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The Top 10 TV Shows for Baby Boomers

by Allen B. Ury

There are two kinds of TV series. I'm not talking about "drama" vs.  "comedy." Or "prestige" vs. "popular." Or even "good" vs. "crap." I'm talking about "Teflon" vs. "sticky."

Teflon series are those you watch -- and may even enjoy -- but their impact slides away like eggs off a greased skillet. Some Teflon series are highly rated. Some Teflon series even win prestigious awards. But in the end, Teflon series tend to fade into obscurity like some exotic avian species, what minor fossils they leave behind to be carefully picked over, studied and debated by small cadres of dedicated media historians, but otherwise forgotten by later generations.

And then there are "sticky" series. Sticky -- in the modern marketing vernacular -- refers to ideas or concepts that not only tap into the current cultural zeitgeist, but have true staying power. Many "sticky" TV series are low-rated. Some last only a few seasons. They may even be critical pariahs. But, even in cancellation, they refuse to go away. They become part of us. Part of our cultural DNA. And thus part of our shared memories. (As well as topics for endless Internet click-bait articles.)

The Baby Boomer era for popular culture -- roughly 1950-1975 -- was rife with both Teflon and sticky TV series. This was the era that critics called both "TV's Golden Age" and "a vast wasteland." It produced series that, at the time, won critical plaudits but which today are all but forgotten. (This is particularly true of 1950s era dramatic anthology series like Playhouse 90 and Studio One, prestige programs that were broadcast live and thus never syndicated.) It also produced shows that were critically reviled yet are still held warmly in the hearts of aging Boomers (e.g. My Favorite Martian, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Brady Bunch, Hogan's Heroes, etc.)

Here’s my list of the Top 10 TV Shows for Baby Boomers. Presented in chronological order, the list represents what I believe are the "stickiest" shows from this 25-year period. Like all lists, it's woefully incomplete and probably not reflective of everyone's tastes. But I suspect you'll find several of your favorites in this collection. And some wonderful memories as well.

Read more: The Top 10 TV Shows for Baby Boomers

Return to Mayberry

It's been awhile since we looked in on our friends in Mayberry. Here's how they're doing:

Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

One of the great movies of our adolescent years was Bye Bye Birdie, the film version of the successful Broadway musical.

It’s one of the rare instances when the changes Hollywood inevitably brings to Broadway adaptations actually improved the story.

The story was inspired by Elvis Presley’s 1957 induction into the army. The title character’s name was a play on then current rock singer (and future country star) Conway Twitty.

Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynde were brought in from the stage show to play essentially the same parts.

There were two big changes.

Read more: Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

The BOO Tube

Local TV Horror Hosts – most of us had ‘em.

In New York and northern Jersey, it was Zacherley (aka John Zacherle). In L.A., it was Vampira. Milwaukee had Dr. Cadaverino and Tampa had Dr. Paul Bearer. They were the “creatures” who brought us monster movies, good and bad, usually on the weekend and ideally late at night.

For Halloween, here’s a look at some of the men and women who brought us Monster-Horror-Shock-Chiller-Nightmare-Theater!

Read more: The BOO Tube

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