The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet launched on CBS October 8, 1944, making a mid-season switch to NBC in 1949. The final years of the radio series were on ABC (the former NBC Blue Network) from October 14, 1949, to June 18, 1954.The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, an American radio and television series, was once the longest-running, live-action situation comedy on American television, having aired on ABC from 1952 to 1966 after a ten-year run on radio. Starring Ozzie Nelson and his wife, singer Harriet Hilliard (she dropped her maiden name after the couple ended their music career), the show's sober, gentle humor captured a large, sustaining audience, although it never rated in the top ten programs, and later critics tended to dismiss it as fostering a slightly unrealistic picture of post-World War II American family life. When Skelton was drafted, Ozzie Nelson was prompted to create his own family situation comedy. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet launched on CBS October 8, 1944, making a mid-season switch to NBC in 1949. The final years of the radio series were on ABC (the former NBC Blue Network) from October 14, 1949, to June 18, 1954. In an arrangement that amplified the growing pains of American broadcasting, as radio "grew up" into television (as George Burns once phrased it), the Nelsons' deal with ABC gave the network itself the right to move the show to television whenever it wanted to do it---they wanted, according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, to have talent in the bullpen and ready to pitch, so to say, on their own network, rather than risk it defecting to CBS (where the Nelsons began) or NBC. Their sons, David and Ricky, did not join the cast until five years after the radio series began. The two boys felt frustrated at hearing themselves played by actors and continually requested they be allowed to portray themselves. Prior to April 1949, the role of David was played by Joel Davis (1944-45) and Tommy Bernard, and Henry Blair appeared as Ricky. Since Ricky was only nine years old when he began on the show, his enthusiasm outstripped his ability at script reading, and at least once he jumped a cue, prompting Harriet to say, "Not now, Ricky." Other cast members included John Brown as Syd "Thorny" Thornberry, Lurene Tuttle as Harriet's mother, Bea Benaderet as Gloria, Janet Waldo as Emmy Lou, and Dick Trout as Roger. Vocalists included Harriet Nelson, the King Sisters, and Ozzie Nelson. The announcers were Jack Bailey and Verne Smith. The music was by Billy May and Ozzie Nelson. The producers were Dave Elton and Ozzie Nelson.
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