I Married Joan

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I Married Joan
I Married Joan Title Screenshot.jpg
I Married Joan intro screen
Genre Sitcom
Starring Joan Davis
Jim Backus
Music by Richard Mack
Opening theme "I Married Joan"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 98
Production
Executive producer(s) Joan Davis
James Bank
Producer(s) P. J. Wolfson
Richard Mack
Running time 25 minutes
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network NBC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release October 15, 1952 (1952-10-15) – March 23, 1955 (1955-03-23)

I Married Joan is an American situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1952 to 1955. It starred veteran vaudeville, film, and radio comedian-comedy actress Joan Davis as the manic, scatterbrained wife of a mild-mannered community judge, the Honorable Bradley Stevens (Jim Backus).

Synopsis[edit]

Davis as Joan Stevens

The show, whose syndicated opening makes the claim "America's favorite comedy show, starring America's queen of comedy, Joan Davis, as Mrs. Joan Stevens" focused on a married couple, Joan and Bradley Stevens. I Married Joan's trademark was broad physical slapstick, with Joan Stevens portrayed as bright but somewhat childlike and given to misunderstanding. Virtually every episode had a plot which provided star Davis with a setup for at least one scene of over-the-top physical comedy. Davis's real-life daughter, Beverly Wills, was a regular cast member for several months of the show's second season, portraying Joan's sister, Beverly Grossman. Early installments began with Backus, as Judge Stevens in chambers, recalling how one of his wife's madcap mishaps paralleled the problems of a couple seeking a divorce; this was followed by the unfolding of the episode, which ended back in chambers with Judge Stevens summing up his tale for the now-reconciled couple. This wraparound scenario was abandoned after a handful of episodes.

Sponsored by General Electric (original network openings extolled the virtues of the sponsor's products rather than those of its star), I Married Joan was aimed at the viewers who watched I Love Lucy, which had debuted the previous year and was already television's top-rated situation comedy. I Love Lucy and I Married Joan even employed the same director in each show's first season, namely Marc Daniels.

NBC scheduled I Married Joan Wednesdays at 8:00 ET against the first half of Arthur Godfrey and his Friends on CBS for the entirety of its three-season run. The show performed marginally during its first year, but enjoyed a surge in the Nielsen ratings during its second season in the wake of Godfrey's firing of Julius LaRosa and the resultant negative publicity. In its third year, I Married Joan withered against the additional competition of ABC's new top-rated hit Disneyland and was canceled, airing its last first-run episode on March 23, 1955.[1] Although Davis' personal health problems have also been cited as a reason for the show's cancellation, she was seen performing robust physical comedy as a guest star on variety series years after her own show ended.

Though I Married Joan was an NBC television series, CBS Paramount Television subsequently became the primary owners of the program's copyright. The copyrights on some of the episodes eventually lapsed without being renewed; as a result, I Married Joan has several episodes in the public domain.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role
Joan Davis Joan Stevens
Jim Backus Bradley Stevens
Hope Emerson Minerva Parker (pilot only)
Elvia Allman Aunt Vera
Sandra Gould Mildred Webster
Beverly Wills Beverly Grossman
Hal Smith Charlie Henderson
Geraldine Carr Mabel Henderson
Wally Brown Wally
Sally Kelly Sally
Sheila Bromley Janet Tobin
Dan Tobin Kerwin Tobin

Episode list[edit]

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

Season 1: 1952–53[edit]

Ep Title Air date
1 1 "Pilot" October 15, 1952 (1952-10-15)
2 2 "Career" October 22, 1952 (1952-10-22)
3 3 "Ballet" October 29, 1952 (1952-10-29)
4 4 "Joan Baby-sits" November 5, 1952 (1952-11-05)
5 5 "Crime Panel" November 12, 1952 (1952-11-12)
6 6 "Brad's Class Reunion" November 19, 1952 (1952-11-19)
7 7 "Hunting" November 26, 1952 (1952-11-26)
8 8 "Joan's Curiosity" December 3, 1952 (1952-12-03)
9 9 "Birthday" December 10, 1952 (1952-12-10)
10 10 "Bazaar Pie" December 17, 1952 (1952-12-17)
11 11 "Dreams" December 24, 1952 (1952-12-24)
12 12 "Acrobats" December 31, 1952 (1952-12-31)
13 13 "Bad Boy" January 7, 1953 (1953-01-07)
14 14 "Circumstantial Evidence" January 14, 1953 (1953-01-14)
15 15 "Uncle Edgar" January 21, 1953 (1953-01-21)
16 16 "Moosehead" January 28, 1953 (1953-01-28)
17 17 "Fireman" February 4, 1953 (1953-02-04)
18 18 "Memory" February 11, 1953 (1953-02-11)
19 19 "Draft Board" February 18, 1953 (1953-02-18)
20 20 "Opera" February 25, 1953 (1953-02-25)
21 21 "Shopping" March 4, 1953 (1953-03-04)
22 22 "The Stamp" March 11, 1953 (1953-03-11)
23 23 "Little Girl" March 18, 1953 (1953-03-18)
24 24 "Diet" March 25, 1953 (1953-03-25)
25 25 "Model" April 1, 1953 (1953-04-01)
26 26 "Lateness" April 8, 1953 (1953-04-08)
27 27 "Eviction" April 15, 1953 (1953-04-15)
28 28 "The Recipe" April 22, 1953 (1953-04-22)
29 29 "Repairs" April 29, 1953 (1953-04-29)
30 30 "Secrets" May 6, 1953 (1953-05-06)
31 31 "The Artist Show" May 13, 1953 (1953-05-13)
32 32 "The Threat" May 20, 1953 (1953-05-20)
33 33 "Country Club" May 27, 1953 (1953-05-27)
34 34 "Theatrical Can-Can" June 3, 1953 (1953-06-03)
35 35 "Neighbors" June 10, 1953 (1953-06-10)
36 36 "Talent Scout" June 17, 1953 (1953-06-17)
37 37 "Honeymoon" June 24, 1953 (1953-06-24)
38 38 "Business Executive" July 1, 1953 (1953-07-01)
39 39 "Broken Toe" July 8, 1953 (1953-07-08)

Season 2: 1953–54[edit]

Ep Title Air date
40 1 "Brad's Moustache" October 14, 1953 (1953-10-14)
41 2 "First Lie" October 21, 1953 (1953-10-21)
42 3 "Furniture Quick Changes" October 28, 1953 (1953-10-28)
43 4 "Sister Pat" November 4, 1953 (1953-11-04)
44 5 "Tropical Fish" November 11, 1953 (1953-11-11)
45 6 "Culinary Nightmare" November 18, 1953 (1953-11-18)
46 7 "Initiation" November 25, 1953 (1953-11-25)
47 8 "Bev's Boyfriend" December 2, 1953 (1953-12-02)
48 9 "Lost Check" December 9, 1953 (1953-12-09)
49 10 "The Shotgun" December 16, 1953 (1953-12-16)
50 11 "The Musical" December 23, 1953 (1953-12-23)
51 12 "Double Wedding" December 30, 1953 (1953-12-30)
52 13 "Superstition" January 6, 1954 (1954-01-06)
53 14 "Barbecue" January 13, 1954 (1954-01-13)
54 15 "Mothers-in-Law" January 20, 1954 (1954-01-20)
55 16 "Mabel's Dress" January 27, 1954 (1954-01-27)
56 17 "Monkeyshines" February 3, 1954 (1954-02-03)
57 18 "Bev's Mistaken Marriage" February 10, 1954 (1954-02-10)
58 19 "Missing Witnesses" February 17, 1954 (1954-02-17)
59 20 "Anniversary Memo" February 24, 1954 (1954-02-24)
60 21 "Dented Fender" March 3, 1954 (1954-03-03)
61 22 "Mountain Lodge" March 10, 1954 (1954-03-10)
62 23 "Home of the Week" March 17, 1954 (1954-03-17)
63 24 "Pop Retires" March 24, 1954 (1954-03-24)
64 25 "Changing Houses" March 31, 1954 (1954-03-31)
65 26 "Jealousy" April 7, 1954 (1954-04-07)
66 27 "Get Rich Quick" April 14, 1954 (1954-04-14)
67 28 "Masquerade" April 21, 1954 (1954-04-21)
68 29 "The Milkman Cometh" April 28, 1954 (1954-04-28)
69 30 "Predictions" May 19, 1954 (1954-05-19)
70 31 "Brad's Initiation" June 9, 1954 (1954-06-09)
71 32 "Confidence" June 23, 1954 (1954-06-23)
72 33 "Joan's Haircut" July 7, 1954 (1954-07-07)

Season 3: 1954–55[edit]

Ep Title Air date
73 1 "New House" September 29, 1954 (1954-09-29)
74 2 "Party Line" October 6, 1954 (1954-10-06)
75 3 "Wall Safe" October 13, 1954 (1954-10-13)
76 4 "Alienation of Affections" October 20, 1954 (1954-10-20)
77 5 "Bombay Duck" October 27, 1954 (1954-10-27)
78 6 "Clothes Budget" November 3, 1954 (1954-11-03)
79 7 "Dancing Lessons" November 10, 1954 (1954-11-10)
80 8 "Two Saint Bernards" November 17, 1954 (1954-11-17)
81 9 "Manhole Cover" November 24, 1954 (1954-11-24)
82 10 "The Farm" December 1, 1954 (1954-12-01)
83 11 "Home Movies" December 8, 1954 (1954-12-08)
84 12 "Big Louie's Parole" December 15, 1954 (1954-12-15)
85 13 "Crazy Toes Smith" December 22, 1954 (1954-12-22)
86 14 "Joan the Matchmaker" December 29, 1954 (1954-12-29)
87 15 "The Wedding" January 5, 1955 (1955-01-05)
88 16 "The Maid" January 12, 1955 (1955-01-12)
89 17 "Money in the Shotgun" January 19, 1955 (1955-01-19)
90 18 "Eye Glasses" January 26, 1955 (1955-01-26)
91 19 "The Allergy" February 2, 1955 (1955-02-02)
92 20 "Lieutenant General" February 9, 1955 (1955-02-09)
93 21 "The Letter" February 16, 1955 (1955-02-16)
94 22 "Ladies Prison" February 23, 1955 (1955-02-23)
95 23 "The Lady and the Prizefighter" March 2, 1955 (1955-03-02)
96 24 "How to Win Friends" March 9, 1955 (1955-03-09)
97 25 "The Cowboy" March 16, 1955 (1955-03-16)
98 26 "The Jail Bird" March 23, 1955 (1955-03-23)

Syndication and DVDs[edit]

In the early 1980s, the series was rerun by the CBN cable network in a late-night block that included another TV sitcom, Gale Storm's series My Little Margie. The series was also aired on ION Television, and on the HOT (History of Television) network in New York (WKOB 42.4) and Dallas (KODF 26 and K31GL 31.3).

Since 2004, Alpha Home Entertainment has released three volumes of various episodes from different seasons on budget DVD compilations.[2]

BearManor Media published a biography about Joan Davis, which includes a chapter dedicated to I Married Joan. Episodes of the series have been screened at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention held annually in Aberdeen, Maryland.

References[edit]

External links[edit]