’s very familiar with from his former profession.

The show was also narrated by O’Brien and had a supporting cast including Arthur Batanides, Barney Phillips, and Yuli Shimoda.

The Jim Backus Show Wasn’t About Backus

Backus show opening credits
California National Productions
California National Productions

Starring Jim Backus of Gilligan’s Island and the voice of Mr. Magoo, The Jim Backus Show follows the character Mike O ‘Toole, an editor who runs as second-rate news service that he’s trying to keep from going under.

Sometimes called Hot Off the Wire, the series shot 39 episodes which aired in broadcast syndication in 1960 and 1961. The series also starred Nita Talbot, Bobs Watson, and George Ives who played the other primary characters.

There Were Over 100 Episodes Of Mack & Meyer For Hire

Mack and Meyer on the street
Trans-Lux Television
Trans-Lux Television

Aired in syndication between 1963 and 1964, Mack & Meyer for Hire was a sitcom starring Mickey Deems and Joey Faye, produced by Trans-Lux Television. Mack and Meyer are two handymen who do odd jobs around town in order to make some quick money. Being a comedy, their schemes usually backfire or issues come about due to everyday problems.

Each episode was approximately 12 minutes longs, with over 100 episodes produced during its year-long run. Being so short in run time, the segments were usually part of a larger program, which featured numerous short episodes one after another.

Ripcord Helped Popularize Skydiving

Ripcord opening credits
United Artists Television
United Artists Television

With a total of 76 episodes running between 1961 and 1963, Ripcord was a syndicated show that followed a skydiving service company called Ripcord. The series starred Larry Pennell, Ken Curtis, Paul Comi, and later Shug Fisher.

The show told the story of characters Ted McKee and Jim Buckley as they put their special skydiving abilities to the test such as chasing criminals or risky rescue missions. The show was praised for the impressive stunts performed by stuntmen Bob Fleming and Joe Mangione, with both almost perishing during filming.

Shotgun Slade Was Unique Compared To Other Westerns

Slade with horse
MCA TV
MCA TV

Shotgun Slade was an American Western mystery series starring Scott Brady. The show was aired during a time when audiences were beginning to tire of the Western genre, but Shotgun Slade had a few aspects that set it apart from the rest.

These were that Slade wasn’t a Marshall or sheriff but a private detective, he used a gun that acted both as a shotgun and a rifle instead of a revolver, and the show had a jazz score. The show was a total of 78 episodes between 1959 and 1961, only lasting two seasons.

Miami Undercover Was Actually Filmed In Miami

Miami Undercover intro
Ziv-United Artists
Ziv-United Artists

Miami Undercover was a crime drama series that aired in syndication from January to October of 1961, with a total of 38 episodes. The show stars Lee Bowman, who is best known for previously playing Ellery Queen, as well as Rocky Graziano.

Bowman and Graziano are private investigators in Miami who are hired by Miami hotel owners to fight crime in the city. Except for the first two episodes, the show was actually shot in Miami, where the cast and crew stayed at the Eden Roc Hotel.

Our Man Higgins Started As A Radio Show

Higgins tipping his hat
ABC
ABC

Our Man Higgins was an American sitcom that aired on ABC from October 3, 1962, to May 17, 1963. The show follows the life of an English butler who is hired by an American family. It then chronicles the cultural clash between the butler and family and an eventual blending of both cultures.

The show stars Stanley Holloway, as well as Frank Maxwell, Audrey Totter, K.C. Butts, and Regina Groves. The show initially started as a 13-episode NBC radio comedy series in 1951 titled It’s Higgins.

Sea Hunt Ran For Four Seasons

Sea Hunt opening
Ziv-United Artists Television
Ziv-United Artists Television

Aired in syndication from 1958 to 1961, Sea Hunt ran for four seasons with a total of 155 episodes produced. The show starred Lloyd Bridges as former United States frogman, Mike Nelson. Although Nelson is retired, his unique set of skills such as scuba diving leads him to be called upon for dangerous freelance missions.

Traveling aboard his ship the Argonaut, he’s involved in numerous adventures ranging from rescuing children from a flooded cave to salvaging bicycle parts. The show was well-received during its four seasons and is regarded as one of the most-watched syndicated TV series in the United States.

Bourbon Street Beat Was Yet Another ABC Detective Show

Cast of the show
ABC
ABC

Bourbon Street Beat is a private detective show starring Rich Long as Rex Randolph, Andrew Dunnigan as Carl Calhoun, Van Williams as Kenny Madison, and Arlene Howell as Melody Lee Mercer.

The show aired on ABC between 1959 and 1960 and was considered one of the less successful detective series being aired on ABC. When the series ended in 1960, many of the characters from the show were simply uprooted and moved to other shows or spinoffs.

It’s A Man’s World Was Described As progressive

It's A Man's World opening credits
NBC
NBC

Airing on NBC from September 17, 1962, to January 28, 1963, It’s a Man’s World is an American comedy-drama series. The show focuses on four men who live on a houseboat called The Elephant docked on the Ohio River. The characters include a pre-law student, his younger brother, another college student from an affluent family, and a talented guitarist from North Carolina.

The four boys are played by Glenn Corbett, Michael Burns, Ted Bessell, and Randy Boone, respectively. The show was considered “ahead of its time,” even though it lasted such a short amount of time.

Broadside Flipped Gender Roles

Cast of Broadside
NBC/Universal
NBC/Universal

Broadside is an ABC sitcom that aired during the 1964-1965 television season. Starring Kathleen Nolan as her character from McHale’s Navy, Lieutenant Morgan, the show follows the women of the NAVY (WAVES) around World War II. The women are then positioned in the South Pacific to run the motor pool surrounded by all males.

However, their male counterparts took a liking to the ladies and helped them in their struggles against their nemesis, Commander Adrian, who is constantly trying to get rid of them. Although the ratings weren’t terrible, it only ran one season as Universal felt it was taking up room.

Mona McCluskey Was About A Woman Pursuing Her Dreams

Mona and her husband
NBC
NBC

Also known as Meet Mona McCluskey, the show was an NBC sitcom that aired from 1965 to 1966. Juliet Prowse stars as Mona McCluskey, an actress who marries the United States Air Force sergeant, Mike McCluskey, portrayed by Denny Scott Miller.

The show focuses on Mona as she tries to balance her career and marriage to Mike while surviving off of his modest Air Force income. The show was canceled after it failed to win in its time slot with its last episode airing on April 1966.

The Hathaways Never Had A Chance

Cass with chimp
ABC
ABC

Airing from October 1961 to March 1962, The Hathaways was a 26-episode comedy series on ABC. The show starred Jack Weston and Peggy Cass who are the “parents” to three performing chimpanzees in suburban Los Angeles.

Weston portrayed real estate agent Walter Hathaway, and Cass, Walter’s wife, Elinore, who is in charge of booking performances for the Marquis Chimps. Unfortunately, ratings for the show were so low that ABC had to self-sponsor the series – which eventually resulted in its cancellation.

Adam-12 Brought Procedurals To The Country

adam 12 show
NBC
NBC

Sometimes, when your show is the first to do something, it gets lost in history. That might be what happened to Adam-12. The police procedural premiered in 1968 and ran until 1975, but you’d be hard-pressed to find it in syndication today.

The show, created by Jack Webb and Robert Cinader, followed the adventures of the LAPD Rampart Division. It has been credited with helping introduce police procedures and vocabulary to the public eye.

Arrest And Trial Made History Overseas

arrest and trial screenshot
ABC
ABC

Arrest and Trial aired for on season on ABC in 1963 before it was canceled. Airing every Sunday, episodes were 90 minutes long and split into two segments. Taking place in Los Angeles, the first segment was the arrest of the criminal, while the second was the trial.

While the show wasn’t popular in the United States, it did make history by becoming the first American-produced show to be broadcast on the BBC2 in the United Kingdom.

Ben Jerrod Was Aired In Color

ben jerrod show
NBC
NBC

During the ’60s, television was still transitioning from being broadcast in black and white to color. Primetime television came around first, and daytime television was soon in follow. In 1963 Ben Jerrod became the first daytime show to be broadcast that way in certain markets.

Unfortunately, the show didn’t last very long. The soap opera followed two Rhode Island lawyers representing a socialite in a murder case. After just two months on the air the show was canceled by NBC.

Branded Got Lost In The Crowd

branded tv show
NBC
NBC

A Western that took place in the post Civil War era, Branded aired on NBC in 1965 and only lasted for two seasons. The show was given a prime slot on Sunday nights at 8:30 and was sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, but that wasn’t enough to help it thrive.

The plot revolved around Jason McCord, a court-martialed United States Army captain accused of cowardice. It was created by Larry Cohen and starred Chuck Connors. The first season of the show was shot in black and white, and the second season was shot in color.

Destry Was Based On A Movie

destry tv show
ABC
ABC

Destry starred John Gavin and aired on ABC for one season. It was based on the James Stewart movie Destry Rides Again, as well as its remake starring Audie Murphy. In the series, a Western lawman tries to solve crimes without using his gun.

Unlike many Westerns at the time Destry included a lot of humor and jokes and didn’t take itself too seriously. When the show was announced, ABC rushed it into production. Maybe if they had taken more time to develop it, it would have lasted longer than it did.

Dante Was Too Risque

howard duff from dante
CBS
CBS

For 26 episodes, Dante followed the exploits of Willie Dante, the owner of San Francisco nightclub Dante’s Inferno. At the start of the show, we learn the Willie used to live a life of crime but has now gone straight.

Unfortunately, the police and the mob don’t believe he has turned over a new leaf. Nothing quite clicked right for the show and it couldn’t make it past one season. A feature film was put in development in the late ’60s, but never become a reality.

Dan Raven Unraveled Hollywood

dan raven tv series
NBC
NBC

Set on the famous Sunset Strip, Dan Raven aired 13 episodes beginnig in 1960. The series followed Lieutentant Dan Raven of the LA Sheriff’s Department as he worked to solve crimes with Sergeant Burke.

One of the most unique aspects of the show was the guest appearances it was able to get. Major celebrities starred as themselves in episodes, including Buddy Hacket, Boby Darin, and Marty Ingels. Dan Raven aired against heavy competition on Friday night that it was not able to overcome.

Combat! Was Too Intense

combat! tv show
ABC
ABC

Like a few shows on this list Combat! managed to find life over multiple seasons, but has become lost in the modern-day shuffle. The show starred Rick Jason and Vic Morrow as members of a squad of American soldiers fighting Germans during WWII.

During its run, the show was noted for its realism and feeling more like a series of short films about war than a TV series. TV Guide even ranked one episode as the 74th greatest television episode ever made!

Cimarron Strip Was A New Take On The Western

cimarron strip tv show
CBS
CBS

Produced by the creators of Gunsmoke, Cimarron Strip first aired in 1967 and lasted for 23 episodes. It starred Stuart Whitman as a U.S. Marshall in the Cherokee Outlet region of the Cimarron River.

The show, despite critical praise, became a victim of its timeslot. It aired on Thursdays opposite Bewitched and Batman. At the end of the day, it really never stood a chance, and cost too much money to produce for CBS to keep it running.

Car 54, Where Are You? Was Just Silly

car 54 where are you show
NBC
NBC

Airing for two seasons on NBC, Car 54, Where Are You? was a comedy about New York City officers in the 53rd precinct. Car 54 is their patrol vehicle. Unlike other shows, this one was filmed in black and white. It was authentically shot on location in the Bronx.

Despite its short run, the show won several awards including an Emmy for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. To make sure the cars looked real in black and white, they were painted bright red and white during filming.

Cain’s Hundred Followed A Lawyer For The Mob

cains hundred show
CBS
CBS

The police procedural Cain’s Hundred lasted for 30 episodes aired across one season for CBS. It followed the life of Nicholas Cain, a former mob lawyer who decided to leave his life of crime after getting engaged.

When the mob puts a hit on him, they end up taking out his fiancee instead. Full and anger and sadness, Cain starts a personal mission to get revenge on the mob and teams up with the FBI to bring the criminals to justice.

Bus Stop Was About A Bus Station Diner Owner

bus stop show
ABC
ABC

Bus Stop debuted on ABC in 1961 and followed the owner of a diner and bus station in Sunrise, Colorado. The fictitious town was the perfect setting for the quaint show that aired 26 episodes.

The show was nominated for two Emmys for its first season, which had legendary director Robert Altman direct eight episodes. Altman would go on to be nominated for five Academy Awards during his iconic career in Hollywood.

Don’t Call Me Charlie Was A New Spin On The War Comedy

dont call me charlie tv show
NBC
NBC

Don’t Call Me Charlie aired on Friday nights on NBC during the 1962-63 television season. Eighteen episodes were produced. The show followed Judson McKay, a veterinarian drafted into the army and sent to Paris.

When the show was originally tested with audiences it was called Viva Judson McKay! and the sample audience thought it was about the Mexican Revolution. To make it clear, the show changed its name, which is a reference to the colonel in charge of the line.

Felony Squad Had Three Seasons

felony squad show
ABC
ABC

Felony Squad aired 73 episodes over the course of three seasons. Each episode of the crime drama ran for 30 minutes and followed the exploits of a major crimes unit. Howard Duff starred in the show as Sergeant Sam Stone.

The show was originally named Men Against Evil and was supposed to be a soap opera. In that format, however, the series proved un-produceable. Once the necessary changes were made, the show made its debut in primetime.

Frontier Circus Followed A Traveling Band

frontier circus tv show
CBS
CBS

The year 1961 was not kind to new television series. You’ve already read about many that struggled to stay on the air on this list. Joining them now is Frontier Circus, which ran for one season and aired 26 episodes.

The show was set in the 1880s and followed a traveling circus across the American West. It featured several veteran television stars, but even their star power was not enough to keep the show going.

The Gallant Men Was About War

the gallant men show
ABC
ABC

The Gallant Men followed Captain Jim Benedict and his group of soldiers as they fought their way through Italy in World War II. It aired 26 episodes and featured stick footage of war from other mediums.

The long-forgotten show was released on DVD in 2012, to little fanfare. This was not the first time ABC tried to profit off the production, however. In 1963 a playset based on the show was produced by the Louis Marx and Company. A comic book based on the show was also published.

Garrison’s Gorillas Was Another War Show

garrisons gorillas tv show
ABC
ABC

Another attempt by ABC to create a successful war show, Garrison’s Gorillas ran from 1967 until 1968, airing 26 episodes. It was inspired by The Dirty Dozen and has become a cult show in China since being canceled.

The show followed a group of commandos during World War II. These men were recruited from prisons and were offered parole for their services. After ABC cut the chord, it began airing The Mod Squad in its place.

The Good Guys Lasted Two Seasons

the good guys tv show
CBS
CBS

For 42 episodes in the late ’60s The Good Guys entertained audiences on CBS. It was produced by Talent Associates and followed a group of friends as they tried “get rich quick” schemes that never worked.

When it premiered the show was panned by critics. One of the actors, Bob Denver, recalled, “I still had some animus at how CBS threw us in the dumper. Herb Edelman and I’d done The Good Guys…but sour critics said it should have been just called ‘Guys’.”

Diagnosis: Unknown Barely Lasted One Summer

patrick oneal television star
Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Aired in the summer of 1960, Diagnosis: Unknown originally aired as a replacement for The Gary Moore Show. The series followed a pathologist at a hospital who is recruited to help the police solve unconventional crimes.

While this show failed, another version debuted on CBS in 1993 called Diagnosis Murder. That show, while technically unrelated, had an eerily similar plot. Diagnosis: Unknown ran for nine episodes before being canceled at the end of the summer.

The Great Adventure Was A Rollicking Good Time

the great adventure show
CBS
CBS

Airing on CBS in 1963 and 1963, The Great Adventure was a historical anthology series. It was narrated by Van Heflin and provided dramatizations of famous American’s lives that lasted for one hour. Twenty-six episodes were produced.

Some stories that were featured on the show were Harriet Tubman, Nathan Hale, Sitting Bull, and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Several celebrities were featured as well, including Rip Torn, Ruby Dee, Ivan Dixon, and Ossie Davis.