Television


Updated: 04/19/2018
Red indicates updated text or corrections

This page is divided into two sections, both listed in chronological order.
Bible Series for Children on American Television
Bible Series for a General Audience on American Television

Abreviations: 
syn - syndicated
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcasting Corporation
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
TBN - Trinity Broadcasting Network



Bible Series For Children on American Television 

1930 - 1949

Story From The Book (c. 1948 WCAU, Philadelphia; 1950 - 1951 WPIX, New York).
Bible stories told with cutouts by a woman named Jean Seeley. Series moved from Philadelphia to New York after a year. Jean Seeley's series was praised in the International Journal of Religious Education and slightly criticized by New York Times television critic Jack Gould.
See my BLOG article for more.

Children's Bible Hour (television version, 1949 - c.1950s).
More information coming. Several episodes were posted on YouTube as part of Keys For Kids Summer of Retro, in 2015. This series may have also been called A Visit With Aunt Bea at times.


View more vintage episodes of the Children's Bible Hour with Aunt Bea at the Keys For Kids YouTube Channel. 

Youth on the March (1949 - 1953, ABC, DuMont).
Television ministry of Rev. Percy Crawford. Began as Young People's Church of the Air on radio in 1931.

Watch the October 4, 1949 episode from the Wheaton College Archives.

For more about the life and ministry of Percy Crawford:
http://www.ruthandpercycrawford.com/
http://percycrawford.com/
http://crawfordbroadcasting.com/history/
"As This Is Our First Broadcast....Percy and Ruth Crawford and The Birth of Televangelism"

1950 - 1959


Bible Puppets (Puppet Bible Stories)  (syn. c. 1950 -  mid 1960s)
A series of at least 11 Bible stories enacted by the Mabel Beaton Puppeteers. Commissioned by the Protestant Radio Commission as early as 1949. The films were syndicated as late as 1964. One film "Story of the Prodigal Son" unearthed and posted online by A/V Geeks around 2010. Another print of the same short exists at Wheaton College.  See this blog post for more.

Bible Stories (Bible Story) (1950 - ?, WENR, Chicago).
Half-hour Sunday noontime series hosted by Kay Morrow. Possibly renamed or reformatted the next year as "Stories in the Sand" which was also hosted by Morrow. In this series Morrow narrated Bible stories while using figurines and "miniature sand stage" while the children gathered around. Musical accompaniment was provided by a 10-voice children's choir. Summary from Broadcasting, Jan. 23, 1950 pg. 75

Bible Stories (1950 - ???, WFMY Greensboro, NC)
"Aunt Fanny" Sellars delighted young viewers in this Sunday evening series in which she used felt cutouts to visualize her stories.

Guess or Know (c. 1951 WCAU Philadelphia, PA).
Bible quiz show with young contestants, developed by the Philadelphia Council of Churches. Also praised by the International Journal of Religious Education.

Stories In The Sand (1951, WENR Chicago, IL).
A Sunday afternoon series hosted by Kay Morrow. It was briefly mentioned in the Chicago Tribune by critic Larry Walters. Likely the same as her "Bible Story" series which aired the previous year at the same time. Not to be confused with "Stories in the Sand" a modern Arabic Christian children's series on SAT7 Kids.

Bible Tales Retold (c. 1952 - ? WFIL Philadelphia, PA).
A Saturday Afternoon series hosted by the Rev. Stanley Kiehl Gambell (1914 - 1966) of Philadelphia. The exact contents of this program are unknown. Rev. Gambell was also a pioneer in public broadcasting in the New York area.

TV Sunday School (1952, WFIL Philadelphia)
Sunday morning series with unknown contents, but simple titles like "Jairus", "Naaman, The Leper" and "The First Disciple".

Children's Bible Fellowship Program (c. mid-1950s)
More research is needed, but at some point the CBF ministries, currently still located in New York after 73 years of ministry, had a locally broadcast television program by their founder the Rev. Winfield "Uncle Win" Ruelke that may have started in 1953.


Bible Picture Stories (cover) by Lois J. Fisher. (1955) published by Children's Press, Chicago.

Scripture Sketches (1954 - 1955, KRON, San Francisco).
Sunday morning series hosted by cartoonist and author Lois J. Fisher (1901 - 1988), who also published a children's book (above) based on this series.

Old Testament Tales (1957, January 3 - 1957, March 28. CBC)
Canadian children's series with Bible tales written by Clare Slater that were hosted/enacted by puppeteers John and Linda Keogh, with John Botterel. This series was also view-able in many northeastern American states like Maine, New York, Vermont and Michigan

Article about "Old Testament Tales" by John and Linda Keogh, a CBC program [textual records]
Canadian Museum of History

1960 - 1969 

House of Happiness - (c. 1960s) 
San Diego, CA area series used to showcase the "Davey and Goliath" cartoons. Almost nothing else is known about this series. 

Davey and Goliath (syn. 1960 - 1964; 1971 - 1975).
Famous series (the one I am asked about the most) created by Art & Ruth Clokey and Dick Sutcliffe and produced by the Lutheran Church of America. Still seen on some Christian family networks, and online.

Radio and Television Yearbook 1960, pg. 1089
From the Media History Digital Library


Bible Story Game, The (c. 1960 - ?, WNBC-TV, New York)
Sunday morning game show created and hosted by Buddy Piper and his wife Beverly. May have aired as late as 1973. Produced by the Protestant Council of the City of New York.

Jot (c. 1968).
Animated cartoon with memorable surrealist style animation that premiered over station WFAA in Texas. They were written by Ruth Byers for the Radio and Television Commission of The Southern Baptist Convention.

End title frame from Tales From The Great Book,
 the animated series based on the long-running newspaper strip by John Lehti.

Tales From The Great Book (1967 - 1968, Overmeyer Network [ON]/United Network [UN])
Animated half hour series based on John Lehti's classic comic strip of the same name and a flagship program of the short lived Overmeyer Network.Available on VHS.

Title frame from Great Bible Stories, the animated series produced by
 the American Lutheran Church Department of TV/Radio/Films.  
Great Stories - Bible Stories [Great Bible Stories; Children's Heroes of the Bible] (1967).
A series of 65 four and a half minute cartoons underwritten by the American Lutheran Church Department of TV/Radio/Films. These cartoons were offered to TV stations for free.
Some episodes were released on VHS & DVD under the title "Children's Heroes of The Bible".



1970 - 1979 (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

Aunt Shirley's Schoolhouse - (c. 1976 - ????) Exact content unknown. A children's series hosted by Shirley Ellis over public access television in the Olean, New York area.


1980-1989 (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

Gospel Bill Show [Adventures in Dry Gulch] – (CBN & TBN, 1981 – 1993)



Superbook [Japanese Title: Animated Parent and Child Theatre (Anime Oyako Gekijō)] (1981 - 1982, CBN)
Popular anime television series produced by Tatsunoko Productions in Japan in conjunction with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in America.  The adventures of Christopher, Joy and the toy robot Gizmo as they travel throughout Bible history with the Superbook. Followed by a second series in 1983.

Flying House [Japanese Title: Tondera Hausu no Daibōken "Adventures of The Flying House"] (1982 - 1983)
The adventures of inventor Professor Bumble whose time-traveling house enables him and his three young friends to encounter people/events from the New Testament passages of the Bible.
All 52 episodes are currently available online for free.


Colby’s Clubhouse - (TBN, 1984 - 2000)
Colby, an anthropomorphic computer that has the entire Bible programmed into his memory, teaches children Christian principles and lessons. This series was written and produced by Peter and Hanneke Jacobs for the Trinity Broadcasting Networking.

McGee and Me, [Adventures of McGee and Me] – (June 4, 1989 - June 11, 1989)
12 half-hour adventures about Nicholas and his animated imaginary friend McGee. Produced Focus on the Family Living Bibles International, Tyndale Productions.

Gerbert – (1988 - 1991)
Geared towards children ages 3 - 7, this series is about a loveable puppet named Gerbert who teaches children about making right choices and learning about various life lessons. 
Quigley’s Village - 1989

1990 - 1999

Bill Gunther U.S. Marshall (1992 - 1996)

Bible Man (1995 - 2010)



Faithville



Veggie Tales 1993

2000s


Miss Charity’s Diner - Children's (2002 - 2006)
Spinoff of the Canadian children's series Faithville. Still seen on many Christian TV stations.

3-2-1- Penguins 2006

Bugtime Adventures (2006 - present)
This 13 episode animated series tells historical events described in the Bible along with fictional stories of the bug community of Bugglesville. Narrated by Willie Aames. Produced by Lightning Bug Flix.
http://www.bugtime.com/


Dr. Wonder’s WorkshopChildren's (2007 - present)
A joint production of Silent Blessings, Deaf Video Communications, Deaf Missions, this is the first children's TV program to star an all-deaf cast to teach American Sign Language. A very unique series and widely shown on American television.
http://www.drwonder.com/

BJ’s Teddy Bear Club and Bible Stories (2008 - present)

Adventures of Donkey Ollie - Children's (2010 - present)
https://www.donkeyollie.com/


Bible Series For General Audiences on American Television

Date Unknown


1930 - 1949


1950 - 1959

Circuit Rider (March 5, 1951 - May 7, 1951. ABC-TV, Sundays 11:00pm EST)
Very little is known about this early TV series which dramatized the lives of the evangelical clergymen who ventured all over the nation following the Revolutionary War. It was produced by the Methodist ministry America For Christ, Inc., and was developed for 52 episodes to run on ABC's late Sunday night schedule. Each episode was narrated by Rex Marshall and Rev. George Pigueron served as moderator. Episodes would also feature a guest speaker who would address a current topic.

Greatest Story Ever Told, The [TV Version] (1951 - 1952, ABC)
While several people have seen the 1965 film version of Fulton Oursler's novel, or may have heard the ABC radio drama, very few may know of this periodical TV version that aired over the course of one season. Known broadcasts included "The Widow's Mite", "No Room in the Inn" and "The Soldier's Servant"

Thrilling Bible Dramas (c. 1952 - c. 1955, syn)
A syndicated series of 1/2 hour programs produced by Cathedral Films/Cathedral Releasing the ministry of the Rev. James K. Friedrich). Seen in several markets which included: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, MI, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Raymond Massey Reads The Bible (produced 1951. syn. c. 1954 - ?)
Brief segments of Bible reading and teaching by actor Raymond Massey.

Blogpost: http://familybiblemedia.blogspot.com/2016/04/classic-television-raymond-massey-reads.html 

Out of the Past (syn. 1954 - c. 1960s).
This was a 26 - episode series of Bible stories distributed by Lakeside Television of New York. Where they were broadcast is a mystery, but the series is listed in broadcasting handbooks printed from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.

Old Testament Scriptures (1958 - ????) 
A live action television series produced by Concordia Pictures and Family Films, makers of Christian film for home and church use. Episodes were narrated by western film actor Eddie Dew.

Know Your Bible (late 1950s - early 1970s, WSIX, Nashville, Tenn)
A popular Bible game show that reportedly aired for at least 17 years with Dr. Ira North of the local Madison Church of Christ as the host. Sponsored locally by Purity Dairies.

Image of the sponsor from pg. 108 of Nashville Broadcasting by Lee Dorman.
Full page ad for local award presented to "Know Your Bible" - Broadcasting, May 28, 1962

1960 - 1969





1970 - 1979

Greatest Heroes of the Bible (November 19, 1978 - May 22, 1979 NBC-TV)
8 1/2 hour miniseries based on the Old Testament. Adaptations included "The Ten Commandments" and "Jacob's Challenge"

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