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Boomer TV: The Stuff We Watched - Part 1

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Thousands of years ago a wise philosopher said, "You are what you see." Well... this is what we saw.

On these pages, we'll remind you about the television shows that made a permanent imprint on our minds. We have the cast, description, pictures, and in many cases, even the unforgettable theme music.

Tell us your boomer TV memories here.

On this page, we feature these shows (Scroll down to see what's on other pages):
Father Knows Best
Leave It to Beaver
Zorro
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The Mickey Mouse Club
The Twilight Zone
Bonanza
Rocky and His Friends
The Flintstones
The Jetsons
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Car 54, Where Are You?
My Three Sons
The Adventures of Superman
The Lone Ranger
Fractured Fairy Tales
The Untouchables
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
The Honeymooners
The Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp
Have Gun Will Travel
Gunsmoke
Ozzie & Harriett
Ed Sullivan
My Favorite Martian
Spin & Marty
Fury
Sea Hunt
The Donna Reed Show
The Little Rascals

We have the theme song for many shows. Every visitor can listen to the music in the first row of shows. BBHQ members can listen to all of them. Click here for information on how to become a BBHQ member.

Father Knows Best


Cast:
Robert Young - Jim Anderson
Jane Wyatt - Margaret Anderson
Elinor Donahue - Betty (Princess) Anderson
Billy Gray - Bud (James, Jr.) Anderson
Lauren Chapin - Kathy (Kitten) Anderson

Description:
Strong family values at 607 South Maple Street, Spingfield, in the heart of the boomer years. Today critics say this show (and others like it) were sicky sweet and did not portray life like it was. As a boomer who grew up in the 50s and 60s, I disagree. A steady diet of shows like this helped us understand the definition of the word "is," and repeatedly enforced the difference between right and wrong. No warning labels, no parental advisories. Worked for me. CBS, 1954-1955; NBC, 1955 - 1958; CBS, 1958-1962.
Listen to the theme here:

Leave it to Beaver


Cast:
Hugh Beaumont - Ward Cleaver
Barbara Billingsley - June Cleaver
Tony Dow - Wally Cleaver
"and Jerry Mathers, as the Beaver" (Theodore) Cleaver
Ken Osmond - Eddie Haskell
Frank Bank - Lumpy (Clarence) Rutherford
Rusty Stevens - Larry Mondello
Sue Randall - Miss Landers, Beaver's teacher

Description:
Family values in the heart of the boomer years. CBS, 1957-1958. The Beaver's friends were Larry Mondello and Whitey Whitney. Wally's friends were Lumpy and Eddie Haskell. The Cleavers lived at 211 Pine street, in the town of Mayfield. ABC, 1958-1963.
Listen to the theme here:

Bonanza



Cast:
Lorne Green - Ben Cartwright
Dan Blocker - Hoss (Eric) Cartwright
Michael Landon - Little Joe Cartwright
Pernell Roberts - Adam Cartwright
Victor Seng Yung - Hop Sing
Ray Teal - Sheriff Roy Coffee

Description:
Justice and family values in the 1800s... the wealthy Cartwright family lived outside of Virginia City, Nevada, on a large ranch called the Ponderosa. Hoss' horse was named Cochise; Paw's horse was named Buck. Pernell Roberts left the series before it ended. The familiar Bonanza theme was composed by David Rose. The primary sponsor for Bonanza was Chevrolet. NBC, 1959-1973.
Listen to the theme here:

Twilight Zone

Description:
Prolific artist Rod Serling wrote most of the Twilight Zone episodes, and introduced them all. One of the openings went like this: "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone." Many of the episodes have become classics. CBS, 1959-1963.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme here:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents


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Description:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents the Alfred Hitchcock Hour was a collection of mystery and suspense dramas connected only by the hand of director Alfred Hitchcock, who introduced each show with his unique version of "Good eeeeeevening." CBS, 1955-1960; NBC, 1960-1965.
BBHQ members can listen to part of the theme here:
BBHQ members can listen to the rest of the theme here:

The Flintstones

Cast:
Alan Reed - Fred Flintstone
Jean Vanderpyl - Wilma Flintstone
Mel Blanc - Barney Rubble
Bea Benaderet - Betty Rubble

Description:
From "a place right out of history," the Flintstones and their neighbors and friends, the Rubbles, dealt with the challenges of life in the stone age - with a 20th century twist. Every week, they had a "yaba-daba-do time." This delightful, animated, primetime show was the definition of the word "anacronism." Fred and Wilma lived at 345 Stone Cave Road, in the town of Bedrock. They had a pet dinosuar named Dino. Fred and Barney Rubble worked for the Slaterock Gravel Company. Wilma and Betty Rubble were typical housewives, and later, mothers. The Flintstones gave birth to Pebbles (there was a nationwide contest to name her), and the Rubbles had Bamm Bamm. Wilma Flintstone's maiden name was Wilma Slaghoopal, and Betty Rubble's Maiden name was Betty Jean McBricker. Many people saw similarities between the Flintstones/Rubbles and the Kramdens/Nortons. ABC, 1960-1966. Spinoffs and rebroadcasts went into the 70s.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme here:

The Mickey Mouse Club


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Description and Cast:
Adult hosts Jimmie Dodd and Roy Williams led the mouseketeers through a series of songs, skits, and innocent good times. The mouseketeers roll call included Annette Funicello, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O'Brien, Johnny Crawford (for one season), Karen Pendleton, Bobby Burgess, Tommy Cole Sharon Baird, Doreen Tracey and Lonnie Burr. (Lonnie helped use get some our facts correct here.) Don Agrati was also a mouseketeer for a year; but you might know him better as Don Grady ("My Three Sons.") There were 39 mouseketeers throughout the run.
"Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company. M-I-C... See ya; real soon. K-E-Y... Why? Because we like you. M-O-U-S-E." ABC, 1955-1959.
Opening theme, part 1:
Opening theme, part 2:
Closing theme:

Rocky and His Friends


Description and Cast:
The enormously creative Rocky & His Friends was an animated series of stories, fables, and just plain good fun. Stories of Rocket J. Squirrel and his dimwitted friend, Bullwinkle the Moose, were presented in serial form. Rocky and Bullwinkle continually went up against Boris Badenov, Natasha Fataly and their boss, Mr. Big. June Foray supplied the voice of Rocky; Bill Scott played Bullwinkle. Off-screen announcers included Paul Frees, Edward Everett Horton and William Conrad. Other segments in the show included Peabody's Improbable History, Aesop's Fables, Dudley Do-Right, Bullwinkle's Corner, and Fractured Fairy Tales. ABC, 1959-1961.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

Zorro


Cast:
Guy Williams - Don Diego de la Vega and Zorro
Gene Sheldon - Bernardo
Henry Calvin - Sargeant Garcia
Britt Lomond - Captain Monastano

Description:
With the mark of Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega fought the bad guys in the old west. His secret "weapon" was his alleged deaf mute aid, Bernardo. Bernardo was not deaf at all. He used this ruse to gather essential information to help Zorro defeat the bad guys... as he always did. ABC, 1957-1959.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

Fractured Fairy Tales

Description and Cast:
Fractured Fairy Tales was actually a part of Rocky and His Friends. It was another delightfully written and produced animated series. These stories were twists on classic fairy tales. The moral was always a pun so horrible... it was wonderfully funny. Edward Everett Horton narrated the series.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

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Cast:
Mary Tyler Moore - Mary Richards
Valerie Harper - Rhoda Morganstern
Edward Asner- Lou Grant
Ted Knight - Ted Baxter
Gavin MacLeod - Murray Slaughter
Cloris Leachman - Phyllis Lindstom
Georgia Engel - Georgette Franklin
Betty White - Sue Ann Nevins (the "Happy Homemaker")

Description:
Any boomer worth his weight in salt can tell you who can turn the world on with a smile. Mary Richards staked out a career for herself in the newsroom at WJM-TV, channel 12, in Minneapolis. Phyllis lived at Apartment D, 119 North Weatherly. Rhoda lived upstairs and worked as an interior decorator. The owner of the buliding was Phyllis Lindstrom, who managed to make their business her business. You're gonna' make it after all! CBS, 1970-1977.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

Car 54 Where Are You?


Cast:
Joe E. Ross - Gunther Toody
Fred Gwynne - Francis Muldoon
Paul Reed - Capt. Martin Block
Al Lewis - Officer Leo Schnauzer

Description:
"Ooo.. Oooo!" We're at the 53d precinct, the Bronx. Officers Gunther Toody and Francis Muldoon patrol their district in Car 54. It was just plain, silly fun. NBC, 1961-1963.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Lone Ranger

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Cast:
Clayton Moore - The Lone Ranger
Jay Silverheels - Tonto

Description:
Texas Ranger John Reed is the lone survivor of an ambush by the Hole in the Wall gang. He is rescued and nursed back to health by a Mowhawk Indian he had befriended years before. The Texas Ranger uses a mask to hide his identity (the gang thought he was dead), and tracks down and captures the bad guys. The Lone Ranger left his trademark, a silver bullet, wherever he went. His horse was Silver; Tonto's horse was Scout. "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty 'hi-yo, Silver,' the Lone Ranger, with his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!" The theme music, of course, was from the William Tell Overture. They say that you have grown up when you can hear the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger. Hasn't happened to me yet. ABC, 1949-1965.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Adventures of Superman

Cast:
George Reeves - Superman/Clark Kent
Phyllis Coates - Lois Lane
Noel Niell - Lois Lane
John Hamilton - Editor ("Don't call me 'chief'!") Perry White
Jack Larson - Jimmy Olsen
Robert Shayne - Inspector Bill Henderson

Description:
"Look! Up in the sky!" "It's a bird!" "It's a plane!" "It's... Superman!" "Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands; and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way. And now, another exciting episode in 'The Adventures of Superman'."
Lois Lane was another reporter and Jimmy Olsen was the photogapher for the Daily Planet. Bud Collyer, host of "Beat the Clock," played this caped crusader on the radio in the 40s. The home of the Daily Planet and Superman, identified as Metropolis, was thought to be patterned after Cleveland, Ohio.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

My Three Sons

Cast:
Fred MacMurray - Steve Douglas
William Frawley - "Bub" - Michael Francis O'Casey
William Demarest - Uncle Charley - Charley O'Casey
Tim Considine - Mike Douglas
Don Grady - Robbie Douglas
Stanley Livingston - Chip (Richard) Douglas
Barry Livingston - Ernie Douglas

Description:
This endearing sitcom lasted longer than most marriages today, and went through several incarnations. Three sons somehow became four. But the theme was always the same: the importance of the family. ABC, 1960-1965; CBS, 1965-1972.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Untouchables


Cast:
Robert Stack - Eliot Ness
Jerry Parks - Martin Flaherty
Abel Fernandez - Wiliam Longfellow
Steve London - Jack Rossman
Nicholas Georgiade - Enrico Rossi
Neville Brand - Al Capone
Bruce Gordon - Frank Nitti

Description:
Based on real life crime-fighter Eliot Ness, the Untouchables fought the bad guys every week... and won. This was a first class series all around, from the cast, to the sets, the writing, and the guest stars. My favorite part, however, was the narrator, Walter Winchell. ABC, 1959-1963.
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

Cast:
Dwayne Hickman - Dobie Gillis
Bob Denver - Maynard G. Krebs
Frank Faylen - Herbert T. Gillis
Florida Friebus - Winnie Gillis
Tuesday Weld - Thalia Menninger
Sheila James - Zelda Gilroy
Steve Franken - Chatsworth Osborne Jr.
William Shallert - Mr. Pomfrett

Description:
This was one of the first TV sitcoms written from the viewpoint of the teenager. So much so in fact, that Dobie would often go to the park, pace back and forth in front of Rodin's The Thinker, and talk over his troubles to his teenage audience. Dobie frustrated his father... but not in the ways kids do today. Dad would often say, very innocently, "I gotta' kill that boy; I just gotta'." It was very funny! English teach Mr. Pomfrett provided guidance to all his students, and Maynard G. Krebs.... was a harmless beatnik. He cringed at the word "work," and was mesmerized by his favorite movie, "The Monster that Devoured Cleveland." (My favorite, too.) CBS, 1959-1963.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Honeymooners

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Cast:
Jackie Gleason - Ralph Kramden
Art Carney - Ed Norton
Audrey Meadows - Alice Kramden
Joyce Randolph - Trixie Norton

Description:
Ralph and Ed are trying to learn how to play golf to impress the boss. Ralph reads aloud from the instruction book, "Address the ball." Holding a golf club in one hand, Norton salutes the ball with the other and says, "Hello, ball!" Such was the humor of one of the finest comedies ever produced. The Kramdens and the Nortons lived at 328 Chauncery Street, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Ralph drove a bus for the Gotham Bus Company; Ed worked in the sewers, literally. CBS, 1955-1956.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp


Cast:
Hugh O'Brian - Wyatt Earp
Damian O'Flynn - Dr. Goodfellow
Alan Dinehart - Bat Masterson

Description:
From Dodge City and later Tombstone, Arizona, Wyatt Earp and his friends fought the bad guys.
Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp;
Brave, courageous and bold;
Long live his name,
and long live his glory;
and long may his story be told.

ABC, 1955-1961.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

Have Gun Will Travel


Cast:
Richard Boone - Paladin
Kam Tong - Hey Boy, Paladin's servant

Description:
"'Have Gun Will Travel' reads the card of a man." The man was Paladin, a former army officer turned moral crusader. No, "Wire" was not his first name; as far as we know, he had no first name. CBS, 1957-1963.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

Gunsmoke

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Cast:
James Arness - Matt Dillon
Amanda Blake - Kitty Russell
Milburn Stone - Doc Galen Adams
Dennis Weaver - Chester Goode
Ken Curtis - Festus Haggen

Description:
Gunsmoke was one of the longest running, stable dramas ever to appear on television. The setting is Dodge City, late 1800s. Chester ("Mr. Delllllin") had a bum leg, and was later replaced by Festus. Longbranch saloon owner and straight-laced manager Miss Kitty served beer in the evening, coffee in the morning, and kept the boys under control. Matt's horse was named Marshal (or Buck... take your pick). Festus has an ornery mule named Ruth. Actor William Conrad played the part of Matt Dillon on the radio version of Gunsmoke in the 40s. CBS, 1955-1975.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme - part 1:

BBHQ members can listen to the theme - part 2:

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet

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Cast:
Ozzie Nelson - Ozzie Nelson
Harriet Nelson - Harriet Nelson
Dave Nelson - Dave Nelson
Ricky Nelson - Ricky Nelson
Skip Young - Wally
Don DeFoe - My. Thornberry (Thorny)
Lyle Talbot - Joe Randolph
Parley Baer - Darby

Description:
Boomers remember the Nelson family from television; our parents remember that they were on radio first. But on television, boomers fell for Ricky (who often sang a song at the end of the show), and the Nelsons became famous. They lived at 822 Sycamore Rd., in the lovely town of Hillsdale. In the radio version, Ozzie was a band leader; on television, he "went to the office." On TV, we saw them grow up and get married. They were us. Till Dave became a lawyer... that soured it for me. ABC, 1952-1966.
The Ed Sullivan Show

Description:
On radio, it was "Toast of the Town." But from 1955 to 1971, Sunday nights belonged to Ed Sullivan, who hosted the most successful variety show in history. From Richard Burton to Vikki Carr, from Judy Garland to the Beatles... if you wanted to be somebody in show business, you had to be be on the Sullivan show. Yep, the little mouse... no not Mickey... Topo Gigo... the little mouse was a regular on the show. CBS, 1955-1971.
My Favorite Martian

Cast:
Ray Walston - Martin O'Hara (Uncle Martin)
Bill Bixby - Tim O'Hara
Pamela Britton - Lorelei Brown

Description:
UFO's and aliens made family-style. Reporter Tim O'Hara discovers a crashed UFO, befriends the Martian traveller, and then covers up the biggest story since Moses parted the Red Sea. Hardly Woodwoard and Bernstein, but it was silly fun. CBS, 1963-1966.
Spin & Marty

Cast:
Tim Considine - Spin Evans
David Strollery - Marty Markham
Annette Funicello - Annette
Darlene Gillespie - Darlene

Description:
Spin and Marty was a spinoff of the Mickey Mouse Club. These were character-building stories centered around rodeo events at the Tripple R Ranch. ABC, 1955-1959.
Fury

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Cast:
Peter Graves - Jim Newton
Bobby Diamond - Joey Newton
William Fawcett - Pete
Jimmy Baird - Pee Wee
Roger Mobley - Packey Lambert
Gypsy - Fury

Description:
Family values on the ranch... Broken Wheel Ranch owner Jim Newton adopts orphan Joey. A relationship with Fury helps turn a troubled boy into a man. Yep; the horse's name was actually Gypsy. This was a Saturday morning show. And yes, it is the same Peter Graves (brother of James Arness) who starred in "Mission Impossible" narrated "Biography." NBC, 1955-1966.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:
The Jetsons


Description:
Meet George Jetson.... the opposite side of the Flintsones. This was an animated idea of what life might be like in the 21st century. George worked for Spacely Space Sprockets. ABC, 1962-1964; CBS, 1965-1966; NBC, 1966-1967; CBS, 1969-1970; NBC, 1971-1975.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Little Rascals

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Cast and Description:
The Little Rascals, AKA, the Our Gang comedies, was a creation of Hal Roach. The silent and early talkie shorts actually went on for over 20 years. The gang included, Spanky, Alfalfa, Porky, Darlene, Butch, Farina, Buckwheat, Dickey, Stymie, Darla, Waldo, Wheezer, and Petie, the beloved dog. It was Porky who said, "Otay," not Buckwheat. The Little Rascals was syndicated and often appeared as short segments in local kids' shows throughout the fifties and sixties.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:

The Donna Reed Show

Cast:
Donna Reed - Donna Stone
Carl Betz - Dr. Alex Stone
Shelly Fabres - Mary Stone
Paul Peterson - Jeff Stone
Patty Peterson - Trisha Stone

Description:
Donna Reed made being a stay-at-home mom fashionable. The Stones were an middle class family with all the benefits and frustrations included. ABC, 1958-1966.
Sea Hunt

Cast:
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson

Description:
Mike Nelson, scuba expert, manages to find trouble everywhere he dives. But as usual, the good guys always win. His boat was named the Argonaut.
BBHQ members can listen to the theme:


Click here for great pictures, posters & autographs Now you can have a great piece of boomer memoriabilia for yourself or your favorite boomer. Click here for BBHQ's Pictures, Posters & Autographs. It's great stuff!!

But wait... there's much, much more!

Boomer TV - Part 2:
77 Sunset Strip
All in the Family
The Andy Griffith Show
Andy's Gang
Batman
The Howdy Doody Show
Dragnet
Gomer Pyle
The Fugitive
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Davy Crockett
Mr. Ed
The Brady Bunch
The Jackie Gleason Show
Lassie
Petticoat Junction
The Jeffersons
What's My Line?
I Love Lucy
Laugh-In
Make Room for Daddy
The Addams Family
The Real McCoys
The Life of Riley
Ben Casey
The Beverly Hillbillies
Sanford & Son
Dr. Kildare
Get Smart
Bewitched

Boomer TV - Part 3:
Dennis the Menace
Gilligan's Island
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Munsters
I Dream of Jeannie
The Rifleman
The Waltons
McHale's Navy
"F" Troop
Kojak
Little House on the Prairie
The Bob Newhart Show
Police Woman
I Spy
I Remember Mama
Green Acres
Welcome Back Kotter
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
The Carol Burnett Show
Topper
Sonny & Cher Show
Route 66
The Roy Rogers Show
Winky Dink
The Monkees
The Partridge Family
Mission Impossible
Good Times
Star Trek
Sky King

And... part 4 arrives at BBHQ soon.


Boomers' TV memories:

When I was young I loved the Patty Duke show, how I wished I had an identical cousin or sister. I have fond memories of patty and her antics, I believe all Aussie teenagers wished they were a part of her family. Cheers - Cheryl

Red Skelton show was a favorite in our family. - Mary

I loved Father knows best, June was never upset while walking around in perfectly ironed dress wearing heel! How conventional is that? The house was always clean with nothing out of place. But a wonderful fairy-tale life for a kid whose parents were getting a divorce at that particular time. I also loved Father Knows Best and Donna Reed because they made life seem so happy! I loved the Ed Sullivan show - every week waiting to see who would be on.

What about "The Hathaways?" I watched that show every week and wished I had a chimp. They had three: Charlie, Enoch, and Candy.

"When I would come home from school, my favorite show was Dick Clark - American Bandstand. I like to see the latest dances and what the kids were wearing. Dianne.

"Our neighbors with six kids had the only TV in the neighborhood. We would all congregate there in the afternoon and sing along with Pinky Lee, Molly Bee, and Howdy Doody. - becastew.

"Saturday mornings found me glued to the tube from about 6:00 a.m. until well after noon, watching Fractured Fairytales, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Tom Slick, just to name a few. Those were the days! Cartoons were funny back then, they were entertainment, not thirty minute ads for toys, or adult geared shows that children have no business watching like the junk the kids see now." - scotishlassie

"The Ed Sullivan Show was one of our family favorites. He had the best stand-up comics and entertainers all around. We (kids) looked forward to seeing our favorite singers and bands, like Elvis Presly, The Beatles, and many other top stars. - bennettzita

"I remember Top Cat, Sgt. Bilko, Space Ghost, The Grape Ape, Banana Splits, Outer Limits, American BandStand, Soul Train, Roots, The Perils of Pauline, Beanie and Cecil, Felix the Cat, Dick Dastardley and Muttley(sp). Carolyn

"Yeah, I loved, loved loved Patty Duke (one of my favourites )but what about Razzle Dazzle, Shindig, Diver Dan, QT Hush, Sky King, Roy Rogers & Gene Autry and there was a Saturday morning show which had puppets called Willie the Wonderful (or something like that) If anyone remembers this show," let us know. - shelleyhope



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rev. 11/25/09