Fifty years ago, there was no ESPN and very little televised sports. In fact, given the typical night's TV fare, it's no wonder our generation went nuts in the late 1960s. The three networks served up a smorgasbord of westerns, washed-up comedians and movie stars and the appalling spectacle of Lawrence Welk. Forget how bad it was? Here's the actual weekly prime-time lineup on the three networks from 1961, according to TV Guide:
ABC -- Walt Disney Presents; Maverick; Lawman; The Rebel; The Islanders; The Walter WInchell Show.
CBS -- The 20th Century; Lassie; Dennis the Menace; The Ed Sullivan Show; General Electric Theater; The Jack Benny Program; Candid Camera; What's My Line.
NBC -- People Are Funny (ED; No, they weren't!); The Shirley Temple Show; National Velvet; The Tab Hunter Show (ED: Anyone know a therapist able to purge childhood memories?); The Dinah Shore Show; The Loretta Young Show; This Is Your Life (ED: And I wasted it watching this stuff?).
ABC -- Cheyenne; Surfside 6; Adventures in Paradise; Peter Gunn.
CBS -- To Tell the Truth; Pete & Gladys; Bringing Up Buddy; The Danny Thomas Show; The Andy Griffith Show; Hennesey; Face the Nation (ED: When most of it's asleep).
NBC -- Riverboat; Tales of Wells Fargo (ED: At last a local sports show!); Klondike; Dante; The Barbara Stanwyck Theater; Jackpot Bowling Starring Milton Berle (ED: Hmm, I could have sworn Peter Ustinov hosted that.).
ABC -- Expedition!; Bugs Bunny; The Rifleman; Wyatt Earp; Stagecoach West; Alcoa Presents.
CBS -- Father Knows Best; The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; The Tom Ewell Show; The Red Skeleton Show; Garry Moore.
NBC -- Laramie; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Thriller; Specials.
ABC -- Hong Kong; The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet; Hawaian Eye; Naked City.
CBS -- The Aquanauts (ED: We watched it naut.); Wanted Dead or Alive; My Sister Eileen; I've Got a Secret; The U.S. Steel Hour.
NBC -- Wagon Train; The Price is Right; Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall; Peter Loves Mary.
ABC -- Guestward Ho!; The Donna Reed Show; The Real McCoys; My Three Sons; The Untouchables; Ernie Kovacs' Take a Good Look (ED: Because he's about to die in a car crash).
CBS -- The Witness; Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater; Angel; The Ann Sothern Show; Person to Person; The June Allyson Show.
NBC -- The Outlaws; Bat Masterson; The Ford Show with Tenessee Ernie Ford; You Bet Your Life (ED: At last, something to watch.); The Third Man.
ABC -- Matty's Funday Funnies; Harrigan & Son; The Flintstones; 77 Sunset Strip; The Detectives; The Law & Mr. Jones.
CBS -- Rawhide; Route 66; The Garland Touch; The Twilight Zone; Eyewitness to History.
NBC -- Dan Raven; The Westerner; The Bell Telephone Hour; Michael Shayne.
ABC -- The Roaring Twenties; Leave it to Beaver; Lawrence Welk (ED: Help!); Fight of the Week.
CBS -- Perry Mason; Checkmate; Have Gun Will Travel; Gunsmoke.
NBC -- Bonanza; Tall Man; The Deputy; The Nation's Future.