Occasional Wife

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Occasional Wife
Occasional Wife.jpg
Main Cast
Created byLawrence J. Cohen
Fred Freeman
Written byRichard Baer
Peggy Chantler Dick
Lawrence J. Cohen
Robert Riley Crutcher
Stan Cutler
William Davenport
Martin Donovan
John Erman
Fred Freeman
Lila Garrett
Bernie Kahn
Gene Thompson
Martin Ragaway
Shorty Rogers
Directed byJerrold Bernstein
Bob Claver
Danny Dayton
Paul Junger Witt
Richard Kinon
Russ Mayberry
Gary Nelson
Ernest Pintoff
StarringMichael Callan
Patricia Harty
Narrated byVin Scully
Theme music composerErnest Pintoff
Howard Greenfield
ComposersErnest Pintoff
Shorty Rogers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes30
Executive producerHarry Ackerman
ProducerBob Claver
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production companyScreen Gems
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 13, 1966 (1966-09-13) –
August 29, 1967 (1967-08-29)

Occasional Wife is an American situation comedy that aired on NBC beginning September 13, 1966, and running until August 29, 1967.[1] Reruns were aired on the HA! cable network[2] and on Comedy Central in 1992.[citation needed]


The lead character was Peter Christopher, a bachelor who enjoyed the single life, but was blocked from professional advancement by not having a wife. Peter's boss, baby-food manufacturer Max Brahms, was, because of his product, a strong believer in marriage and family. Christopher asked a young hat check girl, Greta Patterson, to pose as his wife at company functions. In return, Peter set up Greta in an apartment two floors above his own in a Manhattan building. Greta would use the fire escape to slip into Peter's 7th floor apartment from her apartment on the 9th floor whenever his boss would drop by unexpectedly. As a silent running gag, Bryan O'Byrne played the "Man in the middle" who bemusedly watched the comings and goings of the two from his 8th floor vantage point. The sitcom's uncredited narrator was the well-known sports announcer Vin Scully.[1]

During the show's run, the lead actor, Michael Callan, married Patricia Harty, his costar on this series.[1]



No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Pilot"Ernest PintoffLawrence J. Cohen & Fred FreemanSeptember 13, 1966 (1966-09-13)
Peter, a young executive, finds his road to success blocked by the lack of a wife, so he begins a platonic relationship with Greta, who poses as his wife.
2"Occasional Trouble"Richard KinonRobert Riley CrutcherSeptember 20, 1966 (1966-09-20)
Peter's mother sees Greta kissing her boyfriend and thinks her son's wife is being unfaithful.
3"The Rivalry"Bob ClaverLawrence J. Cohen & Fred FreemanSeptember 27, 1966 (1966-09-27)
Spending the weekend at the home of a wealthy client becomes a contest as Peter and his rival vie for favor.
4"He Who Burns Bridges"Richard KinonStan Cutler & Martin DonovanOctober 4, 1966 (1966-10-04)
Peter must retrieve his letter of resignation from his boss' office before it is read.
5"I Do, We Don't"Bob ClaverLawrence J. Cohen & Fred FreemanOctober 11, 1966 (1966-10-11)
Peter's mother insists that he and Greta repeat their marriage vows since she missed the original "marriage ceremony."
6"The Promotion"Bob ClaverPeggy Chantler DickOctober 18, 1966 (1966-10-18)
Peter jeopardizes his potential raise and promotion by chasing after a beautiful blonde.
7"No Cookie for Dessert"Jerry BernsteinStan Cutler & Martin DonovanOctober 25, 1966 (1966-10-25)
A sharp-eyed girl figures out Peter's phony marital setup and threatens to tell his boss.
8"Danger! Woman at Work"Richard KinonWilliam DavenportNovember 1, 1966 (1966-11-01)
Greta fraternizes with her new boss, upsetting both Peter's business and social life.
9"A Friend of the Family"Bob ClaverStan Cutler & Martin DonovanNovember 15, 1966 (1966-11-15)
Mr. Brahms jumps to an erroneous conclusion when Greta is hospitalized with a virus.
10"Marriage Counselor"Richard KinonRichard BaerNovember 22, 1966 (1966-11-22)
Mr. Brahms sees Greta at a discothèque with a strange man and tells Peter about it.
11"No Talent Scouts"Bob ClaverRichard BaerNovember 29, 1966 (1966-11-29)
Peter is given the uncomfortable task of finding a Broadway role for the untalented daughter (Sally Field) of a client.
12"That's How They Got Capone"Richard KinonPeggy Chantler DickDecember 6, 1966 (1966-12-06)
Peter and Greta do their best to avoid signing a joint tax return.
13"GP Loves UU"Bob ClaverStan Cutler & Martin DonovanDecember 13, 1966 (1966-12-13)
An Italian Count searches for an American girl who will adore and support him.
14"Miss Greta Regrets"Richard KinonPeggy Chantler DickDecember 20, 1966 (1966-12-20)
Peter and Greta play musical chairs in a restaurant while trying to date simultaneously in two rooms.
15"Peter by Moonlight"Richard KinonStan Cutler & Martin DonovanDecember 27, 1966 (1966-12-27)
Peter underwrites a small garment business.
16"Alias Peter Patterson"Bob ClaverStan Cutler & Martin DonovanJanuary 3, 1967 (1967-01-03)
Peter becomes the object of affection of a shy, unattractive girl.
17"Fair Play for Gypsies"John ErmanRichard BaerJanuary 17, 1967 (1967-01-17)
Mr. Brahms has a gypsy fortune teller fired after she says that Greta is single.
18"A Couple of Home-Cooked Meals"Gary NelsonLila Garrett & Bernie KahnJanuary 24, 1967 (1967-01-24)
Peter and Greta complicate matters by making separate dinner plans.
19"One Plus One Equals Too Many"Russ MayberryGene ThompsonJanuary 31, 1967 (1967-01-31)
Peter gets a new job and fires Greta.
20"Kangaroo Kandidates"Gene ReynoldsStan Cutler & Martin DonovanFebruary 7, 1967 (1967-02-07)
Mr. Brahms gets Peter and Wally into competition to join his exclusive club.
21"The New Secretary"Jerry BernsteinPeggy Chantler DickFebruary 14, 1967 (1967-02-14)
An important customer sees Peter at lunch with his new secretary.
22"The Business Trip"Jerry BernsteinPeggy Chantler DickFebruary 21, 1967 (1967-02-21)
Greta agrees to accompany Peter on a business trip to her hometown.
23"Engagement, Christopher Style"Gene ReynoldsStan Cutler & Martin DonovanFebruary 28, 1967 (1967-02-28)
Peter tries to break an engagement to a madcap heiress without losing his job.
24"Instant Fatherhood"Danny DaytonMartin A. RagawayMarch 21, 1967 (1967-03-21)
A young woman that Peter sponsored as an immigrant arrives from Italy with marriage on her mind.
25"The Soft Spot"Bob ClaverStan Cutler & Martin DonovanMarch 28, 1967 (1967-03-28)
Peter's job catches the eyes of efficiency experts brought in by the company.
26"The Secret Powdered Milk Affair"Bob ClaverStan Cutler & Martin DonovanApril 4, 1967 (1967-04-04)
Government agents run a security check on Brahms employees and discover all is not what it appears in Peter's marriage.
27"My Occasional Brother's Keeper"Jerry BernsteinGene ThompsonApril 11, 1967 (1967-04-11)
One fib leads to another and Peter soon finds himself playing host to a stranger.
28"An Affair to Forget"Paul Junger WittLawrence J. Cohen & Fred FreemanApril 18, 1967 (1967-04-18)
Suspicions arise that make it seem that Greta is having an affair with Mr. Brahms.
29"Oil Be Seeing You"Bob ClaverStan Cutler & Martin DonovanApril 25, 1967 (1967-04-25)
Greta attempts to rescue Peter from a terrible financial investment.
30"So Little Time"Richard KinonStan Cutler & Martin DonovanMay 9, 1967 (1967-05-09)
Peter and Greta are hard pressed to prevent his mother from discovering the truth.


Fred Freeman and Lawrence J. Cohen created the show. Ernst Pintoff was the director.[4] Harry Ackerman was the executive producer for the series, which was produced by Screen Gems in association with NBC.[5] Thirty episodes were filmed in color with a laugh track. Lever Brothers and Brown & Williamson were among the sponsors.[2]

The series was broadcast from 8:30 to 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesdays.[3] It first experienced good ratings, tying at #18 with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the Nielsen ratings. The series then fell to #64 in the ratings after having to compete against ABC's popular series The Invaders and the CBS staple The Red Skelton Show. Occasional Wife was canceled after one season.[6]

Critical response[edit]

Jack Gould, writing in the The New York Times, highlighted Harty's work, saying "she made a viewer more aware of what was right than wrong" with the show.[4] Noting that the story line was a "well-worn gambit", he complimented the creators and the director for dealing with it in a "warmly understated" way.[4] He added that Callan should become a "worthy foil" for Harty.[4] Gould ended his review by urging the ending of "stop-action camera nonsense, wherein an offstage narrator tries to be coyly amusing between scenes".[4]


  1. ^ a b c McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television: the Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present (4th ed.). New York, New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc. p. 612. ISBN 0-14-02-4916-8.
  2. ^ a b Leszczak, Bob (November 2, 2012). Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide. McFarland. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-7864-6812-6. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1999). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (7th ed.). New York: The Ballentine Publishing Group. pp. 749–750. ISBN 0-345-42923-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e Gould, Jack (September 14, 1966). "TV: Patricia Harty, an Appealing 'Occasional Wife'". The New York Times. p. 95. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  5. ^ Gent, George (February 19, 1966). "Wife is not a wife in new N.B,C. show". The New York Times. p. 55. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  6. ^ "Television Obscurities – 10 Of The Most Outlandish TV Concepts Ever". tvobscurities.com. 2004-01-01. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  • Brooks, T. & Marsh, E. (1979). The Complete Directory To Primetime Network TV Shows. New York: Ballantine Books, pp. 454–455
  • Brooks, T. (1987). The Complete Directory To Primetime TV Stars. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 141
  • Tucker, D. C. (2010). Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television: Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, pp. 171–177

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