FILLING HE AIRWAVES with programming that would be both artistically acceptable and yet, at the same time, commercially (box office) a success, was a constant problem for the new networks in the 1950's. The time that the stations were on with programming was ever expanding. The time occupied by the image of Chief Video and his test pattern, including the ever present h-u-m-m-m-m-m-m!!
LONG HAS BEEN the custom in showbiz ever since time in memoriam, "nothing succeeds like success"; which roughly translates in Hollywood to "Copy, copy, copy!!" Hence, we have the proliferation of varied yet similar examples of network offerings.
IN THE CASE of this series. December BRIDE, we have what essentially is I LOVE LUCY, MY LITTLE MARGIE or I MARRIED JOAN, only adapted to the centering of the action on what we today call "the Gray Panthers" or more commonly, Senior Citizens. Most any of the scripts used could easily been tweaked ever so slightly and used in one of those other sitcoms. (And the reverse would also apply, Schultz!)
WHEN THE CONCEPT of the adventures of an elderly widow* and her friends in meddling in the affairs of her daughter and son-in-law was first brought to the "Suits" at CBS and Desilu Productions, there were some basic questions; is it (the concept) feasible as far as $$$$), will the public watch and do so faithfully and (finally) who could we cast in the starring role in order to insure the series success?
WELL IN ANSWER to the above, the part of Lilly Ruskin went to veteran film actress, Sprung Byington. Her vulnerably aged "Ethel Mertz" character, Hilda Crocker, went to Verna Felton. Lilly's daughter and son-in-law were portrayed by Frances Rafferty and Dean Miller respectively.
THE UNEXPECTED SURPRISE character of the show was Harry Morgan's deadpan rendering of neighbor Pete Porter; who would always offer his caustic tirades on his wife, Gladys. Although 'Gladys' was never seen, the routine was popular enough to produce a spin-off situation comedy PETE AND GLADYS (CBS, 1960-62) which starred Morgan and Cara Williams.
AS FAR AS the stories on DECEMBDER BRIDE, they were, as we said before, nothing different from other sitcoms, only with the bent of a Social Security recipient. Even the theme song was rendered by the Desi Arnaz Orchetra conducted by Wilbur Hatch.