If the 1950s set the template for how dogs could be used in TV sitcoms, the ’60s began to play around with the formula. Whimsical shows such as Bewitched and The Ghost & Mrs. Muir found variations on the cute-pup-turns-noisy-pup theme. Meanwhile, the era also saw one of the best scenes in the “classic” mode, a clip of which rounds out this collection.
A mutt simply named “Dog” entered the Bradley sisters’ lives one day during Betty Jo’s walk home from school. Higgins, the dog who played Dog, later went on to star as Benji in a series of TV movies made in the 1970s. He’s seen here in the show’s introduction as part of a brief sight gag involving the sisters’ earthy Southern charm.
The Jetsons were the futuristic counterparts to The Flintstones, another prime-time cartoon created by Hanna-Barbera. Here a cat ruins George Jetson’s quality time with the family dog in one of the most memorable closing credit sequences of the era.
Adapted from a hit-novel-turned-film, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir was about a widowed writer and a deceased ship captain who haunts her house. In this episode, Scruffy, Mrs. Muir’s Wire Terrier, demonstrates his gift for sniffing out a pompous windbag when he causes trouble for the Captain.
On The Beverly Hillbillies, Duke was Jed’s companion. Here, the down-home pup meets a French woman and her Poodle, and is smitten.
The ’60s saw a trend toward more fantastical premises for prime-time fare. Bewitched was perhaps the most popular of these harmlessly implausible sitcoms. Samantha turned one of Darrin’s lecherous clients into a dog in this installment of the supernatural comedy.
Never to be outdone in the silly-spooky department of ’60s comedy was I Dream of Jeannie. In this episode, Jeannie takes a cue from Samantha and turns Tony into a French Poodle before he’s to take a beauty queen out on a date.
Opie finds a stray dog that Andy allows him to keep. But soon the Sheriff’s office is overrun by all Mayberry’s strays, giving Andy and company more than they bargained for.
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