These were some of the best shows from when I was growing up. Clean humor, small town values, farming communities – great TV. To be on this list, the TV show had to be around in the 60s, was set in a small town or rural area, and had clean humor and family values from a different era. I excluded shows set in the past.
10. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Starring Monte Markham
Short-lived TV show about a man who inherits money and moves to the big city.
9. The Real McCoys
Starring Richard Creena, Lydia Reed, and Walter Brennon
This show is about a hillbilly family that moves to California.
8. Mayberry RFD
Starring Ken Berry, George Lindsey, Jack Dodson, Arlene Golonka, and Frances Bavier (Aunt Bea)
This spin-off of the Andy Griffith Show is about the town folks of Mayberry after Sheriff Taylor and his family moved away. Not as good as the original, but it kept us going after Andy Griffith went off the air.
7. Mr. Ed
Starring Alan Young
A young architect and his wife move to the country and buy a farm that comes with a horse that can talk. Of course.
6. Green Acres
Starring Eddie Albert and Ava Gabor
Nothing is funnier than placing Eddie Albert and Ava Gabor in farm country in the middle of crazy characters and watching their reactions. This is loosely related to Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction.
5. Beverly Hillbillies
Starring Buddy Epson, Irene Ryan, Max Baer Jr., Donna Douglas, and Raymond Bailey
Jed Clampett, a down and out hillbilly, strikes oil on his farm and becomes rich. Of course, the thing to do is to move to Beverly Hills. Another show loosely related to Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.
4. Gilligan’s Island
Starring Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Natalie Schafer, Jim Backus, Dawn Wells, Tina Louise, and Russell Johnson
In case you’re wondering why I included this show, what’s more rural than a secluded island?
3. Gomer Pyle USMC
Starring Jim Nabors and Frank Sutton
The best spin-off of the Andy Griffith Show. Take a goofy, likable, backwoods mechanic and put him in the Marines under the toughest drill sergeant in the world, and you have this show. Too funny. I still remember how flustered Gomer Pyle would make Sergeant Carter.
2. Petticoat Junction
Starring Bea Benaderet, Edgar Buchanan, Jeannine Riley, Gunilla Hutton, Meredith MacRae, Pat Woodell, Lori Saunders, Linda Henning
This little remembered TV show about three girls coming of age in rural America is one of my favorites. I wanted to be Betty Jo.
1. Andy Griffith Show
Starring Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, Frances Bavier
This is the show that defined the genre. Andy Griffith will always be remembered for small town values in Mayberry, USA.