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The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s

Updated January 6, 2020 28.1k votes 2.6k voters 107.9k 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    881
    187

    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 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    905
    285

    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 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    720
    160

    Looney Tunes

    Mel Blanc, June Foray
    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 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    774
    245

    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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    #25 of 72 The Longest Running US Sitcoms#66 of 297 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

  • 5
    The Ed Sullivan Show is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    465
    133

    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
    Bonanza is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    448
    120

    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
  • 7
    The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    438
    110

    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

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    #76 of 485 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made#47 of 173 The Best Adult Cartoon Shows in TV History

  • 8
    The Honeymooners is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    612
    196

    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
  • 9
    Adventures of Superman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    466
    122

    Adventures of Superman

    George Reeves, Noel Neill

    Premiered1952

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

    Adventures of Superman is an American television series based on comic book characters and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    544
    169

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler

    Premiered1955

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

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #58 of 335 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#39 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

  • 11
    Perry Mason is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    488
    138

    Perry Mason

    Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale

    Premiered1957

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

    Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    455
    116

    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
  • 13
    The Lone Ranger is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    434
    118

    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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  • 14
    Lassie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    389
    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

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    #1 of 35 Longest Running US Drama Shows#52 of 112 The Best Shows About Families

  • 15
    Gunsmoke is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    464
    154

    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
    Father Knows Best is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    421
    148

    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
  • 17
    The Three Stooges is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    487
    157

    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
  • 18
    Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    398
    142

    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
  • 19
    The Red Skelton Show is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    348
    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
  • 20
    American Bandstand is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    328
    103

    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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  • 21
    The Rifleman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    369
    108

    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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    #153 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch#29 of 190 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

  • 22
    The Yogi Bear Show is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    358
    99

    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 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    336
    98

    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 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    306
    109

    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 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s
    281
    99

    Candid Camera

    Suzanne Somers, Dom DeLuise

    Premiered1948

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Reality television

    Candid Camera (ABC, 1948) is an American hidden camera reality television series created by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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