Wednesday, May 31, 2017

53 Wonderful Things From the Comfort TV Era

Today is my 53rd birthday. Since birthdays are often a time to look back, and that’s pretty much all we do around here anyway, I’ve compiled a list of 53 wonderful people, places, moments and performances that bring back warm smiles and happy memories. After a week with more than its share of sad news, I think we can all use a little bit of both.

Let’s start with one that is fresh in the mind of every classic TV fan.

1. The halo that appears over Roger Moore’s head in every episode of The Saint.

2. The Nairobi Trio. Never gets old. 

3. Linda Ronstadt singing “When I Grow Too Old to Dream” on The Muppet Show.

4. The exact moment when Columbo figures out who done it. 

5. Chuck and Bob. 

6. This opening credits sequence for Days of Our Lives, which aired five days a week, every week, for 21 years. 

7. The sound the Mach 5 makes when Speed Racer presses control button ‘A’. 

8. Candid Camera’s talking mailbox.

9. Wonder Woman’s western costume, and her team-up with legendary cowboy Roy Rogers in “The Bushwhackers.” 

10. The Bugaloos performing “The Senses of Our World.” 

11. Foster Brooks on The Dean Martin Roasts.

12. Uncle Arthur.

13. Aunt Bee.

14. The Kraft Christmas commercials featuring holiday recipes, narrated by the soothing voice of Ed Herlihy. 

15. Surrealist poetry for six year-olds on Sesame Street.

16.  The flashbacks to Richie’s birth in the Dick Van Dyke Show episode “Where Did I Come From?” 

17. The Fonz dances the Kazatsky.

18. The start of every Adventures of Superman episode.

19. The end of every Cisco Kid episode.

20. Watching J.R. outmaneuver Cliff Barnes. 

21. That Girl’s Ann Marie and Donald Hollinger taking in the sights of New York City, circa 1967, in “Absence Makes the Heart Grow Nervous.”

22. The ebullient theme song to Angie

23. Carl Kolchak’s seersucker suit. 

24. Watching the General Lee fly. 

25. When Morticia speaks French.

26. The delightfully twisted final moments in “Lamb to the Slaughter,” an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents directed by the master himself; after killing her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, Barbara Bel Geddes serves the murder weapon to the police investigating the crime.

27. Tim Conway’s elephant story – and Vicki Lawrence’s perfect capstone.

28. Sgt. Friday’s speech to teenagers dissatisfied with what is happening in the country (sound familiar?) in “The Big Departure.” 

29. “It’s a Sunshine Day”.

30. When your favorite show appeared on the cover of TV Guide

31. When the Marshall family goes over that waterfall. 

32. June Lockhart visibly trying to suppress her giggling throughout the absurd Lost in Space episode “The Great Vegetable Rebellion.”

33. Groucho Marx meets Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez.

34. Gene Gene the Dancing Machine.

35. The James West vs. everybody barroom brawls in The Wild, Wild West.

36. The final scene in “Opie the Birdman.”

37. The virtuoso slapstick timing of Lucille Ball and Gale Gordon in “Lucy the Fixer,” from Here’s Lucy

38. Mr. Rogers singing “It’s You I Like.” 

39. The vaudeville routines performed by George Burns and Gracie Allen at the end of their 1950s sitcom – still funnier than just about anything on TV then or now.

40. Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In.

41. The affectionate chemistry between Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers on Hart to Hart

42. The panel wishing the viewers and each other a good night on What’s My Line.

43. Jane Badler eating that mouse on “V”.

44. The reprise of “I Got You Babe” at the end of every Sonny & Cher Show

45. The theme song to The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan

46. Situation comedies from the 1950s and ‘60s in which the characters hung out at the malt shop. 

47. The Tea Time Movie with Art Fern. 

48. When the yodeling mountain climber plummets over the edge on The Price is Right

49. The Inchworm commercial.

50. “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll.”

51. The Mystery Machine.

52. Jim McKay hosting the Olympics.

53. The MTM Productions logo. 


  1. Wonderful, wonderful list, David! I particularly appreciate your remembering Jim McKay at the Olympics, the end of WML? and Ed Herlihy on the Kraft commercials - now that's comfort TV!

  2. How long did it take you to catch on that every week on Wild Wild West, it was the same five guys who fought with Bob Conrad?