Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max: They are streaming services full of modern content on-demand watched by millions. But nothing compares to the simplicity, wholesomeness, and nostalgia of the earliest American children’s TV shows.
Nostalgia TV has swept the world of on-demand streaming, but the following 1950’s children’s TV shows are still a gem and a bit hard to find. Enjoy a stroll down memory lane as we remember these excellent classics.
1. Dennis the Menace
Born of a comic strip and adapted into a cartoon, Dennis the Menace caught on at the tail end of the 1950s. This 30-minute comedic cartoon aired from 1959 to 1963, starring Herbert Anderson.
The show revolves around a mischievous only child, Dennis Mitchell, and his adventures around town. Dennis often has a run-in with his older neighbor, Mr. Wilson, which results in conflicts for each episode.
2. Popeye the Sailor Man
Popeye the Sailor Man was a comic-strip-turned-cartoon whose popularity outlived the 50’s. Even in the 21st century, this spinach-loving superhero is perhaps the most recognizable classic cartoon character of all.
Popeye was created in 1929, and the first cartoons based on his character ran in the 1930s. However, he, along with his lanky love interest named Olive Oil, dominated the small screen during the 1950s and 1960s in a revised version of the cartoon.
Since then, other iterations of the character were made, from movies to short clips. The cartoon lives on in the public domain.
Like Popeye, Rin-Tin-Tin was celebrated long before the 1950’s children show entitled Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin. The noble German Shepherd super dog starred on the silent screen in the 1920s.
The 1950’s adaptation of Rin-Tin-Tin was a Western for kids. It took place in the 1880s, and it focused around the adventures of a young boy and his intelligent furry best friend on an army outpost in a fictional town out west. Rin-Tin-Tin was played by a real dog who became famous in his own right.
The 1950s was the decade of the superhero dog. In addition to Rin-Tin-Tin, another beloved pup stole the hearts of American children everywhere; this dog was a border collie named Lassie.
Though later TV trends attempted to stray from simplicity, featuring talking animals like Mr. Ed, for instance, America never got tired of the smart canine who was eager to rescue friends and solve problems.
Lassie, played by a succession of male dogs, was a phenomenon well into the late 20th century. Her popularity lasted well into the 1990s. Though the show about this brave collie began in 1954 and lasted until 1964, Lassie starred in several hit movies before and after the show was on the air.
Beyond 1950’s Children’s TV Shows
The turn of the 20th century brought with it some unforgettable TV characters favored by families all across America.
Which of these 1950’s children’s TV shows would you watch today?
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