The Doris Day Show

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The Doris Day Show
DVD cover for season one of The Doris Day Show (1968–1969)
Format Sitcom
Created by James Fritzell
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 128 (List of episodes)
Running time 22–24 minutes
Original channel CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 24, 1968 (1968-09-24) – March 12, 1973 (1973-03-12)

The Doris Day Show is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS Television network from September 1968 until March 1973, remaining on the air for five seasons and 128 episodes. The Doris Day Show was also the title of her radio show which aired from Hollywood in 1952, with "It's Magic" as the theme song.

In addition to showcasing Doris Day, the show is remembered for its several abrupt format and cast changes over the course of its five-year run. The show is also remembered for Day's statement, in her autobiography Doris Day: Her Own Story (1975), that her husband Martin Melcher had signed her to do the TV series without her knowledge, a fact she only discovered when Melcher died of heart disease on April 20, 1968. The TV show premiered on Tuesday, September 24, 1968.

Series run[edit]

Season 1 (1968–1969)[edit]

Day had been a popular film actress in the 1950s and early 1960s. In this gentle sitcom, she was cast as Doris Martin, a widow and mother of two young sons, Billy and Toby (played by Philip Brown and Todd Starke), who, when the series premiered, had just moved back to her father's rural ranch in Cotina, outside of San Francisco, after living in big cities for most of her adult life.

Other characters during this initial phase of the program included Doris's father Buck Webb (played by Denver Pyle) and their hired hand on the ranch, LeRoy B. Simpson (played by James Hampton). Their housekeeper initially was Aggie Thompson, portrayed by Fran Ryan, who left after the first 10 episodes to replace Barbara Pepper in Green Acres as Doris Ziffel. The character left without any explanation and was replaced by Juanita, played by Naomi Stevens.

Season 2 (1969–1970)[edit]

The Doris Martin character began to commute from the ranch to San Francisco, where she worked as an executive secretary at a magazine, Today's World. New workplace characters were added. McLean Stevenson (who would later leave the series to star in M*A*S*H) played her boss, Today's World editor Michael Nicholson, and her friend and coworker, Myrna Gibbons, was played by Rose Marie in a role similar to her more famous Sally Rogers role on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Also in the cast was Paul Smith, who portrayed Ron Harvey, the assistant editor. Pyle and Hampton were still seen during this season.

Season 3 (1970–1971)[edit]

Having gotten tired of the commute between her work and the ranch, Doris and her sons moved to San Francisco, where they lived in an apartment above an Italian restaurant owned by Louie and Angie Pallucci (Bernie Kopell; Kaye Ballard). Louie was at first angry with Angie for her renting the apartment to a widow and children, but he eventually relented and became used to the whole family after Billy and Toby praised his pizza. Angie also became one of Doris's best friends. Doris began writing articles for the magazine at which she worked, under the auspices of Mr. Harvey, the assistant editor, but was still mainly a secretary. Most of the characters from the previous season remained, with the exceptions of Pyle and Hampton's characters (who both returned for a few episodes). In this season, Doris' nemesis Mr. Willard Jarvis (Billy De Wolfe) moves next door, causing trouble for her and her family in a few episodes.

Seasons 4–5 (1971–1973)[edit]

The fourth season saw a radical change in the series. Day's character suddenly became a swinging single career woman (going by Ms. instead of Mrs.). The entire cast, other than Day herself, was gone; even Doris Martin's two sons were no longer in the cast, with no explanation given, and were never referred to again. Doris Martin now had a new editor, Cy Bennett, played by character actor John Dehner, and she was no longer a secretary, but rather a full-time staff writer, and later an associate editor. Actress Jackie Joseph joined the cast as Doris' friend, Jackie Parker. Doris still lived in the same apartment and the Palluccis, Angie in particular, were still on hand in the fourth season. In season 5 the Palluccis sold out and Dr. Peter Lawrence (Peter Lawford) was still around as Doris's sometime love interest. Her sometime-nemesis, Mr. Jarvis, purchased the building, which initially alarmed Doris, but she and the other tenants nevertheless accepted him. Doris was now depicted as though she had always been a reporter, no reference made to her having been a secretary. The series continued with this format until it was canceled in 1973.

Change in premise[edit]

The Doris Day Show was a family-based sitcom for its first three seasons. The drastic premise change for season four in 1971 may be attributed to the overall change in CBS' programming philosophy, with the network cancelling many rural based and family programs, and replacing them with more urban, sophisticated, adult oriented programs.


Opening theme[edit]

The opening sequence features Day singing the Livingston & Evans classic, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)." The song had been introduced by Day in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock suspense film The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which Day co-starred with James Stewart.

Nielsen ratings[edit]

Season Rank Rating
1) 1968–1969 #26 20.7
2) 1969–1970 #10 22.8
3) 1970–1971 #16 21.4
4) 1971–1972 #23 21.2 (tie)
5) 1972–1973 #29 19.2

By this time, Doris Day was a committed advocate of animal rights and was ready to leave the Hollywood lifestyle behind her. CBS wanted a sixth season, but Doris was contracted to do only five years. By the final season, she had become the show’s executive producer, and simply told CBS “I have done everything I can with the series”.

DVD releases[edit]

MPI Home Video has released all 5 seasons of The Doris Day Show on DVD in Region 1. Each DVD release contains extensive special features.

In Region 4, Umbrella Entertainment has released all 5 seasons on DVD in Australia. In 2009, all five seasons were re-released with slimmer packaging.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Region 1 Region 4
Season 1 28 June 28, 2005 November 11, 2005
Season 2 26 October 25, 2005 April 10, 2006
Season 3 26 May 30, 2006 November 6, 2006
Season 4 24 February 27, 2007 April 2, 2007
Season 5 24 November 20, 2007 January 12, 2008
The Complete Series 128 November 25, 2008 N/A

Further reading[edit]

  • Patrick, Pierre and Garry McGee, The Doris Day Companion: A Beautiful Day. BearManor Media, 2009.


External links[edit]