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Far Out Favorites In ’60s TV

Ah, the 1960s. I wish I could see what the decade was like in person, but alas, no DeLoreans are available just yet. I love hearing stories from my relatives about what life was like “back in the day.” They each offer differing perspectives, noting the good and the bad.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live through the 1960s for myself. I’m sure I’d miss certain modern conveniences, but I wouldn’t mind the fashion, the classic cars, and the funky interior decorating. Nonetheless, the closest I can get to seeing a glimpse of the 1960s is through some of my favorite ’60s shows, and I absolutely love them.

Batman (1966–1968)

Batman and Robin with an officer behind them in 1960s show

Albeit cheesy and campy, I still love Batman. I catch it on the “same bat-time, same bat-channel” as much as I can. The series sometimes reminds me of comic books, given the fight scenes between Batman, Robin and whatever villain they were up against, with added words like “pow!” and “krunch” in big colorful letters appearing onscreen with each hit.

I enjoyed their eccentric villains, too. Particularly Egghead and The Riddler. Egghead was definitely the more “egg-centric” of the two. I also enjoyed Batman and Robin’s occasional run-ins with celebrities. When the “dynamic duo” scaled walls, either going up or down, sometimes celebrities would stick their heads out of the windows and have conversations with the crime fighters. Even the Green Hornet and Kato made an appearance, alongside Sammy Davis, Jr. and Werner Klemperer, among others.

Hogan’s Heroes (1965–1971)

Hogan, Schultz and Klink in Hogan's Heroes

Interestingly enough, my favorite characters in this show are Klink and Schultz, who were supposed to be the villains, given Klink is the Commandant of the POW camp and Schultz is a guard. The setting is a POW camp in Nazi Germany, where captured Colonel Hogan and his fellow prisoners were always scheming and planning against the Germans. Klink was always oblivious, which was part of the show’s humor.

I loved how Hogan and his men were always outsmarting Klink and his crew, but somehow made Klink look good in the process, wanting to keep the bumbling Commandant around instead of risking his being transferred and Hogan having to deal with a much stricter Commandant. Schultz was a sweet character that could be easily bribed, and of course, he always claimed he knew nothing. 

Gilligan’s Island (1964–1967)

Gilligan and Skipper in Gilligan's Island

Honestly, my favorite part about this sitcom are Gilligan and the Skipper, especially the former. Gilligan was this sweet, albeit clumsy first mate that was always eager and cheerful. I loved his interactions with the Skipper; the two together are a dynamic team that never fail to make me laugh.

The other funny thing about the show was how the characters always seemed to have more supplies than they should, given they were out for a three hour tour. Even though they were marooned for quite some time, the characters made a life out of it, and plenty of comedy came from it. I love the diverse cast too, given they all had different personalities and backgrounds. It made their moments, whether they were clashing or not, that much funnier.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969–1970)

Scooby and the gang being chased by The Caveman in Scooby-Doo Where Are You

I love Scooby and the gang! They’re a classic cartoon that has maintained their popularity for generations, over fifty years later. I love a good mystery, alongside the humor of the scared and always hungry best friends Shaggy and Scooby.

The mysteries always seemed to find the gang, and created memorable villains that audiences know and love to this day. Personally, I love the Phantom Shadows, the Creeper, and the Mummy of Ankha from the original series. I couldn’t write this list of ’60s favorites without including the classic Scooby cartoon that started a legacy with spin-offs and movies to boot.

Get Smart (1965–1970)

Maxwell Smart, Agent 99, and the Chief in Get Smart

The reason why I love this series so much is because of Don Adams. He plays Maxwell Smart, a government agent that has a penchant for accidents, given his clumsiness. The thing is, his clumsiness actually comes in handy most of the time. He’s usually aided by Agent 99 and pure luck, which makes him a great agent, but hilarious to watch. I’m a fan of slapstick comedy, and Max is the picture of well-timed slapstick humor.

I remember a particular episode in which Max is continuously lucky, moving just in time, as someone keeps throwing knives into his room, trying to kill him, but he doesn’t notice until Agent 99 says something. Another episode he must get across the street in one piece, and uses various means to do so, including ordering a line of cabs to avoid getting killed on the way over. The thing is, every episode has something new to offer from Max’s comedic and sometimes blundering ways, always providing audiences with a good laugh.

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)

Rob and Laura in The Dick Van Dyke Show

When I was in college, this was my go-to show after a long day. The show starred Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as husband and wife, Rob and Laura Petrie. Rob is a comedy writer for a TV show, and he works alongside fellow writers, Sally and Buddy. I loved episodes that focused on Rob and Laura specifically, whether they were telling a story through flashbacks or going through something in the present. One of my absolute favorite episodes pertains to Laura bleaching her hair blonde and worrying over Rob’s reaction, in “My Blonde-Haired Brunette.”

Buddy’s constant one-liners, especially when he was insulting Mel, the producer of the show, are also pretty funny. Mel may be the frequent butt of Buddy’s jokes, but he has his moments here and there, and usually ignores Buddy anyway. Nonetheless, I always enjoyed their scenes together. There’s so much to love about The Dick Van Dyke Show, and it would take more than two paragraphs to list all the reasons why.

That Girl (1966–1971)

Marlo Thomas alongside three other actors in That Girl

My mom recently introduced me to this 1960s gem, and I absolutely adore it. The protagonist, Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas) is an aspiring actress, who makes the move from her hometown to New York City to try to make it big. She’s sweet and caring, and always has a sunny disposition. It was more along the lines of real life compared to other 1960s shows such as Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie. 

I relate to Ann Marie’s character, and admire her attitude. Even in the midst of her bad days or misadventures, she doesn’t give up. I love watching TV characters go out and chase their dreams; somehow, watching it on screen tends to inspire audiences to do the same, at least in my experience. The series is sweet and sometimes corny, but sometimes, we all need sweet and corny in our lives, don’t we?

Bewitched (1964–1972)

Bewitched Pilot with Samantha and Darrin at dinner

I’ve watched this fantasy sitcom since I was little. My love for the show has only grown over the years. Samantha is one of my favorite characters of all time, and I’m a big fan of the actress that plays her—Elizabeth Montgomery.

Samantha was a witch who had promised to give up her “twitch”, so to speak, and live the life of a mortal housewife according to her husband Darrin’s wishes. Though she tried, she couldn’t quite keep the magic out of the household. There never was a dull day in the life of the Stephens family. I loved all the zany characters the series had to offer, especially Dr. Bombay, Aunt Clara, Endora, and Uncle Arthur. Each episode is fun, and no matter what her relatives tried to do to split them up, Samantha never gave up on Darrin and vice versa. Plus, there’s guaranteed to always be a happy ending at the end of an episode—what’s not to love?

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Written by Kacie Lillejord

Kacie is a freelance writer versed in various forms. She loves pop culture, screenwriting, novels, and poetry. She has previously written for The Daily Wildcat, Harness Magazine, Cultured Vultures, and Screen Rant, with 25YL being her newest writing venture.

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