Boys Costumes Depicted in Television Shows: "A" Alphabetical Listings

Figure 1.--"A.J. Wentworth" was an amusing British sitcom set in a British prep school. The boys are quite charming. They all wear traditional uniforms, including short trousers and kneesocks. I don't remember any episodes that actually dealt with clothing. There were only six episodes made.

HBC will list TV series alphabetically here to make them easier to find. TV shows, except for American TV shows, are generally not well know in countries other than in the countries in which they were made. They are also much more current than movies. Almost all TV shows date from the 1950s at the earliest. Costume dramas have the same problems as in the movies, but a great deal of useful information is avialible from TV shows set in contemporary periods. As non-American TV shows are not as widely distributed as movies, often little information is available on these shows outside each country. Movies are often widely distributed in foreign countries. TV shows, with the exceptiion of American programs, are generally not. As an American, we have, for example, never seen German, French, and Italian TV shows. Thus the TV pages provide a much-needed source of information on foreign programing.

ABC Weekend Special - (US, 1980s)

Well done short shows, almost always about children with useful glimpses of generally contemporary clothing. Quite a relief from the terrible fare usually presented to kids on Saturday. It's been a while since I've seen them. I believe some were animated, but most of them used real actors. "The Ransom of Red Chief." was especially also worth seeing. A dreadfully behaved boy, about 10, is kidnapped. His father refuses to pay his ransom and the boy drives the kidnappers wild. Set in the 1880s or so, based on a Bret Hart? short story. The boy wears knee length pants and knee socks. "Soup and Me", was another good one. Profiled in "TV Specials"

AJ Wentworth - (UK, 1982)

Amusing British sitcom set in a British prep school. The boys are quite charming. They all wear traditional uniforms, including short trousers and kneesocks. I don't remember any episodes that actually dealt with clothing. There were only six episodes made. The series was based on stories written by H.F. Ellis, which first appeared in the satirical English magazine Punch. The tories were then compiled into two books, The Papers of A J Wentworth, BA (1949) and The Papers of A J Wentworth, BA (Ret'd) (1962). The series were the misadventures of math master (teacher) of dodling A.J. Wentworth BA. He taught at a boys' preparatorty school--Burgrove. A British prep school is school for children 8-13 years of age. The stories are set in the 1940s at which time these schools were mostly single gender schools, usually boarding schools in rural settings. Wentworth was liked by the boys, but often had trouble maintaing discipline. He had an obsession with the up-keep of the school's honour and amusingly the high cost of pen nibs. He was forever matching wits with boys. His real nemesis, however, was the humorless Matron who ws less popular with the boys. The series rather reminded one of Jennings, although not set around one of th oys as the main character. The Wentworth series had a sad footnote. The series was the final one for the masterful, Arthur Lowe who was best known for his part of Captain Mainwaring in Dads Army and previously Mr Swindley in Coronation Street during the 1960s. The Wentworth series was recorded just a few weks before Lowe's untimely death.

Abbot and Costello - (US, 1951-53)

The famous comedy team is best know for their movies. They are of course remembered for their trade mark "Whose on first," routein. They also had a half hour sit com or early television. One of the characters was a malevolent brat named Stinky who terrorized Lou Costello. Stinky was always dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, and is a good example of how this costume in the 1950s was used for satire or to denote a spoiled, usually rich, kid. Stinky was played by an adult, presumably many boys would have not wanted the part. A HBC reader points out that Stinky was played by one of the later Joe's of the "Three Stooges". Te actor was Joe Besser. He had a "sissy act" which he played with the character he did, from bit parts in movies to Joe in the "Three Stooges" to Stinky on the "Abbott and Costello Show". He also did voiceovers in cartoons. He was the genie Babu in Jeannie, a cartoon version of "I Dream Of Jeannie".

Act II - (US, 1987)

Pilot comedy about a Broadway performer who gives up her career to marry a widower with three kids. One is a boy about 8 years old.

(The) Adams Chronicles - (US)

Well done historical series presented on PBS about John Adams and his descendants. Several boys are depicted, but the costuming is disappointing. There are two boys depicted in white sailor suits and straw hats in background shots during the last episode or two set about 1880, but they wear long pants.

(The) Adventures of Beans Baxter - (US,1987-88)

Interesting adventure for kids from Fox. Beans is , but a bit too old and in high school. He has a spiky hair younger brother, who rarely appears. Kids are often pictured, but rarely any thing of interest. In one episode centered at a Scout camp, few campers were in uniform and only a handful of the boys wore shorts.

Adventures of Oky Doky - (US,1948-49)

A puppet named Oky Doky ran a dude ranch to which the kids flocked. They watched a Western Adventure and participated in games and talent contests. I never saw this show as kid, it was before we had a television. I wonder if some of the kids wore shorts.

Figure 2.--"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" is one of the longest running sitcoms on American television. It is remarkable for the fact that nothing ever happened on the show. It has not been picked up for sindication. Ricky of course went on to become a popular singer.

(The) Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - (US,1952-66)

Long running sitcom, archetype show depicting idealized American family that was portrayed on American television during this period. It never was a very high ranking sitcom, but always pulled in a resptecable readership. The show was notable for its popularity and long run, but interestingly nothing ever seemed to happen on the show. It has to be the most low-key show in the history of American television--perhaps that was its charm. Interesting though that this one has not been syndicated like some of the others. The boys were brought on the show when Ricky Nelson was quite young and they grew up as the years passed. Ricky was much more comfortable with acting than his older brother David. The boys' clothes are a good example of contemporary American clothing. The boys never wore short pants. It is a wonderful show case of what the average American boy wore in the 1950s. I never remember any especially interesting episodes. George "Foghorn" Winslow appeared in some guest spots. The show was an ikon for those wanting family values. Interestingly, the boys' education was sorely neglected--especilly Ricky's education. That embarassed him in later life because he was such a poor reader. So on this show stressing family values, the boys were in a sence being exploited.

(The) Adventures of Pete and Pete - (US,1993)

A Nickelodeon sitcom tracking the stream of consciousness of two decidedly different brothers with the same name. The two boys are played by Michael Maronna and Danny Tamberelli.

(The) Adventures of Rin Tin Tin - (US,1954-59)

Based on the popular Rin Tin Tin movies. The TV show featured TV's "other" dog and a small boy named Rusty (Lee Aaker). Set in the Old West and featured more violent action than "Lassie". Rusty was an orphan raised by Calvary soldiers. I don't recall any interesting episodes, but I do remember Rusty constantly crying, "Yo ho, Rinty." Like many American TV programs, this showha ben shown around the world. An Australian rader writes, "I also remember the boy Lee Aaker who played Corperal Rusty in the lovely old Rin Tin Tin tv series. I remember as a boy that I loved the beautiful German Sheperd dog called Rin Tin Tin. (I also loved the old original Lassie tv series too.) I used to run around in an old blue jeans jacket with yellow corperal insignia sewn on the sleeves and with my younger brother we used to think we were Rusty or one of the Yankee soldiers. I had American toy capguns and bow and arrow sets and bow and arrows made from small tree twigs and fishing line twine as the string of the bow. I had a cowboy hat made from cheap plastic or fabrics."

After the War - (UK,1989)

Well done British show about two boys who grow up after the war. One is from a wealthy British family, the other a German refugee. The first show has them as boys at a prep school. The boys of course are all in shorts. A little canning and one boy showing his marks to his mates on the beach. Well worth seeing. The rest of the series is well done, but only the first episode is of real interest. The last episode shows the next generation. One boy is very small, the other about eight and read for his prep school. They both wear shorts. The older boy is done up for one scene in white knee socks and proper sandals.

(The) Aldrich Family - (US, 1949-53)

Television version of the long running radio series. Show centered around a high school boy, Henry Aldrich, and his buddies. There was quite a lot of turn over on the show, five boys played Henry (Robert Casey, Richard Tyler, Henry Girard, Kenneth Nelson, and Bobby Ellis). I don't remember watching it as a boy and thus don't know of any interesting episodes.

Alf - (US,1986-87)

Features an extraterrestrial puppet. I didn't originally care for the show, but I must say it is growing on me. The boy (Benji Gregory) is about 7 years old I think when the show began. Unfortunately he generally has very small roles. I like him because, unlike other kids on TV, he is not smart elicky and cocky. He plays a perfect, wide-eyed innocent boy, very refreshing. Like most of the TV kids, he almost never wears shorts or interesting costumes. I did see him in shorts (rather baggy) and knee socks as part of his Boy Badger Scout uniform. Alf makes fun of him, about the uniform, he didn't specifically mention the shorts.

Alice - (US,1976- )

Based on the movie, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." I never cared much for this show, but it did have a boy, Tommy (Philip McKeon) who was Alice's son. He was about 12 years old when the show began and gradually evolved into a gangly teenager.

All Creatures Great and Small - (UK, 1976, 1983, and 1990)

Lovely series set in Yorkshire about the life of country vets. The series is based on the James Heriot books. Heriot was actually a Yorkshire vet and the books are loosely based on his experiences.It is set in the late 1930's and then after James returns from World War II in the kate 40s and in the early 50s. There are quite a few scenes in the entire series with typical boys clothing from both of those decades. In the first episodes there are occasional scenes with local boys, of course in shorts. Casual every day clothing is featured rather than school uniforms. In the 1930's section, the poorer farm boys are dressed in ragged clothes such as shirts, jackets, trousers, long socks with cloth caps and ankle-high boots. The episodes set immediately after the war feature Jimmy, James' son at about 5 or so. The boy playing Jimmy is brilliant. I have rarely seen a more convincing performance. In the next series of episodes James' son (Oliver Wilson) is about 12 or 13. While all to rarely pictured he does have a lovely school uniform with shorts and a red blazer and cap. In one episode he participates with a group of other children doing Scottish dances. He and other boys looked very smart in their kilts. I was watching this with my mother and she commented on the boys wearing kilts. "Don't they look silly," she said. "Those boys must feel foolish dressed like that or don't they know any better." In another episode he is shown in a sports jacket, cord shorts, fawn knee socks, and the "t" strap sandals that British boys used to wear. In the 1950's section, the farm boys tend to be better dressed wearing shorts, knee socks, buttoned shirts and sleeveless sweaters with either brown T-strap sandals or black Wellington boots.

Amazing Tales - (US,1986-87)

Steven Speilberg's little half hour stories. They often deal with boys: 1) a baby sitter tames two little horrors (who appear in shorts), 2) a beautiful unwanted boy is reborn to a mother who wants him, 3)a dreamer who first appears in knickers makes a fortune by keeping true to himself.

American Gothic - (US, 1995- )

Lucas Black appears as Caleb in the opening of the series. Lucas is about 11 or 12, but plays a role as a rough kid. He is very good with close cropped hair. There is a much gratuitous violence, gory scenes, and typical bad cop (sheriff) nonsense as one can take.

Figure 3.--"And Mother Makes Three" was a popular family sitcom in the 1970s. The family has two sons who sometimes appear in their school uniforms. Notice that the younger boy wears a school cap with his uniform. His older brother always seemed to loosen his tie.

And Mother Makes Three - (England, 197?)

And Mother Makes Three was a popular family sitcom in the 1970s. The family has two sons who sometimes appear in their school uniforms. Simon wears a school uniform of grey trousers'school tie' grey shirt with a green blazer with red piping and red badge and black Oxford shoes. He has moppy hair. He always loosened his neck tie after school. David wears the same uniform as his big brother Simon, but with a school cap and a pair of Midford style grey short trousers with grey kneesocks with the school colour hoops. One Australian reader remembers watching the program with his parents and how they commented that the boys looked very smart in their school uniforms.

(The) Andy Griffith Show - (US, 1960-68)

Opie (Ron Howard) was great little actor, especially when he was younger. He was always impeccably well behaved as widdower Sheriff Andy Taylor's son. He sometimes had important roles. He and his friends always wore long pants, almost always jeans. One of Opie's friends was Keith Thibodeaux, who had played Little Ricky on "I Love Lucy". He never had any significant roles, but him and Oppie became good friends. The only reference I remember to clothing in a plot was when Aunt Bee told Oppie that she had mended his knickers which she called his baseball pants. Opie looked at her in a disgusted manner and insisted that they weren't knickers. Latter Helen Crump, Andy' girl friend and Opie's teacher, wanted to take a picture. Aunt Bee gushes "Oh, doesn't he look adorable in his costume. Helen agrees, but the camera swings to Andy in his umpire uniform. Then Aunt Bee grabs Opie who doesn't want to come over to have his picture taken. "Oh, no Aunt Bee! I don't want to," he protests as she drags him over. Oppie reminds me of the way I used to dress as a boy, striped "t" shirt, dungarees, and Keds. After a few years Barnie left the show, but it was never as good. Later continued as "Mayberry RFD" without Andy and Oppie.

Angeles Sin Paraíso - (Mexico?, 1996)

Two children with a dying father are being taken care of by their evil aunt. She is very strict with them. They have to take cold water baths. They have a nanny. One boy is about eight or so. He is smartly dressed in below the knee shorts. They have to be very polite and kiss her on the cheek. They eat in the kitchen, some kind of gruel while the aunt has fancy meals.

Annette - (US, 195?)

am not sure what the first American television show was show with a girl as main character?. The Mickey Mouse Club had a segment called "Annette", starring Annette Funicello and Tim Considine.

Annie Oakley - (US, 1953-56)

Rather insipid Western. Annie lived with her kid brother Tagg who was played by Jimmy Hawkins. I don't recall any interesting episodes, he always wore jeans.

Another Day - (US,1978)

Short lived sitcom about a money-short businessman and his wife. He had an inhibited 12 year old son, Mark (Al Eisenmann), and a totally uninhibited teenage daughter.

Apple Pie - (1978)

Short lived sitcom about a woman who "picked" her family. The boy she picked was named Junior (Derrel Maury). It only ran twice.

Apple's Way - (1974-75)

George Apple decides to take his family from the big city to the country. The city-bred children had trouble adjusting. Two boys were involved, Paul (Vincent Van Patten) and Steven (Eric Olson). I don't know of any interesting episodes.

Are You Afraid of the Dark - (US, 1993)

Teenagers tell scary stories around a campfire. One is about a prissy boy about 13, who with his big sister encounter ghosts. (He wears rather formal clothes, including a blazer and tie.) In another a brother and sister are sent to a sinister boarding school where the children are drugged by aliens. The girl fusses about her "geeky" uniform. The boys wear blazers and ties.

Aron's Way - (US, 1988)

A Quaker family moves to California and has difficulty adjusting to life away from their religious brethren. The son in the family is nicely played by Scott Curtis. He is about 11 and always wear long black pants.

Avonlea - (US, 1989?)

Disney replacement for "Anne of Green Gables." The girls wear crisp white pinafores. The boys wear knickers. Andrew (Joel Blake) is one of the boys. The story begins when Sara arrives with her officious Nanny who upsets everyone.

Avonlea - (Canada, early 1990s)

The Canadian TV show, Avonlea was produced in the early 1990s and set on Prince Edward Island, a maritime province of Canada. The time is about 1910, and the Edwardian clothes of the players seem quite authentic. This "family" show revolves around the experiences of the residents of a small town on the Island. Many episodes feature the school children. For school the boys wear black suits with knee length trousers and long black stockings, white shirts, and black ties and caps. Several networks (Disney Channel, Family Channel) have shown this well made series in syndication.


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Created: March 13, 2000
Last updated: February 14 2004