Can You ID These ’60s TV Shows?

Ian Fortey

What's the name of this spooky series that was resurrected in 2019 by director and comedian Jordan Peele?

"The Twilight Zone" premiered in 1959 and ran through 1964. The show famously featured narration by creator Rod Serling, but Serling actually didn't initially want the job himself. His first choice was Orson Welles.

This series has had multiple live-action spinoffs, one animated spinoff and a long series of movies. Name it!

"Star Trek" is one of the most influential shows in history and still has a lasting cultural impact even 50 years later. It was known for featuring minority and female characters in important roles at a time when few shows were willing to take such a risk.

Director Ron Howard got famous on this show as a boy. What was it?

"The Andy Griffith Show" was actually a sort of spinoff show, as the characters of Andy and Opie were actually introduced in an episode of "Make Room for Daddy" back in 1960. It would go on to have its own spinoff "Gomer Pyle USMC" which was, therefore, a spinoff of a spinoff.

Even though this show was hugely popular, TV critics absolutely hated it. What was it?

"The Beverly Hillbillies" was more popular than anything you could imagine today. Keep in mind there were many fewer things to watch at the time, but back in the day, it was pulling in more than 50 million viewers per episode. The "Game of Thrones" finale pulled in just under 20 million.

Dick York and then Dick Sargent played the male lead in this show. Can you name it?

"Bewitched" starred Dick York as Darrin until season 5, when all the stress of the show took its toll on an old back injury. York collapsed and had a seizure. He never returned to set and was later replaced by Dick Sargent.

Tell us the name of this show that featured an astronaut as one of the main characters.

"I Dream of Jeannie" was a sort of knockoff of the show "Bewitched," but it became a legitimate hit in its own right. It was also the last network series to be filmed in black and white.

Adam West got famous thanks to this show. What was it?

"Batman" was one of the most bizarre and campy shows of the '60s, especially when you compare it to the Batman movies that came much later. Ironically, the show was first filmed as a serious drama, but no one liked it, so it was retooled into the campy show we all remember.

The pilot episode of this show was filmed in Hawaii. What was it?

Thanks to never-ending reruns, "Gilligan's Island" is still on TV 50 years later. The show, about island castaways, was of course named for the bumbling main character of Gilligan. Though it's never mentioned on the show ever, Gilligan does have a first name. The show's creator named him Willy in the show's conceptual stage.

This was the first show ABC broadcast in color. What was it?

"Thet Jetsons" was a bright and colorful show, even if you watch it in reruns today. But it was canceled arguably because of a lack of color. The problem was that only 3% of homes had color TVs when "The Jetsons" first aired, meaning for most of the country, it was nothing but flat and boring shades of grey.

A cartoonist from "The New Yorker" inspired this show. What was it?

"The Addams Family" was based on a series of cartoons made by cartoonist Charles Addams. He created "The Addams Family" back in 1938 and it became a TV show in 1964. Was it actually based on his real-life family? Let's hope not.

It's a good bet this show would never have existed if not for James Bond. What was it called?

"Get Smart" was a parody of the spy genre that had been made popular by the 007 movies and shows like "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." In the show's first two seasons, there was actually a canine agent named K-13, but he was written off the show because he was difficult to work with.

The star of this show got her break thanks to an anonymous stranger loaning her $1,000. What was it?

"The Carol Burnett Show" rocketed Burnett to fame, but if not for an unnamed benefactor, she may never have gotten the chance. A man who saw Burnett perform offered her $1,000 to follow her dreams of being an actor, provided she pay him back in a few years and that she did the same thing for someone else once she made it. She never revealed his identity.

Carl Reiner created this show to be mostly biographical even though he didn't get to star in it. What was it?

"The Dick Van Dyke Show" was about a comedy writer and it was inspired by Carl Reiner's own experience writing comedy. Producers liked the idea but not Reiner, so they went looking for another actor. It almost went to Johnny Carson before Dick Van Dyke got it.

A radio show was the inspiration for this show. Tell us what it was.

"Green Acres" was based on a radio show called "Granby's Green Acres." Don't be shocked if you've never heard of it because few people ever did. The radio show only lasted for 7 weeks in the 1950s.

431 was the staggering number of episodes that this show ran for. Name it!

"Bonanza" was about the Cartwright family and their Ponderosa ranch near Virginia City, Nevada. Had the show taken place in real life, it's possible that Mark Twain would have been in it, as he actually lived in Virginia City during the 1860s.

Originally this show was going to be about prisoners in a jail. What was it called?

"Hogan's Heroes" was originally set to be about regular prisoners in an American jail. The show was retooled to be about POWs to avoid competing with another show that NBC was developing with a similar theme.

Tom Cruise resurrected this TV show as a movie franchise. Tell us what it is!

"Mission: Impossible" made its mark on the spy genre and had a pretty impressive ensemble cast that included Martin Landau. Landau had been Gene Roddenberry's first choice to play Spock on "Star Trek," but he turned down the role to play Rollin Hand on "Mission: Impossible."

This show started in the '50s and lasted 635 episodes. What was it?

"Gunsmoke" is one of the most successful shows in TV history and aired for over 20 years. The phrase "get the hell out of Dodge" became part of the lexicon thanks to Bonanza and its stream of people trying to leave Dodge City.

Even though this show started in 1954, its most famous host took over in 1962. Name it!

"The Tonight Show," which still airs today, was first hosted by Steve Allen and then Jack Paar. But in 1962, Johnny Carson took over hosting duties and stayed there for 30 years, which is why even after Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon, Johnny Carson is still considered by many to be "the" host of the show. Carson is shown here with bandleader Skitch Henderson and announcer Ed McMahon.

The catchphrase "sock it to me" came from this show. What was it?

"Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" arguably paved the way for shows like SNL. It was so popular that it inspired a magazine, a comic strip, a daytime series, trading cards and even a Baskin Robbins ice cream flavor — Here Comes the Fudge.

Do you know the name of this British spy series?

Despite the name, "The Avengers" has nothing to do with Captain America or the Marvel universe. It's credited with bringing Kung Fu to the masses. Emma Peel was the first TV character to do Kung Fu instead of Judo.

Do you know this popular series that actually only lasted for two seasons?

"The Munsters" has survived thanks to reruns, a reboot and some TV movies made since its first appearance in the '60s. The show is similar in a lot of ways to "The Addams Family," but they were created independently, neither with knowledge of the other.

What was the name of this show that was originally planned to be an entirely different genre than what it became?

"McHale' Navy" was conceived as a dramatic series about World War II and was pitched as such with an episode called "Seven Against the Sea." The network liked it, but wanted one small change — they had to switch it from a drama to a comedy.

What was this show that was adapted into a movie starring Harrison Ford?

"The Fugitive" was one of the first shows to effectively use the serial format by stringing viewers along for four entire seasons before finishing its main storyline. 78 million viewers tuned into that final episode when it aired.

Will Smith starred in a movie adaptation of this show. Do you know it?

"Thr Wild Wild West" combined two of the '60 most popular genres, the spy thriller and the Western. Star Robert Conrad was 5'8", so producers made him wear lifts in his shoes and would only hire actresses who were 5'6" or under to work opposite him to make him seem taller.

The theme song for this show hit #4 on the Billboard charts. Name it!

"Hawaii Five-O" was the first police procedural to last on TV for over a decade. When they started filming in Hawaii back in 1968, Hawaii had actually only been a state for 9 years, making it a pretty exotic location for most audiences.

Chekov from "Star Trek" was inspired by a character from this show. What was it?

"The Monkees" were sometimes called the "Prefab Four" thanks to their obvious Beatles inspiration. They proved to be so popular that Gene Roddenberry felt "Star Trek" needed a mop-topped character to appeal to younger viewers, so Pavel Chekov was introduced, inspired by Davy Jones of the Monkees.

This was one of the longest-running sitcoms in history. What was it?

"My Three Sons" ran for an impressive 12 seasons, totaling 380 episodes. To contrast that, "The Big Bang Theory" also ran for 12 seasons, but only filmed 280 episodes. Guess they don't make 'em like they used to.

Netflix rebooted this TV show. Do you know what it is?

"Lost in Space" was originally conceived as a more serious series than what it eventually became, but audiences loved the campiness of it. There was a reboot movie in the '90s that critics hated, but is distinguished as being the movie that ended the box office reign of "Titanic."

Tell us the name of this show that took place during the Civil War.

"F Troop" was about a Civil War-era army outpost that didn't much bother with historical accuracy. Two of the stars of the show, Larry Storch and Forest Tucker, starred together on another show after "F Troop" called "The Ghost Busters." It was about their two characters and a gorilla investigating paranormal activities.

This show inspired several spin-offs and some movies. What was it?

"The Brady Bunch" is one of the most iconic shows from the '60s and '70. It featured two families coming together to form one. It also very briefly featured a dog named Tiger, who vanished from the series because the actual dog was tragically hit by a car.

The main character on this show was named Napoleon Solo. What was it?

"The Man From U.N.C.L.E." was actually developed in part by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame. Basically, the show was meant to be the TV version of James Bond and one of the original title ideas was "Ian Fleming's Solo."

Tell us the name of this show that once debunked the myth of the Yeti.

"Wild Kingdom" was one of the earliest shows to educated audiences about nature and the creatures around them. Host Marlin Perkins once went to the Himalayan Mountains with explorer Edmund Hillary and concluded that Yeti tracks were likely just the tracks of smaller animals that melted together under the sun to look larger.

Tell us the name of this show that was the star's second major sitcom.

Lucille Ball followed up "I Love Lucy" with "The Lucy Show" and didn't expect the show to last. She also cast her friend and former castmate from "I Love Lucy" Vivian Vance who would play the first divorced woman in primetime TV history.

What was the name of this show that featured a character from "The Andy Griffith Show?"

"Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C." was actually filmed on location at Camp Pendleton in California. The military liked the show and its positive portrayal of the Armed Forces, so producers were actually allowed to use real military equipment in the show.

Rumor has it that the star of this show drank one gallon of sweet tea every day. What was it?

"Mr. Ed" was a show about a talking horse played by a palomino named Bamboo Harvester. Bamboo drank a gallon of tea every day and ate about 20 pounds of hay. The horse likely consumed more than its fair share of peanut butter as well, since that's what they used in his mouth to get him to move his lips like he was talking.

According to his son, the creator of this show may very well have been a spy. Do you know it?

"Flipper" was created by Ivan Tors, a filmmaker who really loved nature and the sea. He gave us "Gente Ben," "Sea Hunt," "The Aquanauts" and more. According to his son, Tors was in the Army and served in the precursor to the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services. So maybe he was a spy, but no one is saying for sure.

The star of this show won four Emmy's, a Golden Globe, a Peabody and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Name it!

"That Girl" was one of the first shows that focused on a single woman as the central character. She was something of a feminist icon in television history. The show's working title was "Miss Independent," a nickname given to star Marlo Thomas by her father.

Exigius 12 1/2 was the name of the main character in this show. What was it?

"My Favorite Martian" was a quirky show about a Martian that really made extensive use of the idea of time travel for plots. After it went off the air, an animated show was made that used a lot of the unproduced scripts from the live-action series.

John Goodman starred in the live-action movie adaptation of this show. Tell us what it is.

"The Flintstones" was basically "The Simpsons" about 30 years before "The Simpsons" existed. Despite being a cartoon, it's also been a big force for selling things. We're sure you're thinking of their iconic vitamins, but when the show first aired, it also advertised cigarettes. That seems so unimaginable these days.

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Image: ABC

About This Quiz

Television really has come a long way from where it started. Not so long ago, you had about three channels to chose from. And get this — TV actually went off the air! These days we're spoiled for choice with a non-stop barrage of programming 24 hours a day on hundreds of channels and streaming services. More TV than ever is being produced in real-time, plus we have a backlog of shows stretching back over 50 years. There has never been more to watch than there is right now. And still, the shows from the '60s have endured. It was a great decade for TV with some amazing writing and acting, plus a lot of fun and unique ideas that paved the way for what we enjoy to this day.

No matter who you are, you've at least heard of a few shows from the '60s. And more than likely, we bet you've watched a good number of them. If you feel like you know the '60s really well, then you can prove it by seeing how many of these iconic '60s TV shows you can identify. All you have to do is take the quiz and show us your stuff. 

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