My Favorite Obscurities: The 1960s

Television Obscurities celebrated its 12th birthday earlier this year (on June 11th, to be exact). That’s not a milestone anniversary so I didn’t mark the occasion but in recognition of one dozen years online I decided to start examining my personal favorite TV obscurities. Once a month I’ll be writing about my 12 favorite obscurities from each decade starting with the 1940s in June and ending with the 2000s in December. Many of these shows I’ve written about over the past 12 years but not all of them. This month I’m tackling the 1960s. So here, in chronological order, are my favorite obscurities from the 1960s:

The Americans (NBC)
January 23rd, 1961 – May 15th, 1961

I’ve only seen one episode of this mid-season replacement that helped commemorate the Civil War Centennial. Darryl Hickman and Richard Davalos starred as brothers fighting on opposite sides of the war. Both actors appeared in the series premiere and then alternated starring in episodes for the remainder of the show’s brief run. A single tie-in novel by Donald Honig was published by Popular Library. My August 2010 review can be found here.

It’s a Man’s World (NBC)
September 17th, 1962 – January 28th, 1963

Would I have written letters to NBC protesting the cancellation of this series had I been around in 1962? I don’t know. Thousands of people did as part of an ill-fated campaign to keep the series on the air. Many TV critics became champions of the series, which ultimately ran for just 19 episodes and was replaced by a movie night. To this day, It’s a Man’s World retains something of a cult following.

My article on It’s a Man’s World can be found here.

Harry’s Girls (NBC)
September 13th, 1963 – January 3rd, 1964

This is another show that’s been on one of my many “shows of interest” lists for years. I haven’t seen any episodes and haven’t read much about it. I know there was an unaired pilot, I know it was filmed in France, I know it didn’t last very long, and I know it was replaced by That Was The Week That Was. Maybe some day I’ll know more.

My Living Doll (CBS)
September 27th, 1964 – March 17th, 1965

Here’s a show I never imagined would be released on DVD, in large part due to rumors that many episodes had been destroyed or were missing. MPI released 11 episodes on DVD in March 2012, leaving 15 unaccounted for. If they ever turn up, I’ll be first in line to buy Volume Two. It’s fairly obvious that Bob Cummings was miscast but Julie Newmar does a fabulous job as Rhoda the robot. Would it have fared better had another actor starred alongside Newmar? Who knows. It really wasn’t any more fantastical than Bewitched or The Addams Family.

My article on My Living Doll can be found here.

90 Bristol Court (NBC)
October 5th, 1964 – January 4th, 1965/April 19, 1965

If I had to make a list of the obscure shows I would most like to see, I’m fairly confident 90 Bristol Court would be in the Top Five. It was actually three separate half-hour sitcoms aired under an umbrella title in a 90-minute block: Karen, Harris Against the World, and Tom, Dick, and Mary. All three were set at the same apartment complex and there was one shared character, a handyman. I’ve seen one episode of Karen, the only one of the three shows to survive the entire 1964-1965 season. I can’t decide whether I’m more eager to see Harris Against the World or Tom, Dick, and Mary but right now I’m leaning towards Harris Against the World.

My article on 90 Bristol Court can be found here.

The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (NBC)
September 16th, 1966 – April 11th, 1967

If I were launching Television Obscurities today I doubt I would write an article about The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. It’s definitely a popular obscurity and was long before it was released on DVD. I’ve seen most but not all of the episodes and hope to eventually start over from the beginning and watch it all the way through. I’ve read two of the five tie-in novels, one of the comic books, and one issue of the magazine.

My article on The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. can be found here.

The Tammy Grimes Show (ABC)
September 8th, 1966 – September 29, 1966

I’ve been working on an article about this extremely short-lived sitcom since last year. The research is done for the most part, I just have to start writing it. I’m interested in it specifically because it was cancelled so quickly. That wasn’t common in the 1960s. ABC yanked it as fast as it could and only four episodes made it to air. Despite what Wikipedia says, a total of 10 episodes were completed, meaning six were left unaired. I believe the show was cancelled the same day production on an 11th episode was supposed to start.

Coronet Blue (CBS)
May 29th, 1967 – September 4th, 1967

I’ve been afraid to watch all 13 episodes of this unusual series because I’m worried it might turn out to be a disappointment. I’ve seen two or three and they weren’t bad, so maybe I’ll get around to seeing them all one of these days. For many viewers who were obsessed with Coronet Blue back in 1967, it ended without reveal who Michael Alden really was. Decades later creator Larry Cohen finally provided an answer.

My article on Coronet Blue can be found here.

The Las Vegas Show (United Network)
May 1st, 1967 – June 1st, 1967 (?)

If you haven’t heard of this variety series, don’t fret. You’re not alone. I doubt many people are familiar with it or the network that aired it. The United Network (originally known as the Overmyer Network) was an attempt to launch a fourth network that could compete with the Big Three. It failed. Bill Dana hosted the network’s only offering: The Las Vegas Show, a two-hour, taped, late-night variety show. It aired for one month on more than 100 stations across the country before the network folded. The United Network filed for bankruptcy after it ceased operations. Listed among its assets were tapes of The Las Vegas Show. Whether those tapes still exist today is a mystery.

Accidental Family (NBC)
September 15th, 1967 – January 5th, 1968

The involvement of Lois Nettleton is what drew me to this sitcom and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I finally had the chance to watch several episodes. It was a very low-key, very character-driven sitcom. The episodes I’ve seen were really a mixture of comedy and some light drama all built around the relationships between the characters. I certainly wouldn’t mind being able to see the remaining episodes.

My article on Accidental Family can be found here.

The Good Guys (CBS)
September 25th, 1968 – January 23rd, 1970

Although this sitcom ran for almost two full seasons it is arguably more obscure than some one season wonders. It was never syndicated and only a few episodes are circulating among private collectors. I became interested in the series after hearing the Season Two theme song on an old reel-to-reel tape, recorded off air in 1968.

My article on The Good Guys can be found here.

The New People (ABC)
September 22nd, 1969 – January 12th, 1970

Of course The New People makes my list of favorite obscurities from the 1960s. It is my very favorite obscurity, after all. You can read why in this June 2013 post. I’ve only seen the aired version of the pilot episode. Perhaps one day I’ll get out to California, visit the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and watch the unaired, alternate cut of the pilot and the remaining 16 episodes.

My article on The New People can be found here.

Hit the comments with your thoughts on these shows and any favorite TV obscurities you may have from the 1960s. Check back next month for my 12 favorite obscurities from the 1970s.


9 Comments

  • David says:

    I can’t wait to read your article about The Tammy Grimes Show.

  • Steven Rubio says:

    These are all fascinating to me. I’m 62, so I remember when these shows were on. A few I actually watched, like Girl from UNCLE and Coronet Blue. Others I saw an episode or two. When you are a teenager, you don’t realize these things will one day be history.

  • Hal says:

    all fascinate me. Tammy Grimes followed my all time favorite, F Troop, on ABC’s schedule. Bob Cummings was great in his other show but not so much on Living Doll.

  • rick johnson says:

    My favorite obscurity from the 60’s would be The Great Adventure. It ran on CBS in the 1963-4 season. It was an anthology show that dramatized stories from American History. It had a great theme song written by Richard Rodgers. You can find it on Youtube.

  • Chuck Collins says:

    One of my favorite obscurities that exists, yet is frustratingly and surprisingly unavailable is the 1965 single season sitcom “HANK”. It seems like Garry Marshall himself should be pushing to have it released on DVD.

    My other favorite obscurity is “OCCASIONAL WIFE”: which has played far less than occasionally since it first aired in 1966. There is one episode which may not have been rerun since, namely the final one..

  • sharon derrick says:

    these are some shows i watched as a kid i am 59 now and hae not seen them on any chanel at all but always request them,convoy,mr terrific,captain nice,mister roberts,hawaiian eye,adventures in paradise,hank,tammy,ensign o toole,broadway,mr deeds goes to town,the seven hundred years,tuckers witch,7 brides for 7 brothers,johnny ringo,the monroes,travel of jaimie mcpheeters,roadwest,colt.45,the alaskans,maya,cowboy in africa,the klondike,roaring 20s,five fingers,camp runamuck,ghost and mrs muir,bj and the bear,operation neptune,primus,the ugliest girl in town,broken arrow,law of the plainsman,shotgun slade,waterfront,everglades,the young rebels,hondo,sapphire and steele,blakes 7,the champions,joe 90,tombstone territory,bourbon street beat,surfside 6,77 sunset strip,fantastic journey,secret service,cover up.demsey and makepeace,the master,and many others because i have a book that has eery tv show from late 40s till now sharon

    • Hal says:

      Many of those listed turn up on Warner Archive Instant’s streaming service: Hondo (off now but should return; it is also airing every Saturday on getTV at 3:30 PM CT), Surfside Six and Maya are both streaming on WA currently.

      You mention Klondike; I’d love to see the followup show, Acapulco, made available. Ralph Taeger and James Coburn were joined by Telly Savalas. it lasted only 8 episodes.

  • Chris A says:

    I remember watching “Harry’s Girls” when I was 9 or so. I didn’t fully understand what was going on, but I well remember the theme song. Would be a hoot to see an episode or two.

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