Fall is just around the corner, and TV fans know that means it’s the time of year when TV networks reveal their new shows and return their old hits.
September 15 marks the anniversary of at least four shows that became part of U.S. popular culture. The oldest is "The Lone Ranger," which premiered in 1949 when TV was a new technology. The show featured Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. The two traveled the West fighting injustice. Those of a certain age will never forget Moore’s signature line, “Hi Ho, Silver, Away!” or Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” the show’s theme. The series ended in 1957.
"Columbo" celebrates its 35th anniversary this week. Peter Falk played a quirky, cigar-chewing detective who slouched around in a rumpled raincoat and literally nagged suspects into confessions. The series ended in 1978 but resurfaced in 1989 with made-for-TV movies; the last one aired in 2002.
Other shows celebrating their anniversaries this week include "I Spy" (1965-68), in which Bill Cosby made history as the first African American starring in a major TV role; "CHiPS" (1977-83), which featured two motorcycle-riding members of the California Highway Patrol; and "Bachelor Father" (1957062), a sitcom that featured John Forsythe as a bachelor whose life is complicated by his niece moving in. Forsythe later went on to hits such as “Dynasty” and “Charlie’s Angels.” Check out:
TV Guide, Fifty Years of Television by Mark Lasswell.
Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television by Michael Ritchie.
Glued to the Set by Steven Stark.
The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920 - 1961 by Jeff Kisseloff.