Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was an American radio and television series. It was, for many years, the longest-running situation comedy on American television, having aired on ABC from 1952 to 1966 after a ten-year run on radio. The series starred former Big Band leader Ozzie Nelson and his wife, vocalist Harriet.
In the early 1930s, a booking at the Glen Island Casino resulted in Ozzie Nelson's orchestra being heard nationally on network radio. After three years together with the orchestra, Ozzie and Harriet signed to appear regularly on The Baker's Broadcast (1933-1938), hosted first by Joe Penner, then by Robert L. Ripley and finally by cartoonist Feg Murray. During the run of this series, the couple married October 8, 1935. The Nelsons joined the cast of The Red Skelton Show in 1941, staying with that NBC series for three years. When Skelton was drafted, the event prompted Ozzie Nelson to create his own family situation comedy, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet began on CBS October 8, 1944, making a mid-season switch to NBC in 1949. The final years of the radio series were on ABC from October 14, 1949, to June 18, 1954.
Also featured in the show were their two sons, David and Ricky. On radio, prior to April 1949, David was portrayed by Joel Davis (1944-45) and Tommy Bernard, and Ricky was played by Henry Blair.
In 1952 the Nelsons starred with Rock Hudson in a feature film, Here Come the Nelsons. The series never made it clear exactly what Ozzie did for a living, but in this movie he is employed at an advertising agency and assigned to an ad campaign promoting women's underwear.
Early episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet found humor in family and parenting dilemmas. As the two boys grew up, many plots focused on their love lives and aspirations. The TV series premiered October 10, 1952, continuing on ABC until September 3, 1966. Rick Nelson first sang in the April 10, 1957, episode, "Rick the Drummer," and episodes after his million-seller "Be-Bop Baby" in the fall of 1957 usually featured a Rick Nelson song number. When David and Rick married in 1961 and 1963, their wives joined the cast.
David Nelson produced a short-lived syndicated sequel, Ozzie's Girls (1973), in which the Nelsons rented the boys' old room to two college girls, portrayed by Susan Sennett and Brenda Sykes.
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