Ozzie and Harriet

October 8th Celebrates Ozzie and Harriet

Today on “Days to Remember” we celebrate Ozzie and Harriet getting married on October 8th 1935.

Harriet Nelson before she became a housewife and mother on the hit series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Harriet Nelson became one of television’s best-loved characters during the 1950s.

Before reality TV came along the Ozzie and Harriet Show, was American sitcom designed around the 1950’s, but in Harriet’s case her husband and sons on the show were real-life husband and children.

In her early life, actress and singer Harriet Nelson was born Peggy Lou Snyder on July 18, 1909, in Des Moines, Iowa. While she used the stage name Harriet Hilliard for a number of years, she is best known as Harriet Nelson, one of television’s most legendary mothers.

In the late 1930s and 1940s, Ozzie Nelson appeared in several films as Harriet Hilliard, including the musical comedies Follow the Fleet (1936) with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and Cocoanut Grove (1938) with Fred Mac Murray.

She found greater success, however, pairing up with her husband. They appeared together on comedian Red Skelton’s radio show in the early 1940s before launching their own hit radio show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, in 1944.

The content for their program was drawn from their experiences as a couple raising two young sons, David and Eric, who was nicknamed Ricky, later known as the teen idol Rick Nelson.

On the air for 14 years, the show focused on the day-to-day issues of parenting and being a teenager. It also provided a platform for their son Ricky to launch his musical career; he emerged as a popular teen idol and singer. During the course of its run, the boys grew up, went to college and got married.

The couple tried to recapture some of its earlier magic in 1973 with the short-lived series Ozzie’s Girls. The premise of the show Ozzie and Harriet renting out their sons’ rooms to two young female college students failed to attract an audience. Not long after, Harriet lost her great love when Ozzie died in 1975. She suffered another personal loss when her son Ricky died in a plane crash in 1985.

Her later years were marked by ill health. After a fall, she struggled with back pain and had emphysema. Harriet Nelson died of congestive heart failure on October 2, 1994, in Laguna Beach, California.

But what interesting life she had, as we celebrate Ozzie and Harriet getting married on October 8th 1935, and being married for over 40 years!

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell
jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com

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