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Classic 1950's sitcoms
by Wesley Hyatt

My Little MargieThe idea of "stripping" repeats of TV shows (running them daily Monday through Friday) did not start at ABC, CBS and NBC but instead with local TV stations in 1955.

Such filmed series as "My Little Margie" and "Amos 'n' Andy" were big draws in the daytime, and the networks took notice of their success. The first to respond was NBC, which on May 14, 1956, unveiled "Comedy Time" daily from 4-4:30 p.m.

I Married Joan photoThe initial attraction on "Comedy Time" was "I Married Joan," a sitcom which ran on NBC from 1952-55. But the network was jittery about the idea of how much recycled product the daytime audience would tolerate, so to even it out, NBC purchased rights to other sitcoms to rotate with "I Married Joan."

Unfortunately for NBC, the network had few sitcom hits at the time, and the cancelled ones which were available at the time to use were short-lived efforts; only one lasted more than two seasons.

This situation led to the oddest daily rerun series ever on network television, with many of these shows getting their only repeats on this series, as they produced too few episodes by themselves for local stations to want to rerun them.

"Comedy Time" wound up with the following bizarre slate of sitcom repeats:

"I Married Joan": May 14, 1956-July 6, 1956

classic 1950's sitcoms"So This is Hollywood": July 9, 1956-August 10, 1956

"It's Always Jan": August 13, 1956-September 20, 1956

"I Married Joan" (second time): September 21, 1956-December 28, 1956

"It's a Great Life": December 31, 1956-April 18, 1957

"Dear Phoebe": April 19, 1957-April 26, 1957

"Topper": April 29, 1957-June 21, 1957

"Dear Phoebe" (second time): June 24, 1957-August 9, 1957

"I Married Joan" (third time): August 12, 1957-September 25, 1957

"Private Secretary": September 26, 1957-October 25, 1957

"The Charlie Farrell Show": October 28, 1957-November 12, 1957

"Blondie": November 13, 1957-December 18, 1957

"Dear Phoebe" (third time): December 19, 1957-February 4, 1958

"I Married Joan" (fourth time): February 5, 1957-April 4, 1958

"The Charlie Farrell Show" (second time): April 7, 1958-April 15, 1958

"Blondie" (second time): April 16, 1958-May 21, 1958

"I Married Joan" (fifth time): May 22, 1958-June 18, 1958

"The Charlie Farrell Show" (third time): June 19, 1958-June 27, 1958 (end of series)

PART TWO:
A Closer Look At These Classics
Was the experiment successful?
With video highlights from almost all of these shows!

 

PART one / two / three

Wesley Hyatt is the author of The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television


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