The Black and White Television Quiz

By: Tasha Moore

"Leave It to Beaver" debuted on October 4, 1957. The black and white television show ran 234 episodes and centered on the misadventures of a young character named Beaver, his brother Wally and their thrill-seeking friends.

The science fiction series, "The Twilight Zone," first aired in October 1959. At first, television network CBS was reluctant to deliver the show. Through the years, "The Twilight Zone" themes have surfaced at amusement parks, in video games and through other pop culture media.

Lucille Ball pitched the idea of starring opposite her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, to CBS. Hollywood writers Madelyn Pugh Davis and Bob Carroll Jr. jointly penned 180 episodes of Ball's long-running "I Love Lucy" show.

"The Andy Griffith Show" ran from 1960 to 1968 and ranked in the top 10 of the Nielsen ratings every season during which it aired. In its final season,​ the show secured the top spot. Actor Don Knotts earned five Emmys for his portrayal of Deputy Barney Fife on the show.

The first episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies" premiered on September 26, 1962, and the last aired September 7, 1971. Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt wrote the theme song for the show, which was titled "The Ballad of Jed Clampett."

Both CBS and ABC television networks ran "Make Room for Daddy." The show first aired on ABC from 1953 until 1957, then on CBS from 1957 until 1964. The comedy series was loosely based on the life of comedian Danny Thomas, who won an Emmy in 1954 for his role on the show.

For 350 episodes, Alfred Hitchcock served as script consultant and executive producer for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," a show which ran from 1955 to 1962. In its last three years, the show was retitled as "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour."

Gun battles and the pursuit of justice in historic Dodge City were the reasons Americans tuned in to the "Gunsmoke" television series, which aired from 1955 to 1975. Hollywood writer Jim Byrnes penned the series from 1969 to 1975.

NBC's "Bat Masterson" series was loosely based on Richard O'Connor's 1957 biography about the gunfighting gambler and lawman who ruled the Wild West during the 1870s and 1880s. Actor Mason Alan Dinehart played the American legend in the series.

The Brooklyn Historical Society has exhibited the kitchen set seen in "The Honeymooners" episodes. The show was set in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and Jackie Gleason, who played Ralph Kramden on the show, was originally from Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Movie actor Robert Cummings switched to the small screen to play Bob Collins in "The Bob Cummings Show," which ran from 1955 to 1959. The character was a jet-setting photographer whose exploits with gorgeous models caused friction at home.

Actor Guy Madison played Hickok and Andy Devine portrayed Jingles, Hickok's sidekick, on "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok." The western ran from 1951 to 1955. ABC and CBS aired syndicated episodes of the show from 1955 to 1958.

The "Annie Oakley" television show was a fictional account of the life of American sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The real Oakley was born in 1860 in Darke County, Ohio. She died 66 years later in Greenville.

The plot for "The Adventures of Jim Bowie" is set in the 1930s near the Louisiana Territory and New Orleans. The black and white television sensation aired on the NBC network for 78 episodes.

CBS aired "The Munsters" the same year that ABC launched similarly-themed "The Addams Family." Both black and white television shows were about the lives of ghoulish families. "The Munsters," which ran from 1964 to 1966, was the more popular of the two at first.

In 1954, famed musical performer Martha Wright starred in her own television series, "The Martha Wright Show," which aired during ABC's Sunday night lineup. Wright was born Martha Lucile Wiederrecht on March 23, 1923, in Seattle, Washington.

Patty Duke was 16 when "The Patty Duke Show" first aired in 1963. The show, which continued to run until 1966, centered around Patty's teenage misadventures that took place in Brooklyn Heights.

Hollywood producer Sidney Sheldon crafted NBC's "I Dream of Jeannie" to compete with rival T.V. network ABC's popular "Bewitched" series. Barbara Eden played the beautiful genie who popped out of a bottle and catered to the wishes of her "master," played by Larry Hagman.

CBS aired "Yancy Derringer" from 1958 to 1959. The show's sponsor, Johnson Wax, flashed commercials of its Klear floor wax throughout each program. The show's plot revolved around the adventures of Derringer, who was a former Confederate soldier.

"Watch Mr. Wizard" enjoyed a long run on NBC from 1951 to 1965. Don Herbert appeared in the series before resurfacing in 1983 for Nickelodeon's version of the show, titled "Mr. Wizard's World."

Pin-up queen and actress Maila Nurmi starred as Vampira in ABC's 1954 "The Vampira Show." Nurmi was born in Finland as Maila Elizabeth Syrjaniemi in 1921. Maila and her family moved to the United States when she was 2 years old.

"The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters" aired on Sunday nights on ABC. The series only lasted from 1963 to 1964 and featured a young Kurt Russell playing the Jaimie McPheeters character.

Jack Paar hosted "The Tonight Show" on NBC until his last episode aired March 29, 1962. Paar went on to host a late-night slot in 1973 on ABC, then he hosted two specials on NBC in the '80s.

Canadian Douglas Leiterman co-created the controversial journalism show, "This Hour Has Seven Days," which debuted in 1964 and lasted for 50 episodes. Leiterman went on to help produce the popular CBS show, "60 Minutes."

Tom Tryon portrayed a peace-loving man seeking marriage in the Western drama, "Texas John Slaughter," which ran for one season in 1958. The lead character became a Texas Ranger in order to rid his town of mischief.

"Search for Tomorrow" debuted in 1951 and revolved around the lives and heartbreaks of the Sentell and McCleary clans. During the '80s, the soap opera switched its plot to feature the exploits of main characters Stu Bergman and Joanne Tourneur.

"The Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Show" was a musical variety program that premiered in 1962. Some of the songs Dale Evans wrote include "Happy Trails" and "The Bible Tells Me So," which was a 1955 Christian-themed hit.

From 1950 to 1954, the DuMont TV network aired "Rocky King, Detective," also called "Inside Detective." Roscoe Karns played New York City police detective Rocky. The detective would call his wife, Mabel, at the end of every episode to tell her he was coming home.

The sitcom, "The Real McCoys," aired from 1957 to 1963 and centered on a West Virginia family that moved to a farm in Southern California. Walter Brennan played a grandfather on the show. His authenticity won over many viewers.

American actor Clint Eastwood starred opposite Eric Flemming in the long-running television drama, "Rawhide." The show first aired on January 9, 1959, and gave rise to a popular theme song.

Syrian-born actor Michael Ansara played Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart in "Law of the Plainsman." The show ended in 1960 but Ansara regularly appeared on television shows in the 1990s.

American actress Amanda Randolph starred in "The Laytons," which ran on the DuMont Network in 1948 from August to October. Rudolph holds the distinction of being the first African-American actor to maintain a recurring role on a network show.

Most people may know that Jim Anderson, the main character in "Father Knows Best," was a manager at General Insurance Co. But not many know that the show was so pivotal to American culture that in 1959, the U.S. Treasury Department used a special episode to promote its savings bonds.

Actor Richard Boone portrayed edgy gunslinger-for-hire Paladin on the black and white television show, "Have Gun - Will Travel." The show premiered in 1957, and the first scene was of Boone's character pointing his weapon at the viewer.

"Hayloft Hoedown" was a weekly country-music T.V. show. For nine months in 1954, Buzz Busby appeared on the show, which featured bluegrass for six days during the week. The program was instrumental in popularizing the music genre.

"The Eve Arden Show" lasted during the 1957 to 1958 season. The show's star, actress Eve Arden, also starred in "The Mothers-in-Law" opposite Kaye Ballard. Arden made her stage debut at the age of 16 and landed her first movie role in 1929.

"Honestly, Celeste!" aired for less than three months in 1954. The sitcom, written by M*A*S*H writer Larry Gelbart, starred Celeste Holm, who made a rare appearance on Whoopi Goldberg's T.V. show, "Whoopi," in 2004 at the age of 85.

William Lawrence Boyd played Hopalong Cassidy, the first Western cowboy hero on television. In addition to T.V. fame, Boyd, who was born in Cambridge, Ohio, in 1898, starred in 66 films as Cassidy with his horse, Topper.

After a five-year run, CBS's "The Fred Waring Show" aired its final episode on May 30, 1954. Waring was a musician who was popular among the 50-and-under crowd. His show launched on NBC radio in June 1945.

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About This Quiz

It's time to adjust your mental antennas for a black and white television challenge! Name the telecasts that you notice in the images in this quiz to prove that you know from whence the world of television began.

We take you back to a time when black and white television was not an option it was the norm. Back in the day, television networks shut down broadcasting operations at a certain time of the night. Not like today, where you can catch some form of programming on any kind of device at any time of the day. Television viewing was understood to be more of a family event in the black and white image days, so executives were mindful of the sleeping habits of targeted households.

In the past, video images were captured in black and white and transmitted to black and white televisions. Arguably, all of the distracting color that emerged in the mid-'60s took away from the narratives that make black and white television shows so special. Program writers developed screenplay techniques that really engaged the imaginations of viewers. Contemporary audiences choose to watch black and white television for nostalgic reasons, but it's not difficult for people of all ages to get hooked on storylines of many black and white shows, which were so well crafted that they stand the test of time. 

Use your imagination to sort through the following black and white productions that we should never forget!


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