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The TV That Time Forgot: Hawaiian Eye

In show biz, imitation may not be the sincerest form of flattery, but it is the most predictable.

When 77 Sunset Strip was a rating success in the 1958 -59 TV season, Warner Brothers immediately began working up other series with the same basic components.

First, you need an exotic, but American locale. Hawaii was perfect. Not only was it tropical, but it was very topical as well. During 1959 and 1960, Hawaii was on its way to becoming our 50th state.

The Hawaiian Eye Detective Agency was headquartered in Honolulu’s upscale Hawaiian Village Hotel. The detectives performed security duties for the hotel in exchange for rent. The offices were quite elaborate with a tiki statue by the front door (often kissed for good luck) and a full sized private swimming pool! (Just what every private eye needs.)

Next, you add a handsome but mature leading man (the Efrem Zimbalist of the show). For Hawaiian Eye, that would be Anthony Eisley as Tracy Steele.

Read more: The TV That Time Forgot: Hawaiian Eye

10 Things You Never Knew about "It’s a Wonderful Life"

It’s a Wonderful Life turns 73 this month. Here are 10 things you probably never knew about this holiday classic:

  1. It’s probably the only movie ever based on a Christmas card.

When author Philip Van Doren Stern couldn’t sell his short story “The Greatest Gift” to any publisher, he had 200 copies printed up as a 21-page Christmas Card and sent them to his friends. A copy fell into the hands of the head of RKO Studios. He liked it and bought the film rights for $10,000.

  1. Cary Grant was supposed to play George Bailey.

When RKO couldn’t turn the story into a proper script for Cary, they sold the rights to Frank Capra. It was Capra who wanted Jimmy Stewart for the lead.

Read more: 10 Things You Never Knew about "It’s a Wonderful Life"

The TV That Time Forgot: Hazel (1961-66)

Hazel was a very popular sit-com that ran for 5 seasons (4 in full color), producing 154 shows, that was also quite popular in syndication.

The show was based on a popular one panel cartoon drawn by Ted Key that ran in The Saturday Evening Post magazine. Hazel was a no-nonsense live-in maid that basically ran her household and also functioned as mother and father to her employer’s son.

In making the move to television, producers scored a real coup when they signed Academy Award-winning actress Shirley Booth for the title role. Her employers, the Baxters, were played by Don DeFore (who spent many seasons as Ozzie & Harriet’s neighbor Thorny) and Whitney Blake (who would go on to co-create the sitcom One Day at a Time). Whitney Blake was actually married to a guy named Baxter for several years before she was cast in Hazel. She’s the mother of actress Meredith Baxter. Bobby Buntrock rounded out the cast as the Baxters’ son, Harold.

Read more: The TV That Time Forgot: Hazel (1961-66)

Now Playing: "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954)

Three Coins in the Fountain is solid proof of how easily entertained we were in the 1950’s. This piece of cinematic junk food was actually nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in the year of its release. Sadly, watching it today, one can’t help but notice that the background scenery is the most interesting part of the movie!

Made when Cinemascope was the newest gimmick studios were employing to lure people away from their newly beloved TV sets, Three Coins involves the extremely thin story of three American working girls searching for husbands in Rome, with a brief side trip to Venice.

Jean Peters, Maggie McNamara and Dorothy McGuire play the ladies in question – designed to represent young, very young and dangerously approaching middle age. They all work as secretaries – Peters and McNamara for a make-believe U.S. Government agency, “The United States Distribution Agency,” and McGuire for expatriate American author Clifton Webb (playing a far less venomous version of his character from Laura).

Read more: Now Playing: "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954)

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

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