Okay, yes, the men of classic TV weren’t that progressive. In fact, some of these dudes are downright problematic. However, that’s not my focus here. I’m stepping back into my television wayback machine to look at some of my ideas on the hottest men of classic TV… this started out as a Top 5, and quickly became a Top 10 when I realized there were far too… many…. choices.
(Get ready for a dark and twisted trip into my psyche).
1.) Donald Hollinger- That Girl
What do I say about Donald Hollinger? I’m not even sure how old I was when I saw my first episode of That Girl. He’s lovable, adorable and a perfect supportive boyfriend to Marlo Thomas’ Ann Marie.
2.) Todd Stiles (Martin Milner)- Route 66
I came to Route 66 backwards. I actually fell hard for Martin Milner the first time I watched Adam-12 on TVLand. So, you could color me interested when I discovered Milner starred in a show before that one. To make things even more delightful, it featured Milner and the equally attractive George Maharis driving a gorgeous car through the desert. As Todd Stiles, Milner brings his traditional likability in spades… he’s a good guy, and that’s part of what makes him so attractive. That’s even before you get to his smile, and eyes that don’t quit.
3.) Dr. Alex Stone- The Donna Reed Show
Now, don’t get me wrong… Alex is terrible. When watching the nostalgic 1950s sitcom through a contemporary lens, he’s really everything which is wrong with masculinity in the 1950s. However, he’s also everything which is desireable with 1950s masculinity… chiseled jaw, gorgeous eyes, matinee idol good-looks, and he’s also a doctor. That’s right kids, we get to see him in a lab coat! Never mind he’s a bit petty, controlling and seems a bit threatened by his wife… I digress
4.) Rod Serling- The Twilight Zone
Brains are sexy. Brains are oh, so sexy. Sure, most might not see what brings this crazy sexiness to The Twilight Zone creator and host Rod Serling, but I always have. Is it the suit? Is it the fact he was also a writer? Is it that unbelievably amazing voice? All of the above, my friends. All of the above.
5.) Steve Allen- The Tonight Show
As I mentioned with my above entry, I find brains stupidly attractive. And like the delightful Rod Serling, Steve Allen brings so much beyond the superficial. Allen was a renaissance man, not only taking a lead role in writing and presenting the first installment of The Tonight Show, he was also a crazily talented songwriter, musician and novelist. He may have had problematic politics in his old age, but I’m choosing to not go there.
6.) Joe Friday- Dragnet
I’ll start this with a preface… remember that Dragnet was a part of American culture for a long, long time. While most remember the late 1960s installment which featured a crew-cutted Joe Friday taking down the progressive hippies of the era, that’s only one Joe Friday. The series actually premiered as a radio show in the late 1940s and ran on televison through much of the 1950s. This installment shows a much younger Joe Friday, less tired and saggy than he is in the late 1960s. And, have I mentioned that voice??? Full stop.
7.) Captain Wilton Parmenter- F-Troop
F-Troop is one of the more problematic series on this list. However, I digress. From my earliest memories, the adorable Ken Berry was always there in the corner of my consciousness.
Wilton Parmenter isn’t the… quickest. He’s clumsy. He’s an easy mark for Sergeant O’Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and Corporal Agarn (Larry Storch). However, he remains so earnest, and so well-meaning throughout the whole series. Add to that Berry’s adorable chemistry with featured actress Melody Paterson as local shopkeeper Wrangler Jane… precious. They’re completely and utterly cute, I can’t stand it.
8.) John Steed- The Avengers
With all of the different versions of the Avengers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the each one apart in the scope of popular culture. I’ll give you a hint, watch the long-running British series. In fact, the show is probably responsible for making me…me.
John Steed, duh. He’s dashing, British and wears fabulous clothes. For a girl with a fondness for accents and bowler hats, this is up my alley.
9.) Cheyenne Bodie- Cheyenne
While I’m not a western efficianado, I’ll be straight with you here. Actor Clint Walker was 6’6″ and absolutely oozed a brooding, period masculinity. I’m only human after all.
10.) Dr. Kildare- Dr. Kildare
While Lew Ayres will always and forever be my favorite Dr. Kildare, Richard Chamberlain’s take on the legendary character in the long-running medical procedural definitely makes me take notice. Look at those chiseled good looks. Just look. I mean, it comes as no surprise that the actor is a mainstay in prime time, usually exotic soap operas when he wasn’t playing the good doctor. He’s so… pretty! And like Alex Stone above, lab coats are sexy.
I was reared on classic TV and my Nick and Nite viewing shaped me into the vintage lady I am. There’s a lot more to come! Stay tuned!