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The 30 Worst TV Shows of the '60s

My Mother the Car

It’s no question that this show was absolutely horrible. TV Guide rates it as the second worst TV show of all time. Although it had as big of a star as Jerry Van Dyke as the leading role, the premise was what threw this show under the bus.

We were supposed to believe that the main character’s mother had died and then came back to life through the car and spoke through the radio. The interactions with the car alone were so cringe worthy that this show could have never survived even if it had the best writing in the world.

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The Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch first aired in 1969 after a woman’s husband and a man’s wife allegedly died, then the two living spouses married, and their families mixed seamlessly together to create a perfectly blended family with no mention of the children’s dead parents or the parents’ deceased spouses. This was completely unrealistic.

Sure, The Brady Bunch is beloved by many, but we have to all agree that it was just way too polished and unrealistic, a problem many shows in the ‘60s had. There had to be some negativity buried deep inside that family somewhere.

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Hogan's Heroes

Hogan’s Heroes may have been a fun and entertaining show, but you can’t deny that it seems a bit odd that they made Nazis look like fun and lovable people at a time when they were too recently dethroned as some of the most dangerous people in the world.

To make it even worse, some of the actors who played the Nazis were Jewish, and a few had even escaped Nazi Germany themselves. One of them was even imprisoned for three years! They were okay with it though, for some reason, but others quit after only a short while because they just couldn’t take it anymore. Yikes.

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The Ugliest Girl in Town

This show is not only one of the worst of the ‘60s, but also of all time. Critics said it was distasteful then, and we say it is still distasteful now. The premise of a man who people confused as a woman and then pretended to be a female model in London was just confusing and offensive to so many people.

This show would definitely not fly nowadays, and it barely even flew in the ‘60s. It didn’t even make it a full season before they cancelled it for good.

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The Phyllis Diller Show

The Phyllis Diller Show was not always named The Phyllis Diller Show. It was originally The Pruitts of Southampton, and it did not do well, so they renamed it after the leading actress who was pretty popular at the time.

It was obviously not a great show, though, because the name change couldn’t save the dying show, and it croaked before it could get a second season. This sitcom was definitely not a memorable one from the ‘60s.

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Turn-On

One of the biggest flops in TV history, Turn-On only aired for one episode before it was cancelled. It was a sketch comedy show, much like Saturday Night Live, but unlike Saturday Night Live, it got only 1/20th of a season instead of well over 40 seasons.

According to Tim Conway in an interview with PBS, Turn-On was being cancelled as it was airing for the first time across the country, so that by the time it reached California, it was more like turn-off. He claims that it was because it was too ahead of its time, but who knows if it would have even made it later on.

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The Flying Nun

Okay, this show is just ridiculous. We can’t believe it even made it from 1967-1970. In this show, we were supposed to believe that a nun that could fly because she was lightweight and properly proportioned and wore a cornette that made her very aerodynamic in the oceanside hills of Puerto Rico solved problems by simply being able to fly? That’s a tough one.

Maybe this concept could have been made better by making the nun have supernatural powers and having her deal with that while being in the Catholic Church, but maybe that would have been too controversial. Instead we had to believe that physics works in a way that makes her fly, when we all know that physics, in fact, does not work that way.

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Rango

At a time when cowboy programs were all the rage, Rango hit just at the wrong time. The trend was slowly starting to die, and the series died with it after only about a season.

There was nothing inherently wrong about the show, it just hopped onto a train that was about to break down. It did run for about a year, and people growing up in the ‘70s got to see reruns, but there just wasn’t anything special about this show.

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My Favorite Martian

Another show banking on a trend, My Favorite Martian piggy-backed off of the supernatural theme that was popular in many TV shows of its time. In this show, a martian who looked very human-like crash landed on Earth, and a local scientist disguised him as his Uncle Martin. He was the only human that knew Martin’s real identity.

This show did well for its first season, but after the second, ratings started to drop. It was picked up for a third season in which Martin’s real martian nephew also crash landed on Earth, but when they heard that this nephew was going to be a recurring character in the fourth season, they dropped the show. It obviously wasn’t doing too hot either, if that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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I Dream of Jeannie

Viewers may have loved this show at the time, but you can’t deny how weird it is that this man Jeannie called “master” was eventually her husband. As you probably know, Jeannie was a 2,000-year-old genie in a bottle, and whoever found the bottle was her master. So, Jeannie called this man “master,” fell in love with him, and the two eventually got married.

It might have been cute as you were watching it, but it’s just pretty bad if you think about it, especially from the man’s perspective. He kept Jeannie in a bottle wherever he went and then married her. I mean, he did eventually free her, but it’s a little bit of creepy patriarchy that wouldn’t have been popular on today’s TV stations.

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The Hathaways

Here we go again with the crazy premises. What was with the ‘60s? This sitcom was about two people who claimed to be the parents of three chimpanzees that they performed with. Talk about weird.

Of course this show barely made it a full season. We could barely stand to watch the little clips of it on YouTube. It’s hard to believe some of the crazy ideas that producers tried to push in the ‘60s.

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The Tammy Grimes Show

This sitcom was so bad that it was cancelled after only four episodes. This was pretty uncommon for the networks to do in those days because they usually wanted a show to run a fuller course before determining if it was good or not, but not with The Tammy Grimes Show.

Audiences just did not like it. Tammy Grimes was a famous broadway actress and her talents just did not translate onto the TV screen. She was best live, and the show was best unaired.

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Gilligan's Island

A cult favorite, but come on. This show was one of the worst. They just wanted to replace The Monkees spot after it went off-air, and they didn’t succeed. Gilligan’s Island isn’t the same.

Also, tell us why the Professor was able to make all of these crazy inventions, but somehow never a boat to get them off of the island? Don’t even get us started on how the girls always had makeup on or the way they portrayed the indegenous people. That’s definitely not cool.

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The Andy Griffith Show

Don’t kill us, but The Andy Griffith Show has to be one of the most boring shows to ever air on TV. Watching the opening of a rerun of that show on TV was enough to cure our insomnia. We long to be the rock that Opie threw in the water at the beginning of every episode because we know that rock didn’t have to listen to the dying dialogue

Sure, there were great life lessons in the show and many consider it a classic, but that’s only if you can stay awake long enough to watch it. Every episode also had the same plotline over and over again. Talk about being predictable.

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The Beverly Hillbillies

Critics absolutely hated this show, and we think for good reason. It’s just a bunch of stereotypical nonsense that made southerners and people from rural America look bad. Sure the characters were loveable, but they were portrayed as both loveable and as the brunt of a lot of jokes.

Jokes, by the way, that the critics did not find funny at all. The family often made meals like opossum stew in their big Beverly Hills mansion, and we were supposed to find that funny. They didn’t get any laughs from us.

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My Three Sons

My Three Sons ran on TV for a very long time, but that did not make it a good show. It never even got into the top 10 for ratings.

It’s a very clean show with not a lot of interest, and they switched out characters like it was no big deal. Why couldn’t they keep some of the main actors on the show anyway?

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Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

We can admit that this show was funny and well-loved at the time of its airing. It went on to have many seasons that it wasn’t even supposed to have at the beginning. It was only supposed to be a one-time special, but it was so successful that it blew up.

Its humor helped pave the way for current culture humor, including classics like Seinfeld, but if you watch it again, you just have to gawk at how un-funny it is. The humor does not age well, and maybe young kids might still find it funny, but this laugh-in does not bring us any more laughs.

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Donna Reed Show

This show broke through many barriers of sexism at a time where women were seen as meek and mild housewives, but at what cost? Donna was a strong mother who knew how to do everything and solved all of the problems that came their way. She could fulfill the role of mother and father and didn’t need no man.

Except for the fact that she was married and had children with this man. She might have been strong and independent, but in the process she demeaned her husband, which is basically a role reversal of the stereotype of the time. This didn’t mean that the man and woman are equal, but that one had to be less than the other for the other to be valued. Not as groundbreaking of a show as people say.

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Leave it to Beaver

Here we go again with the boring stereotypical perfect family. What is so special about having a perfect family anyway? It looks rather mundane if you ask us. There’s no intrigue or interest, just the same thing over and over again.

The utopia that was the show Leave it to Beaver had everyone longing for a simple life just as this, but we would rather have our messy, chaotic lives, thank you very much.

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Mister Ed

Again with the weird premises. A talking horse? Audiences might have loved this show, but you have to admit that it was also kinda creepy and super weird.

If a horse could only talk to one person, did that make the horse have the ability to talk or does it make the human crazy for seeing such hallucinations and need to visit a psychologist? Either way, this might have been exciting to children, but to adults, there was just something odd going on that made us not want to watch.

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You're in the Picture

You’re in the Picture was one of the biggest flops in television history, pretty close to that of Turn-On. It was a game show run by Jackie Gleason, and it only aired for technically two episodes, that is one planned episode and one time slot filler of Jackie Gleason apologizing for how bad the first episode was.

Yikes. That had to be horrible for such a quick turn around apology by someone who clearly believed in it enough to produce and broadcast it on national television.

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The Addams Family

Talk about predictable and corny, The Addams Family had all of it. Sure, kids loved it, but kids also loved Teletubbies. It was super cheesy and all of the jokes were the same, all focused on how they just didn’t like the light and wanted to be in the dark.

If monsters like these actually existed, they would probably be offended by how simple they made them look on this show. It may be a classic and a favorite, but it does not hold up unless you can recall those feelings you had while watching it as a young child.

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Bewitched

This show may have been great and loved by many for several seasons, but after a while it just got old, predictable, and boring. It had really bad ratings towards the end, but the producers just couldn’t cancel it because they were still making money off of it.

This is a lesson in stopping while you’re ahead, and shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and many other future shows should have looked to this one as an example instead of extending the seasons and making it worse.

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The Jackie Gleason Show

After Jackie Gleason’s attempt of You’re in the Picture fell flat on its face, he revamped the show to instead be The Jackie Gleason Show in a more variety show type of way. It did well with ratings over the years, but that quickly became short-lived.

A lot of the funniest jokes the show revolved around the weight of the people on the show, but once they lost a lot of weight after being on a diet, they lost a lot of their ratings, leading to an eventual cancellation. If your show revolves around making jokes of how someone looks so much so that when they change their looks it kills your show, it probably wasn’t that good of a show to start with.

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Dennis the Menace

Another comic strip turned into a full blown TV series, and according to many, it doesn’t translate over well. It was simple minded and the producers didn’t have much content to work from based on just a short comic strip.

Also, can we just talk about how horrible Dennis was and how his parents rarely ever got on to him? This was just bad parenting, and in addition to Dennis annoying everyone on the show, he ended up annoying the audience as well. For some reason some people actually liked this show. We don’t know why.

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McHale's Navy

We can’t believe this show went on for as long as it did. If you didn’t like Dennis the Menace, then you really didn’t like McHale’s Navy. It’s like a grown up version of the show, just as ridiculous and simple minded, and with the same horrible behavior, just there was no one to keep them in check because they were adults.

They better be glad that they were not a part of the “real” navy because their actions would not have been tolerated, and they would have gotten into a lot of trouble.

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The Patty Duke Show

Let’s talk about science for a second. A man and a woman have a baby, and the woman’s sister and her husband also have a baby. The first couple will have a child with their genes, while the other couple will have a child with their own, separate genes. These children will be cousins and in no way, shape, or form have the same genes. Then why did The Patty Duke Show think it was okay to make a show that was completely scientifically impossible and just weird as to make the main characters identical cousins?

It might have been a cute and fun show, but if you had any idea of how science works, you just didn’t enjoy the show because of how scientifically inaccurate it was. No doubt that it probably led thousands of children to believe that something like this was possible. It’s not even possible if both sets of parents were identical twin siblings.

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The Occasional Wife

This easily forgettable TV show was not only focused on an occasional wife, but also on occasional laughs as well, apparently. The show was very formulated, and it was confusing as well.

A man was so highly pressured to be married, that he ended up asking a random girl in his building to pretend to be his wife whenever he needed to convince people that he was married, including his friends and family. Apparently this trope inspired some more cringey Hallmark and Lifetime rom coms, but that doesn’t make those good either.

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The Second Hundred Years

This show ran straight into the ground in the first season. It did not have good ratings at the beginning, and they just got worse and worse over the course of the 30 episodes that aired.

If you don’t remember it, which you probably don’t, its story was centered around a man who was frozen in an avalanche in 1900, which preserved his body in its whole state until he was thawed in 1967 and met his now elderly son and was confused by all of the changes that had happened in almost 70 years. It could have been good, but it just wasn’t and didn’t last.

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Petticoat Junction

This show was a spinoff of the Beverly Hillbillies, and it just wasn’t any better. In fact, it was probably worse. It still had those weird stereotypes that the Beverly Hillbillies had and more.

It was just gross when the women bathed in the water tower as well. People drank that water, and were they just too dumb to realize that? Still offensive, and even worse than the Beverly Hillbillies.

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