|Created by||Parke Levy|
|Written by||Bill Davenport|
|Directed by||William Asher|
Frederick de Cordova
|Theme music composer||Eliot Daniel|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||156|
|Producers||Frederick de Cordova|
|Running time||30 minute|
|Production companies||Desilu Productions|
CBS Television Network
|Original release||October 4, 1954 -|
May 7, 1959
|Related shows||Pete and Gladys|
December Bride is an American sitcom that aired on the CBS television network from 1954 to 1959, adapted from the original CBS radio network series of the same name that aired from June 1952 through September 1953.
December Bride centered on the adventures of Lily Ruskin, a spry widow played by Spring Byington, who was not, in fact, a "December" (rather old) bride but very much desired to become one if the right man were to come along. Aiding Lily in her search for this prospective suitor were her daughter Ruth Henshaw (Frances Rafferty) and son-in-law Matt Henshaw (Dean Miller), and her close friend Hilda Crocker (character actress Verna Felton). A next-door neighbor, insurance agent Pete Porter (Harry Morgan), was frequently seen. Married miserably himself, according to his constant complaints about his unseen wife Gladys, he also envied Matt's positive relationship with Lily as he despised his own mother-in-law. The pilot episode premiered on October 4, 1954, and involved Lily Ruskin moving in with her daughter and son-in-law. Most of the scenes filmed for the series took place in the Henshaws' living room.
First-run episodes of December Bride aired on television for 5 seasons (1954-1959), sponsored by General Foods' Instant Maxwell House Coffee. During the first four seasons, the program was not shown in the summer, supplanted by "summer replacement" series (such as Ethel and Albert) but in its final year, repeat episodes were run in its time slot during the summer months.
Thanks in part to its following I Love Lucy, December Bride had high ratings its first four seasons - #10 in 1954-1955, #6 in 1955-1956, #5 in 1956-1957 and #9 in 1957-1958. When CBS moved it to Thursdays in the fall of 1958, ratings fell dramatically, and the series was cancelled in 1959.
In 1960, a new series titled Pete and Gladys debuted, set around many of the same characters; this new series focused on Pete Porter and his now-seen wife Gladys. Hilda Crocker appeared in 23 episodes of the new series, which aired until 1962.
After its production had ceased, CBS used repeat episodes to fill slots in its prime time programming. In July 1960, December Bride repeats were used to fill in for the second half of the Friday 9 pm Eastern time slot vacated by Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, running until the beginning of the fall schedule in 1960, and again as a temporary replacement on Thursday nights in April 1961. Additionally, repeats were shown on CBS as a daytime program from October 1959 until March 1961. The daytime repeats, and an attempt to syndicate the show, were ratings failures; it was this phenomenon that prompted Michael Dann, an executive at CBS, to use the concept of "hammocking:" inserting a weak or new series in-between two better-established shows to improve its viewership.
Parke Levy, who created and wrote December Bride, owned 50% of the program, and Desilu and CBS owned 25% each.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||34||October 4, 1954||May 23, 1955||10||34.7|
|2||31||October 3, 1955||May 14, 1956||6||37.0|
|3||30||October 8, 1956||May 6, 1957||5||35.2|
|4||31||October 7, 1957||May 19, 1958||9||30.7|
|5||31||October 2, 1958||May 7, 1959||N/A||N/A|
Script Supervisor was DaLonne Cooper
December Bride, situation comedy.