List of 1940s TV Shows
Browse the full list of 1940s TV shows streaming online, including services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO and more. Sort by Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB rating, popularity and more to find something to watch!
1. Tom and Jerry
What it's about: Tom and Jerry is a series of theatrical animated cartoon films created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, centering on a rivalry between a cat and a mouse whose chases include slapstick comedy.
Where to Watch: 78 episodes (37%) are available to rent or buy from $0.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).
2. The Lone Ranger
What it's about: The Lone Ranger is an American western television series that ran from 1949 to 1957, starring Clayton Moore with Jay Silverheels as Tonto. The live-action series initially featured Gerald Mohr as the episode narrator. Fred Foy served as both narrator and announcer of the radio series from 1948 to its finish and became announcer of the television version when story narration was dropped there. This was by far the highest-rated television program on the ABC network in the early 1950s and its first true "hit".
Where to Watch: 221 episodes (100%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 3 services (Google Play, Prime Video & YouTube).
3. You Bet Your Life
What it's about: You Bet Your Life is an American quiz show that aired on both radio and television. The original and best-known version was hosted by Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers, with announcer and assistant George Fenneman. The show debuted on ABC Radio in October 1947, then moved to CBS Radio in September 1949 before making the transition to NBC-TV in October 1950. Because of its simple format, it was possible to broadcast the show simultaneously on the radio and on television. In 1960, the show was renamed The Groucho Show and ran a further year. Most episodes are in the public domain.The play of the game, however, was secondary to the interplay between Groucho, the contestants, and occasionally Fenneman. The program was rerun into the 1970s, and later in syndication as The Best of Groucho. As such, it was the first game show to have its reruns syndicated.
Where to Watch: 24 episodes (7%) are available to watch free online (Tubi). 30 episodes (9%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Hulu & Best Ever).
What it's about: Superman made his animated debut in this series of seventeen classic Technicolor short films produced by Fleischer Studios and its successor Famous Studios in the 1940s.
Where to Watch: 17 episodes (74%) are available to stream on a subscription service (DC Universe). 23 episodes (100%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).
What it's about: Superman is a 15-part black-and-white Columbia film serial based on the comic book character Superman. It stars an uncredited Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. It is notable as the first live-action appearance of Superman on film and for the longevity of its distribution. The serial was directed by Thomas Carr, who later directed many early episodes of the Adventures of Superman television show, and Spencer Gordon Bennet, produced by Sam Katzman and shot in and around Los Angeles, California. It was originally screened at movie matinées and after the first three scene-setting chapters, every episode ends in a cliffhanger. The Superman-in-flight scenes are animations, in part due to the small production budget.
Where to Watch: 15 episodes (100%) are available to stream on a subscription service (DC Universe). 15 episodes (100%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).
6. Westinghouse Studio One
What it's about: Studio One is an American radio–television anthology series, created in 1947 by Canadian director Fletcher Markle, who came to CBS from the CBC.
Where to Watch: 2 episodes (0%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video). 2 episodes (0%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).
7. Meet the Press
What it's about: Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program airing on NBC. It is the longest-running television series in American broadcasting history, despite bearing little resemblance to the original format of the program seen in its television debut on November 6, 1947. Meet the Press is the highest-rated of the American television Sunday morning talk shows. It has been hosted by 11 moderators, beginning with Martha Rountree. The current host is David Gregory, who assumed the role in December 2008. The show began using a new set on May 2, 2010, with video screens and a library-style set with bookshelves, and different, modified intro music, with David Gregory previewing the guests using a large video screen, and with the Meet the Press theme music in a shorter "modernized [style]... the beginning repeated with drum beats". Meet the Press and similar shows specialize in interviewing national leaders on issues of politics, economics, foreign policy and other public affairs.Over the past few years, the program's usual time slot over the NBC network is between 9-10 a.m. local time in most markets, though this may vary by markets due to commitments by affiliates to religious, E/I or local news and public affairs programming. It also varies several weeks in the summer due to morning coverage of French Open tennis or the Monaco Grand Prix by NBC Sports. In earlier years, the program would air at noon every Sunday. The program also re-airs Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. ET and early Monday mornings at 4 a.m. ET on MSNBC, along with an early Monday morning replay as part of NBC's "All Night" lineup. The program is also distributed to radio stations via syndication by Dial Global, and aired as part of C-SPAN Radio's replay of the Sunday morning talk shows.
Where to Watch: 166 episodes (5%) are available to watch free online (NBC & NBC News). 1 episodes (0%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Hulu). 7 episodes (0%) are available to stream on a TV everywhere service (NBC News).
8. The Goldbergs
What it's about: The Goldbergs is a comedy-drama broadcast from 1929 to 1946 on American radio, and from 1949 to 1956 on American television. It was adapted into a 1948 play, Me and Molly, a 1950 film The Goldbergs, and a 1973 Broadway musical, Molly.
Where to Watch: 60 episodes (85%) are available to watch free online (Tubi). 67 episodes (94%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).
What it's about: Suspense is an American television anthology series that ran on CBS Television from 1949 to 1954. It was adapted from the radio program of the same name which ran from 1942 to 1962. Like many early television programs, the show was broadcast live from New York City. It was sponsored by the Auto-Lite corporation, and each episode was introduced by host Rex Marshall, who promoted Auto-Lite spark plugs, car batteries, headlights, and other car parts. Some of the early scripts were adapted from Suspense radio scripts, while others were original for television. Like the radio program, many scripts were adaptations of literary classics by well-known authors. Classic authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, and Charles Dickens all had stories adapted for the series, while contemporary authors such as Roald Dahl and Gore Vidal also contributed. Many notable actors appeared on the program, including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Franchot Tone, Robert Emhardt, Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, and many more.The program was a live television series, but most episodes were recorded on kinescope. However, only about 90 of the 260 episodes survive today.
Where to Watch: 87 episodes (33%) are available to stream on a subscription service (Best Ever).
10. Batman and Robin - The 1949 Serial
What it's about: Join superheroes Batman (Robert Lowery) and Robin (John Duncan) as they help Commissioner Gordon (Lyle Talbot) battle The Wizard, a villainous madman who steals a top-secret remote device allowing him to control all the moving vehicles in Gotham. Between The Wizard trying to destroy them and Bruce Wayne's love interest Vicky Vale (Jane Adams) working to uncover their identities, The Dynamic Duo careen from one cliffhanger to the next as they set out to save Gotham and foil The Wizard's plan for world domination.
Where to Watch: 15 episodes (100%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).
11. Crusade in Europe
What it's about: Experience the complete Emmy® and Peabody® Award winning television event adapted from General Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s best-selling memoir and produced by the legendary March Of Time newsreel unit. This is the definitive documentary of the war that changed the world, breathtaking in its scope, incredible in its authenticity and featuring the most extraordinary combat footage ever captured. From the best-selling memoir by General Dwight D. Eisenhower comes the legendary television event that brings home all the heroism and horror of the deadliest conflict in human history.
Where to Watch: 26 episodes (100%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video). 26 episodes (100%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 3 services (Google Play, Prime Video & YouTube).
12. Casper and Friends
What it's about: Paramount Pictures Cartoon Studios and later, Paramount Cartoon Studios operated under the name of "Famous Studios" from 1943 - 1956. The studio was the successor to Fleischer Studios and continued producing the inherited Popeye cartoons. Later the studio developed such star characters as Little Lulu, Casper, Herman and Katnip and Baby Huey until the characters and rights were sold to "Harvey Comics" in 1959. The 1960's saw Paramount develop Swifty and Shorty as well as producing Popeye, Krazy Kat, Snuffy Smith, and Beetle Bailey for King Features television syndication package. In late 1967, with theatrical cartoons in decline, Paramount shut down its animation studio.
Where to Watch: 12 episodes (2%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video). 12 episodes (2%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).
13. David Hand's Animaland
What it's about: Unknown
Where to Watch: 9 episodes (100%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video). 9 episodes (100%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).
14. Television Playhouse
What it's about: Television Playhouse is an American anthology series that was broadcast live on NBC. The series aired from December 4, 1947 to April 11, 1948. The program was in cooperation with the National Theater and Academy, a federally sponsored theater group, and featured live performances of plays, some of which were by well-known authors.The first presentation was The Last of My Solid Gold Watchers by Tennessee Williams. Each episode was 30 minutes long, and featured actors and actresses who had not reached stardom. A wide variety of plays was presented on the program. Although short-lived, the "live play" format later became very popular during the early 1950s.
Where to Watch: 3 episodes (75%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video). 3 episodes (75%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).
15. The Wackiest Works of Tex Avery
What it's about: Unknown
Where to Watch: 23 episodes (100%) are available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video). 23 episodes (100%) are available to rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).