The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966 ABC-TV) ... videos ... cast ... show summary ... Ozzie's background ... episodes ... radio show ... Ozzie's occupation ... In memory of the cast of Ozzie and Harriet ... Steve Reeves question? ... Ozzie and Harriet Official Website
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, starring the entire Nelson family. Here's Ozzie, who plays the part of Ozzie Nelson, and of course his lovely wife Harriet, as Harriet Nelson. The older of the Nelson boys, David, appears as David Nelson, and his younger brother, the irrepressible Ricky, played by Ricky Nelson. Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for these pictures, that I made into this composite.
Connie Nelson as Miss Edwards, Dave Nelson
Miss Edwards (Connie Nelson) and Dave Nelson work at the law firm of Dobson & Kelley. Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.
Rick Nelson and Connie Nelson
The above photo is not from an episode, but is a 'candid' shot of my mother, Connie Nelson (Harper at the time) and Rick sharing a tin of cookies sent in by a fan. At the time, she was in charge of answering his fan mail, her first job with the Nelson family. The scraps of paper and ribbons on top of the cabinet are what's left of the elaborate wrapping from around the cookies. Can you imagine that these days any celebrity would dare to eat food that arrived in the mail?

I used to visit the Stage 5 offices a good deal, and I well remember the impressive amount of Rick's fan mail. Every day at least one and sometimes two or even three Postal Service bags stuffed full of envelopes would arrive. They were from all over the world, even from countries behind the cold war's 'iron curtain' -- Hungary, Russia, Czechoslovakia, and the various Balkan states. I had quite a stamp collection.

The door you see led from the prop room to the Stage Five set. Note the red warning light between the telephone handset and the door. It was turned on to keep people from walking in when shooting was in progress. When that red light was on, lifting the telephone handset you see on the wall caused another light on the stage manager's telephone to flash, so he could answer (in a whisper) without having it ring and ruin the shot. When the light was off, the phone's bell would ring aloud inside the stage and anybody nearby would answer it.

For some reason, I still remember after 40 years the (partially visible) drawing on the door behind my mother. It was a hand-drawn illustration of three lazy-looking guys sitting with their feet up on a table. The table was covered with 'Ozzie & Harriet' scripts. The caption read, "One of these days, we've got to get organized."

The chicken wire you see in the background was used to hold canvas-covered soundproofing material against the stage wall. The shiny doorbell-shaped objects arranged vertically on the chicken wire were specially made washer nails used to attach the chicken wire and the soundproofing to the wall studs.

The wooden cabinet belonged to the property master and every drawer was filled with the most unlikely combination of materials. Cans of vegetable shortening (used to imitate ice cream, as it did not melt under the hot lights), green spray paint (for artificial shrubbery losing its gloss), and false light switches that could be nailed into place.

Across the midway was the set for the Addams Family, two stages to the east was the set for 'Mr. Ed', and two stages west was the stage for The Beverly Hillbillies. On pleasant days, the giant stage doors were left open to allow the sets to cool. Unless the stage was labeled as a 'hot set,' meaning nothing could be moved or continuity would be ruined, nobody minded if I wandered in to look at things and meet the cast members.

What a place it was for an 11-year-old kid.

--Mike Griffin

Thanks very much to Michael Griffin for this section of information.

Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for the above picture.
Tracy, Matthew, Gunnar, three of Ricky's children, and Connie Nelson in Ozzie's Girls
The photo is from "Ozzie's Girls", a short-lived sequel (produced by David Nelson) that ran in 1973. From left to right: Tracy, Matthew and Gunnar (three of Ricky's children). Behind them is my mother (Connie Nelson), who was portraying their mother in the episode.

Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for the above picture and the information. Connie is Michael's mother.
At Ozzie and Harriet's home one Christmas Eve -- this would have been around 1968 or so, a couple of years after the series ended -- the two of them were relaxing in Ozzie's den after an evening of keeping everyone fed and entertained. Most of the company had gone home by then, and I was the only other person in the room.

"Whenever my friends find out my mom is married to your brother," I said to Ozzie, "they always want to know two things -- what the Nelsons are really like, and what Ozzie did for a living on the show. I can tell them more or less what I think you're like, but I have no idea what to say about the second part."

Ozzie laughed and said, "Tell them whatever you want to about us, but you have to remember never to mention our third son, Igor, who we keep chained in the basement. As for the other thing," he continued, "I've heard all the jokes about what I did for a living. All that everybody saw me do was hang around the house in a cardigan and wait to get into some trouble or other. They couldn't help but guess and make jokes about what I did to earn a living. It amused the heck out of me to hear what people came up with."

Harriet smiled and rolled her eyes up in an ironical "No kidding" expression.

"The funny thing is," he went on as he leaned forward on the sofa, "it wasn't really a secret at all. It's true that I was never seen at work or going to work or coming home from work. Also, none of the other characters ever mentioned what I did.

"But that was entirely intentional. If you think about it, you'll see the answer is right there along with the so-called mystery. Ozzie leaned back in his seat. Apparently it did amuse him to make people guess at what "wasn't really a secret at all."

"Oh, all right," he relented, when he saw my frown of incomprehension. "It's Christmas, and I'll give you another hint. Besides, you're too young to have heard our radio show, so that means you're missing part of the history," Ozzie explained. "You see, when the series on the air, we based the shows on the real-life premise that I was the leader of my band and Harriet was the singer."

"Then big band music went out of style, and I had to fold up my band. We could hardly pretend it was still going, so we wrote it out of the show. Then radio started to go out of style. Television was the new big entertainment form, and that's where we went. Anyway, to answer your friends when they ask what I did, tell them it's hidden in plain sight."

I sat back in my chair, determined to puzzle it out, or at least try to. Ozzie and Harriet resumed chatting with each other about how the evening had gone.

"HA!" I exclaimed several minutes later, loudly enough to cause them both to look suddenly in my direction. "I've got it -- or I think I do. When the TV series was on the air, in real life you were the producer and director and one of the stars of 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.' But you couldn't show yourself going to work.. because you were already at work. And you couldn't leave work and come home, because the set was a duplicate of this house.. so whether you showed yourself at work or at home, the audience couldn't have told the difference and would get confused. And none of the rest of the cast could talk about what you did, because you were the only one playing himself. The others didn't play themselves -- Harriet was a housewife, Dave was a lawyer, and so on."

Ozzie looked at Harriet. "Smart kid," he said to her, and winked at me. Then Harriet spoke. "Usually I could tell the difference, though," she said. "Usually."

Thank you very much, Michael Griffin, for the above story.
A year or two later, I was visiting Ozzie and Harriet at their house in South Laguna Beach. Ozzie took me for a ride into town to buy some ice cream. He particularly enjoyed pistachio ice cream, a weakness we both shared. "Harriet only lets me buy a pint at a time," he said. "I'm glad you're here. Now I have an excuse to buy a half gallon."

A Beatles song started playing on the car radio. I asked Ozzie what he thought of them.

"I hate them," he said.

"Really? You do? You told me once you liked rock and roll."

He laughed. "You didn't let me finish. I think Lennon is an excellent rock and roll creator. McCartney writes lovely ballads. That's why they're a good partnership. It's a combination that shouldn't work, but it does. And Ringo may not be the greatest drummer in the world, but he keeps such a solid beat you could drive a locomotive on top of it. None of them has a great voice, but for what they do, they..."

I interrupted him. "So then why do you hate them?"

"It's not hate," he said, then chuckled. "I used to say I hated them, and that their songs would never last. I'm sure I meant it at the time. But you know, looking back, probably 'annoyed' or 'aggravated' would have been a better word than 'hate.'

"See, I did what I could to give Rick a good start," he explained. "I put his performances in the shows, helped him with the business side, like negotiating contracts. But the thing is, he's truly a talented musician, and that's not just his father talking. Maybe I helped at the beginning, but he had million sellers and a stack of gold records without my help.

He went on. "And then along came the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and the rest of them and knocked Rick off the charts. So, I don't really hate the Beatles. I just hated what happened, for Rick's sake.

"But you're right, I said I like rock and roll and I really do," he added. "You know, I started in this business as a musician and I've never lost interest in what's current. After all, good music is good music -- rock.. pop.. symphonies.. jazz..." Ozzie stopped speaking and thought for a moment. "Well," he said, frowning a little, "Well, maybe not Dixieland jazz."

Thank you very much, Michael Griffin, for the above story.
Rick, David and Harriet
Rick, David and Harriet from a very early episode. Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.
Ricky, Harriet, David and Ozzie Nelson
Ozzie and Harriet is currently airing on the Familyland Television Network.

Producer: Ozzie Nelson
Directors: Ozzie Nelson, David Nelson
Stage Five Productions, Hollywood
Associate Producer: Leo Pepin
Writers: Ozzie Nelson, Don Nelson, Dick Bensfield, Perry Grant, Jay Sommers

Sponsors: Eastman Kodak Company, Coca-Cola

(long running TV situation comedy, 435 episodes)

Ozzie and Harriet was filmed at Hollywood Center Studios, formerly called General Service Studios.

HOME: 822 Sycamore, Hillsdale USA (it was an exact copy of the Nelsons' real Hollywood home )

Ozzie and Harriet was listed in Entertainment Weekly, The 100 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time, Collector's Edition which was published by Entertainment Weekly Books, a division of Time Inc. Home Entertainment.

Bob LeMond was the announcer on some of the Ozzie and Harriet episodes.

The camera operator was Fred Gately. When he left for another show, Ozzie chose William Mellor as a replacement. He was impressed with his work as the cinematographer on the film A Place In The Sun, especially the scenes filmed at Lake Arrowhead.
If you have an answer to this question I received, please send it to the email address that's near the bottom of the page.

Steve Reeves, Mr. Universe 1950, was on Ozzie and Harriet in the early years. Does anybody know which episode he was in?
Ozzie Nelson
Ozzie Nelson (Oswald G. Nelson, born Mar. 20, 1906, Jersey City, New Jersey)

This school is on a street that has Ozzie Nelson's name.

"And once again I thanked the Lord for being so good to me-for bringing me Harriet and David and Ricky and all the blessings that have made my life such a happy one." (from the book "Ozzie" by Ozzie Nelson)

Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.

The Nelson Touch, 25 Band Hits 1931-1941 is a good little CD that has big band numbers from Ozzie's orchestra days.

Sing, with Ozzie Nelson (1937), features Ozzie on the front cover. The booklet has words to over 250 songs and also has a timeline of Ozzie's early life and career.
  • In 1930, Ozzie Nelson started his band at the Glen Island Casino. Harriet was the first vocalist with the band.
    Harriet Nelson
    Harriet Nelson (Harriet Hilliard) (born July 18, 1909, Des Moines, Iowa, Ozzie's real wife.)

    When Harriet was pregnant with David, Joy Hodges filled in for her and sang with Ozzie Nelson's band at the Palmer House in Chicago.

    Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.
    David Nelson
    David Nelson (born Oct. 24, 1936, New York, New York, Ozzie's real son. He attended Hollywood High School. His stepdaughter Teri Nelson is married to game show host Chuck Woolery.)

    David directed several episodes of Ozzie and Harriet. He started his own commercial production company.

    David had two boys by June Blair, his first wife. Daniel Blair Nelson was born on August 20, 1962. David was in the Air Force Reserve but he flew in for the event. While Dave completed his duty, his wife and his child stayed with Ozzie and Harriet. James Eric Nelson was born June 8, 1966 in Burbank, California at St. Joseph's Hospital.

    He married Yvonne O'Connor Huston in 1975, adopting her three children.

    13 year old Dennis Holt's family had no savings and his father had a disabling heart attack. For 7 years, Ozzie Nelson gave Dennis stand-in work on the Ozzie and Harriet show. (Dennis played the character of George in the episode, "The Randolph's Niece".) This impressed Dennis. His tiny Western International Media Corporation grew into a multi-billion dollar business. Western established a division to produce television commercials, Casablanca Productions, which David Nelson ran for 25 years.

    Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.
    Did David ever sing in any other episodes of the program other than "Ricky The Drummer" and "Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream"? If you have an answer to this question I received, please send it to me at the email address near the bottom of the page.

    I received an email that said, David sang in the episode about Ricky acting like he needed horse riding lessons because he thought the trainer was cute. At the end there's a campfire and they sing "Cindy". David solos on his own verse.

    I received another email that said, the other episode that David had sang in was titled "Rick's Riding Lessons" (11/19/1958) where David sings in a chuck wagon. Thank you to Paul Ogwo for this information.
    June Blair
    June Blair (born Oct. 30, 1936, San Francisco, California. David saw June in a movie called The Rabbit Trap. He was impressed with her, suggested her for the show, and the next year the two got married.) as June (the real Mrs. David Nelson)

    In the episode His Brother's Girl, June Blair plays the character of Jane.

    In the episode David Hires A Secretary, June (pictured above) plays the part of Kathy Carson.
    Connie Nelson (left), Ricky Nelson (middle)
    Ricky Nelson (Eric Hilliard Nelson, born May 8, 1940, Teaneck, New Jersey, Ozzie's real son. He attended Bancroft Junior High.)
    Connie Nelson is pictured on the left.
    Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.
    Rick Nelson
    Rick Nelson at an awards banquet

    Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.
    Don Nelson, Ozzie's brother, was the first to write Ricky's famous catchphrase line, "I don't mess around, boy."

    This is the website of Ricky Nelson.

    Scroll down some on this page and it mentions the appearance of George Lindsey (played Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show") with Ricky Nelson on "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour".

    A Night to Remember [ENHANCED]. This is music from Rick Nelson and Fats Domino.
    Ricky and Kristin Harmon had 4 children:

    Tracy (actress, "Melrose Place", "Father Dowling Mysteries", "Down and Out in Beverly Hills")

    Matthew and Gunnar (twin sons have a rock band, Nelson.), The Nelson Brothers. Official Site of Matthew & Gunnar Nelson. Nelson Tour Info. Ricky Nelson Remembered 25th Anniversary CD - Like Father Like Sons - Matthew & Gunnar Nelson. Matthew & Gunnar singing the song they wrote for their "Pop" called "Just Once More".

    Sam (actor, "The Man Without a Face").
    Kristin Harmon
    Kristin Harmon (born June 25, 1945) as Kris (the real Mrs. Rick Nelson)

    Her father is Tom Harmon, 1940 Heisman Trophy Winner from the University of Michigan, her mother is actress Elyse Knox, her brother is actor Mark Harmon and her sister is actress Kelly Harmon (was married to John DeLorean, who left General Motors to develop a futuristic car).

    In real life when Kris was 11 years old, she had a crush on Ricky. She influenced her parents so she could meet him. When Ricky was playing a basketball game against the team of Kris' father, Tom, they did meet. She was 12 and he was 17. Three years later, Ricky asked her out. They eventually got married on April 20, 1963, when Ricky was 22 and Kris was 17. The honeymoon was in the Bahamas.

    Website from Kristin Nelson
    Clara and Joe Randolph
    Mary Jane Croft as Clara Randolph (Joe's wife and neighbor of Ozzie and Harriet) Mary Jane Croft was born Feb. 15, 1916, Muncie, Indiana. She was heard on hundreds of radio shows during the 40s and 50s. Remember Cleo the dog on TV's People's Choice during the 50s. She supplied the voice.

    Lyle Talbot as Joe Randolph (Clara's husband and neighbor of Ozzie and Harriet) Lyle Talbot was born Feb. 8, 1902, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and he is the father of Stephen Talbot, "Gilbert" from Leave It To Beaver.
    Don DeFore as Thorny Thornberry
    Don DeFore (born Aug. 25, 1913, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, George Baxter from TV's Hazel) as Thorny Thornberry (Ozzie's neighbor).
    Skip Young as Wally Plumstead
    Skip Young (born 1930) as Wally (Rick's buddy). Skip played Freddie Friesen on TV's Forever Fernwood, 1977-78.
    David Nelson, Miss Edwards (Connie Nelson) and Mr. Kelley (Joe Flynn)
    Working at the law firm of Dobson & Kelley are: David Nelson, Miss Edwards (Connie Nelson) and Mr. Kelley (Joe Flynn, born Nov. 8, 1925, Youngstown, Ohio). Joe was also Capt. Binghamton from TV's McHale's Navy.
    Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.
    Darby, Doc and Butch
    Parley Baer (played Mayor Roy Stoner on The Andy Griffith Show, Chester on radio's Gunsmoke) as Herb Darby, a neighbor friend of Ozzie's.
    Frank Cady (played Sam Drucker on Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies--was born 1915, Susanville, California) as Doc Williams. This page has a picture of Frank Cady from 1999. Scroll down on the page to see it.
    Gordon Jones (played Britt Reid/The Green Hornet in the 1940 movie The Green Hornet) as Butch Barton.
    Stanley Livingston as Stanley
    A very young Stanley Livingston played Stanley on Ozzie and Harriet and later went on to star as Chip Douglas in My Three Sons.
    Barry Livingston as Barry
    Stanley Livingston's real life younger brother, Barry Livingston, played Barry Martin on Ozzie and Harriet in the episode The Little House Guest. Barry had a great time eating ice cream at the Nelson's house. He later played Ernie on My Three Sons.
    Connie Nelson as Miss Edwards
    Miss Edwards (Connie Nelson) is the secretary at the law firm of Dobson & Kelley. Thank you very much, Connie Nelson and Michael Griffin, for this picture.

    In real life, she handled Ricky's fan clubs and organized a department to handle the mail that was coming in from around the world (more than 15,000 letters a week). She was the Nelson's secretary as well. Joseph Harper, her father, married Cecilia de Mille, Cecil B. de Mille's daughter. Connie was married to Don Nelson, Ozzie's brother, and has been a real estate agent in the Los Angeles area for many years.
    Michael Griffin
    This is from Michael Griffin.

    I (Michael Griffin) have attached a photo (above) of myself from an episode of Ozzie & Harriet. The dog you see me with is Cleo. Ozzie used the services of Frank Inn, the same animal trainer the producers of "The People's Choice" used. Frank Inn also trained Arnold the pig on "Green Acres," Benji, the star of several films, and was the trainer originally hired for "Lassie Come Home."

    The storyline of the episode involved the Nelsons organizing a pet show for the neighborhood kids. When Ozzie realized he didn't want to disappoint any of the children, he made everyone a Grand Prize Winner (best rabbit, best orange cat, and so on). The grand prize was to have been a ticket to the movies, but since we were all winners, Ozzie ended up taking fifteen of us. (Or so I remember.)

    Thank you very much, Michael Griffin, for the picture (above) and this information.
    The creator, director and writer, Ozzie Nelson, had his own family members, Harriet (his wife), David and Ricky (his sons) in the Ozzie and Harriet show. The 4 Nelsons were the focus of the early episodes in this great situation comedy, along with their neighbor, Thorny Thornberry, played by Don DeFore. In later years, veteran actor Lyle Talbot played neighbor Joe Randolph.

    Rick had a friend, Wally, played by Skip Young, that was added to the Ozzie and Harriet cast, around the time the boys started college, which gave the show some good comic moments. June Blair and Kris Harmon, David's and Rick's real life wives, respectively, also joined the cast.

    Ozzie and Harriet shopped at the Emporium.
    OZZIE'S BACKGROUND. In real life, Ozzie was a law degree graduate and a star quarterback from Rutgers University.

    On the Ozzie and Harriet TV show, it was said that Ozzie's occupation was never known, but in the movie released February 23, 1952, Here Come the Nelsons, he was an associate at the H.J. Bellows Advertising Agency. The movie was the bridge between the Ozzie and Harriet radio and TV show.
    In memory of the cast of Ozzie and Harriet
    Other Websites about the NELSONS
    Tim's TV Showcase page for Ozzie and Harriet
    Morty's TV page for Ozzie and Harriet
    The University of Wyoming has a website up on Ozzie and Harriet and family, with pictures and information.
    Sitcoms Online page for Ozzie and Harriet
    The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet episodes at Movies Unlimited, Nostalgia Family Video,,, CD Universe, and of course
    Ozzie And Harriet theme music on Television's Greatest Hits, Vol.4: Black & White Classics [SOUNDTRACK]
    Ozzie and Harriet shows viewable online from LikeTelevision
    "Ozzie and Harriet" last updated 7/27/12