October 27, 2007

Where Was Jesus During Prime Time In The 60's?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall Jesus being mentioned on any of my favourite television shows in the 1960's and even the early 70's. Sure, there were Christmas shows, but was Jesus Christ ever mentioned as the saviour or even as a person who died at the cross?
I vaguely remember that a Christmas carol or two, on one or two popular shows, may have been sung....but maybe it was in a Christmas movie, I just can't remember.
I don't even think that Jesus was mentioned in 50's sitcoms either.
Now I do know that Jews wrote, directed, and produced many of the most popular prime time shows, but lets face it, if Jesus would sell, Jesus would have been written in the scripts. And Jews didn't write, direct, and produce everything. But Jews still had to be careful, because it wasn't until 1964 that the Catholics finally stopped being real open about the Jews killing Jesus thingy.
I know Sunday mornings were full of preachers and gospel shows, but other than that, where was Jesus?
Lets start with the 50's (before I was born):
The Honeymooners (Ralph was a lodge member, they didn't want too many cults in the show)
Ozzie and Harriet (The ultimate 50's Fundy family, where was Jesus?)
The Show of Shows (Ok way too many Jews involved for Jesus to be mentioned)
Jack Benny and The Milton Berle Show (see Show of Shows)
I Love Lucy (Jesus had problems with a mixed marriage in the 50's)
Perry Mason (Raymond Burr didn't need Jesus, he could walk in this show)
Father Knows Best (I don't recall ever watching this show)
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (Hitchcock thought he was Jesus)
Looney Tune Cartoons (Mel Blanc would probably have not mentioned Jesus)
Adventures of Superman (I guess they didn't want to mention the competition)
Leave It To Beaver (surely the Beave and Wally went to church, I just don't remember)

How about the 60's?
The Twilight Zone (All those supernatural happenings, but no Jesus)
Bewitched (Too much blasphemy implications, Jesus and witches don't mix well)
Gilligan's Island (Sherwood Schwartz never had any of the castaways pray to Mr.Christ)
Batman (Batman didn't need Jesus, and the crooks couldn't be associated with Jesus)
The Flintstones (I remember a Christmas show, but even the most fundamental Christians don't believe that Jesus and cavemen coexisted, and that cavemen came first)
Gunsmoke/Bonanza (Possible, I didn't watch Westerns much, but I don't recall JC being uttered)
Lassie (Dogs don't go to Christian heaven)
Mission Impossible (they could have done a show on the resurrection but didn't)
Get Smart (Too much death, and Don Adams was a Jew)
Gomer Pyle (Jesus hates homosexuals)
Dick Van Dyke Show (Buddy had a Bar Mitzvah, but that doesn't count)
I Dream of Jeannie (Too much supernatural stuff and was Jeannie a Christian or a Muslim? Too many questions)
Addams Family (Maybe Jesus was Thing, nah probably not, no nail holes on the hand)
The Munsters (Way too much controversy: God didn't piece together man, he wouldn't condone of Herman, or Grandpa with his blood drinking fetish)
The Monkees (Didn't Jesus love the hippy generation? No reciprocation?)
Dragnet (Jesus stayed away from crime shows, and still does)
Ironside (Jesus would have easily made Raymond Burr walk if he was ever mentioned in the show)
Hogan's Hero's (Everyone knows the Nazis were atheists...even if it isn't true at all)
Star Trek (The show totally didn't mention the Rapture, so how could they dare mention Jesus?)

Now, this post has got me curious. When was Jesus Christ first mentioned on a Prime Time show? The 70's? The Brady Bunch maybe? The Partridge Family? Don't tell me it was Welcome Back Kotter or The Gong Show? I'm sure he was mentioned on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, I think one of the characters was a die hard believer...I think.

UPDATE: It seems Dragnet did an episode in 1953 where Jesus was mentioned as loved by a boy. Here is a synopsis:

"The Big Little Jesus"

Original Air Date: December 22, 1953 Approx Time: 25 min.

Father Rojas contacts the LAPD to report the theft of a long-displayed statue In the likeness of the baby Jesus from a nativity scene that is about to go on display at his church-Insisting that parishioners would not understand If a different representation were to be used. Friday and his partner scurry around chasing down clues, but, in the end, they go to Father Rojas to tell the priest they failed to recover the statue. As they address Father Rojas, a small boy enters the church and comes up the aisle pulling a wagon. In it is the purloined statue. Father Rojas speaks to the youth in Spanish, then tells the officers that the boy had prayed for a red wagon. “He promised that if he got the red wagon,” the priest relates, “that the child Jesus would have the first ride In It.”


  1. You've got me... Like you, I just remember him in holiday things.

    I'm sure it wasn't the Monkees, lol, I watched that a lot in grade school...

  2. What prompted this? Did you hear Him mentioned recently during primetime?

  3. The moment you start preaching you become entertainment. Entertainment does not preach and is therefore incompatible with religion.

  4. Paul, I never got the Monkees and I still don't, but I did watch it.

    Jonny, this post just came to me. Jesus is mentioned all the time now. I'm sure now that I think about it that All In The Family could have broke the ice on the topic. South Park, Family Guy, etc even have Jesus characters today.

    Shlemazl, a show doesn't have to preach, but a character could have been heavily into God and Jesus and the show could have still been entertainment. Would it have been totally off base if Mrs. Cleaver said to Beaver, "I'm sure Jesus would forgive you"

  5. Back then it was assumed that EVERYONE was Christian, so they didn't bother to mention one way or another unless the person was NOT Christian Protestant. It was kind of assumed. Although I do remember a lot of the old reruns mentioning church groups and functions, sort of in the context of "baking a pie for next Sunday's church social."

  6. BEAJ, there was an episode of the original Star Trek that while it did not mention Jesus specifically, it did deal with the possibility of Christianity arising on another world.

    Do you remember the episode where the Enterprise encounters a planet which is ruled by a 20th Century version of the Roman Empire. The crew meets some of the slaves, who seem to to refer to themselves as "Children of the Sun". But by episode's end, when Kirk & Co. are back on the bridge, Lieutentant Uhura corrects them and says they meant "Children of the Son", meaning followers of Jesus. I think Kirk even mentions "Caesar, Christ, they had them both" and marvels that the prospect of actually being there to witness the birth of Christianity.

    While television programs of the 50's and 60's did not have much in the way of Christian themes, the movies of the era did. It was the era of movies like "The Robe", "The Ten Commandments", "Ben Hur", "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and "King of Kings".

  7. maybe back then people weren't so hostile to Jesus and so respected Christian sensitivities against making images of Jesus or speaking of him according to their own conceptions, whereas now nobody cares about offending Christians or blasphemy, so He's mentioned all the time, particularly as a curse word

  8. You do make a good point. This made me remember that in the early seventies, Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell were the first public airings of religion (Jesus) as a subject of entertainment. Counter to shlemazl, these shows were entertainment and they did raise the profile of religion, albeit Jesus Christ.

  9. Seems to me the Mike Stivick (Rob Reiner)character was an atheist on All in the Family and that was a passing topic from time to time. I vaguely remember some mention of Jews or Jewish something or another during the Sammy Davis episode. It was a long time ago so ...? Other than that I don't recall Jesus or any religion, for that matter, being mentioned very much.