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William A. Seiter
Two ex G.I.'s Denny and Steve return home and take a room at the boarding house of the doting Amy Morgan. Also in the house are the young and beautiful Cathy, and Amy's irrasciable, penny-pinching chisler brother Earl. The series follows "the boys'" exploits as they try to get rich quick and meet the girls of their dreams while working as vacuum-cleaner salesmen. Written by
Jonathan Ruskin <JonRuskin@aol.com>
This was one of my favorite sitcoms of early television. We got our first set in 1953 when I was ten years old. My generation loved "I Love Lucy," "Dragnet," and the marvelous "Your Show Of Shows." But few recall "It's a Great Life." That's too bad, because it was a great show. I've never seen it in reruns or on VHS or DVD. When we got our first set there was only one station in Arkansas where we lived and that was the new KARK, an NBC affiliate which also aired what today would be called syndicated shows. KARK was located in Little Rock which was over 100 miles from where we lived. Even with our so-called all-channel antenna the reception was usually snowy. We could tell when it was about to rain because the picture cleared up due to the atmospheric changes. So most of what I remember about this sit-com is somewhat hazy.
As I recall it was sort of a humorous version of "The Best Years of Our Lives." Steve and Denny (William Bishop and Michael O'Shea) were returning G.I.'s trying to find a niche in life. Since it was difficult to get jobs the two ended up selling vacuum cleaners and rooming at a boarding house run by the future Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) playing Amy Morgan, a role similar to the one she would play on "The Andy Griffith Show." Since Steve and Denny were young and single, they spent much of their spare time chasing women. One of the women being chased was Amy Morgan's beautiful young daughter Katy, played by Barbara Bates, a talented but troubled young actress who had a brief but memorable role in "All About Eve."
The character I loved best and the one who really gave life to the series was Amy Morgan's deadbeat brother Earl, played to perfection by James Dunn. He was always looking for an easy ride based on some get-rich-quick scheme he had concocted that involved Steve and Denny. The two ex-G.I.'s would end up in plenty of hot water as a result. The situations were always fun-filled. Naturally all seemed to work out for the best by the end of each episode. If you ever get the chance to watch this and you're a fan of old-time TV, don't miss it.
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