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The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s

Updated January 6, 2020 28.7k votes 2.6k voters 109.6k views70 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • 1
    The Twilight Zone
    899
    194

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Anthology, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction

    The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 2
    I Love Lucy
    929
    289

    I Love Lucy

    Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz

    Premiered1951

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 3
    Looney Tunes
    746
    161

    Looney Tunes

    Mel Blanc, June Foray

    Premiered1930

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Comedy

    Looney Tunes is an American animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 4
    Leave It to Beaver
    784
    257

    Leave It to Beaver

    Jerry Mathers, Hugh Beaumont

    Premiered1957

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Leave It to Beaver is an American television situation comedy about an inquisitive and often... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 5
    The Ed Sullivan Show
    476
    135

    The Ed Sullivan Show

    Ed Sullivan, Bern Bennett

    Premiered1948

    Genres (Tv)Sketch comedy, Variety show, Comedy, Family Film, Reality television

    The Ed Sullivan Show was an American TV variety show that ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 6
    The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show
    451
    112

    The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

    Bill Scott, June Foray

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Satire, Animated cartoon, Variety show, Children's television series

    The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show is an American animated television series that originally aired... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 7
    The Honeymooners
    627
    199

    The Honeymooners

    Jackie Gleason, Art Carney

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    The Honeymooners is an American sitcom, based on a recurring 1951–55 sketch of the same name.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    Bonanza
    455
    125

    Bonanza

    Lorne Greene, Michael Landon

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Action

    Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    Adventures of Superman
    473
    125

    Adventures of Superman

    George Reeves, Noel Neill

    Premiered1952

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Children's television series, Adventure film

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  • 10
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents
    555
    171

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Anthology, Anthology series, Drama, Horror Film

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  • 11
    The Lone Ranger
    444
    119

    The Lone Ranger

    Clayton Moore, Jay Silverheels

    Premiered1949

    Genres (Tv)Western

    The Lone Ranger is an American western drama television series that aired on the ABC... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 12
    Lassie
    405
    114

    Lassie

    June Lockhart, Andy Clyde

    Premiered1954

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Drama, Children's television series, Adventure film, Action

    Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 13
    Tom and Jerry
    466
    120

    Tom and Jerry

    Tom Kenny, Rick Zieff

    Premiered1940

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Comedy, Family Film

    Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of short films created in 1940, by William Hanna... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    Perry Mason
    490
    142

    Perry Mason

    Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale

    Premiered1957

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Drama, Legal drama, Legal

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  • 15
    Gunsmoke
    476
    156

    Gunsmoke

    James Arness, Milburn Stone

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure

    Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    American Bandstand
    335
    105

    Premiered1952

    Genres (Tv)Music, Talk show, Variety show

    American Bandstand is an American music-performance show that aired in various versions from... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 17
    Dragnet
    406
    143

    Dragnet

    Jack Webb, Harry Morgan

    Premiered1952

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

    Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 18
    The Red Skelton Show
    354
    102

    The Red Skelton Show

    Ginger Rogers, Red Skelton

    Premiered1951

    Genres (Tv)Variety show, Sketch, Comedy

    The Red Skelton Show is an American variety show that was a television staple for two decades,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    Father Knows Best
    428
    153

    Father Knows Best

    Robert Young, Jane Wyatt

    Premiered1954

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Father Knows Best is an American radio and television comedy series which portrayed a middle... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20
    The Three Stooges
    497
    161

    The Three Stooges

    Moe Howard, Larry Fine

    Premiered1930

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

    A handful of Three Stooges shorts first aired on television in 1949, on the American... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 21
    The Rifleman
    379
    110

    The Rifleman

    Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford

    Premiered1958

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure

    The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 22
    The Yogi Bear Show
    370
    100

    The Yogi Bear Show

    Daws Butler, Don Messick

    Premiered1961

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Variety show, Children's television series, Comedy, Animated series

    The Yogi Bear Show is an animated television series and the first incarnation produced by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 23
    Maverick
    343
    99

    Maverick

    Jack Kelly, James Garner

    Premiered1957

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure, Comedy

    Maverick is an American Western television series with comedic overtones created by Roy... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 24
    The Mickey Mouse Club
    313
    111

    The Mickey Mouse Club

    Jimmie Dodd, Tommy Cole

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Variety show, Children's television series, Sketch

    The Mickey Mouse Club is an American variety television show that aired intermittently from... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 25
    Candid Camera
    288
    103

    Candid Camera

    Suzanne Somers, Dom DeLuise

    Premiered1948

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Reality television

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