In our post on the 1960 episodes, we discussed the surreal universe Ozzie Nelson created for his family by enmeshing their lives with his TV show and how the program promulgated somewhat amoral family values, unlike contemporary sit-coms such as Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver, by suggesting that failure to communicate or be honest results in no adverse consequences and that girlfriends are as disposable as last season's fashions. The latter theme continues in the 1961 episodes, beginning with "The Girl That Loses Things" (January 4, 1961) when Ricky's girlfriend Joyce becomes jealous after seeing him with new girl in school Linda on a couple of occasions, even though Ricky tries to tell her the meetings were coincidental. Ozzie comes up with another of his bone-headed suggestions by telling Ricky to have another of his friends that Joyce doesn't know "accidentally" keep running into her to make her see that his meetings with Linda were harmless. Ricky recruits Wally Plumstead to bump into her repeatedly, but after the point is made, Ricky dallies in inviting Joyce to the next dance and she winds up accepting an invitation from Wally. Rather than being upset, Ricky is fine with this because now he can ask Linda to the dance instead, since she is "kinda cute," only he doesn't realize that the whole scheme has been a setup by Joyce who winds up dancing with him after all. The episode suggests that for Ricky one cute girl is as good as another, but the narrative also emphasizes that women are jealous manipulators two steps ahead of their dimwitted male partners.
The Nelsons' transactional approach to dating is expressed in its bluntest terms in "Selling Rick's Drums" (April 19, 1961). David and Ricky both eye a new girl in school and decide to make a play for her, merely based on her looks. They agree to pursue her simultaneously "no holds barred," in other words, this is nothing more than a competition between the brothers--it has nothing to do with whether either of them is compatible with her or whether her interests will be considered. David tries to rig the competition when he learns that she is looking to buy a set of drums for her younger brother by getting Rick to agree to sell his set of drums but never lets him know who is buying them or even lets him see her as he negotiates the deal. Though he has to bend over backwards to keep up the charade, David finally succeeds in selling the drums to the girl and getting a date with her, but when Ricky discovers how he has been outwitted, he retaliates by making David think she has an equally attractive twin sister and then scoops in early to take her out the next evening while David is left to give the younger brother drum lessons after he shows up later and realizes there is no twin sister for him to take out. This sort of trickery is standard practice in the Nelson household, as we shall see when we take a closer look at Ozzie and Harriet's relationship.
The Nelson boys' carefree approach to dating extends to their fraternity brothers, particularly Wally, who frequently chases after other girls despite having a steady girlfriend in Ginger. In "Dave's Golf Story" (March 8, 1961) Wally misleads school newspaper columnist Susan Randall to think that he sunk a hole-in-one shot that David actually made to make an impression on her after already ogling her at the malt shop with Ginger threatening retaliation. In the very next episode, "Rick's Broken Arm" (March 15, 1961), Wally pressures Ricky to fake a broken arm to provide him with an alibi with Ginger for where he was the night before. Needless to say, the fakery creates numerous problems for Ricky, which he manages to get out of without serious repercussions. Other fraternity brothers are equally transactional in their relationships with their girlfriends: In "A Question of Suits and Ties" (April 5, 1961), Herbie complains when the fraternity imposes a moratorium on dating girls from the Deltas over the latter's demands that they dress up for dates because Herbie is going to miss out on his girlfriend having just gotten a new convertible. And in" The Pen and Pencil Set" (April 12, 1961), Ricky decides to delay explaining why he never thanked Joyce Maynard for the Christmas gift she gave him four months ago because he sees her swarmed by other fraternity brothers at the malt shop after word gets out that her parents just bought a nice new lake house. In this case, Ricky has enough sense not to at least appear like a shallow opportunist, but his fraternity brothers are not as conscientious.
The transactional dating environment on the program makes David's sudden marriage to June Blair in "The Newlyweds Get Settled" (October 12, 1961) all the more jarring. In the bizarre alternate reality off screen, David and June had gotten engaged the prior April and married a month later, and while actress Blair had appeared in two 1960 episodes playing characters other than herself, there is no development of a relationship in the series between her and David. In fact, the previous week's episode, "The High Cost of Dating" (October 5, 1961), has David dating Roberta. While it's possible "The High Cost of Dating" may have been filmed the previous spring, there's no getting around that the show which blended the lives on screen with those off screen made no attempt to show the way a normal intimate relationship develops. If anything, the abrupt introduction of the June Nelson character suggests that it's perfectly acceptable to enter into marriage on a whim. And even after he is married, David feels he has to hide his past relationships from June in "Rick Comes to Dinner" (November 30, 1961) and is pleased to learn that his wife is jealous. Trust is apparently not a valued characteristic in marriage.
Though the series never suggests that there is any trouble in Ozzie and Harriet's relationship, they still endure a fair amount of conflict, usually caused by Ozzie trying to deceive his wife. In "Safe Husbands" (January 11, 1961) Ozzie and Joe Randolph are a little put out that their wives are not the least bit jealous when they talk about a cute waitress at the bowling alley coffee shop. Feeling that their manhood has been challenged because their wives thinks they have an old married look that younger women do not find attractive, they deliberately flirt with the waitress but get no response. However, on their way home they encounter a pair of attractive young women with car trouble and give them a ride to the nearest gas station, only to have Harriet and Clara see them heading in the opposite direction. Feeling a combination of guilt and annoyance, they decide not to mention the incident and instead wait for their wives to bring it up--except that they never do, which only makes them more annoyed. So they drop a note suggesting they have a rendezvous planned just as they head out to supposedly go bowling, hoping their wives will have at least a little curiosity to show up to try to catch them being unfaithful. But when the wives meet them at the designated restaurant, they tell the husbands they knew exactly what they were up to all along.
A similar dynamic plays out in "Dancing Lessons" (September 28, 1961) when Ozzie and Joe complain about being expected to go to the Women's Club's next dance. Harriet and Clara are perfectly fine with them not coming, but the fact that they don't seem to care only spurs Ozzie to want to go and impress the wives with their dancing ability, even though they currently have none. So Ozzie and Joe borrow a dance instruction record of Ricky's and begin practicing in the garage until Ricky suggests they sign up for real dancing lessons. Ozzie decides to follow his advice, and naturally their dance instructors are extremely attractive women, which prompts Ozzie and Joe to carry out a complicated scheme of pretending to go bowling, calling their wives from the bowling alley with all its natural sounds, and then dashing off to the dance studio for their lessons. Even though he is motivated to give his wife a pleasant surprise with his new-found dancing skill, Ozzie creates a pattern of lies and cover-ups because he feels guilty about what he is doing. When the truth finally comes out, the wives are at first shocked, but being the mature adults in their relationships they ultimately are not upset because the bottom line was that the husbands were trying to do something nice for them. However, the question remains, why do Ozzie and Joe feel they have to sneak around if what they are doing is moral? Perhaps Ozzie experiences guilt because subconsciously he is not as faithful to Harriet as he pretends to be, if the dream sequence of "Rick, the Milkman" (December 14, 1961) is any indication. When he agrees to fill in on a milk route that Ricky had agreed to do for a friend but then can't because of another conflict, Ozzie dreams of going to three houses where three extremely attractive women try to lure him inside for "coffee" only to have Harriet rouse him from his dream and tell him she plans to accompany him on the milk route. While the scene is definitely played for laughs and succeeds, one can't imagine Ward Cleaver having such an erotically charged dream.
Harriet finally confronts Ozzie about his deceptions in "E.S.P." (April 26, 1961), which begins with Ozzie and Joe wanting to get out of attending lectures put on by Harriet and Clara's Women's Club and evolves into an elaborate ruse of trying to prove that the men have better powers of E.S.P. than their wives. After thinking up a scheme that involves David and Ricky being planted outside to hear the number of taps on the floor in one room and transmitting them to Ozzie in the kitchen by moving a bush back and forth, Ozzie offers a bet that he and Joe would be excused from all future lessons if they can prove they have better E.S.P. than their wives. Even though they are nearly exposed as frauds when Harriet invites an E.S.P. expert who wants to see them demonstrate their abilities when they are both in the same room, Ozzie manages to fool the expert through sheer luck. But Harriet can tell not everything is above board and tells Ozzie that future topics for the lectures are fairness and sportsmanship and they keys to a healthy marriage. Realizing that she has him pegged, Ozzie agrees to attend all future lectures. But will he actually change his behavior? The subsequent episodes "Dancing Lessons" and "Rick, the Milkman" already discussed above suggest that it's unlikely.
To be clear, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is often an amusing sit-com, particularly seeing Ozzie's patriarchal position undercut by his own bad advice and poor decisions. But it is a mistake to lump it in with other family-based sit-coms of the era as examples of squeaky clean morality.
For the biographies of Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Hilliard Nelson, David Nelson, Ricky Nelson, Skip Young, Lyle Talbot, Mary Jane Croft, Constance Harper, and Jack Wagner, see the 1960 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
Margaret June Blair was born in San Francisco on October 20, 1933. She spent most of her childhood in orphanages and foster homes, even running away at age 14 so that she was made a ward of the State of California. At age 16 she was persuaded by photographer Jim Johnson to try modeling, which led to her appearing on various billboards and magazine covers. A friend of hers was working as a movie extra, so she registered with Central Casting and made her first TV appearance in 1954. By 1956 she began getting uncredited minor roles in feature films such as Our Miss Brooks and The Girl He Left Behind as well as appearing as a guest on The Jimmy Durante Show. But her profile was raised considerably after she appeared as the Playmate of the Month in the January 1957 edition of Playboy. She began dating popular celebrities such as musician Nino Tempo, who wrote a song about her, and actor John Smith (later of Laramie fame), and began getting bigger movie parts, such as the lead role opposite John Russell (late of Lawman fame) in Hell Bound. By 1958 she appeared frequently in Hollywood gossip columns for dating Bing Crosby's son Lindsay as well as seeing John Smith again occasionally, but her acting career appeared stalled with only a generic role as a saloon girl in The Fiend Who Walked the West. In 1959 she played the field off-screen, reported to have been dating not only Lindsay Crosby and Nino Tempo but also Dick Sargent, singer Jimmy Boyd, John Gabriel, Mickey Callan, Race Gentry, and Bobby Darin, the last of which she denied in a public statement. Her acting career also picked up with roles in Island of Lost Women and opposite Ernest Borgnine in The Rabbit Trap. She began getting guest on TV shows such as Hawaiian Eye, Bat Masterson, and Lock Up as well. The following year saw her dating actor Brian Kelly and expanding her TV guest spots to The Texan, Sea Hunt, Tombstone Territory, M Squad, and a semi-recurring role as Julie Greer on Two Faces West. But most importantly, she made her first two appearances on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
She began dating David Nelson at least by February 1961. Their engagement was announced in mid-April 1961 with a June wedding expected, but the couple wound up getting married a little earlier on May 20. She began appearing as David's wife June Nelson beginning with the third episode of Season 10, "The Newlyweds Get Settled," which aired on October 12, 1961. She continued to play the part throughout the remainder of the series, which ended in 1966, appearing a total of 26 times as June Nelson. The couple had their first son Daniel Blair Nelson on August 20, 1962, and after Blair took a 1-year sabbatical in 1965, their second son James Eric was born June 8, 1966. The couple divorced in 1975, and David remarried that same year, though June never did. Various message board posters have alleged that she did not like the limelight that came with being part of America's favorite TV family. Some claim her family was upset about the divorce and abandoned her, leading to a reclusive life; others say she is doing fine and is seen in public from time to time.
Joseph Anthony Flynn III was born in Youngstown, Ohio on November 8, 1924. He broke into entertainment as a ventriloquist and radio DJ and attended Notre Dame University for a year before joining the Army in World War II. Afterwards he moved to Hollywood, studied political science at USC, and made his first film appearance in The Babe Ruth Story in 1948. That year he also starred in his own situation comedy Yer OId Buddy, which aired locally on KTLA in Los Angeles. By 1950 he had returned to Youngstown to run for the state senate as a Republican but lost. He was back in Hollywood by 1954, when he appeared in The Big Chase, but the next couple of years only saw him in uncredited roles, though his turn in the ultra-schlocky Indestructible Man starring Lon Chaney, Jr. proved to be a career turning point when he saw audiences laughing at his performance that was intended to be serious. He realized that his future lay in comedy, which would begin to bear fruit in 1957 with appearances on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Life of Riley, and the feature film Panama Sal. He continued getting dramatic guest spots on program such as M Squad, The Twilight Zone, and The Silent Service, but beginning in 1960 he appeared as David Nelson's employer, attorney Mr. Kelley, a role he would play a dozen times, the last being in 1963.
Beginning to build a resume as a comedic character actor, he was cast in the recurring role of Frank on The Joey Bishop Show in the fall of 1961 but was reportedly constantly stealing scenes from Bishop so that he was dropped after 8 episodes. He wouldn't stay dropped for long, however, as he was cast as the irascible Captain Wallace B. Binghampton in McHale's Navy beginning in the fall of 1962. He also began getting supporting roles in comedies such as the Doris Day-Rock Hudson romp Lover Come Back and the Disney sequel Son of Flubber, which would lead to many more Disney roles, beginning with The Love Bug in 1968. This was followed by supporting roles in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Barefoot Executive, The Million Dollar Duck, Now You See Him, Now You Don't, and The Strongest Man in the World. He also appeared in the Don Knotts comedy How to Frame a Figg and co-starred with former McHale's Navy co-star Tim Conway in the short-lived Tim Conway Show in 1970. However, he met an early demise at the age of 49 when he drowned in his own swimming pool shortly after finishing voicework on The Rescuers when he tried to swim with a cast on his broken leg and suffered a heart attack.
Barry Gordon Livingston was born in Los Angeles on December 17, 1953. He describes his parents as being on the periphery of show business--his father had run a movie theater in Baltimore before moving west, and his mother was a dancer. When his older brother Stanley (see the biography section for the 1960 post on My Three Sons) began getting cast in TV shows and movies, his mother would always bring Barry along for the day as well, and occasionally he would get placed in something his brother was working on. He says he got fired from his first real job while working in the Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward feature Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys because he could not stare directly at a TV set when he was supposed to be ignoring his father (Newman) returning home. He was rushed from the set to the hospital where he was diagnosed with an astigmatism and required to wear glasses, which the director felt was not the look they wanted of the typical American boy, so he was replaced by Ralph Osborn III. However, his unusual appearance for a child actor of the era would eventually work to his advantage, as he became the go-to actor to play orphans and other ragamuffins. Once David and Ricky Nelson had grown up on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, his brother Stanley was cast as a neighborhood boy who was Ozzie's friend, but when Stanley was then cast as a regular on My Three Sons, Barry was inserted into his brother's old role and appeared 18 times between 1960-63 as Ozzie's neighbor Barry Martin. Barry Livingston credits Ozzie Nelson as being his first real acting teacher and says he spent many lunch hours with Ozzie reviewing the previous day's dailies and eating ice cream.
His recurring role on Ozzie and Harriet began to lead to feature film roles such as Jerry Lewis' The Errand Boy, Debbie Reynolds' My Six Loves, and Jackie Gleason's Papa's Delicate Condition. Eventually he followed Stanley again in becoming a recurring character on My Three Sons as neighbor orphan Ernie Thompson who was adopted by the Douglas family when eldest son Mike and actor Tim Considine left the show in 1963. Livingston remained with the show for the remainder of its run, which ended in 1972. After that show ended, Livingston says he took the advice of another former child actor, Roddy McDowell, and worked on becoming an adult actor by going to New York and studying theater, first appearing in an off-Broadway production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, in which he played Linus, and eventually moving into Broadway productions as well. He continued getting occasional TV guest spots on shows such as Ironside, Room 222, and The Streets of San Francisco before landing the regular role of Murray "Moose" Kerner on Sons and Daughters in 1974, which would be his last substantial recurring role. From this point onward, Livingston has found work either on the stage, including doing repertory work in Los Angeles, or on film, though the roles have been more sparse. Still, he had multiple appearances on Doogie Howser, M.D., Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and more recently Anger Management, Truth Be Told, and Bosch. He has also had minor roles in features such as The Social Network, Jersey Boys, and Argo and continues working to this day.
Parley Edward Baer was born in Salt Lake City in 1914 and studied acting at the University of Utah, where he also began his career in radio as actor, director, and producer for KSL. At the same time he worked as a publicist and ringmaster for traveling circuses. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Force and earned seven service stars. After the war he moved to California and resumed his work in radio theater as well as training animals at Jungleland in Thousand Oaks. In 1946 he met and married circus aerialist and bareback rider Ernestine Clarke, to whom he would stay married until her death in 2000. In 1947 he was a founding actor on Peggy Weber's anthology TV series for KFI. He reportedly appeared on some 15,000 radio broadcasts, most notably playing Marshal Dillon's sidekick Chester Proudfoot on the radio version of Gunsmoke from 1952-61. He also played manservant Rene on the late 1940s radio version of The Count of Monte Cristo. He broke into feature films in 1950, beginning with Comanche Territory and Union Station and made his national TV debut on Gruen Guild Theater the following year. By the mid-1950s he was finding more work in television than in features on programs such as Dragnet, Father Knows Best, and You Are There. He made the first of 63 appearances as Ozzie Nelson's neighbor Herb Darby in a 1953 episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
Baer's credits include some 1600 TV appearances, but amongst his recurring roles, besides Darby, he played Mayor Roy Stoner during Season 3 of The Andy Griffith Show, Doc Appleby on The Dukes of Hazzard, and senior citizen Miles Duggan on The Young and the Restless. He appeared 6 times as insurance salesman/mayor Arthur J. Henson on The Addams Family and made 6 appearances in different roles on Perry Mason from 1961-66. He also had multiple appearances on The Lucy Show, Bewitched, Hogan's Heroes, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, and Lou Grant. He appeared in several serialized features on The Wonderful World of Disney and Disney feature films such as The Ugly Dachshund and Follow Me, Boys! He also provided the voice of the Keebler Elf in TV commercials until a stroke in 1997 affected his speech. He suffered another stroke in November 2002 and died on the 22nd of that month at the age of 88.
Frank Randolph Cady was born in Susanville, California in 1915 and originally planned a career in journalism, working at the local Lassen County Advocate as a reporter and errand boy while in high school. But he also acquired a taste for acting by singing in an elementary school play, so when he matriculated to Stanford University, he studied both journalism and drama but graduated with a degree in speech and drama. He then headed to London to serve an apprenticeship at the Westminster Theater and appeared on one of the first BBC television broadcasts in 1938. He returned to Stanford in 1939 for graduate studies and a teaching assistantship when he met his wife Shirley Jones (not the one from the Partridge Family) and they married in 1940. But Cady grew dissatisfied with a prospective academic career and began working in radio, first at KGDM in Stockton, California. When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served throughout Europe. After the war, he and Shirley settled in Hollywood and after being spotted in a local play, he was signed to a film contract, first appearing in Violence and Sarge Goes to College in 1947. Most of his early roles were uncredited, such as in noir classics He Walked by Night, Flamingo Road, and D.O.A., but by the early 1950s he was starting to appear in the credits of features such as Ace in the Hole, When Worlds Collide, and The Atomic City. He made his first American TV appearance in Life With Luigi in 1953, the same year he made his first appearance on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet after the Nelsons saw him in a local theatrical production. Beginning in 1954 he would play Ozzie's neighbor and golfing & bowling buddy Doc Williams, though he would occasionally play other characters such as a Mr. Baxter amongst his 78 appearances on the show through 1964.
During his tenure on Ozzie & Harriet Cady also had many other guest appearances on shows such as Wagon Train, Perry Mason, and The Real McCoys. But beginning in 1963 Cady was cast in the role for which he is best remembered, general store owner Sam Drucker, first on Petticoat Junction and then carrying over to Green Acres when it was launched in 1965. He remained with both series for their durations, appearing on Petticoat Junction 168 times through 1970 and on Green Acres 142 times through 1971. He even added 11 appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies as Drucker between 1968-70. But after network CEO Fred Silverman canceled all the rural comedies, Cady found himself typecast and turned down numerous roles as storekeepers and retired from Hollywood entirely by 1977, though he did reprise the role of Drucker for the 1990 reunion TV movie Return to Green Acres. Cady and his wife settled in Cambria, California, and he spent his time golfing, hiking for a month each year in the Swiss Alps, and writing humorous poems and song parodies as well as appearing in Ralston Purina TV commercials. In 1983 he was almost lured out of retirement with a role as a doctor in a CBS pilot called Sutters Bay, which was never picked up. In 1984 Orson Welles recruited him for a project titled The Cradle Will Rock, but Welles died before filming even got started. In 1991 Cady and his wife relocated again to Wilsonville, Oregon to be closer to their daughter Catherine Turk, who lived in Olympia, Washington. Cady passed away in Wilsonville at the age of 96 on June 8, 2012.
Roberta Jymme Schourup was born in Monterey Park, California in 1943. Her father had been in a western band, and when Roberta sang at a supermarket opening in San Gabriel at age 10, she was noticed by country & western star Tex Williams and invited to perform regularly on his TV show broadcast from Knott's Berry Farm. Eighteen months later she was recommended by departing singer Molly Bee to be her replacement on the daily children's show The Pinky Lee Show, but after Lee collapsed on camera in 1955, the show's ratings declined as it was eclipsed by The Mickey Mouse Club. Shore made her television debuts on Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre and Playhouse 90 in 1956. She began appearing on The Mickey Mouse Club, initially as a talent contest winner, in the show's second season but was never added as a regular Mouseketeer because she was too tall compared to the other actors. However, during the show's third season, she was cast as Annette Funicello's rival Laura Rogan in the serial Annette. She would also play opposite Funicello in the 1959 Disney feature The Shaggy Dog and sang the film's theme song. She also sang a number in the 1959 feature Blue Denim and had numerous singing guest appearances on The Lawrence Welk Show in addition to recording a few singles backed by his orchestra for the Dot record label. Also in 1959 she made four appearances as Elinor Donahue's friend Joyce Kendall on Father Knows Best, appeared on The Donna Reed Show, and had an uncredited part in A Summer Place. She made the first of 7 appearances on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1960, usually playing Ricky's girlfriend.
Also in 1960 she appeared in the features Because They're Young and Strangers When We Meet, followed by 1961 roles in The Young Savages and Bachelor in Paradise. That same year she was cast as tomboy Henrietta "Hank" Gogerty on The Bob Cummings Show, which lasted only a single season. She had another uncredited appearance in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita in 1962 and that year was cast in her most enduring role as Betsy Garth, son of Lee J. Cobb's character Judge Garth, on The Virginian, appearing in 70 episodes through 1965. But that year Shore married Kent Christensen and retired from acting to move to Salt Lake City to start a family. As of the 1980s she was working as a radio disc jockey and program host there and more recently has been a manufacturer's representative for a furniture business. Amongst her many other accomplishments, she was the first singer to record the song "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and her yodeling is featured on the soundtrack for Disney's "It's a Small World."
Maurice William Elias was born in Los Angeles in 1936 and originally wanted to play professional football, but after being released after only two months with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League, a friend convinced him to start taking acting classes. He took his stage name from his idol James Dean and a family relative named Stacy. After appearing in a Pepsi commercial, his first credited role was in a 1956 episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. By 1958 he began appearing semi-regularly as the Nelson boys' fraternity brother Fred and would appear on the program 38 times through 1964. He also had occasional guest spots on The Donna Reed Show, Have Gun - Will Travel, Cheyenne, and Hazel. His TV work was augmented by teen exploitation features such as Winter A-Go-Go, A Swingin' Summer, and Summer Magic. He married actress and singer Connie Stevens in 1963, but the couple divorced in 1966.
His big break was being cast as Johnny Madrid Lancer, son of Andrew Duggan's patriarchal character, on the western series Lancer, which ran from 1968-70. During that time he married actress Kim Darby in 1968, and the couple had a daughter before divorcing in 1969. He continued getting occasional work on Gunsmoke, Marcus Welby, M.D., and The Streets of San Francisco, but in 1973 while riding his motorcycle with his girlfriend Claire Cox he was struck by a drunk driver, killing Cox and requiring Stacy to have his left leg and arm amputated. Ex-wife Stevens organized a benefit to help with his medical expenses, and he eventually won a lawsuit against the bar that served the drunk driver. Kirk Douglas helped him restart his acting career by writing a part for him that accommodated his disability in the 1975 feature Posse. He received Emmy nominations for his roles in the 1977 TV movie Just a Little Inconvenience and for his guest turn on a 1986 episode of Cagney & Lacey. And in 1990 he appeared 5 times as Ed Rogosheske on Wiseguy before retiring from acting after his last appearance on The New WKRP in Cincinnati in 1992. However, in 1995 he was charged and convicted with molesting an 11-year-old girl and was sentenced to 6 years in prison when other similar incidents were reported. He tried to flee to Hawaii and attempted suicide by hurling himself off a cliff but was unsuccessful and survived. After serving his prison sentence, he lived the remainder of his life in obscurity until he died at age 79 from anaphylactic shock after being administered an antibiotic by his doctor on September 9, 2016.
Born in Chicago on October 22, 1936, Belland was the son of a prominent protestant minister, and his mother was a radio gospel singer, voice coach, and choir director, so Belland had a background in music from a very early age, singing his first solo at a Sunday service at age 4. The positive response he received convinced him to pursue a career in music. The family moved to Los Angeles when he was 10, and he delivered newspapers to movie stars and attended Emerson High School with classmates such as Robert Redford and Doug McClure. He also worked in night clubs as a "mascot" technician, allowing him to hear many vocal greats perform, such as Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, and Sammy Davis, Jr. In 1952 he enrolled in the prestigious Hollywood High where his classmates included the Nelson brothers. In 1954 he formed a vocal quartet with classmate Glen Larson that won the school's talent show, and afterward they officially formed The Four Preps by adding Ed Cobb and Marv Ingram. They recruited pianist and classmate Lincoln Mayorga to be their accompanist, a role he would hold for 13 years. After Belland had a chance meeting with Les Paul & Mary Ford manager Melville Shauer, Shauer placed their demo tape in the hands of Capitol Records Voyle Gilmore, and the Preps received a record contract in 1956. Their first single, "Dreamy Eyes," made the Billboard charts but despite that and significant local radio airplay, the group failed to break through in terms of record sales. Meanwhile, Belland began appearing sem-regularly as the Nelson boys' fraternity brother Bruce on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet beginning with the May 22, 1957 episode "David's Date With Miss Universe." He would appear 18 times as Bruce through 1964, and while the biography on Belland's web site doesn't make the connection, their breakthrough hit "26 Miles Across the Sea" came in early 1958, shortly after they appeared in the December 11, 1957 episode "Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream" in which they sing behind Harriet. Besides suddenly becoming one of the hottest acts in music, they also began singing behind Ricky Nelson, though it would be 3 years before they would reappear as a group on Ozzie and Harriet due to a suddenly jam-packed tour schedule, which included backing the also suddenly hot Ricky.
Even after the Four Preps' breakout, Ozzie Nelson persuaded Belland to remain a regular on the show, working in appearances around the vocal group's busy schedule. They also made an appearance in the first teen surfer film Gidget in 1959. The group continued recording and touring until 1969, when they disbanded. Belland teamed up with Dave Somerville, formerly of the vocal group The Diamonds, to form a comedy/folk duo that appeared on The Tonight Show and became regulars on The Tim Conway Comedy Hour. They recorded for Andy Williams' Barnaby record label and were signed as songwriters by Warner Brothers, penning the Willie Nelson hit "The Troublemaker." Belland also began working in freelance advertising and after developing a campaign for Chevrolet in the 1970s he was offered a job as a senior programming executive at NBC. After 10 months on the job he was lured away by Ralph Edwards to serve as Vice President of Edwards's prestigious production company, which resulted in several Emmy nominations for programs such as Name That Tune, Dinah's Place, and Wheel of Fortune. But by the late 70s, he, Larson, Cobb, and Somerville decided to briefly resurrect The Four Preps before returning to their respective careers. Belland left Ralph Edwards in the late 1970s and has written theatrical productions and songs for a range of artists. At Dick Clark's suggestion, he reformed the Four Preps again in 1989 with Cobb, Somerville, and Jim Pike of the Lettermen, who would shortly be replaced by Jim Yester of The Association. Cobb finally retired in the late 1990s with the other three continuing as Triple Gold until PBS approached Belland in 2004 to once again bring back The Four Preps, so he persuaded Larson to come out of retirement to team up with Yester and Somerville for an appearance on PBS' Magic Moment series, and since 2007 Belland has kept the group active with 15-20 concert dates per year. He is currently working on a memoir he hopes to publish this year.
Notable Guest Stars
Season 9, Episode 15, "The Girl That Loses Things": Linda Evans (Audra Barkley on The Big Valley, Marty Shaw on Hunter, and Krystle Carrington on Dynasty) plays Linda, the girl who loses things. Sharyn Hillyer (Wanda on Man From U.N.C.L.E.) plays sorority girl Sharyn.
Season 9, Episode 17, "The Lost Briefcase": Howard McNear (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Andy Griffith Show) plays a painter. Bob Jellison (Waldo Binney on The Life of Riley and Bobby the Bellboy on I Love Lucy) plays an elevator operator. Bill McLean (Dave on The Jim Backus Show) plays a lost-and-found clerk. Dorothy Abbott (Ann Baker on Dragnet) plays Frances Harris. Paula Winslowe (Martha Conklin on Our Miss Brooks) plays office worker's wife Mrs. Harris.
Season 9, Episode 18, "The Chaperones": David Lewis (Senator Ames on The Farmer's Daughter, Warden Crichton on Batman, and Edward L. Quartermaine on General Hospital) plays new neighbor Harry Maynard. Terry Huntingdon (Miss USA 1959) plays his daughter Joyce. Richard Deacon (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Dick Van Dyke Show) plays the Pine Lodge desk clerk. Marlin McKeever (professional football player for the Los Angeles Rams) plays fraternity brother Jack. Glen A. Larson (member of The Four Preps vocal group and creator of Alias Smith and Jones, Battlestar Galactica, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, B.J. and the Bear, Quincy M.E., Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, and Magnum P.I.) plays fraternity brother Glen. Sharyn Hillyer (see "The Girl That Loses Things" above) plays sorority girl Betty.
Season 9, Episode 19, "Bowling With the Wives": Richard Gittings (Bob Anderson on Days of Our Lives) plays the bowling alley clerk.
Season 9, Episode 20, "Our Man in Alaska": Katie Regan (shown on the left, future wife of singing actor Fabian) plays college newspaper gossip columnist Katie Regan. Richard Correll (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Leave It to Beaver) plays her younger brother Richard.
Season 9, Episode 22, "The Boys' Portraits": Andra Martin (former wife of Ty Hardin, starred in The Big Beat, The Thing That Couldn't Die, Up Periscope, and A Fever in the Blood) plays painter Diane Benson.
Season 9, Episode 23, "Mr. Kelley's Important Papers": Dorothy Abbott (see "The Lost Briefcase" above) plays Mr. Kelley's wife. Linda Evans (see "The Girl That Loses Things" above) plays David's former date Sally Wilson. Marlin McKeever (see "The Chaperones" above) plays the boyfriend of former date Mary. Bob Jellison (see "The Lost Briefcase" above) plays an office building night watchman. Richard Gittings (see "Bowling With the Wives" above) plays a lodge desk clerk.
Season 9, Episode 24, "Dave's Golf Story": Diane Jergens (shown on the right, appeared in Teenage Rebel, Desk Set, High School Confidential!, and Island of Lost Women and played Francine Williams on The Bob Cummings Show) plays school newspaper columnist Susan Randall. Dennis Holmes (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Laramie) plays her younger brother Bobby.
Season 9, Episode 25, "Rick's Broken Arm": Janet Waldo (shown on the left, played Libby Freeman on Valentine's Day and voiced Judy Jetson on The Jetsons, Granny Sweet on The Atom Ant Show, Nancy on Shazzan, Penelope Pistop on Wacky Races and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Josie on Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, Morticia Addams on The Addams Family (animated), Mrs. Anders on Jeannie, Princess and Susan on Battle of the Planets, and Mayda Munny on Richie Rich) plays a school nurse. Janet Lake (wife of former football player and coach Pepper Rodgers) plays sympathetic co-ed Janet. John Wilder (wrote multiple scripts for Peyton Place, Branded, The Streets of San Francisco, and Spenser: For Hire) plays medical student Jack. Linda Evans (see "The Girl That Loses Things" above) plays Janet's friend Linda. Katie Regan see "Our Man in Alaska" above) plays Janet's friend Katie.
Season 9, Episode 26, "Little House Guest": Richard Gittings (see "Bowling With the Wives" above) plays Barry Martin's father Fred.
Season 9, Episode 27, "The Manly Arts": Dave Willock (shown on the right, starred in Let's Face It, Pin Up Girl, and The Fabulous Dorseys and played Lt. Binning on Boots and Saddles, Harvey Clayton on Margie, and was the narrator on the animated Wacky Races) plays private investigator Mr. Judson. Reita Green (wife of Doodles Weaver) plays his secretary Jean Robertson. Bruce Tegner (martial arts instructor and author) plays Ricky's martial arts instructor Bruce. Jack Ellena (All-American college football player) plays David's wrestling coach. Russ Thompson (host of Armed Forces Radio kids show Let's Pretend With Uncle Russ) plays a freight clerk. Hal Smith (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Andy Griffith Show) appears as a drunk in the closing credits.
Season 9, Episode 28, "A Question of Suits and Ties": Diane Jergens (see "Dave's Golf Story" above) plays Delta sorority member Diane. Reita Green (see "The Manly Arts" above) plays Mary Lou Benson from another sorority. Sharyn Hillyer (see "The Girl That Loses Things" above) plays sorority girl Betty.
Season 9, Episode 29, "The Pen and Pencil Set": Cheryl Holdridge (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1961 post on Leave It to Beaver) plays Ricky and David's former date Joyce Maynard. David Lewis (see "The Chaperones" above) plays her father.
Season 9, Episode 30, "Selling Rick's Drums": Jena Engstrom (daughter of actress Jean Engstrom) plays new girl in school Betty Hamilton. Richard Correll (see "Our Man in Alaska" above) plays her younger brother Richard.
Season 9, Episode 32, " Rick's 21st Birthday": Marvin Miller (shown on the right, appeared in Blood on the Sun, Johnny Angel, Deadline at Dawn, and The Golden Horde, was the voice of Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet, played Mr. Proteus on Space Patrol and Michael Anthony on The Millionaire, and was the narrator on The F.B.I., Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, and Police Squad!) plays a man in Ozzie's nightmare. Gloria Marshall (Mary Beth Hall on The Bob Cummings Show) plays a bank teller.
Season 9, Episode 33, " Built-In TV Set": Russ Thompson (see "The Manly Arts" above) plays a TV repairman.
Season 10, Episode 2, "The High Cost of Dating": Charley Britt (defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams and husband of actress Pamela Austin) plays fraternity brother Charley. Sharyn Hillyer (see "The Girl That Loses Things" above) plays sorority girl Sharyn.
Season 10, Episode 4, "The Fraternity Rents Out a Room": Wally Cox (shown on the left, appeared in State Fair, Fate Is the Hunter, The Boatniks, and The Barefoot Executive, played Robinson J. Peepers on Mister Peepers and Hiram Holliday on The Adventures of Hiram Holliday, and voiced Underdog on Underdog) plays economics Professor Patterson. Janet Waldo (see "Rick's Broken Arm" above) plays his wife. Joby Baker (David Lewis on Good Morning, World) plays fraternity brother Joby.
Season 10, Episode 5, "David Goes Back to Work": Isabel Randolph (Mrs. Boone on Meet Millie, Ruth Nestor on Our Miss Brooks, and Clara Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show) plays law firm client Susan Wilson. Russ Thompson (see "The Manly Arts" above) plays the Flamingo Room head waiter.
Season 10, Episode 6, "Ten for the Tigers": Kim Tyler (Kyle Nash on Please Don't Eat the Daisies) plays Barry's friend Kim. Pat Rosson (Jerry Karr on The Young Marrieds) plays Barry's friend Pat.
Season 10, Episode 7, "Rick Grades a Test": Cheryl Holdridge (see "The Pen and Pencil Set" above) plays Ricky's date Norma Lane. David Lewis (shown on the right, see "The Chaperones" above) plays English Professor Lewis. Richard Gittings (see "Bowling With the Wives" above) plays Barry's father Dick.
Season 10, Episode 8, "The Barking Dog": Peggy Knudsen (appeared in The Big Sleep, Humoresque, and Hilda Crane, played April Adams on So This Is Hollywood, and voiced Cleo on The People's Choice) plays new neighbor Mrs. Frazer.
Season 10, Episode 10, "The Trading Stamps": Paula Winslowe (see "The Lost Briefcase" above) plays outgoing Women's Club president Mrs. Peabody. Donald "Red" Barry (played Red Ryder in the movie serial The Adventures of Red Ryder, and played Lt. Snedigar on Surfside 6, The Grand Vizier and Tarantula on Batman, Capt. Red Barnes on Police Woman, and Jud Larabee on Little House on the Prairie) plays a trading stamp redemption store clerk. James Nolan (Inspector Roper on Dante) plays a policeman. Janet Waldo (see "Rick's Broken Arm" above) plays a drug store clerk.
Season 10, Episode 11, "Rick, the Milkman": Susan Oliver (shown on the left, played Ann Howard on Peyton Place) plays milk customer Lori Wilson. Kathy Marlowe (Kathy Shaw on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show) plays Ozzie's second dream milk customer. Gloria Marshall (see "Rick's 21st Birthday" above) plays Ozzie's third dream milk customer.