As a child, I grew up watching classic TV shows in black and white (and sometimes color). The older shows always had more appeal for me because they were clean, wholesome entertainment. Here are four of the best classic TV shows to check out.
The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
What’s it about: Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) is a widower in the little town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Andy lives with his son, Opie (Ron Howard), and his Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier). Andy has his hands full refereeing small-time scuffles and reigning in his bumbling deputy, Barney Fife’s (Don Knott) well-meaning, but over-zealous schemes.
Why you should watch it: The town of Mayberry and its citizens are easy to fall in love with. The stories are engaging and the jokes are corny. Andy doesn’t particularly follow a storyline, so you can jump in wherever you feel like it. In my opinion, the first six seasons, which are in black and white, are the best.
Availability: All eight seasons of Andy can be found on Netflix.
Favorite episodes: The Pickle Story (season 2, episode 11), Convicts at Large (season 3, episode 11), A Wife for Andy (season 3, episode 29)
I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
What’s it about: Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) is a housewife that constantly creates havoc for her Cuban bandleader husband, Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), as he strives to succeed in show business in New York City. The Ricardo’s live in an apartment complex owned by their best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley and Vivian Vance).
Why you should watch it: You will never find another actress like Lucille Ball. She is one-of-a-kind. Her physical comedy is amazing. The chemistry between the four friends is heart-warming. And the episodes are just plain hilarious.
Availability: Lucy episodes can be found on Hulu, CBS, and the Hallmark Channel.
Favorite episodes: Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her (season 1, episode 4), Job Switching (season 2, episode 1), First Stop (season 4, episode 13)
The Big Valley (1965-1969)
What’s it about: The story centers around the wealthiest family in Stockton, California during the 1870s, The Barkley’s. The Barkley’s matriarch, Victoria Barkley (Barbara Stanwyck), lives on the Barkley Ranch with her sons, Nick (Peter Breck) and Jarrod (Richard Long), daughter, Audra (Linda Evans), and step-son Heath (Lee Majors).
Why you should watch it: I have never been a big fan of Western’s, but I love The Big Valley. This western offers a little bit of everything: family, gun slinging, danger, humor, and romance. The Big Valley definitely isn’t a comedy like the others. It depicts the Wild West in a family-oriented way.
Availability: Episodes of The Big Valley can be found on Hulu or the INSP channel.
Favorite Episodes: Barbary Red (season 1, episode 21), Last Stage to Salt Flats (season 2, episode 12), The Disappearance (season 3, episode 8)
Happy Days (1974-1984)
What’s it about: Happy Days tells the story of a typical American family in the 1950s, the Cunningham family. The father, Howard (Tom Bosley), owns a hardware store, and his wife, Marion (Marion Ross) is a stay-at-home mom. Their son Ritchie (Ron Howard) attends the local high school with his best friends Ralph (Don Most) and Potsie (Anson Williams). Joanie (Erin Moran) is the kid sister, who spends her time annoying Ritchie. Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) is the local greazer, who eventually moves in to the Cunninghams’ garage apartment.
Why you should watch it: Fonzie is a character you don’t forget. He’s cool, loved by the ladies, and well-respected by his friends. He’s a character that acts tough on the outside, but really just wants to be a part of a family. This show also has some great comedic moments.
Availability: Episodes of Happy Days can be found on Hulu.
Favorite Episodes: Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas (season 2, episode 11), The Cunningham Caper (season 2, episode 14), They Call It Potsie Love (season 3, episode 13).