As well as offering some real television nostalgia, these classic shows are also regarded as some of the most iconic TV shows ever made. Here are some lesser-known facts about five of the most popular shows in TV history.
1. I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy had a rather rocky start. Fraught with dilemmas and thought to maybe not move forward with the pilot, it came down to play it safe, or take a chance on the untried medium of television. Ball recounts that in a dream, Hollywood actress Carole Lombard appeared in a “very smart suit and she said, ‘Go on, honey. Give it a whirl!’” And they did exactly that and they show is one of the most loved of its kind to date.
2. The Flintstones
The popular 1960s cartoon The Flintstones may have become a hit around the world but it was not well received by everyone. One of television’s most iconic actors of all time, Jackie Gleason, was not happy about the show’s inspiration. According to Alan Reed Jr. (son of Alan Reed, who voiced Fred Flintstone), The Flintstones was inspired by The Honeymooners, taking on the short-tempered and overbearing characteristics of Gleason’s vociferous Ralph Kramden.
3. The Odd Couple
After it first premiered in 1970, viewers had some questions about the sexuality of Felix and Oscar, as the two men living as roommates in New York City. Felix, played by Tony Randall, raised the most eyebrows for his flamboyant mannerisms and interest in the arts. Worried that viewers would be turned off due to the continuous speculation, ABC executives made it a point in the show’s intro to state that the roommates were “divorced men.”
4. The Ed Sullivan Show
In 1953 when Broadway director Joshua Logan asked to speak about his struggles with mental illness, what ensued was one of Ed Sullivan’s proudest TV moments. Worries about CBS’s reaction, Sullivan hesitantly allowed Logan to change the running order of the show to address his mental breakdown, recovery, and the stigma surrounding mental illness. It was met with momentary silence followed by a very big applause. In the weeks that followed, CBS was sent oodles of letters of appreciation.
5. Hogan’s Heroes
CBS’s Hogan’s Heroes, which ran from 1965 to 1971, was set in an actual German POW camp during World War II. Despite being successful, the sitcom was heavily criticised, given the actual atrocities that were committed during the war. Surprisingly, many of the actors portraying the dim-witted German Nazis were Jewish, too.