December Bride

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For other uses, see December Bride (disambiguation).
December Bride
Mickey Rooney Spring Byington December Bride.JPG
Lily (Spring Byington) helps guest star Mickey Rooney with a crap game set up as a trap for those who robbed his home.
Genre Sitcom
Created by Parke Levy
Written by Bill Davenport
Lou Derman
Arthur Julian
Parke Levy
Bob Schiller
Directed by William Asher
Frederick de Cordova
Jerry Thorpe
Starring Spring Byington
Frances Rafferty
Dean Miller
Verna Felton
Harry Morgan
Theme music composer Elliot Daniel
Composer(s) Wilbur Hatch
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 156
Production
Producer(s) Frederick de Cordova
Parke Levy
Running time 30 mins.
Production company(s) Desilu Productions, for CBS
Release
Original network CBS
Original release October 4, 1954 – May 7, 1959
Chronology
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.

Overview[edit]

Spring Byington, Harry Morgan and Frances Rafferty

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. December Bride was unusual in that all five stars appeared in all 111 episodes of the sitcom. Most of the scenes filmed for the series took place in the Henshaws' living room.

First-run episodes of December Bride aired 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 because it followed 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.[1]

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.[2]

Cast[edit]

Guest stars[edit]

Episode list[edit]

  • = Overall episode number
  • Ep = Episode number by season

Season 1: 1954–55[edit]

Ep Title Air date
1 1 "Lily Ruskin Arrives" October 4, 1954 (1954-10-04)
2 2 "Lily Is Bored" October 11, 1954 (1954-10-11)
3 3 "The Chinese Dinner" October 18, 1954 (1954-10-18)
4 4 "The Accident" October 25, 1954 (1954-10-25)
5 5 "The Veterinarian" November 1, 1954 (1954-11-01)
6 6 "My Soldier" November 8, 1954 (1954-11-08)
7 7 "Grunion Hunting" November 15, 1954 (1954-11-15)
8 8 "Lily's Mother-in-Law" November 22, 1954 (1954-11-22)
9 9 "Lily Hires a Maid" November 29, 1954 (1954-11-29)
10 10 "The Gigolo" December 6, 1954 (1954-12-06)
11 11 "The Rich Man" December 13, 1954 (1954-12-13)
12 12 "The Christmas Show" December 20, 1954 (1954-12-20)
13 13 "The Luau" December 27, 1954 (1954-12-27)
14 14 "Lily Wants to Pay Her Way" January 3, 1955 (1955-01-03)
15 15 "Lily the Artist" January 10, 1955 (1955-01-10)
16 16 "The Grandfather Clock" January 17, 1955 (1955-01-17)
17 17 "The Sentimentalist" January 24, 1955 (1955-01-24)
18 18 "The Uranium Show" January 31, 1955 (1955-01-31)
19 19 "The Insurance Show" February 7, 1955 (1955-02-07)
20 20 "Surprise Party" February 14, 1955 (1955-02-14)
21 21 "Jealousy" February 21, 1955 (1955-02-21)
22 22 "Wedding Preparations" February 28, 1955 (1955-02-28)
23 23 "The Breakup" March 7, 1955 (1955-03-07)
24 24 "Mexico" March 14, 1955 (1955-03-14)
25 25 "Lily's Niece" March 21, 1955 (1955-03-21)
26 26 "Matt Cooks" March 28, 1955 (1955-03-28)
27 27 "Theater Tickets" April 4, 1955 (1955-04-04)
28 28 "Psychiatrist" April 11, 1955 (1955-04-11)
29 29 "Gossip" April 18, 1955 (1955-04-18)
30 30 "Matt's Moustache" April 25, 1955 (1955-04-25)
31 31 "The Line-Up" May 2, 1955 (1955-05-02)
32 32 "The Other Couple" May 9, 1955 (1955-05-09)
33 33 "Lily's Song" May 16, 1955 (1955-05-16)
34 34 "Chicken Salad" May 23, 1955 (1955-05-23)

Season 2: 1955–56[edit]

Ep Title Air date
35 1 "The Boxing Show" October 3, 1955 (1955-10-03)
36 2 "The Pizza Show" October 10, 1955 (1955-10-10)
37 3 "Lily and the Wolf" October 17, 1955 (1955-10-17)
38 4 "Ruth Neglects Matt" October 24, 1955 (1955-10-24)
39 5 "The Shoplifter" October 31, 1955 (1955-10-31)
40 6 "Let Yourself Go" November 7, 1955 (1955-11-07)
41 7 "The Laundromat Show" November 14, 1955 (1955-11-14)
42 8 "Skid Row" November 21, 1955 (1955-11-21)
43 9 "Big Game Hunter" November 28, 1955 (1955-11-28)
44 10 "Family Quarrel" December 5, 1955 (1955-12-05)
45 11 "High Sierras" December 12, 1955 (1955-12-12)
46 12 "Rate Your Mate" December 26, 1955 (1955-12-26)
47 13 "Operation Coleslaw" January 2, 1956 (1956-01-02)
48 14 "The Trailer Show" January 9, 1956 (1956-01-09)
49 15 "Matt's Movie Career" January 16, 1956 (1956-01-16)
50 16 "The Rudy Vallee Show" January 23, 1956 (1956-01-23)
51 17 "The Texas Show: Part 1" January 30, 1956 (1956-01-30)
52 18 "The Texas Show: Part 2" February 6, 1956 (1956-02-06)
53 19 "The Texas Show: Part 3" February 13, 1956 (1956-02-13)
54 20 "Sunken Den" February 20, 1956 (1956-02-20)
55 21 "The Wrestler" February 27, 1956 (1956-02-27)
56 22 "Ruth Gets a Job" March 12, 1956 (1956-03-12)
57 23 "Handcuffs" March 19, 1956 (1956-03-19)
58 24 "Pete's Brother-in-Law" March 26, 1956 (1956-03-26)
59 25 "Lily in a Gas Station" April 2, 1956 (1956-04-02)
60 26 "Ruth's Haircut" April 9, 1956 (1956-04-09)
61 27 "Jaywalker" April 16, 1956 (1956-04-16)
62 28 "The Beauty Pageant" April 23, 1956 (1956-04-23)
63 29 "Lily and the Sailor" April 30, 1956 (1956-04-30)
64 30 "Lily the Matchmaker" May 7, 1956 (1956-05-07)
65 31 "Swimming Pool" May 14, 1956 (1956-05-14)

Season 3: 1956–57[edit]

Ep Title Air date
66 1 "The Rory Calhoun Show" October 8, 1956 (1956-10-08)
67 2 "The Marjorie Main Show" October 15, 1956 (1956-10-15)
68 3 "House on Blocks" October 29, 1956 (1956-10-29)
69 4 "The Prize Fighter" November 5, 1956 (1956-11-05)
70 5 "Ritzy Neighborhood" November 12, 1956 (1956-11-12)
71 6 "Lily and the Prowler" November 19, 1956 (1956-11-19)
72 7 "The Jockey" November 26, 1956 (1956-11-26)
73 8 "The Decorating Show" December 3, 1956 (1956-12-03)
74 9 "The Indian Show" December 10, 1956 (1956-12-10)
75 10 "Man Town" December 17, 1956 (1956-12-17)
76 11 "Football Hero" December 24, 1956 (1956-12-24)
77 12 "New Year's Party" December 31, 1956 (1956-12-31)
78 13 "Royalty" January 7, 1957 (1957-01-07)
79 14 "Chicken Farm" January 14, 1957 (1957-01-14)
80 15 "The Homecoming Show" January 21, 1957 (1957-01-21)
81 16 "The Budget Show" January 28, 1957 (1957-01-28)
82 17 "Study Group" February 4, 1957 (1957-02-04)
83 18 "Mother-in-Law Club" February 11, 1957 (1957-02-11)
84 19 "The Piano Show" February 18, 1957 (1957-02-18)
85 20 "Duck Hunting" February 25, 1957 (1957-02-25)
86 21 "The Engagement Show" March 4, 1957 (1957-03-04)
87 22 "Masquerade Party" March 11, 1957 (1957-03-11)
88 23 "Kissing Booth" March 18, 1957 (1957-03-18)
89 24 "The Hobo Show" March 25, 1957 (1957-03-25)
90 25 "Englishman" April 1, 1957 (1957-04-01)
91 26 "Do It Yourself" April 8, 1957 (1957-04-08)
92 27 "The Old Man" April 15, 1957 (1957-04-15)
93 28 "Song Plugging" April 22, 1957 (1957-04-22)
94 29 "Mountain Climbing" April 29, 1957 (1957-04-29)
95 30 "Lily-Hilda Fight" May 6, 1957 (1957-05-06)

Season 4: 1957–58[edit]

Ep Title Air date
96 1 "Vallee's Protege" October 7, 1957 (1957-10-07)
97 2 "Mean Grandfather" October 14, 1957 (1957-10-14)
98 3 "The Golf Lesson" October 21, 1957 (1957-10-21)
99 4 "Photography Show" November 4, 1957 (1957-11-04)
100 5 "Sports Car" November 11, 1957 (1957-11-11)
101 6 "The Microphone Show" November 18, 1957 (1957-11-18)
102 7 "Matt's Gray Hair" December 2, 1957 (1957-12-02)
103 8 "The Other Woman" December 9, 1957 (1957-12-09)
104 9 "The Butler Show" December 16, 1957 (1957-12-16)
105 10 "Ruth Goes Home to Mother" December 23, 1957 (1957-12-23)
106 11 "Hot Meal" December 30, 1957 (1957-12-30)
107 12 "The Airplane Show" January 6, 1958 (1958-01-06)
108 13 "The Parrot Show" January 13, 1958 (1958-01-13)
109 14 "The Antique" January 20, 1958 (1958-01-20)
110 15 "Housemother" January 27, 1958 (1958-01-27)
111 16 "The Muscleman Show" February 3, 1958 (1958-02-03)
112 17 "Contour Chair" February 10, 1958 (1958-02-10)
113 18 "The Fred MacMurray Show" February 17, 1958 (1958-02-17)
114 19 "Baby Rehearsal" February 24, 1958 (1958-02-24)
115 20 "Army Buddy" March 3, 1958 (1958-03-03)
116 21 "The Ed Wynn Show" March 10, 1958 (1958-03-10)
117 22 "The Bouncer Show" March 17, 1958 (1958-03-17)
118 23 "Sleep Teaching" March 24, 1958 (1958-03-24)
119 24 "The Gilbert Roland Show" March 31, 1958 (1958-03-31)
120 25 "Aunt Emily" April 7, 1958 (1958-04-07)
121 26 "The Mickey Rooney Show" April 14, 1958 (1958-04-14)
122 27 "Lily's Birthday Dress" April 21, 1958 (1958-04-21)
123 28 "Wedding Float" April 28, 1958 (1958-04-28)
124 29 "The Capistrano Show" May 5, 1958 (1958-05-05)
125 30 "Lily on Boat" May 12, 1958 (1958-05-12)
126 31 "Matt-Pete Fight" May 19, 1958 (1958-05-19)

Season 5: 1958–59[edit]

Ep Title Air date
127 1 "The Edgar Bergen Show" October 2, 1958 (1958-10-02)
128 2 "The Alaska Show" October 9, 1958 (1958-10-09)
129 3 "Fenwick Arms" October 16, 1958 (1958-10-16)
130 4 "Bride's Father-in-Law" October 23, 1958 (1958-10-23)
131 5 "The Chimp Show" October 30, 1958 (1958-10-30)
132 6 "Hilda Gets Engaged" November 6, 1958 (1958-11-06)
133 7 "The Zsa Zsa Gabor Show" November 13, 1958 (1958-11-13)
134 8 "Horse Phobia" November 20, 1958 (1958-11-20)
135 9 "Tough Mother-in-Law" November 27, 1958 (1958-11-27)
136 10 "Power Saw" December 4, 1958 (1958-12-04)
137 11 "The Post Office Show" December 11, 1958 (1958-12-11)
138 12 "Car for Christmas" December 18, 1958 (1958-12-18)
139 13 "Child of Nature" December 25, 1958 (1958-12-25)
140 14 "Beatnik Nurse" January 1, 1959 (1959-01-01)
141 15 "The Nurse Show" January 8, 1959 (1959-01-08)
142 16 "Pete Has a Baby" January 15, 1959 (1959-01-15)
143 17 "Nurse Is Fired" January 22, 1959 (1959-01-22)
144 18 "Lily's Blind Date" January 29, 1959 (1959-01-29)
145 19 "Lily's Advice Column" February 5, 1959 (1959-02-05)
146 20 "The Hi-Fi Show" February 12, 1959 (1959-02-12)
147 21 "The Scotch Show" February 19, 1959 (1959-02-19)
148 22 "The Martian Show" February 26, 1959 (1959-02-26)
149 23 "Lily Babysits" March 5, 1959 (1959-03-05)
150 24 "Ruth the Brain" March 12, 1959 (1959-03-12)
151 25 "Stan Loses His Nerve" March 19, 1959 (1959-03-19)
152 26 "The Texan, Rory Calhoun" March 26, 1959 (1959-03-26)
153 27 "Linda on TV" April 2, 1959 (1959-04-02)
154 28 "Lily Goes Fishing" April 9, 1959 (1959-04-09)
155 29 "Lily Helps Twilly" April 16, 1959 (1959-04-16)
156 30 "Lily the Example" April 30, 1959 (1959-04-30)
157 31 "Bald Baby" May 7, 1959 (1959-05-07)

Crew[edit]

Script Supervisor was DaLonne Cooper[3]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]