What America Watched

Television Favorites from the Cornfields to the Cosmos, 1960s–1990s


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About the Book

Although television critics have often differed with the public with respect to the artistic and cultural merits of television programming, over the last half-century television has indubitably influenced popular culture and vice versa. No matter what reasons are cited—the characters, the actors, the plots, the music—television shows that were beloved by audiences in their time remain fondly remembered. This study covers the classic period of popular television shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, focusing on how regular viewers interacted with television shows on a personal level. Bridging popular and scholarly approaches, this book discovers what America actually watched and why through documents, footage, visits to filming locations, newspapers, and magazine articles from the shows’ eras. The book features extensive notes and bibliography.

About the Author(s)

Marsha Ann Tate, Ph.D., is a central Pennsylvania–based freelance writer and college instructor. She lives in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania.

Earl Houser is a Pennsylvania State University Libraries staff member. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Marsha Ann Tate and Earl Houser

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 373
Bibliographic Info: 25 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8057-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4465-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1

Part I. 1960s: Fun, Family, and Fantasy
1. Only Yesterday 5
2. The Mayberry Trilogy 14
The Andy Griffith Show (1960–68) 16
Mayberry R.F.D. (1968–71) 28
Gomer Pyle, USMC (1964–69) 33
3. Homespun Fun 38
The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–71) 38
Petticoat Junction (1963–70) 52
Green Acres (1965–71) 64
4. A Flurry of Fantasy 77
Mister Ed (1961–66) 77
Bewitched (1964–72) 86
I Dream of Jeannie (1965–70) 96
5. Cool Ghouls and Castaways 111
The Addams Family (1964–66) 111
The Munsters (1964–66) 122
Gilligan’s Island (1964–67) 131
It’s About Time (1966–67) 145
Dark Shadows (1966–71) 150

Part II. 1970s–90s: The Good, the Cunning, and the Clever
6. Goodbye Hooterville, Hello Big City 169
7. Murder, Mystery, and Intrigue 174
The Magician (1973–74) 176
Ellery Queen (1975–76) 183
Murder, She Wrote (1984–96) 189
8. Peacekeepers and P.I.s 204
Nichols (1971–72) 204
The Rockford Files (1974–80) 210
Magnum P.I. (1980–88) 225
MacGyver (1985–92) 241
9. Television with a Twist 253
Dark Shadows (1991) 256
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993–94) 260
Stargate ­SG-1 (1997–2007) 270
10. Same Place, Different Shows: A Quick Tour of Some Popular  Filming Locations 281

Epilogue 297
Chapter Notes 299
Bibliography 319
Index 343