The Joey Bishop Show (sitcom)

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For the ABC talk show of the same name, see The Joey Bishop Show (talk show).
The Joey Bishop Show
Joey bishop show 1964.jpg
Genre Sitcom
Created by Danny Thomas
Louis F. Edelman
Written by Harry Crane
Stan Dreben
Fred S. Fox
Fred Freeman
Irving Elinson
Garry Marshall
Directed by Mel Ferber
James V. Kern
Jerry Paris
Starring Joey Bishop
Abby Dalton (seasons 2 – 4)
Theme music composer Vincent Youmans (1961–62)
Irving Caesar (1961–62)
Jimmy Van Heusen (1962–65)
Sammy Cahn (1962–65)
Opening theme "Sometimes I'm Happy" (1961–62)
Composer(s) Herbert W. Spencer
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 123 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Danny Thomas
Producer(s) Milt Josefsberg
Marvin Marx
Charles Stewart
Cinematography Henry Cronjager, Jr.
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) Bellmar Enterprises
Distributor SFM Entertainment
Original network NBC (1961–1964)
CBS (1964–1965)
Picture format Black-and-white
(seasons 1 and 4)
(seasons 2–3)
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 20, 1961 (1961-09-20) – March 30, 1965 (1965-03-30)
Related shows The Danny Thomas Show

The Joey Bishop Show is an American sitcom, starring Joey Bishop. The series premiered in September 1961 on NBC where it aired for three seasons. The series then moved to CBS for its final season.

Executive produced by Danny Thomas, The Joey Bishop Show is a spin-off of Thomas' series The Danny Thomas Show.


Season one[edit]

The series was conceived as a vehicle for Joey Bishop by Danny Thomas and Louis F. Edelman in 1960. At the time, Thomas was starring in his own show, Make Room for Daddy (later known as The Danny Thomas Show), airing on CBS. Thomas' show was then a top-20 hit and served as a launching pad for The Joey Bishop Show.[1] The series' pilot episode, entitled "Everything Happens to Me", aired on March 27, 1961, during the eighth season of Danny Thomas.[2] In the pilot, an incompetent Hollywood "public relations man" named Joey Mason (Bishop) forgets to make proper accommodations for an exhausted Danny Williams (Thomas) after he arrives in Los Angeles to play a show. Joey is then forced to put Danny up in the home he shares with his colorful parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mason (played by Billy Gilbert and Madge Blake) and two unmarried sisters, Betty (Virginia Vincent) and Stella (Marlo Thomas).[3][4]

By the time the series was picked up by NBC, Bishop's character's name was changed to Joey Barnes (Bishop had insisted his character and he share the same initials)[5] and the character of Joey's father was dropped. Two additional characters were added; a younger brother named Larry, and Frank, the husband of Joey's older sister Betty. The series' first incarnation features Joey, a well-intending but hapless and trouble-prone young man, who works for the Hollywood public relations firm, Willoughby, Cleary and Jones. The firm is headed by J.P. Willoughby (John Griggs), Joey's demanding boss. Willoughby's secretary, Barbara Simpson (Nancy Hadley), is Joey's girlfriend. Joey lives with and supports his widowed mother, Mrs. Barnes (Madge Blake), younger sister Stella (Marlo Thomas) and younger brother Larry (Warren Berlinger), who is a medical student. Joey also supports his older sister Betty (Virginia Vincent) and her proudly unemployed husband Frank (Joe Flynn).[2]

The storylines during the first season typically revolve around Joey's misadventures concerning his job. Problems also arise when family members, who often think he has more influence in Hollywood than he actually has, attempt to take advantage of his nonexistent influence.[6] As the series was a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show, Danny Thomas and Marjorie Lord appeared as their Danny Thomas characters in the first season's fourth episode entitled "This Is Your Life". Sid Melton, who appeared as Uncle Charley Halper on Danny Thomas, also appeared.

Upon its September 1961 premiere, the series struggled in the ratings. In an effort to improve viewership, NBC decided to "readjust" the series. Several characters, including Joey's older sister Betty, brother-in-law Frank, and girlfriend Barbara Simpson, were dropped. Several crew members were also dismissed. The changes helped the series' ratings and NBC renewed it for a second season.[7]

Seasons two through four[edit]

Dalton as the new Mrs. Joey Barnes, September 15, 1962

After the first season, Bishop decided to fully change the format of the series.[8] In addition to the format changing, The Joey Bishop Show also featured an entirely different supporting cast. In the second incarnation, Joey Barnes is the host of a New York City talk/variety television show. Abby Dalton joined the cast as Joey's new wife Ellie (whom Joey called "Texas" because she hailed from Texas) and the two live at the Carlton Arms, a posh Manhattan apartment building. Towards the end of season two, Ellie discovers she is pregnant with the couple's first child. Their son, Joey Barnes, Jr. (played by Dalton's real son Matthew David Smith), was born in the season-two finale "The Baby Cometh". Also joining the cast was Guy Marks, who portrayed Freddie, Joey's manager. Marks left the series after 19 episodes and Corbett Monica joined the cast as Larry Corbett, Joey's head writer. The supporting cast also includes Mary Treen as Hilda, the Barnes' maid and baby nurse, with whom Joey frequently trades insults. Joe Besser portrayed Mr. Jillson, the building's henpecked super who lives in fear of his wife, Tantalia (who is never seen but often heard).[2]

Storylines for the remainder of the series' run mainly focus on Joey's home life, but also feature storylines involving Joey's job as a television host. As such, various celebrities (who typically appeared as themselves) who were guests on Joey Barnes' talk show appeared throughout the series' run. Although the second incarnation of the series was seemingly unrelated to the first incarnation, the series featured two episodes that were tied into The Danny Thomas Show. Rusty Hamer, who appeared on Danny Thomas as Rusty Williams, also appeared as his character in three season-four episodes: "Rusty Arrives", "Rusty's Education", and "Joey Entertains Rusty's Fraternity". Danny Thomas also appeared as himself in two season-three episodes: "Danny Gives Joey Advice" and "Andy Williams Visits Joey".

One notable feature of the series was a considerable amount of ad-libbing and breaking up, and—unusually for a filmed sitcom—much of it was left in. (In “Jillson and the Cinnamon Buns,” Besser actually apologizes to Bishop for making him laugh with an off-the-cuff joke.) Because of this, the show's studio audiences were audibly more responsive than those of other multi-camera comedies of the era.



Guest stars[edit]

The Joey Bishop Show featured several celebrity guest stars who appeared as themselves. Among the celebrity guest stars are:

Actors who appeared in guest starring roles include:


Upon its premiere, The Joey Bishop Show struggled in the ratings. After the first re-tooling, ratings for the series improved and NBC renewed it for another season. The series' second revamped season proved to be popular with audiences and ratings increased. By the end of the third season, the series had dropped in the ratings again and NBC announced it would be dropped from its lineup in January 1964 (the series' third season finale episode aired in May 1964).[9]

In the spring of 1964, CBS announced it had picked up The Joey Bishop Show for the 1964–65 television season.[10] The Season 4 debut episode, "Joey Goes to CBS", premiered on September 27, 1964. Ratings for The Joey Bishop Show remained low and CBS announced its cancellation in January 1965.[11] The series finale aired on March 30, 1965.

Production notes[edit]

The series was created by Louis F. Edelman and Danny Thomas who also served as the executive producer. The series was produced by Thomas' company, Bellmar Enterprises.[12] It was filmed at Desilu Studios in front of a live studio audience, with a laugh track added during post-production for "sweetening" purposes.[13]

Upon its debut on NBC in 1961, The Joey Bishop Show was telecast in black-and-white. The third episode from the first season, "A Windfall For Mom", was shot and broadcast in color. The series switched to color for the second and third seasons. After it moved to CBS, it reverted to black-and-white.[2]

Lost episode[edit]

One Season 3 episode of The Joey Bishop Show is now considered lost. The episode, known only as #85, was filmed on November 15, 1963 and guest starred comedian and impressionist Vaughn Meader. Meader rose to fame in the early 1960s for his impersonation of then-President John F. Kennedy featured on the popular comedy album The First Family. The episode centered around Meader performing his Kennedy impersonation in routines opposite Joey Bishop. A week after filming, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. President Kennedy's death promptly ended Meader's career – his club bookings and television appearances were quickly canceled and his albums were pulled from stores. The episode featuring Meader was scheduled to air in February 1964, but was pulled by NBC.[14] The episode never aired and was reportedly destroyed.[15][16]

Syndication and DVD release[edit]

Episodes of The Joey Bishop Show aired on TV Land in 1998.[17] In 2016, the series began airing on Retro TV.

Antenna TV announced in October 2016 it would begin airing the series the following January, including the rarely seen first season.[18]

In September 2004, Questar Entertainment released the complete second season of The Joey Bishop Show on Region 1 DVD in the United States.[19]


  1. ^ Kern, Janet (September 5, 1960). "Joey Bishop Finds Niche". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. p. 9. 
  2. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent. Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2 ed.). McFarland. p. 538. ISBN 0-786-46477-1. 
  3. ^ "Danny Thomas Gives Joey Bishop Test Run". The Eugene Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. March 27, 1961. p. 5B. 
  4. ^ Kern, Janet (March 30, 1961). "Getting Tryout Simple". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. p. 6. 
  5. ^ Wilson, Earl (September 13, 1961). "Joey Bishop Becomes Joey Barnes, Public Relations Man Extradionairre". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. p. 12C. 
  6. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (October 19, 2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 709. ISBN 0-345-49773-2. 
  7. ^ Denton, Charles (January 28, 1962). "Sad Start Plagues Joey Bishop Series". The Hartford Courant. p. 2G. 
  8. ^ McLellan, Dennis (May 4, 1998). "He's the Bishop of Lido Isle; Television: Reruns of '60s sitcom give comedian a new set of '90s fans and a chance to relive golden years.". The Los Angeles Times. p. 1. 
  9. ^ Adams, Val (January 29, 1964). "32 New TV Shows Scheduled for Fall Season; 28 Programs Dropped by Networks in Reshuffle". The New York Times. p. 67. 
  10. ^ "Joey Bishop Joins CBS". The Los Angeles Times. September 13, 1964. p. O18. 
  11. ^ "Look and Listen with Donald Kirkley". The Los Angeles Times. January 21, 1965. p. 4F. 
  12. ^ Berard, Jeanette M.; Englund, Klaudia, eds. (2009). Television Series And Specials Scripts 1946–1992: A Catalog of the American Radio Archives Collection. McFarland. p. 162. ISBN 0-786-43348-5. 
  13. ^ Sanders, Coyne S.; Gilbert, Tom (1994). Desilu. HarperCollins. p. 229. ISBN 0-688-13514-5. 
  14. ^ "The Joey Bishop Show (1961–62)". Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ Smith, Jacob (2011). Spoken Word: Postwar American Phonograph Cultures. University of California Press. p. 136. ISBN 0-520-26703-6. 
  16. ^ McCracken, Elizabeth (December 26, 2004). "The Temporary Kennedy". Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Choice Reruns". April 17, 1998. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Antenna TV Adds The Joey Bishop Show and Good Morning, World To Its 2107 Lineup". Tribune Media. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  19. ^ "The Joey Bishop Show – The Complete 2nd Season". Retrieved January 22, 2013. 

External links[edit]