Entertainment

The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s  

Ranker TV
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List Rules Vote up the most quintessential TV shows that aired between 1950 and 1959.

List of the top TV shows of the 1950s, as ranked by television enthusiasts and fans. In the 1950s, television was still relatively new. People were only just beginning to add a television set to their furniture collection. At the time there were only a handful of channels, and a very limited program selection. Since there were less TV show options, more people were watching the same shows and experiencing the same cultural phenomenons at the same time.

The most memorable shows that came from the 50s were sitcoms like "I Love Lucy," "Leave it to Beaver," and "The Honeymooners." These programs still rerun on TV to this day, due to their timeless nature. However, many of the programs that aired in the 50s did not stand the test of time. Many of these shows included ideals and jokes that are no longer relevant today. Most of the top shows from the 50s were variety comedy programs, starring the top comedians of the day including Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle, and Red Skelton. Many of the top programs were also game shows.

What is your favorite 1950s show? This list features the highest rated, critically acclaimed, and fan favorite shows of the 50s.

list ordered by
1
I Love Lucy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance
I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, ...more
2
Looney Tunes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Mel Blanc, June Foray, Arthur Q. Bryan
Looney Tunes is an American animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. from 1930 to 1969 during the golden age of American animation, alongside its sister series Merrie ...more
3
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts
The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more
4
Leave It to Beaver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Jerry Mathers, Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley
Leave It to Beaver is an American television situation comedy about an inquisitive and often naïve boy named Theodore "The Beaver" Cleaver and his adventures at home, in school, ...more
5
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the time the show premiered on October ...more
6
The Honeymooners is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows
The Honeymooners is an American sitcom, based on a recurring 1951–55 sketch of the same name. It originally aired on the DuMont network's Cavalcade of Stars and subsequently on the CBS network's ...more
7
The Ed Sullivan Show is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Ed Sullivan, Bern Bennett, Ralph Paul
The Ed Sullivan Show was an American TV variety show that ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan. It was ...more
8
Perry Mason is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper
Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los ...more
9
Bonanza is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker
Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series, and ...more
10
Gunsmoke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake
Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during ...more
11
Adventures of Superman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added George Reeves, Noel Neill, Bill Kennedy
Adventures of Superman is an American television series based on comic book characters and concepts created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The show is the first television series to ...more
12
The Lone Ranger is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added
The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West with his native American friend, Tonto. The character has been called an enduring icon of ...more
13
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Tom Kenny, Rick Zieff, Gary Cole
Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of short films created in 1940, by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It centers on a rivalry between its two main characters, Tom Cat and Jerry ...more
14
Father Knows Best is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue
Father Knows Best is an American radio and television comedy series which portrayed a middle class family life in the Midwest. It was created by writer Ed James in the 1940s, and ran on radio ...more
15
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Bill Scott, June Foray, Paul Frees
The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show is an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on the ABC and NBC television networks. Produced by Jay ...more
16
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross
Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name ...more
17
The Three Stooges is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Shemp Howard
18
Lassie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
June Lockhart, Andy Clyde, Pamelyn Ferdin
Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer ...more
19
The Yogi Bear Show is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Daws Butler, Don Messick, Jimmy Weldon
The Yogi Bear Show is an animated television series and the first incarnation produced by Hanna-Barbera about a picnic basket stealing bear named Yogi. The show debuted in syndication on January ...more
20
The Rifleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix
The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. It was set in the 1870s and 1880s in the town ...more
21
American Bandstand is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
slaft added Dick Clark
American Bandstand is an American music-performance show that aired in various versions from 1952 to 1989 and was hosted from 1956 until its final season by Dick Clark, who also served as ...more
22
The Mickey Mouse Club is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
RobLein added Jimmie Dodd, Tommy Cole, Eileen Diamond
The Mickey Mouse Club is an American variety television show that aired intermittently from 1955 to 1996. Created by Walt Disney and produced by Walt Disney Productions, the program was first ...more
23
Maverick is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore
Maverick is an American Western television series with comedic overtones created by Roy Huggins. The show ran from September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962 on ABC and stars James Garner as Bret ...more
24
The Donna Reed Show is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
josh-gillin added Donna Reed, Paul Petersen, Carl Betz
The Donna Reed Show is an American situation comedy starring Donna Reed as the middle-class housewife Donna Stone. Carl Betz co-stars as her pediatrician husband Dr. Alex Stone, and Shelley ...more
25
The Red Skelton Show is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
Ginger Rogers, Red Skelton
The Red Skelton Show is an American variety show that was a television staple for two decades, from 1951 to 1971. It was second to Gunsmoke and third to The Ed Sullivan Show in the ratings ...more