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Lily (Spring Byington) helps guest star Mickey Rooney with a crap game set up as a trap for those who robbed his home.
|Created by||Parke Levy|
|Written by||Bill Davenport
|Directed by||William Asher
Frederick de Cordova
|Theme music composer||Eliot Daniel|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||156|
|Producer(s)||Frederick de Cordova
|Running time||30 mins.|
|Production company(s)||Desilu Productions, for CBS|
|Original release||October 4, 1954 – May 7, 1959|
|Related shows||Pete and Gladys|
December Bride is an American sitcom that aired on the CBS television network from 1954 to 1959, adapted from the original CBS radio network series that aired from June 1952 through September 1953.
December Bride centered on the adventures of Lily Ruskin, a spry widow played by Spring Byington, who was not, in fact, a "December" (rather old) bride but very much desired to become one if the right man would come along. Aiding Lily in her search for this prospective suitor were her daughter Ruth Henshaw (Frances Rafferty) and son-in-law Matt Henshaw (Dean Miller), and her close friend Hilda Crocker (character actress Verna Felton). A next-door neighbor, insurance agent Pete Porter (Harry Morgan), was frequently seen. Married miserably himself, according to his constant complaints about his unseen wife Gladys, he also envied Matt's positive relationship with Lily, as he despised his own mother-in-law. The pilot episode premiered on October 4, 1954, and involved Lily Ruskin moving in with her daughter and son-in-law. Most of the scenes filmed for the series took place in the Henshaws' living room.
First-run episodes of December Bride aired on television for 5 seasons (1954-1959), sponsored by General Foods' Instant Maxwell House Coffee. During the first four seasons, the program was not shown in the summer, supplanted by "summer replacement" series (such as Ethel and Albert) but in its final year, repeat episodes were run in its timeslot during the summer months. On March 26, 1959, as the program wound down, Rory Calhoun, star of CBS's western series, The Texan, appeared as himself in the episode "Rory Calhoun, The Texan."
Thanks in part to its following I Love Lucy, December Bride had high ratings its first four seasons - #10 in 1954-1955, #6 in 1955-1956, #5 in 1956-1957 and #9 in 1957-1958. When CBS moved it to Thursdays in the fall of 1958, ratings fell dramatically and the series went off in 1959.
In 1960, a new series set around many of the same characters, Pete and Gladys, debuted; this new series focused on Pete Porter and his now-seen wife, Gladys. Hilda Crocker appeared in 23 episodes of the new series, which aired until 1962.
After its production had ceased, CBS used repeat episodes to fill slots in its primetime programming. In July 1960, December Bride repeats were used to fill in for the second half of the Friday 9 pm Eastern timeslot vacated by Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, running until the beginning of the fall 1960 schedule, and again as a temporary replacement on Thursday nights in April 1961. Additionally, repeats were shown on CBS as a daytime program from October 1959 until March 1961. The daytime repeats, and an attempt to syndicate the show, were ratings failures; it was this phenomenon that prompted Michael Dann, an executive at CBS, to use the concept of "hammocking:" inserting a weak or new series in-between two better-established shows to improve its viewership.
- Spring Byington as Lily Ruskin
- Frances Rafferty as Ruth Henshaw
- Dean Miller as Matt Henshaw
- Verna Felton as Hilda Crocker
- Harry Morgan as Pete Porter
- Desi Arnaz, as himself
- Edgar Bergen, as himself
- Madge Blake, as Anita Henderson in "Family Quarrel" (1955) and as Margaret in "The Homecoming Show" (1957)
- Rory Calhoun, as himself, "Rory Calhoun, The Texan'
- Harry Cheshire, as Gus in "Lily Ruskin Arrives" (1954) and as Poole in "Big Game Hunter" (1955)
- Zsa Zsa Gabor, as herself
- Fred MacMurray, as himself
- Marjorie Main, as herself
- Lyle Talbot, six episodes in different roles
Parke Levy, who created and wrote December Bride owned 50 percent of the program. Desilu and CBS owned 25 percent each.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Nielsen ratings|
|First aired||Last aired||Rank||Rating|
|1||34||October 4, 1954||May 23, 1955||10||34.7|
|2||31||October 3, 1955||May 14, 1956||6||37.0|
|3||30||October 8, 1956||May 6, 1957||5||35.2|
|4||31||October 7, 1957||May 19, 1958||9||30.7|
|5||31||October 2, 1958||May 7, 1959||N/A||N/A|
Script Supervisor was DaLonne Cooper
- Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
- Shapiro, Mitchell E.; Jicha, Tom (2015). The Top 100 American Situation Comedies: An Objective Ranking. McFarland. p. 151. ISBN 9781476623405. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
- "'December Bride' Shifts to Vidpix; Desilu Producing". Billboard. February 27, 1954. p. 7. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1680-1681. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- Fred Sica Says He Was Defending Self in Row. (January 31, 1957). Los Angeles Times, p. 4.
- Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows
- Dunning, John, On the Air: The Encyclopedia Of Old-Time Radio
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to December Bride.|