5 must-see episodes this week of July 30

See a giant jackrabbit and a pregnant Lucy in two of the most-watched episodes in TV history.

Read to Me

July may be ending, but we still have some fireworks on tap. Well, not literally. But we do have a few of the most viewed sitcom episodes in television history on the schedule this week. We have the debut of two beloved characters. We have Ginger and Mary Ann singing and shimmying. We have Kirk fighting the Gorn.

There are some of the greatest episodes of the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Here's when you need to tune in.

The Beverly Hillbillies "The Giant Jackrabbit"
Monday 31 at 4PM | 3C

January 8, 1964, marked the most-watched half hour broadcast in television history. That Wednesday evening, 65 percent (!) of people with television sets were tuned into "The Giant Jackrabbit," when Granny mistakes a kangaroo for a — you guessed it — jackrabbit. It couldn't have hurt that President Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union address, his first after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, preceeded the episode.

Gilligan's Island "Don't Bug the Mosquitoes"
Tuesday 1 at 5:30PM | 4:30C

The rock band "The Mosquitoes" arrives on the island for some much-needed R&R. The fictional '60s Beatles clone was portrayed by the Wellingtons, the actual group that originally sang "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" theme song. There are some hidden musicians of note in this episode, too. Ginger and Mary Ann form their own band, the Honeybees, who perform a tune called "You Need Us." Dawn Wells' singing voice was dubbed by singer-songwriter Jackie DeShannon.

I Love Lucy "Lucy Is Enceinte"
Wednesday 2 at 6:30AM | 5:30C

Lucille Ball was a pioneer, blurring the line between her onscreen character and her real life. This historic half hour marked the first real-time pregnancy shown on television. "Lucy Is Enceinte" began a seven-episode arc during the 1952 Christmas season that culminated in the birth of Little Ricky.

Happy Days "A Date with Fonzie"
Wednesday 2 at 6PM | 5C

The characters Laverne and Shirley made their television debut in this third-season highlight. In their early form, the brewery workers are a little rougher, a little more gum-smacking and sass-talking.

Star Trek "Arena"
Saturday 5 at 9PM | 8C

Kirk, in a desert, fighting a lizard man. Even if you know nothing of Star Trek, you're likely familiar with this image. While the hand-to-hand combat with the Gorn is thrilling, the brilliant script serves up far more meaningful ideas on war and peace.

 
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