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Sitcoms have been a major form of entertainment since the very early days of U.S. television. Jackie Gleason surprised many when he decided to stop his variety show in favor of a 30 minute ... See full summary »


Steve Boettcher


Mike Trinklein


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Episode credited cast:
Steve Allen ... Himself (archive footage)
Morey Amsterdam ... Himself / Buddy Sorrell (archive footage)
Desi Arnaz ... Himself / Ricky Ricardo (archive footage)
Lucille Ball ... Herself / Lucy Ricardo (archive footage)
Frances Bavier ... Herself / Aunt Bee (archive footage)
Jack Benny ... Himself (archive footage)
Barbara Britton ... Herself / Laura Petrie (Head of the Family Pilot) (archive footage)
Art Carney ... Himself / Ed Norton (archive footage)
Angela Cartwright ... Herself / Linda Williams (archive footage)
Tim Conway ... Himself
Barbara Eden ... Herself / Dancer
Robert Emhardt ... Himself / Malcolm Tucker (archive footage)
William Frawley ... Himself / Fred Mertz (archive footage)
Jackie Gleason ... Himself / Ralph Kramden / Reginald Van Gleason III (archive footage)
Gale Gordon ... Himself / Theodore J. Mooney (archive footage)


Sitcoms have been a major form of entertainment since the very early days of U.S. television. Jackie Gleason surprised many when he decided to stop his variety show in favor of a 30 minute version of The Honeymooners (1955), which had its origin as one of his regular skits. Working with regulars Art Carney and Audrey Meadows, they created 39 episodes of pure joy. 'Lucille Ball' and Desi Arnaz made history with I Love Lucy (1951) not only by making people laugh but by writing in Lucy's real-life pregnancy. In The Danny Thomas Show (1953), Danny Thomas presented a believable family and as a producer, introduced Andy Griffith to a broader TV audience in The Andy Griffith Show (1960). The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) show, also with Mary Tyler Moore, made use of the stars inestimable talents. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

2 January 2008 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jean Hagen appears in archive footage from Make Room for Daddy, See more »


References Green Acres (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

It covers the biggies...
3 October 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This installment of "The Pioneers of Television" is NOT an exhaustive overview of the history of sitcoms. Instead, it spends time with just a handful of shows--the seminal programs that stood out and influenced the rest. It begins with Jackie Gleason and "The Honeymooners"--not the first sit-com or even close...but among the best. Then, "I Love Lucy" because its style was so new and unique. Following this are shows by Danny Thomas which would include "Make Room for Daddy", "The Andy Griffith Show" and, finally, "The Dick Van Dyke Show". In each case, the examines how the show was unique and its influence. It also included surviving cast member interviews and a bunch of funny clips.

I really liked this episode of the series. Sure, it wasn't complete-- but it DID a great job in pointing out the best and why that was so. Very entertaining and very informative.

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