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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Top 9 Family TV Shows of the 1970s

I was raised in a strict single-family household during a tumultuous time. During the '70s I often found myself alone and TV characters became my best friends. I counted on them to lift my spirits and take me places I only dreamed about. This is a list of my favorite family TV shows of the 1970's.

"The Waltons" 1971-1981
The epitome of family television, this family on Walton Mountain showed us the joys and struggles of a real life family. The show had us all quoting the last line nightly, "Good night, John boy!"

"Little House on the Prairie" 1974-1983
Another family classic drama came in the form of the pioneers of Walnut Grove. The Ingalls family were not perfect, but their love for each other shown through every catastrophe they faced every week and still run strong in syndication today.
"The Love Boat" 1977-1986
Television of the 70s would not have been the same without the genius of Aaron Spelling on Saturday nights and his double dose of comedy and fantasy on Saturday nights. This show gave so many stars a second and third chance at stardom that we knew them all even if they only had one more week of fame.

"Fantasy Island" 1977-1984
Following "The Love Boat" every Saturday night was the fantasy/comedy/drama of "Fantasy Island." Again bringing back some of our favorite stars for a swan song. We usually learned that while fantasies are nice, they should stay in our minds.

"Six Million Dollar Man" 1974-1978
One of the most surprising TV shows from the '70s that we enjoyed as a family was this futuristic show featuring a handsome Lee Majors as a rebuilt man of the future. Though his female counterpart did better in ratings later, this one was a favorite at our house. The concept was cool and the acting was above par.

"The Carol Burnett Show" 1967-1978
Most thought the variety shows had peaked with Dean Martin. Carol Burnett managed to bring this genre of TV show into a new realm that was not only family friendly, but often hysterical. Her band of comedians made both young and old laugh until we cried every week.

"Donny & Marie" 1976-1979
I was never so happy as I was when Donny and Marie Osmond got their own variety TV show in the late '70s. I was then, and still am, in love with Donny Osmond (purple socks and all). The show was not as funny as Carol Burnett, but it didn't try to be. It was just good clean family TV.

"Courtship of Eddie's Father" 1969-1972
I have to admit that I was drawn to Bill Bixby as the single dad raising his son the best he could in this half hour drama. I loved how close the two were and I was more than a little jealous of their relationship. I also still love the theme song of this '70s family TV show.

"Family Affair" 1966-1971
Buffy and Jody, the twin niece and nephew of Bill Davis, made this show. Not to forget their older sister Sissy, but it was the cuteness of the twins that was almost too adorable for TV. Coming to live with their Uncle Bill after the death of their parents, we watched as the four, and Mr. French, became a very close knit family. I also had a Mrs. Beasley doll that went everywhere with me as a kid.

Thankfully there are retro TV stations that still air these gems of the '70s, so if you get a chance try to introduce your kids to some real family television with some of these shows.

You may also enjoy:
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Photo credit: By Adamzien (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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