It took some time for TV stations and studios to learn how to preserve the television shows that they produced. Before the idea of filming television shows on film, studios and networks broadcasted their shows live or using low-quality kinescopes. This meant that a lot of early shows that were televised live didn’t make it past the 1950s. But, that was not the only reason why some of these classic TV shows got lost over time. Some were lost because they were never recorded because they were broadcasted live, some were filmed using low-quality film, and some were lost simply by the negligence of the networks.
This is why in this article, we are going to remember the classic TV shows that have been lost or destroyed.
The entire DuMont Network – This is not just one TV series, in fact, most of the whole film archive of the DuMont Television Network was destroyed. That’s roughly about 175 television series with thousands of episodes. Out of all those series, only about 100 events were retrieved. In fact, actress Edie Adams even testified at the Library of Congress that of the taped episodes were dumped into the Upper New York Bay in the 1970s. She said this is because the owners thought that it was insignificant.
Search for Tomorrow – This TV show had about 35 seasons. Still, surprisingly, there aren’t hardly any evidence that it was even made. Search for tomorrow started out as a 15-minute long show that ran alongside the other famous TV series, Guiding Light, in 1951. This show was broadcast live up until 1968, and from then on, the show began to pre-record episode. However, in 1983, a tragedy struck, and the network lost all their pre-recorded episodes. Which is why they had to ask the actors had to perform the show live for the first time in 16 years. Some reports said that the network only made up the story that they lost all the episodes and considered it to be a publicity stunt. Nevertheless, all the episodes still haven’t been found.
The Edge of Night – During the first 20 years of television, shows such as soap operas, we’re not preserved the same way that primetime shows did. In fact, there is hardly any record of soap operas before 1978, except for Dark Shadows. The Edge of Night had a total of 7,420 episodes, and it ended in 1984, however, a vast majority of episodes can no longer be found.
The Tonight Show starring Jack Paar – It’s entirely reasonable for a show that has been around for over six decades to lose some episodes. However, back then, The Tonight Show used to tape over its earliest episodes, which means they erased most of the episodes they filmed before 1972. This also means that only a few episodes remain from the entire time that Jack Paar hosted the show.
Jeopardy! – Of course, the rest of the episodes of Jeopardy! is not lost. However, almost all of the entire taped original version of the show, which aired from 1964-1975, can no longer be found. In fact, only one percent remains out of the 2,753 shows that were broadcasted during that time.
The Magnificent Marble Machine – If there is a classic TV game show that almost got entirely lost, it probably is The Magnificent Marble Machine. It aired for a couple seasons during the mid-1970s; however, you can only find two existing episodes of this celebrity game show.
The Shari Lewis Show – Shari Lewis, the ventriloquist and the star of this self-titled show, is also known for introducing Lamb Chop to the country. The show was broadcasted every Saturday morning from 1960-1963. However, in 1964, the network where the show aired decided to use the tapes from the show to record the 1964 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, which resulted in losing the records of the show.
Mary Kay and Johnny – The series broke records because it was the first television show that featured a couple sharing the same bed. However, the show is also known for only having one episode in existence. Just like any other TV shows during the 1940s, Mary Kay and Johnny were broadcasted live, which means that the earliest episodes of this show were never even recorded. But also if some of the later episodes were taped, they didn’t have the chance to survive the test of time.