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The show began as a radio series in 1944. David Nelson and Ricky Nelson were played by professional actors, because the Nelsons' sons were too young, but by 1949 the real David and Ricky were part of the show. In 1952 the show became a television series. See more »
Kodak, American Gas Co., Quaker Oats, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive and The American Dairy Assoc. present A Chunk of Americana!
Silent Film Producer Henry "Pathe" Lehrman, when hearing some less than friendly words said about his L-KO Company's Comedy Shorts Series, he reportedly angrily shouted, "MY COMEDIES ARE NOT TO BE LAUGHED AT!"(Just one o' them stranger than fiction stories!) And so too, the status of this longevity-rich TV series is always not so flattering. The origin of this series as a Radio Program with the object of being a Family Show about a Show Biz Family's private/home life, seems to have been blunted and dulled just by the shear length of time that it lasted. Remember, real life Band Leader(and Law Degree Bearer,who never practiced Law)Ozzie Nelson married his Band's Female Singer Harriet Hilliard. This was somewhere around 1935 and the hereto-for Musical quickly became a "real" family with the birth of David(1936) and Rick(1940).
Well, all that traveling' an' one night stands are kinda hard on family life, but since they were now also in the moving' pitcher business, sticking' with the Movies,Radio Show and whatever musical 'Gigs' they got locally, was much better for them as a family.
Like other Show Biz folks, their show morphed from the musical to the family sitcom. Eventually Ozzie would be portrayed as 'going to the office' everyday. But, what was his business? It was insurance, I think! At first some juvenile actors portrayed the boys, but eventually the got to be themselves, so to speak.
So much of the series was preoccupied with family stuff, growing pains, "discovering" girls, music, the malt shop, high school, college, sports, the old "gang", the Fraternity(was it "I-Felta-Thie"?),the Holidays, Golf, Neighbors, etc., etc.,....
Well, that made the years pass and the 'Boys' were getting' on in years themselves. The Chronology sometimes got a little fouled up and sometimes an unusual occurrence would happen. For example: Dave's school buddy, Wally Plumpsted(Skip Young)evolved into Rick's school buddy, Wally Plumpsted. It happened gradually and incrementally so it was barely noticed.
Always in a state of flux, as is any series with such longevity(just check the cast changes that have occurred in LAW & ORDER or E.R.)the Nelsons were always willing to put the Family to work at "the Office". So, when the 'Boys' each took unto themselves a Woman to be his Wife, old Oz put them on. Both David's Wife,June Blair(Woo,woo,woo,woo!) and Rick's Mrs.Krisyin Harmon(again, Woo,woo,woo,woo!)came on as semi-regulars.
And some of the regulars in the Cast over the years were:Mary Jane Croft & Lyle Talbot(Clara & Joe Randolph), Don DeFore('Thorny'), Parley Baer(Darby)Frank Caddy(Doc)and others.
And as for Mr.Oswald George Nelson, what can we say? He had show business in his family background, including Circus Performers! And all he did was Create the Series, Write and contribute to Scripts,Produce,Play the Lead and play a little Saxophone on occasions. He is a most interesting fellow!
Much like Disneyland, we tend to view OZZIE & HARRIET as being unrealistic, too 'Apple Pie',too 'Middle American' and just a tad corny.
But, when viewed again after a hiatus of some years, you were to take a viewing of some of the episodes, your attitude would surely change for the better. How well these episodes stand-up as individual comedies!
Oh, excuse me I have to go to the Office, after a stop at the Malt Shoppe!
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