ANTHOLOGY TV SERIES from the 1940's on...

by ReelRarities | created - 01 Jun 2012 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

There are lots of seldom or never seen anthology tv shows from years past that were a great place to find many wonderful character actors in different roles... sure wish one of the fun retro channels would bring them back on! UPDATE: One has... Decades Tv Channel often runs several Anthology type shows, Loretta Young's show, One Step Beyond, Thriller... can check out their schedule, they change it up and add new shows all the time :)

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1. Screen Directors Playhouse (1955–1956)

30 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Presented by Eastman Kodak, this show was a series of original scripts directed by acclaimed directors and featuring well-known performers. The stories ranged from musicals to comedies and dramas.

Stars: Arthur Q. Bryan, Bill Erwin, Macdonald Carey, George Sanders

Votes: 121

2. Vacation Playhouse (1963–1967)

30 min | Drama, Comedy, Crime

Summer replacement show featuring pilot programs that had not been sold.

Stars: Darryl Hickman, Dwayne Hickman, Pat Crowley, Soupy Sales

Votes: 27

3. Lux Video Theatre (1950–1959)

30 min | Comedy, Drama

Live dramatic shows featuring Hollywood stars. Initially, the show was a thirty-minute weekly show, but when it moved to NBC in August 1954, the show was extended to sixty minutes, and the ... See full summary »

Stars: Ken Carpenter, Jay Jackson, Otto Kruger, Gordon MacRae

Votes: 89

4. The Philco Television Playhouse (1948–1956)

60 min | Drama

This live dramatic series featured original stories and adaptations of novels, plays, et cetera during its eight year run. During the first year, the show was sponsored by the Actor's ... See full summary »

Stars: Bert Lytell, Jay Jackson, Bob Stanton, E.G. Marshall

Votes: 73

5. Goodyear Playhouse (1951–1957)

60 min | Drama

The show featured original plays plus plays adapted from works.

Stars: Walter Matthau, David White, Constance Ford, Gene Lyons

Votes: 55

6. Fireside Theatre (1949–1955)

30 min | Drama

An anthology series which became the first successful filmed series on American television.

Stars: Gene Raymond, John Warburton, Nolan Leary, Dabbs Greer

Votes: 47

8. Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre (1955–1958)

30 min | Drama

An anthology series hosted by Jane Wyman.

Stars: Jane Wyman, Paul Bryar, Tim Graham, Simon Scott

Votes: 37

9. The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse (1953–1955)

30 min | Drama

An anthology series with episodes split between comedies and drama. Anita Colby and Arlene Dahl shared hosting duties the first season that was originally filmed live but switched to film. ... See full summary »

Stars: Polly Bergen, Arlene Dahl, Anita Colby, Dorothy Green

Votes: 40

10. Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951– )

Comedy, Drama

Probably the longest-running anthology series on television, the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" has been presenting television dramatizations of famous plays and books, as well as original programs especially written for the series, since 1951.

Stars: Sarah Churchill, Howard Wierum, Robert Daggett, Frank Daly

Votes: 261

11. CBS Playhouse (1967– )

90 min | Drama

An anthology series of well regarded screenplays. Presenting twelve shows over it's run it showcased many up and coming actors and garnered it's share of Emmy nominations.

Stars: Jason Wingreen, Paulene Myers, Mildred Trares, Melvyn Douglas

Votes: 28

12. CBS Afternoon Playhouse (1978– )

60 min | Drama, Romance

Predecessor to CBS Schoolbreak Specials, this late-afternoon anthology series features stories designed to appeal to the preteen after school audience.

Stars: Chris Petersen, Ronny Cox, Guillermo San Juan, David Hollander

Votes: 46

13. General Electric Theater (1953–1962)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

An American anthology series, with a new episode and different actors and actresses each week. Hosted by Ronald Reagan, the series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations.

Stars: Ronald Reagan, Don Herbert, Nancy Reagan, Lee Marvin

Votes: 247

14. Schlitz Playhouse (1951–1959)

30 min | Comedy, Drama

Originally billed as "Playhouse of the Stars" this long running anthology series was originally presented live from New York City. Irene Dunne was briefly the hostess in 1952, and the show frequently used Broadway performers in classic stories.

Stars: James Mason, Irene Dunne, Robert Paige, Walter Coy

Votes: 190

15. Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1958–1960)

60 min | Drama

An anthology series hosted by Betty Furness in the first season, and Desi Arnaz in the second. Stories came from several genres, often based on fact. A two part episode was spun off as the popular show The Untouchables (1959).

Stars: Desi Arnaz, Betty Furness, Bruce Gordon, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 94

16. ITV Television Playhouse (1955–1967)

60 min | Drama

Richard O. Sullivan as a child genius in the play "Honour Bright".

Stars: Campbell Singer, Thomas Heathcote, Richard Caldicot, June Brown

Votes: 34

17. Pulitzer Prize Playhouse (1950–1952)

60 min | Drama

Dramatic anthology series presenting plays adopted from Pulitzer Prize winning stories, plays, novels, et cetera.

Stars: Elmer Davis, Charles Dingle, Richard Bishop, Joan Chandler

Votes: 20

19. Comedy Playhouse (1961–2017)

30 min | Comedy

Anthology series of one-off, unrelated situation comedies.

Stars: Frank Thornton, John Le Mesurier, Robert Dorning, Bernard Cribbins

Votes: 32

20. Comedy Playhouse (1971– )

30 min | Comedy

Anthology series consisting of unsold television pilots developed for the 1971-1972 season that weren't picked-up by CBS for their fall line-up

23. The Ford Theatre Hour (1948–1953)

60 min | Drama

An anthology series based in New York City which attracted a high caliber group of actors, often Broadway stars. Stories were both drama and comedies, some original but others adaptions of films and plays.

Stars: William Brower, Biff McGuire, Ernest Truex, Ruth McDevitt

Votes: 33

24. Inside/Out (1973–1974)

15 min | Family

Dramatizations of various social issues and ethical dilemmas are presented for the viewer to ponder the resolutions themselves.

Votes: 20

25. The O. Henry Playhouse (1957)

30 min | Comedy

Anthology series based on the short stories of O. Henry.

Stars: Thomas Mitchell, Russell Thorson, Morey Amsterdam, Robert Karnes

Votes: 23

27. Front Row Center (1955–1956)

60 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

Broadway plays were presented live in condensed one hour versions.

Stars: Robert Sterling, Fletcher Markle, James Daly, Olive Sturgess

Votes: 16

28. Suspense (1949–1954)

25 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Live plays featuring people who were in dangerous and threatening situations.

Stars: Rex Marshall, Robert Emhardt, John Baragrey, Mildred Natwick

Votes: 165

29. The Gulf Playhouse (1952–1953)

30 min | Drama

This live show was seen through the "eye" of the camera. The actors in each episode would talk to the camera as if it were a person.

Stars: Mildred Dunnock, James Westerfield, Eddie Bracken, Henry Jones

Votes: 23

30. Science Fiction Theatre (1955–1957)

25 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

In this science-fiction anthology series host Truman Bradley introduces stories extrapolated from actual scientific data available in the 1950's, concentrating on such concepts as space ... See full summary »

Stars: Truman Bradley, Michael Fox, Marshall Thompson, Peter Hansen

Votes: 321

31. The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre (1948–1950)

30 min | Drama

This was an anthology series which aired live. It often featured adaptations of one-act stage plays.

Stars: Guy Kibbee, Faye Emerson, John Conte, Vicki Cummings

Votes: 24

32. ABC Weekend Specials (1977–1995)

TV-Y | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A youth anthology series focusing primarily on adaptations of children's literature.

Stars: Willie Tyler, Frank Welker, Hal Smith, Janet Waldo

Votes: 238

33. Summer Theatre (1953– )

30 min | Drama

A filmed anthology presented in the summer of 1953.

Stars: Vincent Price, Bernadene Hayes, Joan Leslie, Phyllis Coates

Votes: 9

35. Matinee Theatre (1955–1958)

60 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A daily anthology show, featuring original material, as well as adaptations of literary classics.

Stars: John Conte, Johnny Crawford, Sarah Churchill, Joan Elan

Votes: 75

36. The Millionaire (1955–1960)

30 min | Drama

In this hit 1950s TV series, a millionaire indulges himself giving away one-million dollars apiece to persons that he has never met.

Stars: Marvin Miller, Paul Frees, Roy Gordon, Russ Conway

Votes: 440

37. The George Sanders Mystery Theater (1957– )

30 min | Mystery

Thirty minute mystery drama series hosted by George Sanders.

Stars: George Sanders, Don Haggerty, Paul Harber, Toni Gerry

Votes: 14

38. The United States Steel Hour (1953–1963)

60 min | Comedy, Drama

In this live drama series, over two hundred live plays, covering all aspects of society, were shown.

Stars: Richard Kiley, Betsy Palmer, Biff McGuire, Mona Freeman

Votes: 113

39. TV Reader's Digest (1955–1956)

30 min | Drama

Family-oriented stories from the pages of "Reader's Digest" were dramatized on film.

Stars: Hugh Reilly, Gene Raymond, Helen Mowery, Paul Cavanagh

Votes: 29

40. The Vise (1954–1961)

30 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

This British production featured lesser-known actors in filmed plays showing people caught in "the vise" of fate created by their own deeds.

Stars: Donald Gray, Colin Tapley, Ron Randell, Robert Arden

Votes: 35

41. Telephone Time (1956–1958)

30 min | Drama

Anthology series featured plays by host, John Nesbitt. Beginning in September 1957, world from other authors were presented, as well.

Stars: John Nesbitt, Frank Baxter, Maurice Marsac, Peter Brocco

Votes: 89

42. G.E. True (1962–1963)

30 min | Adventure, Drama

Episodes based on stories from "True" magazine.

Stars: Jack Webb, Felix Reinsch, Kurt Kreuger, Charles H. Radilak

Votes: 15

43. The Great Adventure (1963–1964)

60 min | Drama

A filmed series of one-hour dramatizations of the lives of famous historical people, as well as important historical events.

Stars: Russell Johnson, Van Heflin, Kent Smith, Eddie Little Sky

Votes: 95

44. NET Playhouse (1964–1972)

90 min | Biography, Drama, History

American television anthology series of wide range of genres, from history and drama, to fantasy, and science fiction. Fiction novels, stories, stage plays, fairytales, and historic events are dramatized in each episode.

Stars: Irene Dailey, Rene Auberjonois, George Voskovec, Richard Dysart

Votes: 21

45. Danger (1950–1955)

30 min | Drama

Live psychological and murder mystery dramas, and one of the first U.S. television dramas to make effective use of background music.

Stars: Dick Stark, Edward Binns, Joseph Anthony, Richard Kiley

Votes: 52