It's a Great Life
|It's a Great Life|
James Dunn as Earl Morgan with Phyllis Coates in It's a Great Life
|Also known as||The Bachelors|
|Created by||Dick Chevillat
|Written by||Dick Chevillat
|Directed by||Christian Nyby|
|Theme music composer||David Rose|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||78|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original run||September 7, 1954– June 3, 1956|
It's a Great Life (also known in syndicated reruns as The Bachelors) is an American situation comedy which aired on NBC from 1954 to 1956.Frances Bavier, six years before being cast as Aunt Bee[note 1] in CBS's The Andy Griffith Show, played a somewhat similar role as Mrs. Amy Morgan, the owner of a boarding house.
Frances Bavier stars as Mrs. Amy Morgan, the owner of a boarding house. Harry Harvey portrayed Mr. Russell, a neighbor. Two of her tenants are returning World War II veterans, played by William Bishop and Michael O'Shea in the roles of Steve Connors and Denny Davis, respectively. The former servicemen portray vacuum cleaner salesmen. James Dunn played Amy's brother-in-law, Earl Morgan, something of a deadbeat often pushing "get-rich-quick" schemes to entice Steve and Denny. Dunn's role was loosely comparable to that of Edgar Buchanan as Uncle Joe Carson in CBS's rural comedy, Petticoat Junction, starring Bea Benaderet as Carson's sister, Kate.
Steve and Denny are single in the series and in their spare time seek the companionship of women, including Amy's beautiful daughter, Cathy "Katy" Morgan played by Barbara Bates. Bates appeared in twenty-six episodes.
The website tvparty.com contends that Bavier excelled in acting talents on the program compared to the three middle-aged male actors, who nevertheless had the larger roles: "Bavier acted rings around Dunn, O'Shea, and Bishop on the show, and it is significant that this series was the only regular television job for all three actors." Many of the comedy lines were considered weak and inappropriate. The website concludes that the series "in the end came across as a sitcom for middle-aged men designed by middle-aged men, and even in that meager assignment it failed."
Guest stars included Parley Baer, Madge Blake, George Chandler, Phyllis Coates, Angie Dickinson, King Donovan (six episodes as Chris Norman), Richard Deacon, Hope Emerson, Douglas Fowley, Joseph Kearns, Nancy Kulp, Joi Lansing, Barbara Nichols, Doris Packer, Maudie Prickett, Tyler McVey, William Schallert, Randy Stuart, Lyle Talbot, and Mary Treen.
In its first season, It's a Great Life aired at 10:30 p.m. EST Tuesdays opposite CBS's See It Now. In the second season, the series was switched to 7 p.m. EST on Sundays preceding Frontier western anthology series on NBC. With the switch in time, it aired opposite the second season of Lassie on CBS.
- "It's a Great Life Episodes". tvguide.com. Retrieved March 19, 2011.
- Tucker, David C. (2010). Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television: Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen. McFarland & Company. pp. 80–86. ISBN 978-0-7864-4466-3. Excerpt available at Google Books.
- Tucker, p. 82. Excerpt available at Google Books.
- "Comedy Time". TVParty.com. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 415
- "It's a Great Life". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, appendix with network television schedule.