The decades of the 1950s and 1960s are something of a golden age of American television. Sure, TVs had been in American homes for decades at this point, but for most of those years, they were a real luxury product that only the truly rich could own. That changed during the post-war boom of the late 1950s and early 60s.
More people than ever bought TVs and television channels had more money to spend on shows. This lead to the creation of some of the most memorable shows ever made. Even if you’ve never seen one of these shows, you have probably heard of them or seen shows that were influenced by these.
Starring James Arness and set in Dodge City this television age was filled with Westerns, but none had the reach of Gunsmoke. This show defined the western TV show for a generation and went on to be the longest-running prime time fiction program until it was finally unseated by the Simpsons almost 40 years after Gunsmoke ended. The show had 635 episodes total over its two-decade long run.