Only ‘60s Kids Will Remember These Iconic TV Quotes

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By the early 1960s, 86% of households in the United States owned a TV set; hence more shows became readily available to eager audiences. For those who lived their childhood and prime years in that era, some quotes from TV personalities and characters remain unforgettable.

Since the Cold War and the Space Race were a big deal back then, many programs were inspired by it, including I Spy, The Man From U.N.C.LE., and Mission: Impossible, which included the memorable line “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.” Here are other famous catchphrases from decades ago to tap into your memories.

“Goodnight, and may God bless.”

THE RED SKELTO SHOW, Red Skelton, 1950 photo, 1941-1953

The Red Skelton Show aired from 1951 to 1971 for a total of 21 seasons. The show host, Red Skelton, would sign off each episode with the words, “Goodnight, and may God bless,” and so it stuck! Beyond television, Skelton also worked in burlesque, vaudeville, films, nightclubs, and casinos as a talented entertainer. He earned several recognitions in his lifetime, among them a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“There are 8 million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”

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THE NAKED CITY, Don Taylor, 1948.

Police drama The Naked City, starring Paul Burke, was the originator of the line “There are 8 million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them,” which the narrator said at the end of each episode. The show was inspired by the ‘40s film, The Naked City, and it adopted the same documentary-storytelling style.

“Picture if you will.”

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THE TWILIGHT ZONE, Nehemiah Persoff, ‘Judgment Night,’ aired December 4, 1959

The Twilight Zone aired from 1959 to 1964, and for many episodes, series creator and host Rod Serling’s opening narration would begin with the words, “Picture if you will,” and then describe the setting. Each episode had a different plot that ended with an unexpected twist.

“Yabba Dabba Doo!”

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THE FLINTSTONES, from left: Joseph Barbera (producer), Ann-Margret (as Ann Margrock), William Hanna (producer), during production of ‘Ann Margrock Presents’, (Season 4, ep 401, aired September 19, 1963), 1960-1966. ph: Sheedy-Long / TV Guide / courtesy Everett Collection

The Flintstones remain a reference today for movies, Halloween costumes, and other forms of pop culture, proving it to be a timeless favorite. “Yabba Dabba Doo” was Fred Flintstone’s catchphrase and the title of the 1993 animated TV movie, I Yabba-Dabba Do!. 

“I’m smarter than the average bear.”

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THE YOGI BEAR SHOW, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Snagglepuss, Yakky Doodle, 1961-88

The lovable Yogi Bear from The Yogi Bear Show made the fair point that he was “smarter than the average bear,” and it quickly became a common expression. The Kellogg’s sponsored series ran for two years with a total of thirty-three episodes, with the character continuing to live on to this day. The playful talkative bear was also known for other catchphrases like his way of greeting— “Hey! Hey! Hey!” or “Hey there, Boo Boo!” when saluting his sidekick, Boo Boo Bear.

“Heeeere’s Johnny!”

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THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON, From left: Myrtle Young (Fort Wayne’s Potato Chip Lady), Johnny Carson, (Season 27, episode 27137, aired October 6, 1988), 1962-1992. ph: ©NBC / courtesy Everett Collection

The late-night NBC talk show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson ran for three decades, with its final episode airing on May 22, 1992. The host, Johnny Carson was joined by sidekick and announcer Ed McMahon, who would proclaim, “Heeeere’s Johnny!” to introduce his partner. Important people like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Robert F. Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey appeared as guests as well as Hollywood celebrities.

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission.”

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THE OUTER LIMITS, Joshua Jackson (left), Howard Hesseman (center), Kirsten Dunst (right), ‘Music of the Spheres’, (Season 3, ep. 314, aired May 9, 1997), 1995-2002. © Showtime Network / Courtesy: Everett Collection

The Outer Limits aired in the mid-60s (and be subject of a remake 30 years later) and would often get compared to The Twilight Zone as they were both sci-fi anthology shows. The episodes often began with a long narration that starts “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission.”

At the end, the narration, voiced by Vic Perrin, became shorter and ended with “We now return control of your television set to you, until next week at this same time, when the Control Voice will take you to… The Outer Limits.”

“You rang?”

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THE ADDAMS FAMILY, John Astin, Jackie Coogan, Carolyn Jones in episode ‘Halloween-Addams Style’ aired October 29, 1965, 1964-66

Lurch from The Addams Family hardly said much, but whenever he was summoned with the sound of a bell, he would respond, “You rang?” in actor Ted Cassidy’s deep voice. In the recent sequel series to the ‘60s original — Wednesday — Cassidy’s character got referenced when Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday called for Tyler, who responded quickly with the two-word phrase.

“Danger, Will Robinson!”

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LOST IN SPACE, Marta Kristen, Jonathan Harris, Angela Cartwright, Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Billy Mumy, Mark Goddard, 1965-68, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

The Sci-fi series Lost In Space was inspired by the 1812 novel The Swiss Family Robinson, which tells the story of a family trying to survive on a desert island. The robot of Lost in Space frequently said the line “Danger Will Robinson!”  throughout the series’ three-season run, however, it seemed to stick with the audience.

“I see nothing; I know nothing.”

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Youtube video screenshot

Hogan’s Heroes is about prisoners of war fighting against Germans during the 2nd World War from inside a Nazi prison camp. The line “I see nothing; I know nothing” is associated with John Banner’s character, Sergeant Hans Schultz, who, instead of reporting when prisoners broke rules, would act oblivious.

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