It's a Great Life

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It's a Great Life
James Dunn Phyllis Coates It's a Great Life.JPG
James Dunn as Earl Morgan with Phyllis Coates in It's a Great Life
Also known as The Bachelors
Genre Sitcom
Created by Dick Chevillat
Ray Singer
Written by Dick Chevillat
Leonard Gershe
Directed by Christian Nyby
Starring Frances Bavier
James Dunn
William Bishop
Michael O'Shea
Barbara Bates
Theme music composer David Rose
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 78
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel NBC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 7, 1954 (1954-09-07) – June 3, 1956 (1956-06-03)

It's a Great Life (also known in syndicated reruns as The Bachelors)[1] is an American situation comedy which aired on NBC from 1954 to 1956.[2] Frances Bavier, six years before being cast as Aunt Bee[note 1] in CBS's The Andy Griffith Show, played a somewhat similar role as Mrs. Amy Morgan, the owner of a boarding house.[3][4]


Frances Bavier stars as Mrs. Amy Morgan, the owner of a boarding house.[3][4] Harry Harvey portrayed Mr. Russell, a neighbor.[5] Two of her tenants are returning World War II veterans, played by William Bishop and Michael O'Shea in the roles of Steve Connors and Denny Davis, respectively. The former servicemen portray vacuum cleaner salesmen. James Dunn played Amy's brother-in-law, Earl Morgan, something of a deadbeat often pushing "get-rich-quick" schemes to entice Steve and Denny. Dunn's role was loosely comparable to that of Edgar Buchanan as Uncle Joe Carson in CBS's rural comedy, Petticoat Junction, starring Bea Benaderet as Carson's sister, Kate.

Steve and Denny are single in the series and in their spare time seek the companionship of women, including Amy's beautiful daughter, Cathy "Katy" Morgan played by Barbara Bates.[citation needed] Bates appeared in twenty-six episodes.[6] Guest stars included Parley Baer, Madge Blake, George Chandler, Phyllis Coates, Angie Dickinson, King Donovan (six episodes as Chris Norman), Richard Deacon, Hope Emerson, Douglas Fowley, Joseph Kearns, Nancy Kulp, Joi Lansing, Barbara Nichols, Doris Packer, Maudie Prickett, Tyler McVey, William Schallert, Randy Stuart, Lyle Talbot, Dolores Fuller,[7] and Mary Treen.

Production notes[edit]

The series was filmed at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California. David Rose, also the arranger for The Red Skelton Show, is particularly cited for his theme music composition on this series.[4] In its first season, It's a Great Life aired at 10:30 p.m. EST Tuesdays opposite CBS's See It Now. In the second season, the series was switched to 7 p.m. EST on Sundays preceding Frontier western anthology series on NBC. With the switch in time, it aired opposite the second season of Lassie on CBS.[8]


  1. ^ Some sources cite Frances Bavier's The Andy Griffith Show screen name from 1960-1970 as "Beatrice (Bea) Taylor."


  1. ^ "It's a Great Life Episodes". Retrieved March 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Tucker, David C. (2010). Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television: Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen. McFarland & Company. pp. 80–86. ISBN 978-0-7864-4466-3.  Excerpt available at Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Tucker, p. 82. Excerpt available at Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c "Comedy Time". Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 415
  6. ^ "It's a Great Life". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ seen in 1 episode in non-speaking role as woman in mink coat
  8. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, appendix with network television schedule.

External links[edit]