Top 20 Classic TV Shows on Crackle Right Now
Enjoy This TV Menu That’s Rich in Tradition, Family and Fun!
Crackle, the free, ad-supported streaming service that offers thousands of movies and TV series, is starting your holiday TV “menu” off right with a handful of beloved classics available now. It’s Crackle’s cornucopia of “comfort TV classics” and Westerns that should get you excited to feast on plenty.
Here are 20 shows that top our list to enjoy on Crackle now.
The sidesplittingly funny long-running sketch comedy (1967-78) hosted by the multitalented Carol Burnett and her gifted cast spun weekly gold (and won several Emmys) for nearly a dozen years. Burnett, the versatile Harvey Korman, “handsome guy” Lyle Waggoner, notorious ad-libber Tim Conway and Burnett’s young lookalike Vicki Lawrence offer timeless laughs.
Father Knows Best’s Jim Anderson, indelibly played by Robert Young for six seasons (1954-60), was the ideal of a 1950s suburban dad. Aided by his practical wife, Margaret (Jane Wyatt), Jim was patient and caring as he dispensed weekly advice to their three very mildly rebellious children, Betty (Elinor Donahue), Bud (Billy Gray) and Kathy (Lauren Chapin). The sitcom was as calming as the comforting actor’s ubiquitous 1970s ads for decaf coffee.
Being TV’s most heartwarming dad (on Little House on the Prairie) wasn’t enough for Michael Landon. He created this inspirational 1984-89 drama to spread more love and hope. Landon stars as probationary angel Jonathan, who’s sent back to Earth to travel the country and support those in need. A gruff ex-cop, Mark (Victor French), helps on his “assignments,” which prove again and again that Jonathan’s greatest power is his kindness.
The 1958-63 half-hour drama The Rifleman starred Chuck Connors as widowed rancher Lucas McCain alongside Johnny Crawford as Lucas’ son, Mark. The beloved hero and Civil War veteran dispatched baddies throughout 168 episodes, with his trusty Winchester rifle, of course. His shooting during the opening credits remains an indelible image.
Comedy genius Carl Reiner created this CBS sitcom (1961-66) about family man Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) navigating between home life with wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore in the role that made her famous) and their young son and his job as head writer at a comedy-variety show. His coworker Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) was based on legendary funny man Mel Brooks.
Viewers couldn’t get enough of the story about a man named Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen), a widower who loaded up his truck and moved his family to Beverly Hills after discovering oil on his mountain land. Within months of its 1962 premiere, the CBS fish-out-of-water comedy —costarring Irene Ryan as Jed’s feisty mother-in-law, Granny; Donna Douglas as his tough-as-nails daughter, Elly May; and Max Baer Jr. as dimwitted nephew Jethro Bodine — was TV’s No. 1 show. It ran for nine seasons.
The madcap 1968-73 sketch comedy hit Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, hosted by comics Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, good-naturedly lampooned the era’s hippie culture with its psychedelics, free love, miniskirts and protests. The rapid-fire gags introduced a batch of popular phrases led by “Sock it to me,” a line that led to a soaking when spoken; in 1968, presidential candidate Richard Nixon famously uttered the words but stayed dry. Characters like Lily Tomlin’s nasty phone operator Ernestine and Goldie Hawn’s “dumb blonde” go-go dancer broke into pop culture, and famous guests dropped in including America’s tough guy John Wayne — in a giant bunny suit!
Much of America was humming the titular Bonanza theme song during the 14-year lifespan (1959–1973) of the second-longest-running Western on TV (after Gunsmoke). The Civil War-era family drama featured the adventures of the Cartwrights, a wealthy Nevada all-male ranching clan consisting of thrice-widowed patriarch Ben (Lorne Greene) and his three grown sons by different mothers, Adam (Pernell Roberts), “Hoss” (Dan Blocker) and “Little Joe” (newly minted hunk Michael Landon), each known for their bad luck in love. TV Guide Magazine dubbed it one of the 60 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
9. The Little Rascals
This 1955 family friendly sitcom features a series of short films about a group of impoverished children and their adventures.
Marlo Thomas stars as an aspiring actress who moves to New York City to make it big, while taking various temp jobs to support herself along the way in this 1966-71 comedy series.
The model for all future police procedurals ran on NBC from 1951 to 1958. It starred creator Jack Webb (he originated the show on radio) as Los Angeles police detective Joe Friday, who growled out the famous opening voiceover, “The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” The series title is a police term for a coordinated effort to apprehend criminals. Raymond Burr, who went on to star in Perry Mason, guested in the premiere.
This classic Clayton Moore western, which ran from 1949-1957, follows the remaining surviving member of a group of Texas Rangers and his Native American companion, Tonto, as they travel the American West to help those in need. “Hi-Yo Silver, away!”
A short-lived primetime variety show hosted by Johnny Carson — and a precursor to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson — was quickly canceled, but it would plant the seeds for future sketches.
Vampires in the daytime? The supernatural serial Dark Shadows (1966-71) became an afternoon phenomenon on the bat wings of Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid), a brooding 175-year-old vampire who haunted Collinsport, Maine. The gothic soap opera was on death’s door until the undead antihero came along, ushering in a ghoul’s gallery of spooky subplots involving witches, werewolves, ghosts and time travel. The series spawned a short-lived 1991 remake and a 2012 movie spoof starring Johnny Depp, but nothing measures up to the atmospheric original.
She’s forever TV’s golden girl. Betty White’s life story mirrors the history of the medium she loved best, and which loved her right back — along with legions of fans who still delight in watching her side-splitting work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls. White, who passed away New Year’s Eve, a couple weeks shy of her 100th birthday, did it all in a career certified by Guinness World Records as the longest for a female entertainer: as producer, personality, lifelong animal advocate and sitcom star. In this 2022 documentary, friends and family celebrate her prolific career.
This 2018 documentary looks back at legendary comedian Gilda Radner’s career alongside friends and coworkers in this 2018 documentary that also includes rare home movies and personal diary entries.
Roger Moore is Simon “The Saint” Templar, a wealthy adventurer who travels the world solving problems and righting wrongs, in this 1962-69 British crime series.
Danny Thomas’ eponymous 1953-64 sitcom (originally titled Make Room for Daddy), centering on a comic who tried to squeeze his kids into his busy schedule, became a big hit once it moved from ABC to I Love Lucy’s former CBS spot in its fifth season. Though most of the cast — including Sherry Jackson, Rusty Hamer and Angela Cartwright, who played his wisecracking offspring — returned when the show switched networks, the addition of Marjorie Lord as the widower’s second wife, Kathy (Thomas and Jean Hagen, who played first wife Margaret, didn’t get along), helped propel The Danny Thomas Show into hit territory, where it remained until its final episode.
Seems hapless Ralph, a high school teacher (William Katt) in an alien-acquired red supersuit that enabled him to fly, lost the instruction book and would discover new powers (like invisibility and X-ray vision!) when he least expected them. In his attempts to stop evildoers or avert disaster, Ralph took his marching orders from FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp). You probably remember the popular theme song to this 1981-83 comic fantasy: “Believe it or not, I’m walking on air. I never thought I could feel so free!”
The 1980s family friendly alien comedy series following the Tanners and the furry wiseguy who crashes into their garage is a timeless sci-fi classic.
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