Television shows from the ‘50s and ‘60s aren’t called classics for nothing. They had classic style, classic charm, and classic catchphrases worth repeating. Do you know these catchphrases from shows that ran during the ‘50s and ‘60s? Find out by taking this quiz.
“This is the city: Los Angeles. I work here. I’m a cop.” – Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet (1951-1959)
The spacecraft for "Lost in Space" cost more than building the Starship Enterprise. The final bill was $350,000 (now $2.6 million) but unlike the Enterprise, the audience got to see all the rooms of the Jupiter 2.
“I forgot that you’re a woman? How could I? You’re always yapping.” – Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners (1955-1956)
The original "Star Trek" competed against "Lost in Space" for two years, and actually received poorer ratings. This may be because "Star Trek" targeted an older audience.
“…I mean how do you spell Kadiddlehopper?” “Wrong every time.” – L. W. Treadway (Dean Martin) and Clem Kadiddlehopper (Red Skelton), The Red Skelton Show (1951-1971)
Lorne Michaels was a writer for "Laugh-In." He later went on to write for "Saturday Night Live."
“How do you spell ‘sperience?” “E-x-p—“ “E-x-? You’re kidding.” – Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
The Ventures covered the theme song for "Hawaii Five-0," and it made it to #4 on the charts.
“I couldn’t give him the [sobriety] test last night… He was too drunk.” -- Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
"The Price Is Right" is the longest running game show in television history. Currently in its 46th season, it has given away over $250 million in cash and prizes.
“Do you think all parents have this much trouble?” “No, just parents with children.” – June and Ward Cleaver, Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963)
Edward R. Murrow became famous reporting on World War II. Since he had been working with Fred Friendly on the radio show, "Hear It Now," when he was approached to do a weekly television program, they called it "See It Now."
[answering the phone using a fake German accent] “I’m sorry; you’ve got the wrong number. [pause] So what if you haven’t told me who you’re calling, yet? No matter who you’re calling, it’s still the wrong number because I don’t even have a phone!” – Carter, Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971)
The network wanted Mel Brooks to write a dog into the show and so Agent K-13 was added, but he wasn’t your typical fluffy pet. The dog was so difficult and costly to work with they wrote him out in the second season.
“That orange color. Doesn’t that mean uranium?” “Right on the nose, Robin." – Robin and Batman, Batman (1966-1968)
"The Jackie Gleason Show" originally ran a skit of "The Honeymooners." When they turned "The Honeymooners" into a series, actress Pert Kelton (who had played Alice) was dropped because she had been found guilty of communism by association with her husband.
“But what could the president do to make people want to stay in this country?” “Well, he could quit.” – Dick and Tom Smothers, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967-1970)
"The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" began on the radio. It was among only a handful of shows to successfully transition to television.
"Sometimes I just don’t know what’s the matter with men.” “That’s easy—you women!” – Betty and Barney Rubble, The Flintstones (1960-1966)
Although many talk show hosts are known for their charming personalities, Ed Sullivan was just the opposite. He warmed his way into America’s heart from 1948-1971 as an awkward host notorious for not smiling and bungling introductions and monologues.
“The L stands for Lucifer.” “Very appropriate for a politician.” – Gomez and Morticia Addams, The Addams' Family (1964-1966)
"The Lawrence Welk Show" was one of many to suffer from the purge that occurred at the beginning of the 1970s. The FCC had implemented a rule that forced companies to use one hour of local programming during prime time. The big name studios gave up this hour by eliminating popular shows that appealed to older adults in favor of shows that targeted a younger audience.
“Only you, Tonto, know I’m alive. To the world, I’ll be buried here beside my brother and my friends… forever.” – The Lone Ranger (1949-1957)
Bob Hope appeared more times on "The Tonight Show" in the ‘70s and ‘80s than anyone else. However, Richard Zoglin (author of Hope: Entertainer of the Century) reports that Carson frequently grew tired of Hope, who could book a spot on the show whenever he wanted, who only used scripted jokes and did not interact well, and who frequently brought in highlight clips that were longer than what they normally used.
“This is a job for Superman… I mean I’ve got to go find him!” – Clark Kent, The Adventures of Superman (1952-1958)
A rumor circulated for years that Mel Blanc (who did Bugs Bunny’s voice) was allergic to carrots and would spit them out during recording. Blanc gave the real reason for spitting out the carrots in his autobiography when he explained that he would have had to take a break from recording if he had finished chewing and swallowed them.
“How are things going?” “Terrible. I have to make dinner—I mean actually make it without magic. We are liable to die.” – Jeannie, I Dream of Jeannie
"Dennis the Menace" was based on Hank Ketcham’s son, Dennis. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Dennis and Hank had an estranged relationship for most of their lives.
“Herman tried to build a ship inside a bottle. We had to break the bottle to get him out.” – Lily Munster, the Munsters (1964-1966)
All the place names were modified so they were not real. Although the show took place in locations around the world, they never filmed outside of the greater Los Angeles area.
“I’m happy because I’ve just fallen in love an hour ago. This is the happiest part of a love affair, just after falling in love and just before the problem of money comes up.” – Dobie Gillis, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-1963)
The story is similar to Carl Reiner’s life at the time: He was a comedy writer living in New Rochelle with his wife and child. He worked with Mel Brooks (a joke writer) and Selma Diamond (a woman in search of a man).
“Pyle! My old grandmother could do better than that.” “Well, bless her heart.” – Sgt. Carter and Gomer Pyle, Gomer Pyle, U. S. M. C. (1964-1969)
The word “kow-a-bong-a” was first invented on "The Howdy Doody Show." Chief Thunderthud stated it as a nonsense word, but it became a part of popular culture and is now spelled “cowabunga.”
“What happened? Did somebody spike your corn flakes?” – Capt. Binghamton, McHale’s Army (1962-1966)