Can You Name These 1950s TV Shows From a Character Name?


By: Kennita Leon

6 Min Quiz

Image: zodebala/E+/Gettyimages

About This Quiz

Television in the 1950s was quite entertaining. There was already color television, and comedy seemed to reign supreme. We want to find out if you're enough of a fan to name some shows with the only clue being the name of one character. Can you name these 1950s shows if we give you such a clue?

We're going to tell you the name of one character from each of the '50s shows in which we're interested. And to make things a little easier for you, we're going to make sure it's either the most popular or one of the best-known characters on the show (because certain names were extremely popular at the time). It will be up to you to tell us the name of the show in which each character belongs. Some will be quite obvious if you look at the connections between the names; others won't be so easy. But if you're able to even get half of our question correct, we'll name you a '50s TV expert. 

If you think you remember enough about the shows and the characters who starred in these TV classics during the decade known as the 50s, it's time to get started on this quiz. 

Matt Dillon starred in which of these shows from the 1950s?

Directed by Norman Macdonnell, "Gunsmoke" is an American drama series that played on both television and radio. From 1952 to 1961, it aired over the radio; the television series ran from 1955 to 1975.


Lucy Ricardo was one of the lead characters in this sitcom. What was its name?

"I Love Lucy" starred Lucille Ball and her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz. It ran from 1951 to 1957 and is highly regarded as one of the United States' most-watched sitcoms in four of its six seasons. And the show lived on in syndication, where millions of people were introduced to it long after the 1950s were over!


In what show did Joe Friday star?

This 1950s television show stars its producer, John Randolph Webb, also known as Jack Webb. He plays the role of Sergeant Joe Friday who investigates crimes in the city of Los Angeles.


A somewhat annoying bird, on what show did Woody Woodpecker appear?

This animated series first aired on the American Broadcasting Company on October 3, 1957. It takes viewers on the adventures of Woody and his friends.


Can you name the '50s hit on which the character of Eric Cartwright was seen?

With 14 seasons under its belt, Bonanza is the National Broadcasting Company's longest-running show in the western genre. The series follows the life and adventures of Ben Cartwright and his three sons who live on the Ponderosa ranch. The story takes place in the 1860s.


What about Mickey Mouse? Can you recall what show was named after the famous mouse?

"The Mickey Mouse Club" is a 1950s television show which was created by Walt Disney. The show ran on and off from 1955 to 1996. In 2017, it was revived on social media. The original show featured Mickey and his pals playing around the Clubhouse. It included real-life characters, many of whose names are very recognizable, such as Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, ​and Christina Aguilera, to name a few.


Do you know the name of the show on which Yogi Bear starred?

In 1958, "The Yogi Bear Show" began as a supporting character on another show before gaining his own show in 1961. Sponsored by Kellogg's, "The Yogi Bear Show" was centered on Yogi's home, the fictitious Jellystone Park.


Which show from the 1950s featured a collie named Lassie?

"Lassie" is a series about a courageous and smart collie. The show premiered in 1954. Its 591 episodes during 18 seasons made "Lassie" the United States' fifth-longest-running prime time television show.


Does the name Rowdy Yates seem familiar? Which show was he on?

The classic American western series, "Rawhide," starred Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates. The show premiered on January 9, 1959, and ran a total of 217 episodes over eight seasons.


Of the following shows, can you name the one featuring Theodore Cleaver?

"Leave It to Beaver" began in 1957 and ran for six seasons for a total of 234 episodes. The sitcom is about the life of a curious boy named Theodore "The Beaver" Cleaver, his older brother, Wally, and their straight-laced parents, June and Ward Cleaver.


Felix is an animated cat. On which back-in-the-day show can we find him?

Created by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer, "Felix the Cat" is a cartoon which was released in 1958. The show stars a black cat with white eyes and black body. He was a wonderful cat indeed, complete with a catchy theme song that wouldn't let go once it got stuck in one's head!


Which of these shows did Rod Serling host?

"The Twilight Zone" is a 1959 television series created by Rod Serling. The episodes are based on a mixture of comedy, drama, fantasy, science-fiction and superstitious events.


Jackie Gleason, a bus driver, starred on which of these shows?

"The Honeymooners" features the life of Ralph Kramden, a New York City bus driver, his wife, Alice, and their best friends, the Nortons. The theme song for the show is "You're My Greatest Love" by program creator, Jackie Gleason. And who could forget Ralph's classic line, "To the moon, Alice!" (Today that line would not be considered comedy.)


Tonto was the Native American friend of a certain Western do-gooder. Which show were they on?

Over its five seasons and 221 episodes, "The Lone Ranger" was the story about the only survivor of a Texas Rangers massacre. He wore a mask and defended the helpless.


Bozo was a star on which of these shows from the 1950s?

This animated series takes viewers on the adventures of Bozo and his close associate, Butch. It is in accordance with Capital Records' children's book series, "Bozo the Clown."


Can you tell us the name of the show that featured Joan Stevens?

The sitcom. "I Married Joan" is a comedy based on Joan and Bradley Stevens, a married couple. Joan as a bit of an airhead. Her husband was a respected judge. As you can imagine, comedy ensued. The show was produced by Joan Davis and first aired in October 1952.


A clay creature by the name of Gumby starred on which of these shows?

"The Gumby Show" stars a clay humanoid named Gumby. This animation franchise became a cultural icon and inspiration for children worldwide since its premiere in 1955.


Jim Anderson, an insurance agent, was the star of which '50s show?

Written by Paul West, Roswell Rogers and Dorothy Cooper, the first episode of "Father Knows Best" was released in October 1954. In its six seasons, the show received numerous awards.


Harriett Nelson, her husband and their sons was the family around which this show centered.

The sitcom is based on the real life of married couple Ozzie and Harriet Nelson and their sons. During its 14 seasons, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" aired 435 episodes.


A story of cat and dog, which show had a feline by the name of Ruff?

This animated television show features an intelligent cat named Ruff and a dull-witted dog called Reddy. "The Ruff and Reddy" show aired for three seasons.


Paladin was the major character on this six-season, 225-episode show. What was its name?

"Have Gun - Will Travel" television series played from 1957 until its last episode in 1963. It was ... you guessed it ... a western.


A children's show hosted by Jack Berry, can you name the show in which this character was featured?

"Winky Dink and You" was a television series which played on the Columbia Broadcasting System network, starting in1953. It was produced by Ed Wyckoff and Harry Prichett Sr.


A show created and presented by Alfred Hitchcock himself, can you tell us what this anthology series was called?

"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" was produced and presented by Alfred Hitchcock. The series played on both Columbia Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting System. It featured classic Hitchcock fare on the small screen.


Margaret Williams was the wife of the star of a certain '50s show. Which one?

"The Danny Thomas Show" took the audience on the life journey of Danny Williams, his career and his family. The show also had another name. Do you recall what it was?


Can you tell us the name of the show in which Danny Williams starred?

"Make Room For Daddy" was released in 1953 and starred Danny Thomas as Danny Williams. It was the name given to the first three seasons of "The Danny Thomas Show."


Gandy Goose was one of the characters on this animated show. What was it called?

"The Mighty Mouse Playhouse" was a popular children's animated television series. It aired for 11 years, from 1955 to 1966.


Perry Mason was a defense attorney who dealt with murder trials. What show was he on?

"Perry Mason" is a drama series that dealt with the courtroom drama of murder trials. This fictitious titular character, who is a defense lawyer, was played by Raymond Burr.


Which of the following shows was Herbert Gillis on?

"The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" stars Dwayne Hickman as Dobie Gillis, a teen boy who desires beautiful women, money and cars. It premiered in September 1959.


Which '50s variety show did Art Hannes narrate?

"The Ed Sullivan Show" had a 23-year run, making it the longest variety show on television. It premiered on June 20, 1948. On Feb. 9, 1964, the show introduced America to the Beatles.


Paddy starred on a short-lived '50s show, but what was it called?

This animated series aired for only one month. It began on September 11, 1950, and ended on October 13, 1950. It is featured on a list of the worst cartoons ever!


Which show was Freddie the Freeloader on?

This variety show premiered in 1951. It earned numerous awards, including the 1961 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.


Huckleberry Hound, a blue dog, aired on our screens on which of these shows?

"The Huckleberry Hound Show" was the second series designed for television by creators Joseph Barbera and William Hanna. It featured a blue-skinned dog with a Southern accent.


Major Seth Adams was the wagon master on which of these shows?

This 1950s Western television show gives the narratives of the expedition of a wagon train from Missouri to California. It takes viewers on the journey across deserts, plains and the Rocky Mountain range.


Captain Kangaroo was a popular character whose show ran for almost 30 years. What was the name of the show?

Created by Bob Keeshan, "Captain Kangaroo" was a well-known children series. It ran from 1955 to 1984 with the release of a newer version in 1993.


Poker player Bret Maverick was a star on a certain '50s show, but which one was it?

This Western comedy series aired 124 episodes over the span of its five seasons. The character of Bret Maverick, who was a Texas poker player, was portrayed by the late James Garner.


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