Life was simpler in the 1960's. There were only three major networks and most television dials only went up to thirteen channels, which was good because you had to get up and change them.

Your television probably had rabbit ears which could be adjusted to get a better picture. And of course, there was an antenna on the roof.

The biggest change in television in the 1960s is when shows changed from black and white to color.

Here are some of the top shows of the decade. Many are available in collector edition DVD sets.

Enjoy the memories.

You may also enjoy Top TV Shows of the 1970's.

You may also enjoy Top TV Shows of the 1980s.

You may also enjoy Top TV Shows of the 1990's.

Top TV Shows of the 1960s - GUNSMOKE

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Gunsmoke ran from 1955 to 1975, and with  635 episodes it remains the longest running Western  in television history. It was nominated for 15 Emmys and won 11.

The series starred Dennis Weaver as Chester, Amanda Blake as Kitty, Milburn Stone as Doc, Ken Kurtis as Festus and James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon.

John Wayne was offered the role of Dillon but turned it down because he didn't want to commit to the long term grind of producing a weekly television show. Wayne recommended Arness for the role.


Marshall Matt Dillion is responsible for maintaining law and order in the rough and tumble frontier town of Dodge City.

There's no lack of action in the wild west as Dillon deals with barroom brawls, cattle rustling and  gun fights. Like any good lawman he relies on  his fairness, wisdom and his six-shooter to save the day.

Other 1960s Westerns

Dusters were all the rage in the 1960s. Other fan favorites included Wagon Train, Have Gun Will Travel and Rawhide, Bonanza, The Adventures of Jim Bowie, The Big Valley, The Lawman and Rifleman.

Top TV Shows of the 1960s - I DREAM OF JEANNIE


I Dream of Jeannie aired from 1965 to 1970 and produced 139 episodes. The first season was shot in black and white. A cartoon program based on the show aired later.

I Dream of Jeannie stars Barbra Eden as Jeannie. Larry Hagman as Major Tony Nelson, Bill Daily as Major Roger Healey, Hayden Rourke as Dr. Alfred Bellows and Emmaline Henry as Amanda Bellows.


Jeannie is 2000 year old genie who is imprisoned in a bottle when she refuses to marry a powerful genie in Bagdad.

Astronaut Tony Nelson finds the bottle. frees Jeannie and so becomes her "master".

It's not a job he wants as Jeannie uses her magic to "protect him, often jeopardizing his career as an astronaut.

The two fall in love and get married.

Other 1960s Comedies

The 1960s were rich in family oriented comedies, They include The Addams Family, Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Car 54 Where Are You, The Dick Van Dyke Show, F-Troop, The Flying Nun, Gidget, Gilligan's Island, Green Acres, Hazel, Hogens Heroes, The Monkees, petticoat Junction and My Three Sons.

Top TV Shows of the 1960s - Star Trek


Star Trek first aired in 1966 and produced  79 episodes before it was cancelled in 1969. NBC had threatened to kill the show after two seasons due to low ratings but changed its mind after an unpresidented fan based letter writing campaign convinced the network to continue with the show.

Creator Gene Roddenbury probably never dreamed the show would spin off into another five TV series, 12 movies (with another scheduled for release May, 2013), Star Trek novels and collectibles.

The cast included William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Lieutenant Commander Spock, DeForest Kelly as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, James Doohan as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, Nichelle Nichols ar Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, George Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, and Walter Koenig as Ensign Pavel Chekov.


Captain Kirk and his crew, who represent different races, including a Vulcan travel the universe with one goal..."To go where no man has gone before".

Each week they visit a new planet, some hostile and must obey the prime directive which is to not interfere with another civilizations culture or growth.

They travel from the ship via teleporters and sport state of the art gadgets like phasers and tricorders.

Other 1960s Space Shows

The Space race was on and science fiction junkies tuned into Lost In Space, My Favorite Martian, It's About Time, The Time Tunnel and The Invaders.

Top TV Shows of the 1960s - BEN CASEY

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Ben Casey ran from 1961 to 1966 and produced 153 episodes.

The series is best remembered for its opening line "Men, Women, Death, Infinity".

The cast includes Vince Edwards at Doctor Ben Casey, Sam Jaffe as Doctor David Zorba, Bettye Ackerman as Doctor Maggie Graham and Jeanne Bates as Nurse Wills.


Every episode involved a life and death situation and the constant clashes between the young, idealist Ben Casey and in older, intractable Dr. Zorba.

Don't worry. In this battle, the patient was always the winner.

Other 1960's Doctor Shows

Ben Casey had his fans but television viewers also found their pulse racing for Dr. Kildare, The New Doctors, The Nurses, Medical Center and Marcus Welby M.D.


The Top TV Shows of the 1960s - Perry Mason

masonCredit: mason

Perry Mason aired 271 episodes between 1957 and 1966.

Perry Mason's character appeared in novels by Erle Stanley Gardner.

Only the last episode was shot in color.

The show was back on television from 1973 to 1974, this time with Monte Markham as Mason.

There are 30 made for television Perry Mason movies.

The cast includes Raymond Burr as Perry Mason, William Hopper as Paul Drake, Barbara Hale as Della Street and William Talman as Hamilton Burger.


Each week Perry Mason tackles a seemingly unwinnable case, where his client seems obviously guilty. Through solid detective work and courtroom savy Mason flushes out the true culprit. The guilty party is usually someone who is testifying at the trial and Mason can usually get them to break down and confess to the crime while they are on the stand.

Other 1960s Law/Police Shows

Fans also tuned into Adam 12, Batman, The Man From Uncle, Hawaii Five-O, and Ironside.