2017-10-11 23:15:55 UTC
Strictly out of personal curiosity, I did a little research and have assembled a list of surviving adult cast members from American TV shows that were on the air fifty years ago today. In order to keep things manageable, I have limited the list of shows to those in the Nielsen Top 30 (readily available), defined "adult" as a cast member beyond their teens (sorry, Ron Howard), and have not included regularly recurring guest performers, musicians, etc., which probably unfairly impacts variety programs, and is admittedly as arbitrary as hell.
The Andy Griffith Show -- no survivors
The Lucy Show -- no survivors
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. -- Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle), Ronnie Schell (Duke Slater)
Gunsmoke -- Buck Taylor (Newly)
Family Affair -- Kathy Garver (Cissy Davis)
Bonanza -- no survivors
The Red Skelton Show -- no survivors
The Dean Martin Show -- no survivors
The Jackie Gleason Show -- no survivors
Bewitched -- no survivors
The Beverly Hillbillies -- Max Baer, Jr. (Jethro Bodine)
The Ed Sullivan Show -- no survivors
The Virginian -- James Drury (the Virginian), many others (see below)
Green Acres -- Tom Lester (Eb Dawson)
The Lawarence Welk Show -- no survivors
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour -- Tom Smothers, Dick Smothers
Gentle Ben -- Beth Brickell (Ellen Wedloe), Rance Howard (Henry Boomhauer)
Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In -- not included (see below)
The F.B.I. -- William Reynolds (Tom Colby)
My Three Sons -- Tim Consodine (Mike Douglas), Tina Cole (Katie Douglas)
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color -- no survivors
Ironside -- Barbara Anderson (Eve Whitfield)
The Carol Burnett Show -- Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner
Dragnet '67 -- no survivors
Daniel Boone -- Ed Ames (Mingo)
Lassie -- no survivors
Notes: There are only 26 "Top 30" programs listed here; the other four were movie nights (remember those?).
I have included only those performers who were regular cast members on a given show as of October 1967. Jim Nabors (for instance) had moved on from the Andy Griffith Show by that time, as had June Lockhart from Lassie, and Tim Conway had yet to join the Carol Burnett repertory company.
The Virginian had many reasonably regular cast members throughout its nearly 250 episode run, but no survivor made even half as many appearances as James Drury. Other notable survivors from 1967 include Sara Lane, Clu Gulager, Don Quine and David Hartman, just to name a few.
Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In was a one-shot special in September 1967, and did not appear as a weekly series until January 1968. The only survivors from the single 1967 entry are Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson and JoAnne Worley.
Hope you enjoy this list as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Please do not hesitate to correct any errors or omissions on my part, and if anybody else wishes to dig deeper into the ratings (i.e., Star Trek) to add to this little compendium ... have at it!!
-- Doug Peterson --