Television is in the throes of its Second Golden Age. Both dramas and comedies are innovating upon the medium in bold new ways, tackling subjects prior serialized programs wouldn't think to touch. While these new, daring shows are commendable, one should never forget the past. Older television series are still valuable to modern audiences. As proof of this, the following list will present ten sitcoms from before 1970 that still hold up. Granted, most of them aren't tackling controversial societal issues, but they will still make one laugh to the point of tears. Comedy typically doesn't age well, so these shows still eliciting laughter more than fifty years on is quite an accomplishment.
10 Get Smart
No-holds-barred slapstick comedy is rare on television, and was even more seldom fifty years ago, which was what made Get Smart such a standout program. Don Adams plays Maxwell Smart, a bumbling secret agent who always gets the job done in spite of, or perhaps because of, his apparent incapability.
Things like the catch phrase "missed it by that much" and the Cone of Silence are still in the pop culture lexicon. Mel Brooks created the show and though his involvement decreased after the first season, his stamp is ingrained on the entire series.
9 Andy Griffith Show
The incredibly simple, catchy theme song just popped into everyone's heads as they read the name of this show. Because of the series' lasting popularity, some may underestimate or not realize Andy Griffith's immense acting prowess. Any doubters should watch A Face in the Crowd once they finish reading. The talented lead plays the sheriff of Mayberry and is supported by an equally hilarious Don Knotts. Mayberry is home to numerous personalities, each contributing to its wholesome comedy.
8 The Addams Family
The Addams Family's name has since proliferated throughout culture because of the animated series and feature films based on the show. However, the original should not be left in the dust, as its kooky humor is a delight to behold. Special praise goes to John Astin, whose plucky portrayal of Gomez Addams solidified itself in the hearts of viewers everywhere. Right from the get-go, each character is as one recognizes them from later incarnations.
7 I Love Lucy
Lucille Ball was a real trailblazer in television. Sitcoms as viewers know them wouldn't be the same without I Love Lucy. For six seasons and 180 episodes, viewers tuned in to whatever wild shenanigans Lucy was up to. Usually it involved getting one over on her husband, nightclub performer Ricky Ricardo, played by Ball's real life husband, Desi Arnaz. The structure was usually the same —Ricky discovers Lucy's scheme and intends to play a trick right back, only for both ideas to backfire hilariously—but the cast managed to make it feel fresh with each episode.
6 The Phil Silvers Show
The Phil Silvers Show, commonly referred to as Sgt. Bilko, won't give scathing anti-war commentary like one would find on M*A*S*H, but it definitely will make one laugh as much as that show's first few seasons.
These bored members of the military get up to all kinds of anomalous activities, usually aimed at making money or getting out of work. Phil Silvers, who played the lead character Sgt. Bilko, was incredibly selfish in his conniving ways, but also deliciously entertaining as long as one wasn't the victim of one of his ideas.
Two people from drastically different backgrounds falling madly in love is a tale as old as time. Things get a little more interesting when one of those people happens to be witches. This is the premise of Bewitched, starring Elizabeth Montgomery as a sorceress who marries a normal man. Samantha's family continually despises the courtship, which leads to most of the episodes' conflicts. Her husband Darrin usually falls under some sort of spell and Samantha must convince someone to reverse its effects.
4 The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show
George Burns and Gracie Allen were married more almost forty years, and their chemistry seeps through the stage and television cameras into our living rooms every time an episode of theirs airs.
The experienced vaudevillian and radio duo were well prepared to tackle the television landscape, and hit the ground running with their sitcom that lasted eight years, though an extra season aired as the renamed George Burns show without Allen. Burns often broke the fourth wall, making it stand out from its contemporaries.
3 The Danny Thomas Show
Danny Thomas' legacy extends far beyond television—he founded St. Jude Children's Research Center—but his contribution to sitcoms shouldn't be understated either. After all, the man popularized and perfected the spit-take. His long-running sitcom is sometimes known as Make Room For Daddy.
Regardless of the name, one is always sure to find solid gags from all the characters. The show was also notable for having the first character killed off in a sitcom. However, Jean Hagen, who played Danny's wife, left the show after three seasons after the role proved unfulfilling.
2 The Monkees
What if somebody forced you to choose between catchy music and zany humor? Thanks to The Monkees, nobody will ever have to compromise between the two. This fictional group starred in their own sitcom detailing their fictional adventures. The series is obviously inspired by The Beatles' films A Hard Day's Night and Help!, taking more cues from the latter with its unrealistic gags.
Even though the show was short-lived, the band continued to tour and record. A feature film called Head, with a script written by Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson, came out after the show's run. It's nothing anyone would expect from a series and band targeting a suburban teenage demographic.
1 The Honeymooners
Jackie Gleason was simply the king of scripted comedy, as showcased by just how timeless The Honeymooners is. The show only lasted thirty-six episodes, but each one of these is a classic in its own right. The episodes were filmed live, giving each performance an air of spontaneity. Additionally, Alice and Ralph Kramden weren't the typical middle-class family one saw on every other sitcom. Ralph was a hardworking, tired bus driver and the two lived in a cramped Brooklyn apartment. Ralph yelled and screamed, while Alice simply looked at him like the fool he was and wittily retorted.