8 enduring TV classics that are turning 60 years old in 2019

It was a banner year for famous cowboys — even in cartoons.

The year 1959 gave us so much. Let's start with The Twilight ZoneThe Twilight Zone! — which gave us that eerie theme and shocking twists. Oh, and it continues to be remade and emulated to this day.

Elsewhere, you had tough-guy icons like Hoss, Johnny Yuma, Eliot Ness and Clint freaking Eastwood. (Not to mention a horse sheriff.)

So let's look back and celebrate the incredible crop of shows that first hit airwaves in 1959!

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1. The Twilight Zone


The show that introduced us to the fifth dimension has a seemingly infinite legacy that continues to this day. (A new, third TV reboot is coming in 2019.) Through Rod Serling's brilliant writing and storytelling, viewers have been exposed to sensitive subjects and thought-provoking storylines for over half a century. Set against paranormal and futuristic settings, The Twilight Zone has a timeless aura that still makes the show feel fresh, especially compared to today's selection of science-fiction programming. Serling perfected the twist ending and gave the brain plenty to chew on.

Image: The Everett Collection

2. Bonanza


It was the Western that defied stereotypes. In a television environment where sitcoms were typically the family-focused shows, Bonanza broke the mold by featuring stories about the trials and tribulations of the Cartwright clan on the Western frontier. It was also the first Western broadcast in full color, giving the panoramic Ponderosa shots added splendor. For 14 seasons, the Cartwrights — portrayed by Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon — ran the famous Ponderosa ranch while garnering bonanza ratings for the network.

Image: The Everett Collection

3. Rawhide


Rollin', rollin', rollin'! Rawhide remains one of the most beloved Westerns — and television shows in general — of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The gritty action series (and fifth longest-running Western of all time) made Clint Eastwood a household name, as his Rowdy character eventually became the central focus of the cowboy series.

4. The Untouchables


G-Men, gats and golden guest stars. Is it any wonder that The Untouchables stood out as one of the premiere shows of the early 1960s? The 1959–63 series fictionalized the exploits of real-life crime-fighters and mobsters. Toting a Tommy gun and sporting a sharp suit, Robert Stack was a true action hero and role model in the lead as Eliot Ness. He and his boys took down bootleggers, bookies and crooks week after week. The series proved to be a major hit for Desilu Productions.

5. The Quick Draw McGraw Show


Hanna-Barbera found its groove in just its third-ever cartoon series. Following The Ruff and Reddy Show and The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Quick Draw McGraw Show solidified the animation studio's penchant for witty, anthropomorphic animals. Beyond the cartoon's two starts, the titular horse sheriff and his burro sidekick Baba Looey, this series also introduced dachshunds Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, as well as cat-and-mouse detectives Snooper and Blabber.

Image: The Everett Collection

6. The Rebel


A buddy to both James Dean and Elvis Presley, Nick Adams joined his pals in teen-idoldom, largely thanks to his role as the cool Confederate veteran Johnny Yuma. A killer theme song, "The Ballad of Johnny Yuma," later turned into a country hit by Johnny Cash.

Image: The Everett Collection

7. Laramie


John Smith and Robert Crawford portrayed the Sherman siblings, two brothers running a stagecoach stop after the Civil War. But the true breakout star of the series would be Robert Fuller, pictured here as the handsome drifter Jess Harper. Michael Landon had beaten him for the role of Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza, but Fuller flourished here — and later leaped to Wagon Train. Laramie also featured the talents of legendary singer-songwriter Hoagy Carmichael, the American pop pioneer behind "Stardust" and "Georgia on My Mind." 

Image: The Everett Collection

8. Dennis the Menace


When Leave It to Beaver switched to ABC from CBS in 1958, CBS had a hole to fill, and the wanted a new wonder boy for their loyal viewers. That's how Dennis the Menace got green-lit in 1959 and began airing on Sunday nights just before The Ed Sullivan Show, bringing to life the troublemaker from the newspaper comic strips. From 1959 to 1963, Dennis the Menace's star was actor Jay North, whose playful energy made the character a pop culture icon.

SEE MORE: 10 beloved TV shows turning 50 years old in 2019


The Bradys, Scooby-Doo and Sesame Street hit the half-century mark. READ MORE

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Lucyneenah19701 67 months ago
I never saw any of the shows listed, except for Dennis the Menace. It's okay, but it's no Leave it to Beaver.
Ria Lucyneenah19701 66 months ago
I agree. LTB a much better show. 👍🏾👍🏾
Tampammm 67 months ago
Amazing that Clint Eastwood has had a 60+ year career in TV, Movies, directing, etc. Well done Clint!
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