1950s Children’s TV Shows that Changed the World

The 1950s saw some of the most innovative and creative children’s television shows ever to air on TV. Shows such as The Mickey Mouse Club, Howdy Doody Show, Captain Kangaroo, Lassie, and more are not just a part of our childhood memories–they have left an indelible mark on American culture. Let’s take a look at these 10 of the best 1950s children’s TV shows that changed the world!

The Mickey Mouse Club

The Mickey Mouse Club was the first children’s TV show to make it big in syndication. It began on ABC in 1955 and ran until 1959, but continued through 1977 with reruns airing weekday afternoons on Disney Channel from 1989-1999. The premise of this show is that a group of kids, known as “Mouseketeers,” live together in a clubhouse and are led into adventures by their leader, Mickey Mouse.

Howdy Doody Show

The Howdy Doody Show was a 1950s children’s TV show that aired on NBC from 1947-1960. The premise of this popular kids’ program is about cowboy puppet, Howdy Doody and his friends playing games in the “Hee Haw” set at the back of the theater. One notable feature of this series is the “Howdy Doody Show” song, which is sung at every show’s beginning and end.

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger TV series started in 1949 as a radio program before making it to television screens on ABC from 1954-1957. The premise of this children’s favorite follows two people: one called Tonto and the other called The Lone Ranger. Tonto is a Native American who helps his companion, The Lone Ranger in his quest to bring law and order back to the Old West.


This long-running TV series started in 1954 and aired on CBS until 1973. The setting was a farm and the surrounding farm community, where Lassie lived with her “father’s” name is Paul, and his son Timmy is the main human protagonist.

Lassie and her family have to deal with a variety of problems during the show, also surviving floods, fires and other disasters that happen in their area.

Rin Tin Tin

One of the most famous dogs ever featured on television is Rin-Tin-Tin, whose name means ‘faithful friend’. He also appeared in a number of movies.

The 1950s was the decade that made him famous, with his show first airing on NBC in 1954 and finishing its run two years later. It ran for 104 episodes – he died not long after it finished.”

Rin Tin Tin had many adventures during this time period; one episode saw him saving a boy from drowning in the river.

Captain Kangaroo

A children’s show that began in 1955 and ran for 29 years, Captain Kangaroo was one of the most watched shows on television.

Captain Kangaroo entertained kids with his puppet friends Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose, while also teaching them about life lessons.

Kukla, Fran and Ollie

This show began as a Chicago-based radio program before it was adapted for television in 1947.

It aired on ABC and featured puppets that were operated by actors to make them move.

The premise of the show is they are friends who live together, making the house their home away from home.”

Shirley Temple’s Storybook

This show was an anthology show that ran from 1958 through 1961 and featured the child star reading stories.

She was one of the first child stars to have her own show as an adult and that in itself helped bring about more opportunities for other kids on television.

Lunch with Soupy Sales

This show aired for six months in 1954 and was based on Soupy Sales’ popular radio program.

The premise behind this children’s TV show is that there would be a different celebrity guest each week who would make up the “soup of the day” with Sales as he tried to prank them throughout their lunchtime chat.

The Floppy Show

This show aired from 1957 to 1987 and featured the puppets and puppetry of Duane Ellett. Floppy was a, yes, floppy beagle who taught kids about pet care, and the show featured various guests and the airing of vintage cartoons, such as Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry.

(Like 1950s Children’s TV Shows? Then you might like our article on Great 1960s Children’s TV Shows, click here.)

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