Sitcoms: Sixties Edition

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by ClassyCo, May 19, 2018.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Second one in a series. Let's talk about sitcoms from the 1960s.

    When I think of classic sitcoms (black-and-white, in particular) I generally think of the 1960s. There were a host of rural comedies, starting with (in most minds) THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. Producer Paul Henning went on to have great success with THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, PETTICOAT JUNCTION, and GREEN ACRES.

    There were more variety shows as well, but there were also the outlandish fantasy comedies, such as GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and BEWITCHED, and the vaguely spooky ones, like THE MUNSTERS and THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

    Lucille Ball, television's First Lady of Comedy, also continued successfully, at first with THE LUCY SHOW, and later with HERE'S LUCY.

    What's your favorite sitcoms from the 1960s? Any of them stand out to you over the rest?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  2. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I Dream of Jeannie is my favorite of course because of Larry. :)
    It was really funny to watch. I loved Doctor Bellows.

    Except for that the only other one I've watched is Bewitched and I watched that because I got a recommendation saying it was similar to IDOJ and I enjoyed that show too. It was so cute. :)
    The Kravitz neighbours were hilarious.

    I think both these classic shows are timeless. The humor still works today.
     
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  3. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed both I DREAM OF JEANNIE and BEWITCHED. Because the latter premiered first, had the bigger audience, and the longer run, it is generally regarded as being better overall. Both would fall under the classic label, of course, and I'll agree with you that I prefer Jeannie over Samantha.
     
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  4. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I watched Bewitched when it was shown on a rerun and think i quite liked it at the time

    UK ran reruns of I dream of Jeannie in the 80s and I watched or taped it due to Larry - but although i bought some of the DVDs later I cant say i "loved" it and watched it due to JR/Larry!
     
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  5. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW was the best TV sitcom got in the '60s -- but thank goodness Carl Reiner ended the show himself after five years in 1966, because it simply wouldn't have worked outside the Kennedy era (okay, and early-LBJ era) or no longer in B&W.

    The first five years of ANDY GRIFFITH were sublime little B&W rural Cold War haunted gems, and they still work on that basis. But once they switched to color by '65 (as all shows had to do by '66) it became just like all the other color TV sitcoms of the last half of that decade: loud and kind of neurotically claw-your-neck, perhaps because they all seemed to be out of step with the external world by that point.

    I preferred BEWITCHED to I DREAM OF JEANNIE because the latter got on my nerves as most shows from the late-'60s did, although Larry's physical comedy was near-brilliant. I loved the first season of BEWITCHED because it's in B&W and has this mystical 1964 vibe, although I seem to tolerate their shift to color and crassness mid-decade better than I did other shows.

    I liked ADDAMS FAMILY better than the make-a-bad-joke-and-hop-up-and-down motif of THE MUNSTERS, although MUNSTERS had more of a "horror look" in its earliest episodes. But both shows running from 1964 to 1966, they work better in their first seasons and less well in their second.

    I watched all the rural sitcoms of the period but, with the exception of GRIFFITH, the others gave me stress-induced headaches. But the only one I truly hated was the now-forgotten REAL McCOYS which actually started the rural sitcom genre before even GRIFFITH.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  6. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I definitely watched IDOJ because of Larry. I don't think I would have given it a chance otherwise even though I got a recommendation to watch it. :)
    I have never watched Bewitched or IDOJ in B & W as the first seasons were colorized for the DVD and quite honestly I prefer it that way since I like to watch shows and movies that are in color more than B & W.
     
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  7. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I have never been a fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show. I have watched it casually, but not necessarily out of desire, and it hasn't left me longing for more I must admit. The Andy Griffith Show has grown more on me over the years. The first five seasons are very well done, but the exit of Don Knotts and the switch to color left a void that was never recaptured. It felt like a different show entirely, and by 1968, it was just that: a different show called Mayberry RFD.

    Bewitched was probably a better show than I Dream of Jeanne overall, but I generally prefer the latter. I think Barbara Eden's beauty, charm, and likeable quotient outweigh Elizabeth Montgomery's, and let us not forget Larry Hagman's exceptional performance as Major Nelson.

    I too prefer The Addams Family over The Munsters. The Addams clan offered a kookier and darker humor, while the Munsters were basically a traditional family sitcom with a monster twist that occasionally wore thin.
     
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  8. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I guess some people don't necessarily "get" black & white in any context. There are things you can do atmospherically with B&W that can't be done with color.

    Many films from the '40s thru the mid-60s were shot in B&W, despite being high-budget, based on genre and subject matter in order to create a mood they knew they couldn't get in color.

    Admittedly, TV didn't start switching to color for a while due to budget issue, mostly. But I'd hate to see TWILIGHT ZONE, for example, or a few other things like early-ANDY GRIFFITH, in color -- or colorized -- because it destroys the ambience. As it's destroyed in S1 of BEWITCHED when that was colorized.

    Funny, though, I've noticed that the shows which didn't make the switch to color until 1966 -- the first year they were forced to -- begin to feel like color episodes you're watching on a B&W TV set during their last B&W year. In other words, by the 65/66 season, that haunted early-'60s Cold War vibe is essentially gone, so S2 of BEWITCHED and S1 of IDOJ and S2 of both ADDAMS and MUNSTERS feel as if they want to now be in color although they're still in B&W.

    ANDY GRIFFITH and even GILLIGAN'S ISLAND got it right making the switch in '65 instead of waiting to '66.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  9. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I guess it's all a matter of taste but since most people sees the world in color (unless you are colorblind) I prefer to be able to see the colors on TV and movies too.

    But I do get what you are saying and I think my favorite B & W movie is probably "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) which obviously was chosen to be filmed in B & W for stylistic reasons and adding to the over all feel of the movie.
     
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  10. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Black-and-white movies and TV shows seem to have a special place in my heart. Not that all of them are classics just because they aren't in color, but in my opinion, it does certainly get it an edge.

    You can certainly feel, by watching the shows from the mid-sixties, and there pull to be colorized. Gilligan's Island was made for the color screen, with all its tropical scenery, Ginger's flame red, and Gilligan's red t-shirt. Of course, it gave it more of a cartoonish slant, but that's part of the fun, isn't it?

    The same goes with Lucy. The first year of The Lucy Show, which was filmed and aired in black-and-white, felt like an extension of the I Love Lucy glory days. When it made the transition to color the following season, and we finally got to see Lucy's beautifully maintained red hues, it made it all the sweeter. Naturally, the colorizing of Lucy's shows made her all the sillier, too. I still enjoyed them anyhow.

    I agree that The Twilight Zone and The Addams Family should never, ever be colorized. I have seen some clips where The Addams Family were "updated" in color, and while I must admit I was impressed by the look of it, I also felt the creepiness that made the show special had certainly been lost. The same goes with The Twilight Zone, and even though I have never seen any of it in color, I do know that I wouldn't like it and that it wouldn't work as well as it had initially in black-and-white.
     
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  11. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    GILLIGAN is an interesting case because, like BEWITCHED, it started in 1964. But unlike BEWITCHED, the switch to color for GILLIGAN occurred one year in -- in '65, while BEWITCHED waited until '66.

    The reason I like S1 of GILLIGAN in B&W is that it has a curiously soothing quality (even the opening song is more gently performed) which gives it, too, a more mystical flavor, even though we'd expect that more from BEWITCHED than GILLIGAN.

    But GILLIGAN made the transition to color at the right time, in 1965 for its second season.

    But by BEWITCHED waiting until '66 to do so, the moody B&W is lost for S2, and it looks washed-out and drab somehow ---like it wants to make the switch to color, just as most shows which remained in B&W thru the 65/66 season do.

    It's really odd. As if organically, these shows didn't want to wait another year and really called out to switch to color in '65.

    For that reason, colorizing S2 of BEWITCHED is no loss; I'm basically fine with it. Yet colorizing S1 is heresy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  12. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Last year I chose a lot of sitcom pilots from all decades because I wanted to have something lighter than all the cable gritty shows that I enjoy so much. From the 60´s I didn´t have many to choose since there are not many American TV comedies dubbed into Spanish. I was already watching one of them: "I Dream of Jeannie", though I´m a bit of stuck in the first half yet.

    So these are the ones whose pilots I watched: "Bewitched", "The Addams Family", and "The Munsters". I obviously love the spooky type! After a while, I decided to finish IDOJ first, and then try one of the others too, which I found charming and funny. More about my "search for sitcoms" in your other threads @ClassyCo!
     
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  13. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    "The Addams Family," and "The Twilight Zone," for sure!
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  14. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

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    Dobie Gillis (started in 1959 but the bulk of its run was in the sixties), The Addams Family, Bewitched, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees, The Partridge Family (started in 1970 but I consider it "the last sixties show") and many more that I can't bring to mind just now.
     
  15. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Soap Chat Addict

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    OT-- the same thing happened with something that does not fit this thread (the 1965-69 CBS Western/spy/action/adventure series The Wild Wild West [first go in B/W, 1965-66; last three in color, 1966-69]).
     
  16. Sarah Danner

    Sarah Danner Soap Chat Member

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    The pilot was filmed in December 1969, which backs up your reasoning.
     
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  17. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    The Partridge Family, while a "seventies show" because of its duration, does have sixties feel to it. It was, indeed, the last sixties sitcom. Others that started in the sixties seemed to shake the vibe of being a stuck in the sixties. Here's Lucy, for example, while it premiered in 1968, always seemed to have a seventies vibe from the start. Or at least it did to me.
     
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  18. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Well, these things overlap a wee bit, don't they? Season 1 of PARTRIDGE with all its traveling around and melancholy tone is classic on-the-cusp-of-the-'60s/'70s TV. And then S2 thru S4 it's a living room sitcom.

    But it's mostly all early-'70s in personality. It's warmer. Late-'60s is colder, often louder but more aloof.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  19. NickLundy0911

    NickLundy0911 Soap Chat Member

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    Do Hanna Barbera primetime shows like The Flintstones, Top Cat, and The Jetsons count?
     
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  20. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I would think so, yes. Didn't they even have a laugh track.?
     

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