|The Donna Reed Show|
First season title screen
|Theme music composer||John Seely|
|Opening theme||"Happy Days"|
Hans J. Salter
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||275|
Robert B. Hoover
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Screen Gems
|Original run||September 24, 1958– March 19, 1966|
The Donna Reed Show is an American sitcom which aired on ABC from September 24, 1958 to March 19, 1966. The series stars Donna Reed, who won a Golden Globe Award for her role as Donna Stone, the matriarch of the Stone family. The series was sponsored by Campbell Soup Company with Johnson & Johnson as the principal alternate sponsor.
The series focused on middle class couple, Donna Stone (Reed), a housewife to pediatrician Alex Stone, played by Carl Betz. The couple had two children together, Mary (Shelley Fabares) and Jeff (Paul Petersen). Episodes featured problems of the 1950s such as planning a bash for a retiring colleague, firing an inept housekeeper, and finding quality time away from the kids.
In 1962, Shelley Fabares recorded a single called "Johnny Angel" which debuted in one of the show's fourth season episodes. The single later became a number one hit and sold over a million copies. By the start of the 1962–1963 season (the show's fifth year), Reed felt that the program was reaching an impasse and that the writers were running out of fresh ideas. With Fabares planning to leave at the end of the season, Reed originally was going to end The Donna Reed Show in the spring of 1963. However, since the series was still very popular, ABC offered Reed a more lucrative contract to continue and as a result, the program was renewed for another three years. At this time, Fabares left the show in 1963 to pursue other acting and singing opportunities, and her character Mary went away to college (Mary later reappeared periodically). Paul Petersen's real-life sister Patty Petersen then joined the show as Trisha, a runaway who was eventually adopted by the Stones. Paul Petersen also had a recording career with his biggest hit being the 1962 single "My Dad", for Colpix Records. Like "Johnny Angel", Petersen's "My Dad" was also featured in an episode of the show.
In the spring of 1966, despite the fact that the series was still garnering decent ratings, Reed had grown tired of the weekly grind and wanted to retire. And so, after eight very successful years on the ABC Television Network, The Donna Reed Show ended its prime-time run.
The first season had many recurring characters that appeared as neighbors, service people (such as the dry cleaning man), and family friends.
The series was developed by Reed and then-husband producer Tony Owens. Upon its premiere, The Donna Reed Show garnered low ratings (it was scheduled opposite NBC's Texaco Star Theater), but gradually improved and built a following. Throughout its eight year run, the series only ranked in the Nielsen Top 25 once (1963–1964 season). After eight seasons and 275 episodes, the series ended in 1966.
In an early third season episode, the set received an extreme make-over. The kitchen was upgraded with smart new cabinets, countertops, refrigerator, stove, double-oven wall unit, and accessories like cannisters and bread box. A gag featured the double-oven unit. Donna still stood awkwardly to one side of the stove to cook and she still sat on one side of the kitchen table with Mary. In the living room, Alex's wing chair was recovered as a birthday gift but the family then decided the rest of the room looked dull. Donna repaints the living room with the assistance of guest star Jay North as Dennis the Menace. The room is refurnished with several smart new pieces including a couch, a large book case, a desk, and a commode near the front door. The front door too is replaced. The refurbishing spree extended to the cast as well. Mary began wearing her hair long and loose rather tied in a pony tail, Jeff wore a brush cut, and Donna stepped into form-fitting gingham house dresses while dispensing with the shawl collars of previous seasons.
The series was originally syndicated by Screen Gems, and, later, Columbia Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Television. In 2008, Sony lost the full rights to the estates of Donna Reed and Tony Owen, and as a result this show is now rarely seen on television, although reruns aired on Nick at Nite from 1985 through 1994 and on TV Land in 2002.
Virgil Films and Entertainment (under license from the estates of Donna Reed and Tony Owen) have released The Donna Reed Show on DVD in Region 1. The studio has released Seasons 1–3 on DVD.
A 4-episode "best of" release is set to be released April 13, 2010 from Virgil Films and Entertainment.
|Season||Ep #||Release Date|
|Season 1||37||October 28, 2008|
|Season 2||38||July 28, 2009|
|Season 3||38||December 1, 2009|
|Family Favorites DVD||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Donna Reed Show||4||April 13, 2010|
|1959||Emmy Awards||Nominated||Best Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series||Donna Reed|
|1960||Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead or Support)||Donna Reed|
|1961||Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead)||Donna Reed|
|1962||Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead)||Donna Reed|
|1963||Golden Globe Award||Won||Best TV Star – Female||Donna Reed|
|2004||TV Land Award||Nominated||Favorite Teen Dream – Female||Shelley Fabares|
|1994||Young Artist Awards||Won||Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award||Shelley Fabares|
|1997||Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award||Paul Petersen|
|The Donna Reed Show|
|Country of origin|
|No. of episodes||151|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original run||September 24, 1958 – March 19, 1966|
The Donna Reed Show was an American situation comedy. It aired on ABC network from 1958 to 1966. It starred Donna Reed as Donna Stone, a housewife to Doctor Alex Stone, played by Carl Betz. The couple had two children together, Mary and Jeff.
The series was fairly normal for a situation comedy. The focus of the series was on parenting problems. The love lives and activities of the children were also a main part of the series. The series was very unusual at the time because Donna would help solve the children's problems alone while Alex worked. It was also unique because Donna often worked as a nurse, at a time when most television mothers were housewives.