24 May 2013 | earlytalkie
Charming Piece Of Americana
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet stands as the longest-running live action sitcom in history. Many people over the years have put down this program as being corny and too "white-bread" for modern consumption. Just like The Donna Reed Show and other "family" shows of that era. O & H is really a charming time-capsule of what we wanted to be back in those days, just like Donna Reed. What sets O & H a tad above the other shows is the fact that the family portrayed here was, in fact, a real family. Ozzie Nelson himself oversaw practically every aspect of production, and let's not forget that, starting in 1957, Ricky was singing genuine "rock and roll" on the show. The plots may be as simple as a late-night search for Tutti-Frutti ice cream, but there is an easy-going flow to the lightweight stories that make them charming. Don De Fore is featured in the early shows as "Thorny" the next-door neighbor, and Lyle Talbot and Mary Jane Croft are in the later ones as the Randolphs. Ozzie and Harriet featured background music taken from the Capitol HiQ music library. This music was used in many shows, cartoons and industrial films of the period. Just hearing this music takes me back to the "old days" and gives me a warm feeling. The performances by the family are all polished and good, especially Harriet with her wise-cracks which always crack me up. The show is in the process of being fully restored, all 435 episodes (!), by Sam Nelson, son of Rick. There has been much said about the quality of the Shout! Factory "best of" set. I own this and I enjoy having 24 episodes which cover the series from the earliest shows to the last. Yes, these are the edited-for-syndication prints, but as I don't remember what was cut from the shows, I don't miss these scenes. In addition, the prints used here are in pretty good shape, better than the ones featured on the public domain DVDs which have been around for many years now. For someone like me, who grew up in the O & H era, it is fine to see this program and relive "the good old days" when situation comedy didn't rely soley on sex jokes and off-color humor. Call me old-fashioned, but I like these classics of early television.