Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet Radio Show
First Episode: October 8, 1944
Last Episode: June 18. 1954
Number of Episodes: Approximately 402
Cast Members: Ozzie Nelson, Harriet (Hilliard) Nelson, David Nelson, Ricky Nelson, Tommy Bernard, Henry Blair, John Brown, Joel Davis, Lurene Tuttle, Janet Waldo
Producers/Directors: Ozzie Nelson, Don Nelson, Bill Davenport, Ben Gershman, Dave Elton, Glenhall Taylor
Directors: Ozzie Nelson, David Nelson
Announcer: Verne Smith
Sound Effects: Monty Fraser, David Light, Ed Ludes
Music: Ozzie Nelson and His Band (till 1949), Billy May
Writers: Ozzie Nelson (head writer)
Sponsor: International Sterling (International Silver Company), Heinz Foods, General Electric
Broadcast Time: Sundays from 6:00 to 6:30 PM
Typical Episode Length: 30 Minutes
In the beginning, the Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet radio show centered around Ozzie's fame as a bandleader. The dialog often mentioned his life "on the road" and how that affected his family life. There were also many performances by Ozzie and his band. In 1946, that emphasis was terminated and the musical numbers were dropped. That was replaced by Ozzie's familiar narratives where he'd discuss his family situations with the audience.
While many books and web sites have stated that David and Ricky Nelson starred on the show from the beginning, their roles were actually played by professional child actors until 1949. Ozzie was skeptical about the effect that show business might have on young people. Then Bing Crosby and his sons did a guest shot and Ozzie changed his mind. The interaction between the Nelson parents and children (David was 13, Ricky 9), really added to the attraction of the series!
Due to Ozzie's sharp business abilities, the family was pretty much free from interference by the network or the sponsors. Ozzie had negotiated a 10-year-contract with CBS that guaranteed them a minimum salary whether they worked or not! That was the first time any performer had ever gotten such a contract and they've been pretty rare since!
Of course, the real draw for the Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet was that audiences believed that the Nelsons were playing themselves on the air, and, to some degree, they were right! If something happened at the real Nelson household that might make a good script, Ozzie couldn't get it down on paper fast enough! If one of the boys took up a hobby or a sport in real life, audiences would hear that on the radio too!
The Nelson family appeared on both the radio and the television for a short time when, in 1952, the Ozzie and Harriet TV show hit the airwaves! That series lasted for an amazing 14 seasons and 435 episodes!
Listen to a Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet Radio Show episode by clicking on a link below:
Boys' Night Out - November 14, 1948 - 30 Minutes
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