It's Always Jan
It's Always Jan is an American situation comedy starring Janis Paige, which aired on CBS in the 1955-1956 season. It was the lead-in program at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday evenings to the first season of the long-running western, Gunsmoke, starring James Arness.
|It's Always Jan|
|Written by||Bob Schiller|
|Theme music composer||Earle Hagen|
Herbert W. Spencer
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||24–26 minutes|
|Original release||September 10, 1955 –|
April 28, 1956
The program centers on war widow and single mother Jan Stewart and her two single female roommates, secretary Pat Murphy (Patricia Bright), and model Val Marlowe (Merry Anders). A Desilu Production, It's Always Jan borrowed elements of various programs and films from the period but lacked the ingredients for general popularity and long-lasting success. Janis Paige's hairstyle resembled that of Lucy Ricardo, CBS's most successful comedy character of the decade in the I Love Lucy program, starring Lucille Ball, also the Desilu co-owner. With three single women in the series, the program borrowed on the theme of the films Three Coins in the Fountain and How to Marry a Millionaire, later made into a syndicated television series co-starring Barbara Eden and Merry Anders, Paige's co-star.
In the series, Jan Stewart devotes much of her time not to the children or the roommates but to her potential paramours and her performances at New York City's Tony's Cellar nightclub, the series' setting. As with other programs like The Red Skelton Show and The Ann Sothern Show, Paige closed each episode by bidding the home audience "Good night.
Two actors who later became known for other roles each guest-starred in 3 episode of It's Always Jan. Arte Johnson portrayed delicatessen delivery-boy Stanley Schreiber, and became famous more than a decade later in the NBC comedy Laugh-In. Sid Melton played Jan's agent, Harry Cooper; several years later, he became known as comical nightclub manager Charlie Halper on CBS's The Danny Thomas Show, with Pat Carroll playing his wife "Bunny" Halper.
Jeri Lou James appeared in 10 episodes as Paige's young daughter, Josie Stewart. Episode titles include "Pat's Romance," "Guilty Conscience," "Housekeeper," "Propriety," and "Love Rings Bells." The program, a Jannard Production affiliated with Desilu, was filmed at Hollywood's RKO Studios.
It's Always Jan faced competition on NBC from the second season of The Jimmy Durante Show, a comedy/variety show which ended its 51-episode run 3 months after the Paige series ceased production. In the 1956-1957 season, It's Always Jan was replaced by Hey, Jeannie!, another unsuccessful situation comedy, which starred Jeannie Carson as a young Scottish immigrant woman living in New York City.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, Saturday night television schedule, 1955-1956
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 416
- "Wesley Hyatt, "Comedy Time"". tvparty.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- "Arte Johnson". starpulse.com. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- "It's Always Jan". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved November 13, 2010.