TV Reruns from 1962
Today Roadtrip-'62 ™ is honoring an old tradition in television, summer reruns. We’ve reached the end of the summer and the reruns are done, but let's take a look at what we were watching over the summer of 1962. When television began, most shows were performed live and most were never recorded. However, some shows performed on the East Coast were recorded for later broadcast, due to the time difference, on the West Coast. The television industry soon saw the economic value of re-using programming, and began to record nearly everything. Reruns cost almost 75% less than producing new programming! “I Love Lucy” is generally credited with being the first regular series to change from the format of a new-episode-each-week to the summer rerun format. In the year when Lucille Ball was pregnant, they filmed only 39 episodes per season and rebroadcast 13 of these during the summer. Not only did it allow her a rest, but viewership was lower in the summer due to vacations, outdoor activities, etc., so it did not matter too much that episodes were repeated.
Excerpt from “Lucy Goes to Alaska”, from the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, with Red Skelton. Originally broadcast in 1959, episodes of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour were used as summer reruns from 1962-1965 and again in 1967.
So, what might we have been watching during the summer of 1962 on our on black-and-white sets? Remember; most people did not have color TVs yet. In fact, many shows were still broadcast in black-and-white. The NBC network was a leader in color broadcasts, and even they had only 68% of their prime-time programs for the 1962-1963 season in color. Well, I would have been watching cartoons, as I was only 9 years old most of the year. Favorites included old Popeye and Bugs Bunny theatrical cartoons, which were rerun on locally hosted shows such as Bozo the Clown or various captains, magicians, puppeteers, pixies, and other hosts. Like most cities then, at least one local channel showed cartoons after school. A boat captain was a popular motif for the host because most of the stations showed Popeye cartoons. If I lived near Davenport, Iowa, I would have watched Captain Vern’s Cartoon Showboat. In addition to those old reruns, current cartoon shows included Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Beany and Cecil, and Rocky and Friends.
Huckleberry Hound “Barbeque Hound” episode 17 from 1958–1959 season.
New episodes on Huckleberry Hound ended in 1961, but Yogi Bear got his own show that year, so with reruns we now had twice as many cartoons from the Hanna-Barbera studio. Beany and Cecil was a TV cartoon produced by animation legend Bob Clampett that ran from 1959-1969, though originally by the name of Matty's Funday Funnies. That show was based on Clampett’s television puppet show called Time for Beany, which ran from 1949-1954. In the original puppet show, Stan Freberg was the voice and puppeteer of both Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent and the villain, Dishonest John. Freberg did not provide voices for the 1960s show. Rocky and Friends debuted in November 1959 and ran until 1964. The show mixed puns, cultural and topical satire, and self-referential humor, and in my opinion, it was a blast! These shows seem to be in reruns forever. For example, in the early 1980s when a new television station began broadcasting in Flint, Michigan, they ran nothing but Rocky & Bullwinkle for their entire first week on the air!
Shelly Fabares singing "Johnny Angel” on the Donna Reed Show, 1962.
Other shows that were in reruns during the summer of 1962 were variety shows The Ed Sullivan Show, The Steve Allen Show, and a Dinah Shore Show special. For drama, we had Perry Mason, Route 66, The Twilight Zone, Dr. Kildare, Naked City, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. If you were fond of westerns, you could choose from Bonanza, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke repeats retitled as Marshal Dillon, Wagon Train, and Outlaws. And if you preferred comedy, as I did as a kid, there was Leave it To Beaver, The Flintstones, Top Cat (more cartoons!), The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Jack Benny Program, and The Red Skelton Show.
Full episode of Wagon Train TV show, "The Dr. Denker Story", from January, 1962.
If you want to see what was NEW on television for September, 1962, check out Roadtrip-'62’s ™ front page from October, 2015. In the meantime, I’ve got more cartoon reruns to watch!
All photos by the author and Copyright © 2017 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.
All other content Copyright © 2017 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.