The New Loretta Young Show

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The New Loretta Young Show
Format Comedy-drama
Starring Loretta Young
Dack Rambo
Dirk Rambo
Carol Sydes
James Philbrook
Celia Kaye
Beverly Washburn
Sandy Descher
Tracy Stratford
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 26
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format Black and white
Original run September 24, 1962 – March 18, 1963

The New Loretta Young Show, is an American television series, which aired for twenty-six weekly episodes on CBS television from September 24, 1962 to March 18, 1963, features Loretta Young in a combination drama and situation comedy about a free-lance writer in suburban Connecticut named Christine Massey, the widowed mother of seven children. The program is the only one in which Young starred as a recurring character. Her previous anthology series on NBC (1953–1961) placed her in the role of hostess and occasional star. Young is the first star to garner both Academy and Emmy awards, one of a relatively few to make the transition from motion picture to television.

Though it followed the popular The Andy Griffith Show on CBS, The New Loretta Young Show, sponsored by Lever Brothers, proved unable to sustain the needed audience in competition at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Mondays with the ABC medical drama Ben Casey starring Vince Edwards and Sam Jaffe, which entered its second season. NBC fielded David Brinkley's Journal at the same time, reflections of the news correspondent David Brinkley. The New Loretta Young Show was hence quietly dropped at the end of winter in 1963. Young had formed LYL Production Company for the series, an indication that she did not expect a premature end to the program. Norman Foster directed most of the episodes; John London and Ruth Roberts were the producers.[1]

The Massey children include twin sons and five daughters. Actual twins Dack Rambo and Dirk Rambo, then twenty-one, played Peter and Paul, respectively. The daughters were Celia Kaye as Marnie, Sandy Descher as Judy, Tracy Stratford as Maria, Carol Sydes as Binkie, and Beverly Washburn as Vickie. Washburn appeared earlier in the film Old Yeller.[2]

James Philbrook, formerly on ABC's The Islanders, which actually aired opposite the original The Loretta Young Show, played Young's romantic interest, magazine publisher Paul Beltzer, who was some ten years her junior. The couple married in the final episode on March 18, 1963, which was entitled "When You Are Near". Several episodes featured the Beltzer character getting accustomed to the idea of becoming a stepfather to seven children.[3] The program also featured a character Haskell, played by Ted Knight.[1]

In the premiere episode entitled "America at Home", a television interview program [a fictional version of CBS' Person to Person] visits the Masseys in their home, but all are missing. The whole family had taken Maria, who had German measles, to a doctor around the corner. When the host comments about their doing everything together, Christine responds that she discouraged "synthetic togetherness" and that parents should encourage individualism and provide a set of moral values by example. Christine also indicates that she cannot be mother and father to the children, only the mother. Her comments bring a deluge of telephone calls to the television station. The episode serves to introduce all of the Masseys to the audience and to provide a glimpse of their life-style and varied personalities. Young allowed her younger son, Peter Lewis, a small role as a guitarist in the first segment.[1]

As with her NBC anthology, Young made short remarks at the beginning and end of each episode in this series too, something other half-hour programs never did. Critics said the comments were often unnecessary, even pretentious, and that the time could have been better utilized within each episodes. Some of the episodes appear disjointed, possibly because of the overlap of such a large cast. In one episode there is a school election and then the psychotic boyfriend of the older daughter, Marnie, is shown waving a pistol.[4]

All episodes of the series under the title The New Loretta Young Show: Christine's Children (which were remastered from Loretta's personal collection) are available in a four-disc collection.[5]

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