Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Why Didn’t "Please Don’t Eat the Daisies" Work?

 

A few months ago I decided I had waited long enough for some TV shows to be released on DVD. Life is too short and with certain short-lived series, the likelihood of an official release seems more unlikely with each passing year. It was time to seek other sources. My first acquisition was Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, which debuted in 1965 and lasted two seasons. 

 


 

My hopes were high because I’ve always liked Pat Crowley, whether she was breaking Little Joe’s heart on Bonanza or seducing Bosley on Charlie’s Angels. Plus, the source material (a novel by Jean Kerr) had already been adapted into a delightful movie starring Doris Day and David Niven.

 

I expected more of the same – smart, witty comedy about the adventures of Jim and Joan Nash (Mark Miller and Pat Crowley) who pack up their sons and sheepdog and relocate from a chic Manhattan apartment to a ramshackle country estate. But something was sadly lost in the translation. 

 


 

Start with this: you can’t have a family situation comedy when the dog has more personality than the four Nash boys – Kyle (Kim Tyler), Joel (Brian Nash) and twins Trevor and Tracey (Jeff and Joe Fithian).

 

From Beaver Cleaver to Alex P. Keaton, the children in TV families must be developed as real characters with personalities that impact how stories unfold. But the Nash boys are non-entities.

 

Granted, that was true in the movie as well – the boys were either rambunctious or rotten depending on your general view of kids, and seemed to exist only to cause trouble. But that won’t suffice on a weekly series – nor would the banter of their exasperated parents. David Niven’s reflections on how elementary school only exists to give adults a break from their children was a sentiment you’d never hear Jim Anderson or Mike Brady express. And Doris Day’s reaction to a commotion in the next room – “If they broke any important bones, they’ll yell” – is something Donna Stone wouldn’t dream of saying. 

 


 

Once Roseanne and the Bundys hit TV, those rules changed. But in 1965 parents couldn’t trade such bon mots over martinis like Nick and Nora Charles. The Nashes had to be domesticated.

 

And this was not the only change from the film. Jim Nash was no longer a feared New York theater critic, which had him crossing paths with eccentric actresses and angry producers and cab drivers who wanted him to read their plays. Instead, he teaches theater at a small college. Joan is a writer, which makes sense as Jean Kerr based this story on her own family. 

 


 

They didn’t go there in the movie but it was a good idea for the series – or at least it would have been had that actually committed to it. But not enough scripts revolve around her getting a story published, or working to write one.

 

Crowley and Miller are both likable and are believable as a married couple. But I rarely found it interesting to follow them into the same sitcom plots I enjoyed on other shows. What was missing? Why did my mind keep wandering to how, if you closed your eyes, Miller sounds exactly like Carl Betz on The Donna Reed Show, and when Crowley tries to inject some life into a tired punch line, her voice goes up an octave and she sounds like Eve Arden?

 

The most obvious culprit is the writing, which is surprising since scripts were submitted by such prominent and respected folks as Paul West, Lee Erwin, Austin and Irma Kalish, Bill Freedman and Ben Gershman.

 

Take Jack Raymond’s “The Holdouts”, which should have been a standout episode. The kids realize that Mom is selling stories to magazines based on the cute and funny stuff they do around the house, and decide they should get a share of the profits. That was a great idea that was tailored for the specific attributes of this TV family – but the standoff is not well developed and the resolution falls flat.

 

There were a few bright spots along the way. Burgess Meredith guest stars as a Shakespeare-quoting hobo in “The Magnificent Muldoon,” written by Mark Miller. And there’s an out-of-left-field crossover with The Man From UNCLE (“Say UNCLE”) featuring appearances from Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. Once in a while in an otherwise mundane episode there will be a smart dialogue exchange that reveals the potential that was here and went undeveloped.

 

More than anything else, watching all 58 episodes of Please Don’t Eat the Daisies served as a reminder of how we shouldn’t take the classic shows from the Comfort TV era for granted. Creating a series that can still entertain audiences 50 or 60 years later doesn’t happen easily. Even when you combine blue-chip source material with talented actors and talented writers and directors, success is not a sure thing. There is another component that must also be present but is harder to define, and that either happens almost as if by magic, or it doesn’t. Your mileage may vary, but for me it just didn’t happen here. 

 


 

 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Purchase or Pass: The Eleventh Hour

 

Full disclosure: I do not own any medical shows on DVD. There are several I like, and I’ve watched episodes here and there online and on nostalgia networks, but for me they don’t have the “re-watchable” factor that makes a series worth purchasing. Plus, I’ve always been a little skittish about doctors and hospitals, so that’s not a setting I find applicable to comfort TV.

 

However, having read some persuasive praise of its quality, I made a blind buy on The Eleventh Hour, a short-lived 1962 series that focused on patients struggling with mental health issues, and the doctors who try to help them. After 2020 tested our individual and collective sanity, this is either the most appropriate show to explore, or the least. 

 


 

Wendell Corey stars as Dr. Theodore Bassett, a psychiatrist on staff at County General Hospital. On many cases he collaborates with Dr. Paul Graham (Jack Ging), a clinical psychologist. Together, as it says on the DVD box, they “boldly venture into the last great frontier – the human mind – to help the desperate, heal the mentally ill, and aid the forces of law and order.”

 

Corey was a journeyman actor and a decorated officer in World War II, who could use his commanding demeanor to stare down a violent patient, but also show the patience and compassion necessary to work with the troubled souls he met. Ging had more conventional leading man appeal, though Dr. Graham often fell into the cliché that many TV psychologists do of answering questions with questions.

 

“What do you think, Doc?”

“I don’t know, what do you think?”

 

The two rarely differed in their patient assessments, though Graham was more open to trying new methods like family therapy and group therapy, as was explored in the episode “Five Moments Out of Time.” 

 


 

Both leads are sufficient guides into this type of medical practice, but they’re not the reason The Eleventh Hour works. The series earns an enthusiastic “purchase” recommendation from me for its intelligent scripts and truly remarkable array of guest stars in nearly every episode.

 

“There are Dragons in This Forest” features Steven Hill as a World War II deserter who may have been insane at the time of his desertion; in “Make Me a Place,” David Janssen portrays a husband concerned about the fragile mental state of his ex-wife (Barbara Rush); George C. Scott plays a former Communist agent, defected to the U.S., who suddenly decides he needs to return home, much to the chagrin of his wife (Colleen Dewhurst).

 

Television A-listers abound: Robert Vaughn and Inger Stevens in “The Blues My Babe Gave to Me,” a powerful portrait of post-partum depression; a family seeking therapy for their troubled youngest son is comprised of parents Angela Lansbury and Martin Balsam, and siblings Roy Thinnes, Tuesday Weld and Don Grady. 

 


 

Two episodes stood out for me among this distinguished field. “Hooray, Hooray the Circus is Coming to Town” stars Burgess Meredith as the free-spirit black sheep son of a wealthy family, who inherits the family business and family fortune even though he has no interest in either. Does not caring about money or responsibility make a person crazy? Dr. Bassett has to find out, and seems to have a great time doing so in this, the only show in the season that offers a few moments of comedy. Meredith is amazing – this should rank alongside The Penguin and the Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough At Last” as his best TV work.

 

Even better is “A Tumble From a High White Horse,” in which Walter Matthau plays a father who kills the pusher that turned his son (Frankie Avalon) into a heroin addict. His lawyer (Telly Savales) wants him to plead temporary insanity, but Matthau insists he did the right thing. Possibly the most impressive hour of television I watched all of last year. 

 

And in case you haven’t picked up on it already, this series also specialized in unique episode titles. Season one gave us “Beauty Playing a Mandolin Underneath a Willow Tree,” “Try to Keep Alive Until Next Tuesday,” and my personal favorite, “I Feel Like a Rutabaga.”

 

One aspect of the series I found interesting is how these doctors rarely prescribed drugs to their patients. I’m not an expert but it seems like many people in therapy now get pills to alter their moods or help them cope with stress. But here the approach is to find the root cause of a patient’s problem, and help them to confront it and overcome it without pharmaceutical assistance. Did they do that because better drugs weren’t available back then, or did they understand that mood-altering prescriptions might be exchanging one problem for another?

 


 

Another surprise is how hypnotism was considered a mainstream course of treatment. One day I’ll research if that was really the case in the 1960s, or if the show went there for dramatic license. Is it still widely used? I’ve never been in therapy (shocking to some, I’m sure) so I wouldn’t know.

 

One last point: I read the positive reviews of The Eleventh Hour on IMDB and noticed several commentators who wrote “They don’t make television like this anymore.” One reviewer took exception to that, believing shows from different eras should be judged on their own merits, and based on the times in which they were made. Fair enough. Would be nice if we applied those same criteria to historic figures. 

 


 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Classic TV 2020: The Year in Review

 

On January 1 of 2020 I posted a review of the most memorable classic TV-related moments from the previous year. How little we all knew then about what lay ahead of us.

 

I almost didn’t bother with a 2020 year in review piece, because most of us just want to turn the calendar page and never look back. But I enjoy a challenge, so let’s see if we can find anything pleasant to recall from a year of viruses, violence and political turmoil.

 

Best Classic TV Moment: Comfort from Old Friends

The pandemic kept many of us home for much of 2020, either by choice or government edict. And during those seemingly endless months of isolation and anxiety, millions of Americans found temporary relief from their troubles in episodes of their favorite classic shows.

 

Evidence for this trend isn't just anecdotal, according to a story on NPR. A Nielsen study examined the impact of COVID-19 on entertainment consumption and concluded that more than half of consumers sought comfort in familiar music and television shows. More than 50% said they'd recently re-watched episodes of an old favorite series.

 

“Knowing how something ends makes us feel at ease,” the study found. “Marcia Brady getting hit in the nose with a football has the same outcome today as it did when that Brady Bunch episode first aired in 1973. 

 


 

 

"Spoiler alert: she ditches ‘big man on campus’ Doug Simpson for nice guy Charlie. The level of uncertainty on old TV shows is pretty low, and during these unpredictable, always changing times, we like it that way.”

 

Shows such as The Andy Griffith Show and Little House on the Prairie were among those most frequently cited. Understandable. 

 


 

 

Worst Classic TV Moment: Star Trek: Lower Decks

We’ve seen this before: Hollywood hacks borrowing a familiar name with a built-in fanbase and then arrogantly destroying everything that made the original version successful. As a continuation or reboot or reimagining of Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic version of our future, the animated Star Trek: Lower Decks was as authentic as Hilaria Baldwin’s accent. As one reviewer wrote, “This is a show that's trying to be something it shouldn't be, for an audience that doesn't exist.”

 

Revivals

Thankfully, 2020 also added a more appropriate new chapter to Star Trek lore with Picard, which featured not just Patrick Stewart back in the title role but guest appearances from Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine. Though inconsistent at times, with a departing message that might be troubling to some viewers of faith, it was nonetheless delightful to see everyone again. The series’ seventh episode, “Nepenthe,” was the best new hour of television I watched in 2020.

 


 

 

Last year also saw a prequel revival of Perry Mason on HBO, which came and went without much fanfare like so much of 21st century television. And most of the old gang from Bayside High reunited for Saved By the Bell (which debuted in 1989 so just slides in under our 1980s Comfort TV limit).

 

Classic TV Character Sightings

The only one that comes to mind is Lynda Carter’s appearance in the new Wonder Woman movie. Hopefully that still doesn’t require a spoiler alert. 

 


 

 

New on DVD and Blu-Ray

The first season of My Three Sons debuted on DVD in 2008. It took 12 years, but season five finally came out last year. Only seven more seasons to go – perhaps a complete series set will be available in 2046. 

 


 

 Western fans celebrated the release of all 20 seasons of Gunsmoke in one gargantuan set, and I was happy to finally pick up Head of the Class, even if it was a little better in my memory than it played on DVD. Another pleasant surprise was a release of the short-lived 1971 series The Smith Family, starring Henry Fonda.

 

On Blu-Ray, there were complete series sets for The Flintstones, Mission: Impossible, Police Squad, Josie and the Pussycats, and Wonder Woman

 


 

 

In Memoriam

We continue to mourn Dawn Wells, (and I’m still not over the passing of Diana Rigg), while fondly remembering many other stars that made television a nicer place to visit. Last year we said goodbye to David Lander, Alex Trebek, Wilford Brimley, Regis Philbin, Carl Reiner, Marj Dusay, Ken Osmond, Phyllis George, Jerry Stiller, Robert Conrad, and Scooby-Doo co-creator Joe Ruby. 

 


 

 

Most Popular Comfort TV Post of 2020

I’m always surprised when I run the numbers on a year’s worth of posts, and this time out was no exception. The most-read piece from 2020 was about the five most annoying kids from the classic TV era. I guess we were all a little grouchy this past year, so it felt good to kick a few little brats around while being stuck at home. 

 


 

 

Least Popular Comfort TV Post of 2020

Okay, no more quizzes in the blog, considering how my Which Shows Featured These Characters quiz back in August didn’t get much traction.

 

 

What’s Ahead in 2021

Hopefully the end of lockdowns, masks, despotic governors, colorful circles on the ground marking out social distancing space, and other tribulations ushered in by 2020.

 

If that doesn’t happen? Well, there’s a new book out about the classic TV era you might enjoy, and after you’ve read it I’ll meet you in front of the TV for the forthcoming Punky Brewster reboot. 

 


 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Top TV Moments: John McGiver

 

We classic TV fans all have a few actors that bring a smile to our face when they show up in a guest appearance.

 

That’s how I feel when I see John McGiver, in one of his typecast roles as a prickly executive in a well-tailored suit. If his name popped up in a word association test, the most frequent response might be “stuffy.” With his round head and bald pate, he looks like an adult version of Charlie Brown, if Charlie Brown had grown up to be a dyspeptic accountant. 

 


 

 

It’s a persona that worked in dramas and westerns, but proved most memorable in many of our favorite sitcoms.

 

Studio One in Hollywood (1955)

John McGiver made his television debut (at the age of 42) in an episode of this anthology series entitled “Dominique.” He is billed as “Customs Inspector Darrell” – and if you’ve ever encountered a customs inspector you know this was likely good casting.

 

The Lucy Show (1962)

We’re used to seeing Lucy as the incompetent office worker berated by a bellowing boss like Mr. Mooney. But “Lucy Is a Kangaroo For a Day” predates Gale Gordon’s arrival on The Lucy Show, and with McGiver as her boss offers an interesting variation on those familiar scenes.  Lucy takes a part-time job as a secretary, and struggles with such modern technology as an intercom system and an electric typewriter. Of course Lucille Ball pulled maximum comedic mileage out of every prop she touched, and the escalating exasperation in McGiver’s reactions make their scenes even funnier.

 

The Patty Duke Show (1963)

Every year around this time I get reacquainted with McGiver at his supercilious best in “The Christmas Present,” one of six episodes in which he plays Martin Lane’s boss, New York Chronicle publisher J.R. Castle. Here he threatens to ruin Christmas for the Lanes by firing Martin’s brother, Kenneth, also played by William Schallert. Schallert’s attempt at a dual role only enhances one’s appreciation for Patty Duke’s virtuosity, and how naturally she pulls it off. 

 


 

 

The Beverly Hillbillies (1964)

It’s hard to imagine a more stark contrast than that between John McGiver in one of his stuffed shirt roles, and a fiery loose cannon like Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies. And that’s why “Granny Vs. the Weather Bureau” works so well. The episode pits the sophisticated meteorological technology analyzed by government head Justin Addison (McGiver) against Granny’s weather-predicting beetles:

 

Justin: Madam, you have my assurance there will be no precipitation tonight.

Granny: Maybe not, but there's gonna be a whole slew of rain.

 

Many Happy Returns (1964)

Series stardom at last, albeit not for very long. McGiver is top-billed in this sitcom as Walter Burnley, manager of the complaint department at Krockmeyer’s Department Store. 

 


 

 

Despite a role that would seem to ideally fit his persona, and a supporting cast that included Mark Goddard and the always-welcome Elinor Donahue, the series was canceled after 26 episodes that are not likely to ever surface on DVD. 

 


 

 

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1965)

This was one of the toughest “Top TV Moments” lists to pare down to ten credits, because doing so meant leaving out equally memorable McGiver appearances in The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, The Wild, Wild West, Gidget, The Man From UNCLE and other classic shows. But choosing my single favorite McGiver performance was easy – this is it.

 

In See Rob Write, Write Rob Write,” he plays Ollie Wheelwright, head of the children’s book publisher Giggle Books. After Rob and Laura both try writing a children’s book, they bring their stories to Ollie for a professional opinion. It’s not often that a guest star gets all the best lines amidst this amazing cast, but McGiver gets more laughs in one scene than some shows manage in a season.

 

I Dream of Jeannie (1966)

Tony wants to get a loan at the bank to buy a sailboat, but loan officer John McGiver turns him down – at least until Jeannie adds a few more zeros to her Master’s bank account. After that, the bank can’t do enough for one of its most valued customers.

 

The Jimmy Stewart Show (1971)

As I wrote about McGiver in my blog about this series, The Jimmy Stewart Show had one saving grace besides its top-billed star: “John McGiver livens things up whenever he appears as Howard’s professorial colleague, Dr. Luther Quince. It’s a stretch to imagine the two characters as friends outside a scripted world – Quince drives a Rolls Royce and fancies himself a connoisseur of life’s more sophisticated pleasures, while Howard plays the accordion and rides a bicycle to his classes. But McGiver is the only actor in the show playing at Stewart’s level, and several episodes are saved by their scenes together.”

 


 

 

Ellery Queen (1975)

McGiver’s final bow came alongside Eve Arden and Betty White in “The Adventure of Miss Aggie’s Farewell Performance.” The episode aired in 1975, the year he passed away at the far too young age of 61. 

 


 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

I Need a Little Classic TV Christmas – Right This Very Minute

 

When I watched my usual line-up of classic TV Christmas episodes over the last couple of years, it sometimes felt like just going through the motions.

 

Oh, I still enjoyed my favorites, and found moments in the rest that brought some Christmas cheer. But after 20+ viewings of some of these episodes, I began to wonder if they were beginning to lose their holiday magic.

 

That won’t be the case this year. I’ve already been delving into my list of about 40 shows with unforeseen eagerness. After a year of such turmoil and tragedy, when we’ve all had so much taken away, I felt a new and tremendous sense of gratitude that here was one source of holiday joy that could not be outlawed.

 

These are the three that I most look forward to watching again.

 

“Humbug Not To Be Spoken Here”

Bewitched

 

 


 

While “A Vision of Sugar Plums” will always be my favorite Comfort TV Christmas show, this year I find myself drawn to another Bewitched classic, albeit one with a very similar premise. Here, instead of Samantha bringing young cynic Billy Mumy to meet the real Santa Claus, she takes crotchety old Charles Lane instead. 

 


 

 

Lane plays Jessie Mortimer, president of Mortimer Soups. He doesn’t care about Christmas, and resents people who wish to celebrate the holiday with their families. There’s a lot of that going around these days. When Darrin responds that he’d rather trim his Christmas tree than deliver an advertising presentation on Christmas Eve, he is threatened with an ultimatum – cancel Christmas or lose the account.

 

That’s where Sam steps in, of course. After she brings Mr. Mortimer to the North Pole, they stop outside the home of Mortimer’s browbeaten servant, Hawkins – and watch as he and his family laugh and dance around their tree. 

 


 

 

Mortimer: “What are they so happy about? Don’t they know they’re poor?”

Samantha: “Mr. Mortimer, you’re rich – are you happy?”

 

In the tradition of Scrooges everywhere, Mr. Mortimer finally discovers the true meaning of Christmas, and celebrates the holiday with Sam and Darrin and Tabitha. The close-up on Elizabeth Montgomery at the end of the episode is one of the most beautiful shots this series ever broadcast.

 

“Too Many Christmas Trees”

The Avengers

In the wake of Diana Rigg’s passing earlier this year this will be a bittersweet experience, but it’s an episode that deftly folds the holidays into the series’ brilliant blend of sophistication and whimsy. The story has Steed haunted in his dreams by a scary, misshapen Father Christmas – could this be part of a plot to steal classified information? 

 


 

 

Most of the story takes place at a Charles Dickens-themed Christmas party on a sprawling country estate. “I hope it’s Little Nell,” Emma tells Steed when his costume arrives for the occasion. I love that casual assumption that the audience will be literate enough to recognize a reference to the waif in The Old Curiosity Shop. And who doesn’t love that moment when Steed opens a Christmas card from Mrs. Gale?

 


 

 

“I’m Dreaming of a Slight Christmas”

The Bob Newhart Show

 

The Bob Newhart Show is one of the few television series to feature a Christmas episode in each of its six seasons.

 

The story in their season two entry is one that sadly will be shared by many this year – making plans for a warm, festive holiday celebration, and then having them disrupted by factors beyond your control. Here, Bob is called back to the office on Christmas Eve by a panic-attacked Mr. Peterson, then gets stranded when a blizzard strikes. Emily’s “We’ll get ‘em next year” may speak for many in 2020. But if you can’t do what you’d like this year, sharing the misery with the Hartleys is at least a reminder that you’re not alone. 

 


 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Introducing My New Book: When Television Brought Us Together

 

For the past eight years this blog has been a celebration of the era of television that I deemed “Comfort TV.”

 

I started the blog as a place to write about the classic shows I grew up watching and still enjoy watching today. I know from your responses over the years that I’m not alone in preferring Joe Friday to Joe Exotic, and The Brady Bunch to The Bachelor.

 

Over time I began to think more about why people like us prefer shows that are 40 or 50 years old to all the new shows available. My new book attempts to answer that question, while also paying tribute to 50 classic series. 

 

 


 

The title is When Television Brought Us Together, and that’s exactly what it did in the Comfort TV era. This was a tine when there were just three networks – no cable, no streaming, no internet – so television was the most prominent source of information and entertainment in America’s households. And when the TV was on, as it usually was, we were all watching the same shows – I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, That Girl, Get Smart, Star Trek, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

 


 

 

These and many other classic series are profiled in the book, along with selections for their five best episodes.

 

First and foremost, this is a book for people who love these wonderful shows. Spending time with them has helped so many of us cope with the challenges of this past year. But the book is also for people who look at life in America as it was portrayed in these shows, and wonder why we can’t be more like that now. What have we lost since that time – and can we get it back?

 

Here’s a quote from the Introduction:

 

The shows from decades past remain a source of happy shared memories among tens of millions of people; they are a common thread weaved throughout our culture; they portrayed a time when people were more sincere and less sarcastic; more civil and less cynical; they come from an era when it felt like we were more one nation (yes, under God) then different warring tribes. They show us families and communities that support each other. They show us cities where schools and offices and synagogues are safe.

 

And when we watch them again, it brings back memories of the days before VCRs and DVRs. Back then we knew when we watched a popular prime time series like The Carol Burnett Show on Saturday night, we were sharing that experience with tens of millions of Americans doing the same thing at the same time. 

 


 

 

And here’s the part that will probably seem odd to those who grew up after this time had passed: It felt good. There was something reassuring about being part of something bigger, and feeling a tangible connection to people from one end of the country to another, even though you were doing something as inconsequential as watching a TV show.

 

Such connections, such common threads, are beneficial for a nation. Television was just one of many that have disappeared over the past two or three decades, with nothing substantial emerging to replace them. Perhaps that’s one reason why we’re in the state we’re in now. 

 

So if you’re a classic TV fan, or your have fans on your holiday shopping list, I hope you’ll check out When Television Brought Us Together. Hopefully it will help you get through these final (God willing) weeks of lockdowns and into a new year that will be better than this one.

 

Order When Television Brought Us Together

Friday, November 20, 2020

Spending the Day After Thanksgiving With Ozzie & Harriet

 

One week from today will be the day after Thanksgiving. Usually it’s also Black Friday, but this year most stores will either be closed or keeping their usual hours, which may be the only positive development to emerge from the pandemic.

 

If you’re lucky enough to have the day off, one way to spend some of that time is with a wonderful episode of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet called, appropriately enough, “The Day After Thanksgiving.” 

 


 

 

We fade up at the breakfast table in the Nelson home, as the family remembers the delicious Thanksgiving dinner they enjoyed the previous night at the home of Harriet’s Aunt Ellen (Ellen Corby, who played senior citizens on television for more than 30 years).

 

Eating out means no leftovers, and that suits Ozzie just fine. He launches into an impassioned speech about how everyone enjoys a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, “and then they have to go and spoil the memory of this beautiful occasion by stuffing themselves with turkey the rest of the week. The whole thing is ridiculous.”

 

But later that day his neighbor Mr. Thornberry stops by still munching on a drumstick, and talking about the delights of cold turkey the next day: “This is my favorite week of the year.” 

 


 

 

They discuss the right combination of ingredients for a perfect turkey sandwich – and by lunchtime Ozzie is craving more turkey, as are his sons David and Ricky.

 

The desire becomes so powerful that he heads to the butcher shop to buy a turkey, but not surprisingly that bird is tough to find on the day after Thanksgiving. 

 


 

Will his dreams of turkey hash, turkey croquettes and turkey upside down pudding go unrealized?

 

Those unfamiliar with this series are likely wondering why anyone would enjoy 25 minutes of watching people talk about eating turkey. But that’s what makes The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet so special. For 14 years, it found little moments that are identifiable to most viewers – such as the appeal of turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving – and turned them into clever, relatable and entertaining half-hours of television.

 

Ozzie’s change of heart and subsequent quest for turkey are comical, yet they are also relatable. Who hasn’t built up their hopes for a particular food, to the point where getting it becomes a crusade? Ozzie would later embark on a similar quest in one of the show’s most famous episodes, “Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream.”

 

My holiday celebrations are always a little better when I can share part of them with a classic show. If you feel that way as well, you may have already enjoyed the infamous turkey drop on WKRP in Cincinnati, bowed your head in prayer with Jim Anderson in the Father Knows Best episode “Thanksgiving,” and watched Sam, Darrin and Aunt Clara mingle with the Pilgrims at Plymouth on Bewitched. Now you’ve got something to watch on the day after Thanksgiving – and before you start watching your favorite Comfort TV Christmas shows.

 

“The Day After Thanksgiving” is available on YouTube.