Ozzie & Harriet Release From Sam Nelson?

Gary16

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I've had a copy of "Here Come the Nelsons" (1952) for years, but I still tuned in last night on TCM. The film fits right alongside other Universal efforts of the day, with their family-friendly, matinee-geared comedies, like the "Francis" and "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, as well as other Universal items like "Reunion in Reno" (1951) and "Here Comes the Groom" (1952). I thought the film indeed had some pretty funny dialogue. Now I will admit, from a critical perspective, that the somewhat slam-bang, slapstick-oriented paradigm of early-1950s Universal comedies doesn't entirely mesh well with Ozzie and Harriet's dry humor and comic timing. The latter was shoehorned into that a bit uncomfortably at times. Maybe the film might have come out better had it been produced at Paramount. I think it would have. But Universal had already gone down this route before, when they made the "Life of Riley" film in 1949, based on the radio series. And what the heck, flaws or no, I enjoyed "Here Come the Nelsons" anyway, because I find Ozzie and Harriet warmly endearing. Also always get a kick out of its supporting cast, down to the small roles. Like seeing Paul Brinegar as the policeman. And wasn't that Lillian Bronson as the secretary? Also, always love seeing Ann Doran, another favorite.

Just face it, Joe. You're a curmudgeon!
Note too that in this movie Jim Backus and Ann Doran played husband and wife as the Randolphs. A few years later they again played husband and wife as James Dean’s parents in “Rebel Without a Cause”.
 

Professor Echo

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Is there a dog in a Georgia? Of course I watched it! And thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Just a joy to take in with the family. Talk about a film Universal needs to release in BR.

And once more, what a shock to see you come in and thread crap. :rolleyes: Some things never change.

Gary “and it had such a great cast of guest stars” O.

I was re-reading my previous post in this thread the other day and thinking it was kind of over-written, over-analytical, over-pompous and over-pedantic. In fact, the whole thing seemed to me to be the complete antithesis to the OZZIE & HARRIET series itself, which usually emphasized a SIMPLE tone and style that only gradually becomes more complex. I went straight for the complex and seemed to forget what I was attempting to praise about the series in the first place.

So I thought about going back in and editing the post, but now that our second-in-command curmudgeon has seen fit to return and parrot his opinion, along with that diseased word "BLAND," I've decided to keep my original post as is. I hope maybe it will contribute in some small way to combat the ridiculously superficial misconceptions about this great series, just in case there are any newcomers to the show hanging out here.

Or maybe I will just finally put that person on IGNORE and go have a beer.
 

Gary OS

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I was re-reading my previous post in this thread the other day and thinking it was kind of over-written, over-analytical, over-pompous and over-pedantic. In fact, the whole thing seemed to me to be the complete antithesis to the OZZIE & HARRIET series itself, which usually emphasized a SIMPLE tone and style that only gradually becomes more complex. I went straight for the complex and seemed to forget what I was attempting to praise about the series in the first place.

So I thought about going back in and editing the post, but now that our second-in-command curmudgeon has seen fit to return and parrot his opinion, along with that diseased word "BLAND," I've decided to keep my original post as is. I hope maybe it will contribute in some small way to combat the ridiculously superficial misconceptions about this great series, just in case there are any newcomers to the show hanging out here.

Or maybe I will just finally put that person on IGNORE and go have a beer.
Glad you decided to keep your post exactly as you originally wrote it, Glen. It was spot on perfect, and really encapsulated why the show worked so, so well. Please keep right on offering those kind of insightful comments. I thoroughly enjoy them.

Gary "I'll say it again - this is THE show that I most want to see released now" O.
 

Jeff Flugel

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I've never seen Ozzie & Harriet (I know, I know...what can I say? I'm late to join the classic era sitcom party, always being more of a drama guy), but after all the championing of the series here, from Gary, Glenn and others whose opinion I respect, I plan on picking up that Shout Factory "Best of" release soon. I've found, in catching up with other family sitcoms like My Three Sons, Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, Petticoat Junction and the like over the past year or two, that these '50s - '60s era shows really work for me. Aside from offering consistently enjoyable entertainment, they are also often far more sophisticated and subversive than their so-called "bland" reputation would suggest. What few clips I've seen of O & H on YouTube make me think I'll feel the same way about that show.
 

Purple Wig

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This says it all for me. For years I had never seen a single episode yet still judged it as something only old people would watch, a kind of Lawrence Welk sitcom. When I first sampled it on the Disney Channel in the 80's I was in my 20's and I was astounded by how genuinely funny and clever it was. I could not have been more wrong in my blind assessment that it was strictly a series from squaresville.

Comedy is subjective, of course, so I can understand someone saying something is not funny to them, but for anyone to deem this show as being "bland" hasn't a clue as to what this show was really about or what it accomplished. The intelligent, perceptive, organic humor and slices of humanity that this series encompasses isn't even in the same dictionary as the word BLAND. Its clever, introspective plotting and characterizations, combined with an intricate structure paved the way for other shows that were also often misinterpreted, like THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and GREEN ACRES, all the way up to SEINFELD, three shows that I consider some of the best, smartest and most sophisticated in television history. It's funny how people who are just too lazy to sagaciously delve a little beneath the surface still feel qualified to pass judgment on things they make no effort to recognize or understand.
Similar experience here, it was never syndicated anywhere I lived and only knew it by reputation, as a show usually referenced in derision. Caught maybe half an episode during its Disney run and that was it until a religious UHF station started running it in the off hours in the early 90's and I was surprised at how good it was. Ozzie's autobio is a good read and I enjoyed the few episodes of "Ozzie's Girls" that I've seen with its odd electronic score adding a surreal quality. I've seen only 4-5 of the final season color episodes, are they circulating on the PD releases?
 

Neil Brock

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Did the O&H-philes here watch "Here Come the Nelsons" on TCM last night?

You'd have loved it. It was just like the TV series, bland, predictable and unfunny. It did have some wild, offbeat casting though. Ozzie's domineering, cantankerous boss (he was actually shown to have a job!) -- cleverly named Mr. Bellows -- was played by Gale Gordon. That had to be a real stretch for him. And the head gangster was Sheldon Leonard. How did they ever think of that?

Then they showed a college "comedy" musical from the early '40s where both O and H sang. It was easy to see where Ricky got his singing talent.
When they did the movie Pleasantville and depicted a white bread, everything perfect 50s sitcom, I think O&H was probably the blueprint that they used. Speaking of which, how did they constantly eat ice cream and drink milk shakes but never gain an ounce? Just like in Pleasantville!
 

LeoA

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5 - Poor syndication. While just about every 50s and 60s sitcom was resurrected for cable on CBN and Nick at Nite in the 80s, O&H (along with December Bride and Our Miss Brooks) was one of the few that wasn't, except for airing on TBS early in the decade.
Ozzie & Harriet was a staple of the Disney Channel in the 1980's.
 

mark-edk

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Every time I read about the cleverness of someone on tv 'breaking the fifth wall' I'm reminded of how Ozzie Nelson was doing it in the 1950s. Oz, who created a filmed sequence to go along with Rick's 'Travelin' Man', has also been credited with pioneering the concept of the music video (though on film at the time).
 

Gary OS

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Every time I read about the cleverness of someone on tv 'breaking the fifth wall' I'm reminded of how Ozzie Nelson was doing it in the 1950s.
Absolutely. One of my favorites was when Wally (Skip Young) turned to the camera and said, "Well, after all, it's Christmas" in Christmas Tree Lot after agreeing to accompany an older woman to a movie.

Gary "great stuff" O.
 

BobO'Link

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Every time I read about the cleverness of someone on tv 'breaking the fifth wall' I'm reminded of how Ozzie Nelson was doing it in the 1950s. Oz, who created a filmed sequence to go along with Rick's 'Travelin' Man', has also been credited with pioneering the concept of the music video (though on film at the time).
And George Burns was "breaking the fourth wall" before Ozzie - in 1950 on The Burns & Allen Show - another that's woefully underrepresented on disc.

Martin & Lewis also did this in some of their Colgate Comedy Hour sketches - in 1950.
 

Joe Lugoff

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What I enjoy so much about The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, and the reason it ran for 14 years and was such a big hit with most Americans in the 50's & 60's, is that it really did portray honest Mid-American life.
Gary "the genius of Ozzie & Harriet is that it could take the most ordinary day life occurrences and draw out the fun in them" O.
I can't stop myself from replying to this. After all, this is a forum, which is supposed to be an exchange of ideas.

What Gary O says here is what he'd like to be true, not what necessarily is true.

I live smack dab in the middle of America. I love "Leave It to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best". I'm not the only person who holds the opinion that "The (So-Called) Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" isn't in their league.

One of the reasons all 3 of those shows were popular is because they didn't "portray honest Mid-American life." People liked to see their idealized visions of life, and think, "I wish my life could be like that."

If a person can relate to a family's biggest problem being the simple problems O&H faced, I hope they realize how incredibly lucky they are.

One thing I know for sure, because I grew up in that era. Many times I'd talk to people about television. When it got around to discussing favorite shows and episodes, it was very common for "I Love Lucy" to be mentioned, or "The Twilight Zone," for instance. If someone mentioned "Leave It to Beaver," almost everyone would recall the episode where he climbed up and fell in the big bowl of soup.

I don't remember one single person mentioning "Ozzie and Harriet" as one of their favorites, or remembering a single episode.

And it was never highly rated. Both it and "Beaver" did well enough for ABC (the third-rated network) in those days, but "Beaver" never made the Top 30 and O&H only did once (29th in 1963-64, Season 11).

I've read that after he became a rock and roll star, every season Ricky wanted to quit -- Ozzie told ABC -- ABC said "goodbye" -- and Ozzie talked Ricky into staying. In other words, these wonderful Mid-Americans Gary O talks about who loved the show so much were basically teenage girls who liked Ricky.

I'm sorry to disturb the fans with facts, but nowhere did it say that this thread was only for fans of the show.
 
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Purple Wig

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Moderator has edited out a quoted post that has since been deleted.

Don't write off the appeal of June Blair, James Burton, and Lyle Talbot. :)

I'm not old enough to have watched its original run, but seen today the show has a deadpan absurdism and great turns by a variety of side characters.

Case in point, the old coot who turns up in "Rick's Riding Lesson".
 
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Ron1973

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So I'm in Christmas mood as everybody knows (I've been listening to Christmas music since August), so it's time to start digging out Christmas episodes for me. I have 4 or 5 Christmas shows of this wonderful show that are in the rotation again this year. I'm 46 and have raised 3 kids. I can sit and laugh at the stuff poor Ozzie is going through because I've been there myself. In one episode he winds up getting pegged to play Scrooge, sing in the choir, decorate the house, get the tree...you get the drift! I can relate to being overextended before as a parent.

One thing I noticed, and maybe some of y'all can confirm it, in one episode, I believe it was 1952, Ozzie and Harriet are shopping. Ozzie is tired and sits down. Some woman keeps paging a little lost boy. Finally Ozzie gets paged as "little Ozzie Nelson come to lost and found." Unless my ears fail me, it Harriet doing the paging on the intercom.

As I sit and watch these episodes, I sit and think what a shame that this show will probably never see a proper release now. You negative Nancy's can put it down all you want, but this middle aged guy finds it a hoot. No, no one is pretending we had a perfect society. My parents and grandparents had to chop and pick cotton in the heat and early in the morning and still have to go to school. They were dirt poor and had a hard time making it. Nobody is denying that things were rough. To make an attempt to somehow say The Misadventures of Ozzie and Harriet whitewashed the societal problems of the day, no, it was an escape from the drudgery of everyday life for people. It would be like watching The Beverly Hillbillies and expecting every banker to be like Mr. Drysdale. One can separate acting from real life. It's good and clean TV that makes you feel good about watching it-I'd much rather watch something of that nature any day over some junk on modern TV with a cuss word every 10 seconds, sex scenes galore, and violence at every turn.
 

Tom.W

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Don't write off the appeal of June Blair, James Burton, and Lyle Talbot. :)
Don't forget about about Kris. That's one reason why I like the later seasons. I do think the dialogue is engaging and realistic despite being somewhat idealistic of middle class America. Probably more a reflection of real life than Leave it to Beaver, which I also like.
 
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Gary OS

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So I'm in Christmas mood as everybody knows (I've been listening to Christmas music since August), so it's time to start digging out Christmas episodes for me. I have 4 or 5 Christmas shows of this wonderful show that are in the rotation again this year. I'm 46 and have raised 3 kids. I can sit and laugh at the stuff poor Ozzie is going through because I've been there myself. In one episode he winds up getting pegged to play Scrooge, sing in the choir, decorate the house, get the tree...you get the drift! I can relate to being overextended before as a parent.

One thing I noticed, and maybe some of y'all can confirm it, in one episode, I believe it was 1952, Ozzie and Harriet are shopping. Ozzie is tired and sits down. Some woman keeps paging a little lost boy. Finally Ozzie gets paged as "little Ozzie Nelson come to lost and found." Unless my ears fail me, it Harriet doing the paging on the intercom.

As I sit and watch these episodes, I sit and think what a shame that this show will probably never see a proper release now. You negative Nancy's can put it down all you want, but this middle aged guy finds it a hoot. No, no one is pretending we had a perfect society. My parents and grandparents had to chop and pick cotton in the heat and early in the morning and still have to go to school. They were dirt poor and had a hard time making it. Nobody is denying that things were rough. To make an attempt to somehow say The Misadventures of Ozzie and Harriet whitewashed the societal problems of the day, no, it was an escape from the drudgery of everyday life for people. It would be like watching The Beverly Hillbillies and expecting every banker to be like Mr. Drysdale. One can separate acting from real life. It's good and clean TV that makes you feel good about watching it-I'd much rather watch something of that nature any day over some junk on modern TV with a cuss word every 10 seconds, sex scenes galore, and violence at every turn.
Those Christmas episodes are gems, Ron. Ozzie & Harriet gave us multiple great Yuletide offerings, that’s for sure.

Gary “certainly agree with all your points” O.
 

Josh Steinberg

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So just to confirm before I order - the Shout Factory set is the best place to start if I want to see what the whole thing is about?
 
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