Six classic TV shows turning 60 in 2017
Beaver, Paladin, Perry and Maverick have big birthdays on the horizon.
The year 1957 was a major year in human history. We launched our first satellite. Rock & roll blew up, as Buddy Holly and Little Richard made their debut albums. The Helvetica font was made. Plus, the world was introduced to Beaver Cleaver.
Some influential television series are celebrating a major milestone in the upcoming year. All of them can be seen right here on MeTV, too. Let's take a look.
1. Have Gun, Will Travel
Many television Westerns were farmed from radio, like Gunsmoke. Have Gun, Will Travel was the rare example of a live-action series that spawned a radio series. The audio-only spin-off premiered a year later, with a different actor playing the gentleman gunfighter Paladin. The awesomely mustachioed Richard Boone played the lead onscreen. The cool cowboy show ranked in the top four of the Nielsen charts in each of its first four seasons. You can catch two episodes every Saturday on MeTV starting at 9AM | 8C.
2. Leave It to Beaver
The charming sitcom launched on October 4, 1957, the same day as Sputnik. Wally, June, Ward and the Beaver quickly became the picture-perfect nuclear family. While the show was surprisingly never a major hit, it's legacy and love is second to none. The series is coming to MeTV on January 2, just in time for its 60th birthday. In the meantime, check out 16 gee whiz facts about Leave It to Beaver.
James Garner is best remembered as the star, Bret Maverick, but this light-hearted Western romp featured two lead actors. Jack Kelly's Bart Maverick headlined a good chunk of the episodes. With the later addition of eventual James Bond Roger Moore, Maverick delivered a brilliant bunch of characters. They're all coming to MeTV, too, beginning January 7. Check out 10 things you never knew about Maverick.
Image: The Everett Collection
4. Perry Mason
Raymond Burr's iconic defense attorney was a television presence for decades. The gripping, noir-ish courtroom series featured dozens of great guest stars and broke its own mold for a handful of fascinating episodes. Of course, you can catch Perry Mason twice every weekday on MeTV, at 9AM | 8C and 11:30PM | 10:30C.
Cowboys are inherently cool, but the archetype of the "cool cowboy" was introduced to television with Hoby Gilman. Robert Culp, just 27 years old when the series premiered in 1957, starred as the lead character on Trackdown. Strong, silent tough guys portrayed by Chuck Connors, Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen soon followed in his boot steps. In fact, this Western helped break McQueen. It airs Saturdays at 8AM | 7C on MeTV. Read eight Texas-sized facts about Trackdown.
6. Wagon Train
Science fiction owes a lot to this rugged Western. Gene Roddenberry pitched his Star Trek as "Wagon Train in space." Indeed, there are many similarities. Well, no green women, but some parallels, at least. Check out 13 fascinating facts about Wagon Train, and catch the show Saturdays at 11AM | 10C on MeTV.