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Here's a nice family picture of The Nelsons who starred on The Adventure Of Ozzie And Harriet. The series aired on ABC from 1952-1966. The series is the longest running non-animated sitcom in history. It had an amazing 435 episodes in its long run.

For more on The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet go to the mini-page right here at Sitcoms Online.

An Article From Time Magazine

The Full Nelson
Monday, Feb. 16, 1948 Article

Oswald George Nelson has been described by a CBS official as "one of the few guys who didn't get eaten up by radio. He ate it up."

Ozzie has always had an appetite for action. He was the youngest Eagle Scout in New Jersey (and won a trip to Europe with the qualifying merit badge). At Rutgers, he was varsity quarterback, lacrosse letterman, diver on the swimming team, middleweight boxing champion, a fair musician, and a near miss at Phi Beta Kappa. When Rudy Vallee was king of the crooners, Ozzie was a topflight bandleader. Last week, at 41, he was still riding high. His husband-&-wife program (CBS, Fri. 9:30 p.m., E.S.T.) was the best in its category, with a 10.5 Hooperating.

In his last year at New Jersey Law College, Ozzie organized a band to help pay his way. By the time he got his diploma (1930), he had decided that his eight-piece hand looked a lot bigger than a lawyer's shingle. In a year he was making more money than a Supreme Court justice.

Although handy with a megaphone, Ozzie was never a great singer. So he hired Harriet Hilliard to share the bandstand spotlight. Harriet couldn't sing much better than Ozzie, but she was considerably prettier. Together they improvised a "talky-type song a "back & forth, boy & girl" exchange that the customers loved. They were married in 1935.

For a decade the Nelsons played second fiddle to various radio stars (Robert Ripley, Joe Penner, Feg Murray). Briefly, Harriet was a successful cinemactress (Follow the Fleet, New Faces). They joined Red Skelton in 1941, and when Red went into the Army, they finally got a program of their own.

The show-a situation comedy-gave the Nelsons a brand-new career. Most of the show's charm can be credited to Ozzie's sweating thoroughness, and doing what comes naturally. Ozzie & Harriet are Mr. & Mrs. Average Family on & off the air. The show's children, Ricky, 7, and David, 11, are named and characterized in the image of the Nelsons' own two sons. For accuracy, Ozzie checks all lines with the originals. Emmy Lou, the show's bobbysoxer, was discovered in a Hollywood swimming pool. Harriet's radio mother is a direct steal from her real mother.

Ozzie lords it over his four writers and hammers the program together himself, down to the musical bridges, which he whistles over the telephone to his bandleader. He dramatizes the final script in a last-minute soliloquy at home, supplying chuckles and belly laughs which are supposed to come from the audience. Says Harriet: "It's quite a sight to hear."

Another Article From Time Magazine

The Great Competitor
Monday, Dec. 14, 1953 Article

The Oswald Nelsons of Hollywood are probably the most self-sustained family in the U.S. They not only live and work together but, each Friday night, sit down to watch themselves on TV film and. an hour later, hear themselves on recorded radio. Both shows are called The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet; both are broadcast by ABC; both star Ozzie Nelson, his wife Harriet, and their two children, 17-year-old David and 13-year-old Ricky. Ozzie's mother-in-law is in charge of answering the fan mail, and Ozzie's brother Don is one of the show's seven writers. Says Ozzie proudly: "We're truly a family project. The program is entirely on our shoulders."

Like the low man on a totem pole, Ozzie, 46, carries most of the load. He produces and directs the TV show, edits and cuts the film, polishes the scenarios ("I make the words sound real and natural"), keeps his sponsors (Hotpoint and Listerine) contented, and, in his free time, lectures his sons on the Eagle Scout concept of honor or takes them on for practice sessions of football or basketball. On the show itself. Ozzie's character lacks the overhead drive and adding-machine efficiency that he displays in real life. As in most other TV family dramas. Ozzie is pictured as a lovable but rather silly oaf who needs rescuing from untenable positions by his sweet, understanding wife and his tolerant children.

The Nelson children apparently accept their double life as completely natural. David says that the Saturday filming of the TV show makes little difference to him or his friends, since "most of the kids in my class have jobs over the weekend anyway." Ricky has been more difficult. At eight he wanted to quit school because he could already read a radio script and was not able to see the need for further education. Ozzie insists that both boys will go on to college and to law school. He remembers that when he was a New Jersey law student he also had an afternoon job coaching a football team and led his orchestra in the evenings. He met his wife, Harriet Hilliard, when he hired her to sing with his band.

Ex-Athlete Ozzie (he won his letter at Rutgers in football, swimming and lacrosse) reserves a special phrase for high tribute: "The man is a great competitor." He finds it immensely satisfying that his TV show has the highest rating of any on the ABC network, and that the Nelson family shares an annual income of $350,000. When he was 24, Ozzie drew a competitive satisfaction from the fact that he was already making more money than a Supreme Court Justice. Last week some rapid pencil work by Ozzie revealed that he had been outdistanced by his teen-age sons: David and Ricky now each earn more money than is paid the President of the U.S.


To read Ozzie Nelson's Obituary go to

Here is Rick Nelson's Obituary from Variety
January 8, 1986.

Teen idol Rick Nelson dies at 45
'Ozzie and Harriet' star was also a singer

Rick Nelson, 45, the actor who grew up in front of millions of television viewers on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" and spent most of his career as a singer, was killed New Year's Eve in a plane crash near DeKalb, Texas.
Seven of the nine people aboard the private DC-3, including Nelson's fiance Helen Blair and members of Nelson's Stone Canyon Band, were killed on a flight between Guttersville, Ala. and Dallas' Love Field.

Eric Hilliard Nelson was born May 8, 1940 in Teaneck, N.J. His parents were bandleader Ozzie Nelson and singer the former Harriet Hilliard, who introduced a show on radio in 1944. At first, child actors portrayed Ricky and his brother David, four years older, but the two kids began playing themselves on the show in 1949.

The family moved to television on ABC-TV in 1952, when Ricky was 12. The family situation comedy was enormously popular and ran for 14 years, during which time the boys grew up, married and brought their wives onto the show. While still a student at Hollywood High School, Ricky Nelson also became a big singing star and teen heartthrob. His hits included "A Teenager's Romance," "Poor Little Fool," "Travelin' Man" and "Hello Mary Lou." His career hit a slump after the TV show ended in 1966, but he rebounded in 1972 with the hit "Garden Party."

Here is Harriet Nelson's Obituary from The New York Times

Harriet Nelson, 85, Matriarch Of 'Ozzie and Harriet' Show

Published: October 4, 1994

Harriet Nelson, who with her husband, Ozzie, reared their real-life sons in the make-believe world of the television series "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," died on Sunday at her home in Laguna Beach, Calif. She was 85.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Joe Sutton, a family friend. She had been hospitalized for three weeks and was released on Friday at her request, he said.

Mrs. Nelson had suffered from emphysema for years before developing heart trouble. David Nelson, her son, said she had been in poor spirits since the death of her husband in 1975.

Ozzie Nelson was a band leader when he married his singer, Harriet Hilliard, in 1935. She had a brief career as a film actress, notably in "Follow the Fleet," with Fred Astaire, in 1936.

The couple began "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" as a radio show in 1944, with child actors playing their two sons, David and Eric, nicknamed Ricky. In 1949, the boys began playing themselves. Billed as "radio's favorite family," they starred in a movie, "Here Come the Nelsons," in 1952, and then transferred the show to television.

While never at the top of the ratings, the television show lasted for 14 years, until 1966, making it one of the longest-running family comedies. With Ozzie Nelson as the chief producer, director and writer, the show featured gentle humor often loosely based on the Nelsons' real-life experiences with their sons. Viewers got to watch the boys grow up.

Ricky Nelson went on to become a successful pop-singing star; he died in a plane crash in 1985. David Nelson became a television director and occasional actor.

Ozzie and Harriet Nelson also starred in the short-lived syndicated series "Ozzie's Girls" in 1973. They again played themselves; the premise was that they had taken in female college-student boarders to replace their grown sons.

Mrs. Nelson made occasional appearances in television series and made-for-television movies and mini-series, including "Once an Eagle," in 1977, and "The Kid With the 200 I.Q.," in 1983.

Mrs. Nelson, whose name was originally Peggy Lou Snyder, was born on July 18, 1909, in Des Moines, David Nelson said, although many reference books listed her age as five years younger. Her parents were in show business, and she began performing at a young age.

In addition to son David, several grandchildren survive her.

Another Article on Harriet Nelson from The Virginia Pilot published on Sunday, October 9, 1994.

Harriet Nelson is dead.


The actress who played Ozzie's better half died last week. But all the things her on-screen character stood for faded away years ago.

Anyone who watched the show by their TV's blue light remembers her vacuuming away in her starched apron. And tackling problems like a son's lost homework or unrequited puppy love. And turning in each night to twin beds with husband Ozzie.

The Nelsons' world seemed as uncomplicated as the plots in the weekly episodes. But over time, just the phrase ``Ozzie and Harriet'' conjured up much more meaning than a defunct sitcom:

The two-parent, two-child family tucked safely away in the suburbs. The stay-at-home mother who greets her children with cookies after school. The wife who never argued when Ozzie said men were better than women, but always proved him wrong.

Together with Ozzie, Harriet stood for a world that America continues to yearn for. A world of trimmed hedges, cardigan sweaters and supper-table discussions. A slower, gentler place where all problems could be untangled in 30 minutes.

They are fictional balm to bruised families.

The fact that Harriet Nelson was largely a mythical mother - then and now - should have been painfully obvious.

The real-life Harriet Nelson, after all, was a working mother with problems knottier than those of any sitcom. Her own parents were separated. Her son struggled with drug problems and died in a plane crash. Her grandson was the subject of a bitter custody battle.

She smoked cigarettes.

That's a fact she hid from fans, almost as if she knew we were depending on her to uphold all that was right and good in mothers.

Still, generations looked to the on-screen Harriet as a role model. She made it look so easy: Her children so clean-scrubbed. Her answers so reasonable. Her life as ordered as her kitchen cabinets.

She set an impossible standard.

While few mothers, even in the '50s, lived such ideal lives, they at least had the basic elements. Eighty percent of children during Harriet's heyday had two parents at home. Barely half do today. Too often Mom and Dad don't just sleep in separate twin beds, but separate homes. They don't solve problems at the dinner table but in the courtroom. Supper is cooked with the beep-beep-beep of a microwave for children who don't have time to sit down to eat.

Today's TV moms come closer to hitting reality than Harriet. Roseanne has spoiled milk in the fridge and arguments with her kids. And the newest sitcom mom, in ``Grace Under Fire,'' left an abusive husband to struggle with latchkey kids and late rent.

Today's real mothers may be more likely to say ``I can relate'' to TV moms instead of ``Why can't I be like Harriet?''

But a part of us will always yearn for that ideal family. Maybe we put too much faith in Harriet, who never took herself, or the show, as seriously as sociologists did.

But she seemed to know what counts.

``I know there's one thing that's important,'' she once said. ``And that's your family.''

That much, at least, we know is the real thing.

Here is David Nelson's Obituary from The LA Times.

David Nelson dies at 74; last surviving member of the TV sitcom family

By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times

January 12, 2011

David Nelson, the elder son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson and the last surviving member of the family that became an American institution in the 1950s and '60s as the stars of the classic TV sitcom "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," died Tuesday. He was 74.

Nelson died at his Century City home of complications from colon cancer, said publicist Dale Olson.

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" began on radio in 1944, focusing on the home life of bandleader Ozzie Nelson and his vocalist wife, Harriet Hilliard.

In 1949, the popular show became a true family affair when 12-year-old David and 8-year-old Ricky replaced the child actors who had been portraying them on radio.

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" moved to television three years later, debuting on ABC in October 1952.

When the series ended in 1966 after 435 episodes, it had become the longest-running family situation comedy in TV history - as well as serving as the launch pad and showcase for teen idol Rick Nelson's singing career.

In the process of playing fictionalized versions of themselves on television each week for 14 years, David and Rick Nelson literally grew up in front of millions of Americans.

Indeed, after David and Rick were married in the early '60s, their wives- first David's wife, actress June Blair, and then Rick's wife, the former Kris Harmon- became their TV wives.

The blurring of what was real and what was not real caused confusion in some viewers' minds.

When David enrolled at USC and joined a fraternity after graduating from Hollywood High School in 1954, his TV character started college and joined a fraternity.

But unlike his TV character, who became a lawyer on the show, David did not go into law.

Instead, he launched his career as a director by taking the reins from his director-father for about a dozen episodes of the show in the early '60s. He spent the next several decades directing commercials and occasional TV series and movies.

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" has been criticized for presenting an idealized version of American family life that few could live up to.

That included the Nelsons, as David pointed out in a 1971 Esquire article headlined "The Happy, Happy, Happy Nelsons."

"We would keep up the front of this totally problemless, happy-go-lucky group," he said. "There might have been a tremendous battle in our home, but if someone from outside came in, it would be as if the director yelled, 'Roll 'em,' We'd fall right into our stage roles.

"It's an awfully big load to carry, to be everyone's fantasy family."

He was born Oct. 24, 1936, in New York City, when Ozzie and Harriet were in their big-band heyday.

Rick was born in 1940, the year before the Nelsons moved permanently to Hollywood.

After Ozzie and Harriet launched their radio show in 1944, David and Rick would accompany their parents to their live broadcasts.

They had no show business aspirations, but when they heard that their young friend Lindsay Crosby was going to make a guest appearance with his father, Bing, in an episode of the show in December 1948, David and Rick lobbied their parents to let them appear as well.

Ozzie and Harriet finally agreed to let them play David and Ricky in the preview show before a studio audience but not the actual broadcast.

As Harriet told The Times in 1981: "You're not anxious to put your career in the hands of kids."

The boys did not disappoint their parents.

"They just opened their mouths and you never heard such laughs," said Harriet. "Ricky sounded like a pipsqueak."

David and Ricky joined the cast of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" in February 1949. Within six months, Radio Life magazine dubbed them "The Crown Princes of Radio."

From the start, Ricky was given most of the funny lines and, as a result, he received most of the attention.

But there wasn't really any rivalry between himself and his younger brother, Nelson said in a 1987 Associated Press interview.

"We were 3 1/2 years apart," David Nelson said. "So when Rick was funny, I laughed with everyone else. And when he became a popular singer, I rooted for him."

David and Rick made their movie debuts in "Here Come the Nelsons," the 1952 comedy released about eight months before the family debuted on television.

During the '50s and early '60s, David Nelson also had roles in the movies "Peyton Place," "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker," "The Big Circus," "Day of the Outlaw," "30" and "The Big Show."

For "The Big Circus," he learned to be a catcher in a trapeze act and later appeared professionally as a catcher.

Nelson acted only sporadically after "Ozzie and Harriet" ended; his final acting credit was as the father of Wanda ( Traci Lords) in "Cry-Baby," writer-director John Waters' spoof of the '50s.

Ozzie Nelson died of liver cancer in 1975. Rick Nelson died with six others in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1985. And in 1994, Harriet Nelson died of congestive heart failure.

Nelson is survived by his wife, Yvonne; sons John, Eric, James and Danny; daughter Teri; and seven grandchildren. Nelson's marriage to Blair ended in divorce in 1975.

Services and burial will be at noon on Thursday at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary.

To read some articles about The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet go to %20harriet&pg=4655%2C4970515 and and and

To watch some clips from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For an episode guide go to

For a Page dedicated to The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet go to

For a look at Ozzie & Harriet's House go to

For The Don Defore Fan Club go to

For the Nelson Brothers Website go to

For a Website dedicated to the 1950's go to

To listen to 1950's radio go to

To listen to radio episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet go to

For some Ozzie & Harriet-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

For a great review of the series go to
Date: Thu June 17, 2004 � Filesize: 40.3kb � Dimensions: 500 x 405 �
Keywords: The Nelson Family ( Links all Updated 5/3/2017)


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