Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or

The first issue of TV Guide premiered on April 3, 1953. On its cover was Lucille Ball and her newborn son, Desi Arnaz, Jr. By the 1960s, TV Guide was one of the most popular publications found in the American home. Here is a look back at the covers featured during that decade and a reminder of what families were watching on the tube (literally).

March 5, 1960 - Jay North of "Dennis the Menace"

* The television show was based on the comic strip by the same name written by Hank Ketchum.

* The show ran on CBS for four seasons with reruns airing on NBC from October 1963 to September 1965.

* The first episode was "Dennis Goes to the Movies (10/4/59) with the last being "Aunt Emma Visits the Wilsons" (7/7/63).

* Jay North got the part as Dennis through an audition with about 500 other kids. North personally chose Jeannie Russell to play the part of Margaret Mitchell.

* North provided the voice for Bamm-Bamm on "The Flintstones".

* Unable to make it in films or on television following his role as Dennis, North suffered several divorces, weight gain and drug abuse. He recovered to offer support and advice to other child stars.

March 11, 1961 - Robert Stack of "The Untouchables"

* The hour-long show on ABC centered around a group of men, led by Elliot Ness (Stack) who captured or killed gangland leaders.

* In the beginning, this program was highly controversial as its episodes were the most violent on television. The ratings, however, were very high.

* The TV show started with two episodes on the Desilu Playhouse, which were so popular that the Desilu Studios decided it merited a weekly show.

* America watched the stories based on the real-life stories from Elliot Ness's biography from October 1959 through May 1963.

* Al Capone's estate claimed the series should pay for the constant use of Capone's name.

March 9, 1963 - Donna Douglas and Buddy Ebsen of "The Beverly Hillbillies"

* The poor family of Jed Clampett (Ebsen) moved to Beverly Hills and into homes all across America on September 26, 1962. The show ran for nine seasons and 274 episodes on Wednesday nights on CBS.

* Max Baer Jr (Jethro) holds a degree in Business Administration and his father was at one time, the heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

* Bea Benaderet (Cousin Pearl) provided the voice for Betty Rubble on "The Flintstones" in 1960.

* This show held the No. 1 spot on television for all of 1962 and 1963. In fact, it went to that position within three weeks on the air, faster than any other series had ever done so.

March 27, 1965 - Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke of "The Dick Van Dyke Show"

* This 30-minute comedy centered around the writers of a fictional television series and the Petrie family. From October 1961 until June 1966, the antics of Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) and his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) brought laughter into living rooms all across the country.

* Carl Reiner was the star of the fictitious "Alan Brady Show" but he also was the creator, producer and director of the series and wrote many of the episode scripts.

* Johnny Carson was the second choice for the role of Rob Petrie.

* Richard Deacon was one of a few actors to have a supporting role on two series at a time. In addition to his role as Mel Cooley on this show, he also played the part of Fred Rutherford on "Leave it to Beaver".

* More than 60 actresses auditioned for the role of Laura Petrie before Mary Tyler Moore landed the role.

* Moore's first on-screen appearance was as an elf in the Hotpoint appliance commercials that appeared on the "Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" in 1952.

March 11, 1967 - Dorothy Malone of "Peyton Place"

* Taken from the novel by Grace Metalious, "Peyton Place" is considered the first prime time soap opera. Originally it ran two times a week, then three and back again to twice.

* Malone played the role of Constance MacKenzie while Mia Farrow played her daughter Allison. Barbara Parker was Betty Anderson Cord and Ryan O'Neal starred as Rodney Harrington.

* For its time in American television history, this program was considered highly risque but its fans were many. The program premiered on TV September 15, 1964 and ended for its avid followers on June 2, 1969.

* During the show's five year network run, all episodes were original. ABC never ran reruns during the off season.

* In the beginning of the second season, the lot of 20th Century Fox was dominated by the show. It occupied five sound stages, two major outdoor sets and several minor ones.

March 16, 1968 - Sally Field and Alejandro Rey of "The Flying Nun"

* The story line was based on the book "The Fifteenth Pelican" by Tere Rios. The large headgear on 90-pound novice Sister Bertrille (Field), of the convent San Tanco in Puerto Rico, enabled her to fly in any stiff breeze. Her gift allowed her to aid others.

* In one episode, Sister Bertrille looks at home movies of herself from when she was a teenager. The home movies were actually footage from Sally Field's previous series "Gidget" (1965).

* The occasional role of sister Bertrille's physician sister Janet was played by Elinor Donahue (Betty Anderson) of "Father Knows Best".

* Sponsors of "The Flying Nun" included Oscar Mayer and Colgate-Palmolive, makers of Fab Detergent, Bright Side Shampoo, and Palmolive Dish Liquid.

March 8, 1969 - Ruth Buzzi, Jo Anne Worley, Goldie Hawn, Artie Johnson, Chelsea Brown, Judy Carne and Henry Gibson of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In"

* What was planned as a one-time special in September 1967 was so wildly popular that by January 1969, it was in regular production.

* Hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin enjoyed the company of a long list of famous people. Here are just a few: John Wayne, Tony Curtis, Richard Nixon, Johnny Carson, Phyllis Diller, Lberace, Rod Serling, Joe Namath, Nancy Sinatra, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Gina Lollobridida and Diana Ross.

* The show's huge success made stars out of many of its regulars and they moved on to pursue other opportunities. Only four cast members remained on the show for its entire run - Rowan, Martin, Ruth Buzzi and Gary Owens.

* Memorable phrases from the show: "One ringy dingy, two ringy dingies...", "Here comes da judge", Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls", "Sock it to me" and "You bet your sweet bippy".