What a strange history this sitcom had - five years on the air (1968-1973) and four major format changes!
The show never should have happened. Admittedly "not a career minded person," Doris had no desire to do a TV show, in fact she was openly hostile to the idea. She'd been knocking out hit films and hot-selling record albums at a furious pace for two decades and felt she deserved a break from the business, maybe even retire altogether.
She was therefore surprised to discover after her husband's unexpected death that she was nearly broke and he had signed her - against her expressed wishes and without informing her - to star in a sitcom for CBS. To her shock and horror, filming was set to begin in just a few weeks.
"Oh, you know, I cried, but a series keeps one so busy," Doris told TV Guide in 1969, "I didn't really have time to be unhappy. And my son helped me a great deal, and still does, and I have a lot of good people around me."
Season one found America's sweetheart living on a farm with her father (Denver Pyle) and two young boys. A rather unremarkable sitcom overall, The Doris Day Show shot into the top ten immediately mainly because of Doris' relaxed, easygoing style. She was a natural for television.
Director Coby Ruskin told TV Guide, "She's a consummate clown. She's great with clutter and bits of business. We don't argue about comedy style. My biggest problem is getting her out of her dressing room so she doesn't toss her money away - she is used to the more leisurely rhythm of filmmaking."
A format change for Season two had Doris commuting to San Francisco for a secretarial job at a magazine. Her boss was played by McLean Stevenson (M*A*S*H*) and a new friend and co-worker was introduced portrayed by the wonderful Rose Marie (The Dick Van Dyke Show). At season's end the show was number 20 in the ratings while lead-in Here's Lucy was number 3.
Denver Pyle was dropped as a regular when Doris and the kids moved to San Francisco for Season 3 where they lived above an Italian restaurant run by Kaye Ballard and Bernie Kopell. Her new neighbor was played by the impossibly persnickety but always funny Billy De Wolfe ("pushy, pushy, pushy!"). The Doris Day Show was a solid 23 in the ratings for 1971-72.
For season 4 the kids vanished without explanation as Doris became a writer for Today's World magazine. She got a new boss (gone was McLean Stevenson, replaced by John Dehner) and a new co-worker (Rose Marie was dropped in favor of Jackie Joseph). Peter Lawford also stepped in as Doris' sometime boyfriend.
The thing that made this program so special was Doris Day herself, the most natural of all the sitcom stars of the time. Her thoroughly believable delivery made every situation work, no matter how silly.
Season 4 was somewhat funnier than the previous incarnations; Doris followed Lucy on Monday nights so I guess the network wanted to 'Lucy' her up, giving Doris an impossibly gruff boss and placing her in wacky situations like being mistaken for a jewel thief or exposing a dating service by becoming a client. It was lightweight, frothy entertainment that clicked because of Doris Day's shimmering personality, a perky cast, and familiar 1970's guest stars.
This format stuck until the series was cancelled after season 5; by this point, The Doris Day Show had fallen out of the top 25.
Season 5 brought with it more romance and much less silliness, especially in the early episodes. This was the show's last year and, regrettably, Kaye Ballard was gone while Billy De Wolfe, now Doris' landlord, was rarely seen. Sometimes he'd only to appear in a random, inconsequential way with a single line, what would normally have been an extra part.
Doris also gained an openly gay couple as her new neighbors which was very odd for the time, perhaps a first, though they were mostly referred to in conversation and seen only once or twice.
The emphasis of the show shifted more to Doris' relationship with Peter. He's in almost every episode but then, toward the end of the season, a guy we've never seen before - who looks almost exactly like Peter Lawford - wanders back into Doris' life and proposes to her. And she accepts despite the hot and heavy thing she had going for Peter just a few weeks earlier.
CBS wanted to renew the series for a sixth season but the star didn't want to sign another 4 year contract and walked away from the show.
Since that time, Doris Day has shunned the spotlight. She flirted with returning to network TV in 1984; she was considered to replace Barbara Bel Geddes on Dallas and was the first choice to play the lead in Murder, She Wrote. Instead she hosted a talk show in 1985 for CBN, Doris Day's Best Friends, that focused on pets and their celebrity owners.
Recently Doris Day recorded two audio commentaries for The Doris Day Show Season 5 DVD collection. She was ambivalent about the program back in the day so it made sense that she would have few memories of the production - but she had lots to say about her pets at the time. Still, it's Doris Day you're spending time with; she's rather reclusive so this is a rare treat.
THE DORIS DAY SHOW
Rose Marie ... Myrna Gibbons
DORIS DAY SHOW ON DVD!
Plot Outline: After spending most of her life in big cities, widow Doris Martin decides to move back to the family ranch.
Plot Synopsis: This light and fluffy sitcom changed formats and producers almost every season. Originally it was about widow Doris Martin and her two young sons who left the big city for the quiet and peace of her family's ranch, which was run by her dad Buck and ranchhand Leroy. Later Doris, Buck and sons Billy and Toby moved to San Francisco, where Doris got a job as a secretary to bumbling magazine publisher Michael Nicholson.
Doris Day Show - Season 3
Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / Classic Christmas Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / Dawn Wells / Gavin McLeod / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Love, Loss & What I Watched
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / Punk Book / / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / 2012 Emmy Awards / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|