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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
172 24
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
120 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
114 21
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
93 17
Hopalong Cassidy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Hopalong Cassidy Edgar Buchanan, William Boyd

5
94 18
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
67 21
Kukla, Fran and Ollie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Kukla, Fran and Ollie Fran Allison, Burr Tillstrom

7
70 24
Howdy Doody is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Howdy Doody William Shatner, Bob Keeshan, Bill McCutcheon

8
46 12
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
47 17
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
39 18
Kraft Television Theater is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Kraft Television Theater

11
41 20
Ted Mack Amateur Hour is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Ted Mack Amateur Hour

12
34 18
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
32 18
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
22 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
12 20
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
8 16
The Fred Waring Show is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
The Fred Waring Show

17
9 20
Uncle Mistletoe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Uncle Mistletoe

18
8 19
Private Eyes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Private Eyes Alvaro Orlando, Mike Dusi, James Scott

19
7 18
Let There Be Stars is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Let There Be Stars

20
9 22
Hollywood Screen Test is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Hollywood Screen Test Neil Hamilton, Bert Lytell, Robert Quarry

21
9 22
They Stand Accused is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s

22
8 21
Mary Kay and Johnny is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Mary Kay and Johnny Nydia Westman

23
7 20
A Woman to Remember is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
A Woman to Remember Frankie Thomas, Ruth McDevitt

24
5 17
Last Year's Nest is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Last Year's Nest

25
8 23
Faraway Hill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Shows of the 1940s
Faraway Hill Mel Brandt