Okay, Mother

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Okay, Mother
DennisJamesOKMother.jpg
Screenshot of the show with host Dennis James
Genre Game/Variety Show
Presented by Dennis James
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
Production
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 23-24 minutes
Release
Original network WABD (1948–1949)
DuMont (1949–1951)
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release November 1, 1948 (1948-11-01) – July 6, 1951 (1951-07-06)

Okay, Mother is an American daytime variety/game show which originally aired on WABD in New York City in 1948.

Broadcast history[edit]

The series, hosted by Dennis James, began on WABD, then aired on the DuMont Television Network weekdays from 1pm to 1:30pm ET, beginning in January 1949.

After receiving good ratings and largely positive reviews the show, originally titled Mothers Inc., aired nationally from 1 pm to 1:30 pm ET on the DuMont from early 1949 to July 6, 1951.[1][2]

According to the book What Women Watched: Daytime Television in the 1950s (University of Texas Press, 2005) by Marsha Cassidy, the DuMont daytime schedule beginning in January 1949 was:

Premise[edit]

The show was a "tribute to mothers" featuring a mix of interviews, game show segments, sketch comedy, and viewer letters. Recurring games included the "Mother-Grams," a series of poems that alluded to a historical or fictional character that the mother had to guess in order to win a small prize, and "Rhyme Games," in which James would canvass the audience, get a mother to start a sentence, and James would have to finish it with a rhyme or else give the mother a prize (in the lone surviving episode, James complains that the same difficult-to-rhyme "trick words" would often come up day after day, which he would often reject if caught).

The series was an early example of demographics and dayparting: as daytime television audiences were expected to be mostly stay-at-home mothers, Dumont commissioned the series specifically to target that audience. The series was sponsored by Bayer, who advertised Phillips' Milk of Magnesia Toothpaste, Double Danderine dandruff shampoo, and Bayer Aspirin on the existing 1950 episode. James often addressed the TV audience as "Mother", a practice he had begun when discussing the finer points of wrestling during his sports broadcasts. By addressing the TV audience this way, James avoided insulting sports fans at home or elsewhere about their knowledge of sports.[3]

Episode status[edit]

One DuMont episode survives and is available on the Internet Archive, with "honor mother" Judith Doniger Lipsey (1912–2007) mentioning her upcoming New York City recital on October 12. A contemporary New York Times article dates her appearance on Okay, Mother to July 18, 1950. Many collectors mistakenly date this to 1947, despite the show debuting in 1948. The episode in question likely came from Dennis James's personal collection, which held samples of several of the shows he hosted.

Clips of this episode were shown during Pioneers of Television: Game Shows (2008), the last episode of the PBS miniseries' first season.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television, p. 615. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
  2. ^ Billboard (November 13, 1948)
  3. ^ Dennis James

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]