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TV The Best TV Shows of the 1940s  

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List Rules TV shows that aired between 1940 and 1949.

List of the best shows from the 1940s, as ranked by television fans. Although television was invented in the 1920s, it wasn’t until the early 40s that the average person began adding a television to their home. In fact, television was so rare that in 1948, only 10% of Americans claimed to have even seen a TV set with their own eyes, let alone own one. Due to World War II, many television programs and stations shut down, leaving options for TV watchers very limited. Since the television medium was only just beginning, there were only 4 networks, NBC, DuMont, ABC, and CBS. DuMont is the only one that no longer exists, although it was better known for manufacturing television sets.

However, there were a few television programs that entertained the small audience of TV watchers. Many of these shows were variety shows, starring the top comedians and personalities of the time, such as Fred Waring, Ted Mack, and Ed Sullivan. Children’s TV shows were among the most popular programs, with Howdy Doody and Captain Video.

Have you seen any of these 1940s TV shows? If so, which is your favorite? This list includes the top programs of the 1940s, when TV was still a baby.

list ordered by

1
180 29
The Lone Ranger is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
The Lone Ranger Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart

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2
128 20
The Ed Sullivan Show is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
The Ed Sullivan Show Ed Sullivan, Bern Bennett, Ralph Paul

3
125 22
The Three Stooges is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
slaft added The Three Stooges Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

4
99 18
Hopalong Cassidy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Hopalong Cassidy Edgar Buchanan, William Boyd

5
99 20
Candid Camera is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Candid Camera Suzanne Somers, Dom DeLuise, Arthur Godfrey

6
74 24
Howdy Doody is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Howdy Doody William Shatner, Bob Keeshan, Bill McCutcheon

7
71 22
Kukla, Fran and Ollie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Kukla, Fran and Ollie Fran Allison, Burr Tillstrom

8
49 15
Truth or Consequences is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Truth or Consequences Ralph Edwards, Jack Bailey

9
51 18
Texaco Star Theater is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Texaco Star Theater Carol Burnett, Milton Berle, Red Skelton

10
42 19
Kraft Television Theater is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Kraft Television Theater

11
43 22
Ted Mack Amateur Hour is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Ted Mack Amateur Hour

12
37 19
Cavalcade of Stars is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Cavalcade of Stars Jackie Gleason, Peggy Lee, Elaine Stritch

13
33 20
Captain Video and His Video Ra... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Captain Video and His Video Rangers Wright King, Earl Hammond, Al Hodge

14
26 22
The Morey Amsterdam Show is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
The Morey Amsterdam Show Morey Amsterdam

15
15 21
Man Against Crime is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Man Against Crime Ralph Bellamy, Robert Preston, Frank Lovejoy

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16
10 17
The Fred Waring Show is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
The Fred Waring Show

17
10 22
Uncle Mistletoe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Uncle Mistletoe

18
9 21
Mary Kay and Johnny is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Mary Kay and Johnny Nydia Westman

19
10 23
Hollywood Screen Test is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Hollywood Screen Test Neil Hamilton, Bert Lytell, Robert Quarry

20
10 23
They Stand Accused is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s

21
7 19
Last Year's Nest is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Last Year's Nest

22
10 24
Faraway Hill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Faraway Hill Mel Brandt

23
8 21
Private Eyes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Private Eyes Alvaro Orlando, Mike Dusi, James Scott

24
8 21
A Woman to Remember is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
A Woman to Remember Frankie Thomas, Ruth McDevitt

25
7 20
Let There Be Stars is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Let There Be Stars