Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearances?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Archaeologist, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Archaeologist

    Archaeologist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    My question stands, as per the thread title. Is Spock the first non-human or alien character to make regular appearances on television? Obviously, within teh past few decades, there have been many examples of non-human or alien characters in science fiction, sitcoms, dramas, or even anime (if that's a genre itself). I believe that Spock from Star Trek is a landmark character of this sort of category, and as far as I know, he is the first, correct me if I'm wrong. And also, here's a character that started off minor, quickly becoming a sort of "breakout character," and one of the best examples of such.
     
  2. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    I think My Favorite Martian from 1963 - 1966 was first. And there probably were many others before that, too.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    What about the Doctor from Doctor Who?
     
  4. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    I think Lassie predates all of them.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    Also the Robot from Lost in Space, beginning in 1965.

    The question is, how far are we extending the definition of "non-human?" It could encompass any anthropomorphic animal characters from early TV cartoons, such as Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. So we need a ruling: is the initial question meant to apply only to science-fictional characters?

    Not exactly minor. Nimoy got second billing in the opening credits from the second pilot onward. However, he wasn't expected to eclipse Shatner in popularity the way he did, let alone attract the huge levels of (mostly female) fan interest that he did.
     
  6. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    And Rin Tin Tin was even earlier.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    Does Howdy Doody qualify as nonhuman?
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    Howdy Doody was sort of an android.
     
  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    Do witches count? (Bewitched). Robots? (My Living Doll with Julie Newmar). Then there is Superman.
     
  10. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    What about ghosts? There was Topper (1953-1955) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1968-1970).

    And angels: The Smothers Brothers Show (not the comedy-variety hour, but their earlier black-and-white sitcom that ran for one season in 1965-66), Highway to Heaven (1984-1989), Touched By An Angel (1994-2003), and the aborted Marx Brothers sitcom Deputy Seraph (1959).

    And there was I Dream of Jeannie.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    ^Well, the question is whether Spock was the first, so anything that doesn't predate 1966 wouldn't address the question. (I'm not counting the pilots because those wouldn't qualify as "regular TV appearances.")

    Although I think we've fully established by now that the answer is a definitive "no."

    Just to muse over the question, though, I'm not sure I'd count ghosts as nonhumans, because they were formerly human and still have human personas. Essentially it's a human consciousness without a human body, so I'd call that something semihuman rather than nonhuman. As for angels, that depends. Is it the pop mythology where angels are former human beings who died and earned wings in the afterlife, or the more Biblical definition of a subordinate level of supernatural beings? I would imagine most angel-related TV shows would favor the former, but I haven't seen most of them so I couldn't be sure.
     
  12. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    My Mother the Car
     
  13. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    Did either "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" or "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger", feature a "resident alien"? Both of those series heralded from the 50s.

    I'll do a lil' research.

    Sincerely,

    Bill

    Follow-up: I guess I was "mis-remembering" aspects of Tom Corbett. That series featured Astro, a human born on (a habitable) Venus, a child of colonists. But interestingly enough, he's a man with little understanding of humor (due to the culture in which he was raised) and one of the earth born crewmen takes joy in teasing him. Hmm, now is it my imagination, or does that remind me of someone else? ;)

    Anyway, it seems Astro was human.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  14. StarryEyed

    StarryEyed Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    The original Superman goes quite a ways back.
     
  15. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    "The Adventures of Superman" was at a time when folks still weren't too sure that television was gonna stick around, so yeah, I think Superman is the leading candidate for first alien character on television. Of course, that all depends on how you think of Milton Berle...
     
  16. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    I think a human reincarnated in some other physical form qualifies as a quasi-ghost.

    BTW, My Mother the Car has a somewhat undeserved reputation as the worst sitcom ever shown on American TV. IMHO, there are plenty of other shows that were just as bad, and even a few that were worse.
    Uncle Miltie an alien? What could possibly give anyone that idea?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    Australia's "Mr Squiggle" dates back to 1959 and was not only a marionette and an alien artist with a pencil for a nose, but he lived on the moon and traveled to Earth in a rocket! His long-running TV show ended in 1999, but he continues to make TV guest appearances (including next Friday night on "Collectors"). I was a guest on the show in 1980, demonstrating how to make "Space Age Kites".

    [​IMG]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mister_Squiggle
     
  18. skylark14

    skylark14 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    Mr. Ed, the talking horse. Cleo, the talking basset hound, (Jackie Cooper show, "The People's Choice") - I'm really digging around in my toddler brain for this one.
     
  19. hofner

    hofner Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    If we can include movie series there was Tarzan's sidekick, Cheetah.

    Robert
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Is Spock the first non-human character to make regular TV appearan

    If we extend it to nonsentient animals, that pretty much becomes too broad to be useful, since you'd have to throw in every horse in every Western, every pet dog or cat, etc.

    (Well, granted, chimps are basically sentient, but I think the original question had speaking characters in mind.)
     

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