A four-part documentary series focusing on the legends that helped launched TV and left lasting impression on sitcoms, talk shows, variety shows and game shows in television's early years.
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2014   2013   2011   2008  
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
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 Himself / ... (5 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Herself (5 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Herself (5 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Herself (5 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Narrator (4 episodes, 2014)
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 Himself (4 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Himself (4 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Narrator (4 episodes, 2011)
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 Narrator (4 episodes, 2013)
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Jimmie Walker ...
 Himself (4 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself (4 episodes, 2008-2013)
Harlan Saperstein ...
 Narrator (4 episodes, 2008)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2011-2013)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2011)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2014)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Herself (4 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Herself (3 episodes, 2011-2013)
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 Herself (4 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Herself / ... (3 episodes, 2008-2013)
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 Herself / ... (3 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Herself (3 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Herself (3 episodes, 2008-2013)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2008)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself / ... (3 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2011)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself / ... (3 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2013)
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 Herself / ... (2 episodes, 2011-2013)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2014)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2014)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2014)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2013)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2011-2014)
Lynne Moody ...
 Herself (2 episodes, 2013)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2011)
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 Herself / ... (2 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2011)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2011)
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 Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2011)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2014)
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 Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2011)
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 Herself (3 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2011)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2013-2014)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2008-2014)
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 Herself (2 episodes, 2008-2013)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2008)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2008)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2008)
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Jack Narz ...
 Himself (2 episodes, 2008)
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 Himself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Himself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Herself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Himself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Himself (1 episode, 2014)
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 Herself (1 episode, 2014)
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 Herself / ... (1 episode, 2011)
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 Himself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Herself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Herself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Herself (1 episode, 2014)
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 Herself / ... (2 episodes, 2008-2011)
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 Himself (1 episode, 2014)
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 Gabe Cooper from Daniel Boone / ... (1 episode, 2011)
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 Herself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2011-2014)
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 Himself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Herself (1 episode, 2013)
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 Himself (2 episodes, 2014)
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 Himself / ... (1 episode, 2011)
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 Dr. Ann MacGregor in Time Tunnel / ... (2 episodes, 2011-2014)
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Bruce Bilson ...
 Himself (1 episode, 2011)
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 Himself / ... (1 episode, 2011)
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 Daniel Boone from Daniel Boone / ... (1 episode, 2011)
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 Himself (3 episodes, 2008)
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Storyline

This four-part documentary looks at some of the programs and stars from the early days of U.S. television. The segment on late night focuses on the vaudevillian origins of the genre and the Tonight Show, with its three early stars: Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. The episode on sitcoms focuses on the contribution of several classics from the 1950s and 60s including The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show and the Dick van Dyke Show. The segment on variety shows focuses first on the Ed Sullivan Show and the hosts ability to book acts that the audience wanted to see. Others include Milton Berle's show, Sis Caesar's Your Show of Shows, Red Skelton, Arthur Godfrey and many others. In the final episode, game shows are the focus. Early game shows had their origins in radio but hit a road block during the game show scandals where it was revealed that contestants were being given the answers to questions. The genre eventually re-established itself and made stars of many... Written by garykmcd

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Details

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Release Date:

2 January 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pioneros de la televisión  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Trivia

Season 1 Episode 1 includes Andy Griffith's last-ever interview. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worth it for the clips. Otherwise a disappointment
11 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This comment refers specifically to the "Late Night" segment of the mini-series.

The narration contains several glaring moments of very bad writing and is overly "Burnsian" in its slow, serious delivery. The omission of David Letterman among the interviewees leaves one wondering whether he refused or someone had an ax to grind. The parade of past guests as interviewees also suffers from missing figures, particularly those who were regulars on Carson's show.

The show also fails to give the viewer much insight into the off camera personalities of its subjects. We learn (?) that Carson was a shy, private person and that if you didn't hear from him you were doing a good job and that if you did hear from him it was likely to be unvarnished opinion. At this late date can we not get deeper?

Overall, a disappointment; it should have been better.


12 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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