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Classic TV in 1970: A Look Back at the Shows Celebrating Their 50th Anniversary This Year

As a medium, television has always been in a constant state of evolution, not only in terms of production values but in actor performances and a deepening of its storytelling. The perfect way to get a sense of the difference between the old and the new would be to take a look back at the 1970 TV season. That year, viewers were offered more adult sitcoms like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Odd Couple, Andy Griffith going in new directions in Headmaster, The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling offering up his latest creation, Night Gallery, and a variety of doctors, lawyers and psychiatrists doing their best to explore issues of the time. There were also some old favorites who gave new series a try, but found that the audience had, unfortunately, left them behind.

Another example of the changes were the shows — many of them genuinely beloved — that were canceled to make room for the above. Those included Sally Field‘s The Flying Nun (which was OK with her — she hated every minute of it), the comedy Western Here Come the Brides, the Bradley girls of the Shady Rest Hotel on Petticoat Junction (which gave birth to Green Acres), Fess Parker’s most popular role, Daniel Boone; Don Adams and Barbara Feldon‘s misadventures as agents 99 and 86 on Get Smart and the magical comedy I Dream of Jeannie, starring Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.

Even the kids had to say goodbye (at least temporarily) to some of their favorites, including the first animated Spider-Man show, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (which has been kept alive in one form or another ever since) and Sid and Marty Krofft’s H.R. Pufnstuf.

Of course, 1970 would represent only the beginning of the changes. Throughout the entire decade to come, while there would be plenty of things to ignore, there were also some genuine classics that remain as beloved today as many of those shows from the 1950s and 1960s.

For a much more detailed look at some of the television debuts from 1970 currently celebrating their 50th anniversary, please scroll down.