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Thursday, December 8, 2022
FairfaxOpinion'Old School' column: The full Nelson

‘Old School’ column: The full Nelson

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A while back, I wrote a column about our first TV and how excited I was to get it. I mentioned a few of the programs we watched, but not my favorite.

I challenge you to name anyone who grew up in the 1950s-60s and didn’t love “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” which ran from 1952 until 1966.

The Internet tells me it still remains near the top among longest-running scripted television shows, and I can see why. The parents never argued; the kids always did the right thing; and their home was tidy and pristine.

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I thought them the perfect family, and little wonder. They seemed to deal with life situations so much more gracefully than most of us did.

Harriet dressed impeccably in pearls, a lovely, full-skirted dress, sometimes with a sweater draped over her shoulders, and high heels, of course. But more important, she was the perfect mom: on top of every situation without being mean.

Ozzie always wore a tie and a sport coat. He came across as a mild-mannered, gentle guy, if a little clueless. He never seemed to work, so no need to come home grouchy.

And then, of course, there were the two boys, David and Ricky. They were both polite and kind, but the big attraction was their knock-out good looks. I thought David looked like his dad, while Ricky resembled Harriet. I swooned over them both.

Later, Ricky became a teen rock star, since musical talent was on his DNA. Ozzie was a former bandleader, who met his future wife while she was a singer called Harriet Hilliard. I heard a recording of hers and she had a lovely soprano voice, clear as a bell.

Before the days of YouTube, as I pawed through the two-for-a-dollar bin at Walmart, I found two CDs of the old Ozzie and Harriet Show. I snapped them up and popped them into the player as soon as I got home. It was like a sweet, warm visit with old friends. The stories were charming, and the Nelsons were still the people I’d most love to have next door.

The commercials, also included, were an unexpected bonus. I got quite a chuckle out of the effort to introduce the American housewife to an Insinkerator – product-demand-creation in action.

However badly our family failed to measure up, this Old Schooler aspired to be as decent and neighborly as the Nelsons. Not such bad role models, if you ask me.

Reach Carol McEwen at carolwrites4fun@gmail.com.

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