1001 TV Shows You Must Watch Before you Die

by math_cassano | created - 27 Nov 2015 | updated - 28 Nov 2015 | Public

From the book by Paul Condon.

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1. The Ed Sullivan Show (1948–1971)

TV-G | 60 min | Comedy, Music

The classic prime time variety show most famous for its vaudeville acts and rock music performances.

Stars: Ed Sullivan, Johnny Wayne, Frank Shuster, Roberta Peters

Votes: 1,052

2. Hopalong Cassidy (1952–1954)

60 min | Western

Hopalong and his horse Topper catch bad guys with Red Connors for comic relief.

Stars: William Boyd, Edgar Buchanan, George Wallace, Rick Vallin

Votes: 254

3. The Lone Ranger (1949–1957)

TV-G | 30 min | Western

The adventures of the masked hero and his Native American partner.

Stars: Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart, Chuck Courtney

Votes: 1,847

4. The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950–1958)

30 min | Comedy

Neighbor Blanche Morton frequently joined Gracie in escapades which annoy hubby Harry and provides George with an opportunity to offer a humorous soliloquy.

Stars: George Burns, Gracie Allen, Bea Benaderet, Harry von Zell

Votes: 1,087

5. The Jack Benny Program (1950–1965)

Not Rated | 30 min | Comedy

The comic misadventures of the "skinflint" comedian and his friends.

Stars: Jack Benny, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Don Wilson, Dennis Day

Votes: 1,119

6. What's My Line? (1950–1967)

30 min | Family, Game-Show

Four panelists must determine guests' occupations - and, in the case of famous guests, while blindfolded, their identity - by asking only "yes" or "no" questions.

Stars: John Daly, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen

Votes: 1,225

7. Your Show of Shows (1950–1954)

90 min | Comedy

Best remembered by its posterior title, Your Show of Shows, this live variety show included comedy sketches with TV pioneers Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca.

Stars: Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Felisa Vanoff, Carl Reiner

Votes: 264

8. Dragnet (1951–1959)

30 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Sgt. Joe Friday and his partners methodically investigate crimes in Los Angeles.

Stars: Jack Webb, Ben Alexander, Olan Soule, Vic Perrin

Votes: 1,628

9. I Love Lucy (1951–1957)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

A daffy woman constantly strives to become a star along with her bandleader husband and gets herself in the strangest situations.

Stars: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

Votes: 20,961

11. American Bandstand (1952–1989)

TV-G | 90 min | Music

Dick Clark hosts a daily to weekly dance show that features the latest hit music for the attending teens to dance to. In addition, the show has performances by popular musicians and audience members rate songs.

Stars: Dick Clark, Charlie O'Donnell, Peaches Johnson, Stan Rodarte

Votes: 256

12. This Is Your Life (1952–1987)

30 min | Biography, Family, Reality-TV

Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity would be lured by some ruse to a location near the studio. The celebrity would then be surprised with the news that they are to be the featured guest. ... See full summary »

Stars: Ralph Edwards, Bob Warren, Jack Benny, Penny Singleton

Votes: 197

13. Adventures of Superman (1952–1958)

TV-G | 30 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The Man of Steel fights crime with help from his friends at the Daily Planet.

Stars: George Reeves, Noel Neill, John Hamilton, Bill Kennedy

Votes: 3,009

14. The 25th Annual Academy Awards (1953 TV Special)

News

The first television broadcast of the annual motion picture awards ceremony.

Director: Bill Bennington | Stars: Bob Hope, Anne Baxter, Edgar Bergen, Jacques Bergerac

Votes: 116

15. The Quatermass Experiment (1953– )

30 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Horror

Professor Bernard Quatermass, Director General of the British Experimental Rocket Group, launches the first manned space flight from Australia. A malfunction sends the rocket and its three ... See full summary »

Stars: Reginald Tate, Isabel Dean, Hugh Kelly, Paul Whitsun-Jones

Votes: 261

16. The Good Old Days (1953–1983)

60 min | Comedy, Musical

A re-creation of the Music Hall variety shows that were popular in the late Victorian and the Edwardian periods (late 1800s and early 1900s). Entertainers performed musical, comedy, magic ... See full summary »

Stars: Leonard Sachs, Dudley Stevens, Jenny Wren, Loraine Hart

Votes: 55

17. The Danny Thomas Show (1953–1965)

30 min | Comedy, Family

Danny Williams, a successful nightclub singer, encounters a variety of difficult or amusing situations in trying to balance his career with his family: his outspoken wife Kathy, teenage ... See full summary »

Stars: Danny Thomas, Rusty Hamer, Marjorie Lord, Angela Cartwright

Votes: 778

18. Patrol Car (1954–1956)

30 min | Crime, Drama

Dramatization of murder investigations and other criminal cases that Detective Superintendent Robert Fabian, a real-life Scotland Yard Inspector and the host of the show, worked on.

Stars: Bruce Seton, Robert Raglan, Philip Dale, Jack Melford

Votes: 14

19. Father Knows Best (1954–1960)

30 min | Comedy, Family

The popular radio show comes to life in this hit sitcom about a wise family man, Jim Anderson, his common-sense wife Margaret and their children Betty, Bud and Kathy.

Stars: Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin

Votes: 1,681

20. The Jack Paar Tonight Show (1957–1962)

105 min | Comedy, Family, Talk-Show

Add a Plot

Stars: Hugh Downs, Jose Melis, Jack Paar, Cliff Arquette

Votes: 190

21. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962)

TV-14 | 25 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Series of unrelated short stories covering elements of crime, horror, drama, and comedy about people of different backgrounds committing murders, suicides, thefts, and other sorts of crime caused by certain motivations, perceived or not.

Stars: Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams, Patricia Hitchcock

Votes: 13,501

22. Dixon of Dock Green (1955–1976)

45 min | Crime, Drama

Constable George Dixon and his colleagues at the Dock Green police station in the East End of London deal with petty crime, successfully controlling it through common sense and human understanding.

Stars: Jack Warner, Peter Byrne, Geoffrey Adams, Arthur Rigby

Votes: 182

23. Gunsmoke (1955–1975)

TV-PG | 60 min | Western

Marshal Matt Dillon keeps the peace in rough and tumble Dodge City.

Stars: James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis

Votes: 4,602

24. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955–1960)

Approved | 30 min | Action, Adventure, Family

Robin of Loxley, otherwise known as Robin Hood, and his band of Merry Men protect England from the evil machinations of Prince John while King Richard the Lionheart is away fighting in the Crusades.

Stars: Richard Greene, Victor Woolf, Archie Duncan, Alexander Gauge

Votes: 604

25. The Benny Hill Show (1955–1968)

60 min | Comedy

This show-stopping digital collection of The Benny Hill Show contains Benny's raucous 20-year reign over television's sketch-variety genre, from the naughty early years to the debut of the nubile Hill's Angels, through the final episodes.

Stars: Benny Hill, Jeremy Hawk, Patricia Hayes, Peter Vernon

Votes: 704

26. The Honeymooners (1955–1956)

30 min | Comedy, Family

A bus driver and his sewer worker friend struggle to strike it rich while their wives look on with weary patience.

Stars: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, Joyce Randolph

Votes: 4,308

27. Was bin ich? (1955–1989)

Game-Show

What am I? Cheerful professions advise with Robert Lembke.

Stars: Robert Lembke, Jacky Lembke, Hans Sachs, Annette von Aretin

Votes: 52

28. The Phil Silvers Show (1955–1959)

30 min | Comedy, Family

Sergeant Ernie Bilko is the ultimate con man. He runs the motor pool at a small Kansas U.S. Army Camp. Colonel Hall, nominally in charge of the base, tries to keep Bilko's plans in check. ... See full summary »

Stars: Phil Silvers, Harvey Lembeck, Paul Ford, Allan Melvin

Votes: 1,257

30. The Nat King Cole Show (1956– )

15 min | Music

The popular singer hosts a muscial variety show.

Stars: Nat 'King' Cole, Nelson Riddle, The Randy Van Horne Singers, The Cheerleaders

Votes: 44

31. Hancock's Half Hour (1956–1960)

30 min | Comedy

TV version of the popular BBC radio show of the same name, with Tony Hancock as the modern man of the world (in his own eyes). Sid James is there to bring him back to earth.

Stars: Tony Hancock, Sidney James, Johnny Vyvyan, Alec Bregonzi

Votes: 436

32. The Price Is Right (1956–1965)

TV-G | 30 min | Family, Game-Show

The original version of an American icon, "The Price is Right" rewarded contestants with valuable prizes for their ability to price items.

Stars: Bill Cullen, Don Pardo, Johnny Gilbert, Jack Narz

Votes: 191

33. Emergency-Ward 10 (1957–1967)

30 min | Drama

Set in Oxbridge General Hospital, this soap opera focused equally on the lives and loves of its medical staff and the pressure of their work.

Stars: Jill Browne, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Frederick Bartman, Desmond Carrington

Votes: 33

35. Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

The misadventures of a suburban boy, family and friends.

Stars: Jerry Mathers, Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow

Votes: 6,076

36. Maverick (1957–1962)

60 min | Comedy, Western

Bret and Bart Maverick are well dressed gamblers who migrate from town to town always looking for a good game.

Stars: Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore, Lane Chandler

Votes: 2,333

37. Perry Mason (1957–1966)

TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The cases of a master criminal defense attorney, handling the most difficult of cases in the aid of the innocent.

Stars: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, Ray Collins

Votes: 4,394

38. The Army Game (1957–1961)

30 min | Comedy

The exploits of a bunch of army conscripts.

Stars: Harry Fowler, Frank Williams, Ted Lune, Alfie Bass

Votes: 66

39. Zorro (1957–1959)

30 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Don Diego de la Vega opposes the corrupt tyrants of Spanish California as the masked swordsman, Zorro.

Stars: Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon, Henry Calvin, Don Diamond

Votes: 2,805

40. Wagon Train (1957–1965)

TV-PG | 75 min | Western

Stories of the journeys of a wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts, and Rocky Mountains.

Stars: Frank McGrath, Terry Wilson, Robert Horton, John McIntire

Votes: 2,164

41. The Sky at Night (1957– )

20 min | Documentary

Astronomy programme.

Stars: Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Pete Lawrence

Votes: 283

42. Zum blauen Bock (1957–1987)

Comedy, Family, Game-Show

Zum Blauen Bock was an entertainment show by the Hessischer Rundfunk on German television.

Stars: Heinz Schenk, Reno Nonsens, Lia Wöhr, Otto Höpfner

Votes: 31

44. 77 Sunset Strip (1958–1964)

TV-PG | 60 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Stu Bailey and Jeff Spencer were the wisecracking, womanizing private detective heroes of this Warner Brothers drama.

Stars: Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Edd Byrnes, Roger Smith, Jacqueline Beer

Votes: 1,119

45. The Donna Reed Show (1958–1966)

30 min | Comedy, Family

7.4