21 of the weirdest facts from classic TV history

Warp your perspective on classic TV shows.

Get close enough to your favorite classic TV shows, and you'll start picking up a whole bunch of trivia most fans never even realize. From unusual set details to forgotten historical references, there's a lot of weird facts you can find if you know where to look to explore all the finer details of TV history's most iconic shows.

Here, we've combed through fascinating facts on more than 20 classic TV shows and pulled the strangest trivia we could find to present this list of weird facts that are certain to warp your perspective on these cherished shows.

Ready to get weird with MeTV? Tell us your favorite bit of odd TV trivia in the comments!

1. On The Andy Griffith Show, Andy has upside-down maps of Idaho and Nevada behind his desk.

Hey, that's not North Carolina. In fact, the map seen here is an inverted representation of Idaho and western Montana. You can recognize the panhandle shape of the state when we flip it. Similarly, in early episodes there is another map to the right showing an angular border. This is the line between Nevada and California, also turned upside-down.

More fun facts from The Andy Griffith Show here!

2. The Brady Bunch's back door doesn't have glass.

In order to keep light from reflecting off the glass, The Brady Bunch producers removed the glass from the door. Every time you see Alice open the door to call the kids in for dinner, she's really doing more work than she has to.

Read more fun facts from The Brady Bunch here.

3. The "Angels" name from Charlie's Angels came from an old office painting owned by Frank Sinatra.

Producer Aaron Spelling had his office in a bungalow formerly occupied by Frank Sinatra on the Fox lot. Hanging on the wall behind the desk was a painting of three female angels. Kate Jackson popped into the office before a meeting. She suggested, "Why not call them Angels?" Spelling asked her where she got the idea. She pointed to the painting. At first, they wanted to go with Harry's Angels, but there was another series called Harry O on the air. This is obviously not the actual painting seen here, but we can dream.

Read more fun facts from Charlie's Angels here.

4. The flag in the opening credits of Gilligan's Island is at half-mast because of the Kennedy assassination.

The pilot for Gilligan's Island was filmed in November 1963. On the final day of production in Hawaii, the cast and crew learned of John F. Kennedy's assassination. There is a small, subtle reminder of this historical incident seen on the series. In the opening credits of the first season, as the Minnow pulls out of the harbor, the United States flag can be seen flying at half mast.

Read more fun facts from Gilligan's Island here.

5. The Robot costume from Lost in Space weighed about 200 pounds and cost $70,000.

That's around half a million in today's cash. The robot for Lost in Space was designed by Robert Kinoshita, who also designed the iconic Robby the Robot and Tobor. In 1965, stuntman Bob May was rehearsing on a studio lot, working as a double for Red Buttons, when Irwin Allen spotted the physically gifted performer. Allen told May that if he could fit into the costume, the role of Robot B-9 was his on Lost in Space. Fortunately, May fit inside the fiberglass suit. In the earlier designs, May would have had to trigger the lights on the Robot's torso by hitting a button inside the suit with his head. The button was eventually moved down by the claw.

Read more fun facts from Lost in Space here.

6. Passengers paid thousands of dollars to be onboard The Love Boat while filming.

Those were no ordinary extras milling about the deck. Fans could shell out for tickets and sail alongside the cast and crew. For example, when The Love Boat went to Hong Kong in season seven, tourists paid "between $3,370 and $8,550" for the cruise, according to a 1983 article in People.

Read more fun facts from The Love Boat here.

7. The My Three Sons house was originally a barn in a Gene Autry movie.

The My Three Sons family's home in California was previously featured as the farm in Gene Autry's 1940 musical Melody Ranch. Located on the Republic Pictures backlot, the barn was given a suburban facade in the 1950s. It wasn't that far from Gilligan's lagoon, which was also on the lot.

Read more fun facts from My Three Sons.

8. Penny Marshall's family appears together in an episode of The Odd Couple.

Before Laverne, Penny Marshall was secretary Myrna Turner on The Odd Couple. In the episode "The Rain in Spain," Myrna marries Sheldn ("They forgot the 'o' on his birth certificate"), who was played by her real-life husband at the time, Rob Reiner. Additionally, her siblings Garry Marshall and Ronny Marshall pop up as Myrna's brother and sister, Werner and Verna Turner.

Read more fun facts from The Odd Couple here.

9. Perry Mason's William Talman was let go for violating his morals clause.

The actor who played L.A. District Attorney Hamilton Burger, William Talman was actually once suspended from Perry Mason in 1960 for allegedly violating the morals clause in his contract. The actor was at a party that was busted by police, and he was charged with having engaged in indecent activities. Talman claims there was no wrongdoing, and he was eventually acquitted and put back on the show.

Read more fun facts from Perry Mason here.

10. The Rifleman takes place in the 1870s and 1880s, but Lucas McCain has a rifle from 1892.

While The Rifleman had realism, it was not 100% accurate. This was TV after all. One of the major anachronisms was the rifle itself. McCain toted a nifty modified Winchester Model 1892 with a big ring lever, which allowed him to cock the gun by spinning it in his hand. Connors was left-handed, by the way.

Read more fun facts from The Rifleman here.

11. The network wanted to ditch Spock on Star Trek because he looked Satanic.

Star Trek's Gene Roddenberry stuck to his vision in one key area: He refused to get rid of Spock. The network asked him to get ride of the pointy-eared alien. Why? NBC feared that the Vulcan "looked like the devil and might offend religionists in the audience."

Read more fun facts from Star Trek here.

12. Only one actor appeared in all five seasons of The Twilight Zone.

Many actors have appeared multiple times on The Twilight Zone, but only one has the distinction of appearing in all five seasons. In total, Robert McCord appeared in 67 episodes, most of them as an extra.

Read more fun facts from The Twilight Zone here.

13. George Wendt's actual wife played Norm's wife on Cheers.

Norm's wife, Vera, is heard, not seen, in a handful of Cheers episodes. Wendt's real-life spouse, Bernadette Birkett, provided the voice of Vera. Birkett did get to show her face on screen in one episode, however — under a mask. She played Tinkerbell in season three's "Fairy Tales Can Come True."

Read more fun facts from Cheers here.

14. Herb Tarlek actually did wear a suit made from Volkswagen seat covers on WKRP in Cincinnati.

here's a famous line from WKRP in Cincinnati in the second season episode "Put Up or Shut Up," where Venus Flytrap tells Herb Tarlek, who dependably wears tacky suit after tacky suit, "Somewhere out there, there's a Volkswagen with no seats." Apparently, Herb really did wear a suit on the show that was made out of Volkswagen seat covers. 

Read more fun facts from WKRP in Cincinnati here.

15. The Addams Family was the first TV family to have a home computer.

A couple years later, Bruce Wayne would utilize his Batcomputer in the Batcave, but the first family "P.C." seen on TV was the UNIVAC on The Addams Family. As you can see, it was not exactly a laptop.

Read more fun facts from The Addams Family here.

Image: MGM Television

16. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour's famous profile sketch was originally made for a Christmas card.

Legend has it that the iconic, minimalist sketch of Hitchcock's bust was made by the director for a holiday greeting back when he was in England.

Read more fun facts about The Alfred Hitchcock Hour here.

17. Phil Spector recorded and sang the theme song to "Lucy in London."

An episode from the 1966–67 season of The Lucy Show, "Lucy Flies to London," set up the spin-off TV special Lucy in London, which saw her character, Lucy Carmichael, swingin' around mod London. It's certainly a capsule of its era, with Mary Quant mini-skirts, dance routines and the Dave Clark Five. Legendary "Wall of Sound" producer Phil Spector contributed the theme song, providing a rare vocal. It's thick with '60s slang. "With her mini-skirt on / She got in with the Mods / And she really became top gear," he sings.

Read more fun facts from The Lucy Show here.

18. The date of the crash on Land of the Giants is Irwin Allen's birthday.

On Land of the Giants, the Spindrift gets swept up in a space storm and transported to the giant planet on June 12, 1983. June 12 is creator Irwin Allen’s birthday. (The show actually premiered on September 22, 1968.)

Read more fun facts from Land of the Giants here.

19. Mister Ed consumed 20 pounds of hay and a gallon of sweet tea each day.

That's not all he consumed on the set of Mister Ed. Alan Young once explained in an interview that they used peanut butter to get the horse named Bamboo Harvester to move his lips and "talk."

Read more fun facts from Mister Ed here.

20. A famous board game inventor designed the weaponry for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Reuben Klamer invented the classic Milton Bradley board game The Game of Life — you know, the one with little pink and blue pegs cruising around in a tiny convertible. He went from designing little wheels of fortune to deadly weaponry on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Klamer designed "The Gun," Solo's nifty semi-automatic piece that could transform from a pistol into a rifle. Naturally, a toy version was sold.

Read more fun facts from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. here.

21. From Mork & Mindy, Mork's costume previously appeared on Star Trek.

Mork's red jumpsuit for Mork & Mindy was a recycled costume from Star Trek: The Original Series. The outfit, which clearly featured the distinctive silver ribbing on the collar and sleeves, was worn by Colonel Green in "The Savage Curtain," one of the final episodes in the series.

Read more fun facts from Mork & Mindy here.

SEE ALSO: You're the ultimate classic TV fan if you can score 10/12 on this quiz

These tough questions were designed to stump even the most tuned-in viewers in TV history. TAKE QUIZ

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Dan 14 days ago
I liked the gun-into-rifle setup from "The Restless Gun" show.
Wiseguy 16 days ago
The "profile sketch" was used for Alfred Hitchcock Presents (broadcast by MeTV) seven years before The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
garykevinware 17 days ago
In The Wyoming Story: Part 2, the sign on the side of the McCain house reads: "THIS HOUSE REBUILT BY LUCAS McCAIN AND HIS SON MARK AUG. 1881 MAY God Bless Our Home". Since that happened on one of the first episodes, the show was not set in the 1870s.
FrankWerhofnik 17 days ago
Lucy and Andy have never been off the air.
Dave 17 days ago
As a kid, I couldn't watch Star Trek Portuguese grandfather because he thought that Mr. Spock was The Devil!
legion1a 17 days ago
I've always disliked Lucy, since my early childhood, in the mid-50's watching "I Love Lucy" episodes.
My mother watched the show, so I was doomed to watch them with her.
I always felt sorry for Ricky, and wondered why he didn't just kill her, or at least get divorce.
Getting rid of her would have made a great episode to my 6 year old mind!
I liked Ricky and the Mertz's, and I wished Lucy would go away, to improve the show.
Apparently people did enjoy watching the antics of someone that could only be classified as being very evil, but what did I know at that age.
Wiseguy legion1a 16 days ago
Mertzes, plural not possessive.
BubbaPacha77511 17 days ago
Oh yeah one more thing.... I know what a "mod" is now but what did it mean to be a "mod" back then? Was it just short for model??
Tresix BubbaPacha77511 17 days ago
I think it was short for "modern".
BubbaPacha77511 17 days ago
I know phil spector is a creepy looking dude now but i really like his voice while he sings this theme. Now this was before my time but ill assume being "top gear" was a good thing kindve like being "top dog"...is that correct? Im not really a fan of lucy....guess due to mom making me watch it so much....but i think id like to see this. Btw lucy shouldve NEVER BEEN in a mini skirt dancing!!!!
EleanorLawson 20 days ago
So that's why the "My Three Sons" house is so ugly. Was the "Leave It to Beaver" a recycled house from a movie or another TV show? It's also ugly!
Tresix EleanorLawson 17 days ago
The "LITB" house is on the back lot of Universal Studios with a few other famous houses like that of The Munsters, Donna Reed, the Delta House from "Animal House" and the house from "Psycho". Some of those houses were reused for Wisteria Lane on "Desperate Housewives".
CaptainDunsel 20 days ago
Great Bird of the Galaxy! As a lifelong fan of Star Trek I'm appalled that I never noticed Colonel Green's uniform on Mork. I never really watched Mork and Mindy, but pictures of that outfit were everywhere!
Lacey 20 days ago
I thought John Anderson (The Old Man in the Cave) also appeared in every season of the Twilight Zone.

I would be interested to know why the map was upside down on the Andy Griffith Show. Were maps of North Carolina that hard to find in the early '60s?
cperrynaples Lacey 19 days ago
Anderson did only 4 episodes [same as Meredith and Klugman], but they were all memorable!
stephaniestavropoulos 21 days ago
I seem to recall reading about Mr. Ed {a.k.a. Bamboo Harvester,} that he was a polite horse. Shy might be a better word. {I read this in a book Alan Young wrote, whose title I don't remember.} If he needed to go to the bathroom he would inform his trainer, [as that is the only human he would be responsive with.] He would either shake his head or move his hoof/leg in a certain way that was his signal that he needed to answer "Nature's Call." So he would go behind something a stable, whatever, and do his business. Alan can only remember one time when Mr. Ed didn't do this. There was a scene where Mr. Ed is standing in a tub and Wilbur is giving him a bath. He couldn't hold it in any longer so....he went! During the scene you can see Wilbur going under the water, that's because Alan slipped on Mr. Ed's "surprise!" Alan said that during breaks in filming, he would visit the sets of Westerns, and he could smell that there were horses on the set. All it takes is one horse to realize that. If you walked onto the Mr. Ed lot not knowing before hand that there is an equine present, you would be surprised when you saw him. Bamboo Harvester was a clean horse he liked to be kept clean. That's why the set never gave it away that he was there.
Yes, and I believe that Mr. Ed's Lip syncs came from wires that were pulled, something not permitted today. Most people know about William Talman's "pot orgy", but few know about Raymond Burr being caught at a drag bar. CBS covered it up, but it was confirmed in a Burr biography so no one should troll me for that!
Lmao!!!! Thats soooo funny and for some reason not the least bit suprising lol
Dawn 22 days ago
Thanks, there were a few facts I didn't know.
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