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The last of the Nelsons is gone.
January 12, 2011 3:23 PM   Subscribe

The last surviving member of the classic radio and TV series "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" has died. David Nelson, the older son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson has died. He was 74.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet started as a situation comedy radio program in the 40's when Red Skelton was drafted. Ozzie Nelson was known as an orchestra leader until then. The show moved to television in 1952. It was cancelled in 1965. "The family were constantly entangled in the amusing situations Ozzie had caused. Once he had set his mind to something, nothing could dissuade him until disaster had run its inevitable course." (RUSC Old Time Radio)

His younger brother, Ricky, died in a plane crash in 1985. Along with the radio and television show, you might remember a song he put out, Garden Party, in 1972. (previously)

TV: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream (1, 2, 3) (1957)
Radio: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - Ozzie Enters an Essay Contest (more shows, Old Time Radio Archive)
posted by crunchland (31 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
That television show is so quaint, it might as well have aired a thousand years ago, and not just 54.
posted by crunchland at 3:28 PM on January 12, 2011


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posted by Eideteker at 3:33 PM on January 12, 2011


The show was purposefully retro in 1954; Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard (as she was known before her marriage) were 1930s singing and movie stars known for their squeaky-clean stage and screen image, and the idea of starring them in a sit-com centered around their being throwbacks to "the good old days."

Sorry to hear David Nelson has died. I enjoyed his curmudgeonly comments in the past few years about being on the "no-fly" list, including "I don't think too many terrorists have the middle name 'Ozzie'."
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:37 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


No offence, but Garden Party is probably Ricky Nelson's least significant hit. Not to derail already...

Godspeed, Mr. Nelson.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:38 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought that the Nelson's and the Anderson's ("Father Knows Best") were typical American families and that mine fell far, far short of theirs.

Sort of ruined my childhood as I was so jealous of them that I became contemptuous of my own immigrant family. The tv parents and kids were so proper and they lived in pretty houses in quiet suburban neighborhoods and they were so nice to each other quite unlike our wild bunch of hard fightin, hard drinkin' Irishers.

The grass is always greener.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 3:40 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're probably right, Capt., but I was taking into account the younger audience here on Metafilter.
posted by crunchland at 3:40 PM on January 12, 2011


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posted by clavdivs at 3:43 PM on January 12, 2011


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posted by brundlefly at 3:44 PM on January 12, 2011


Whoa. I didn't know there was a spin-off.
posted by brundlefly at 3:45 PM on January 12, 2011


Whoa. I didn't know there was a spin-off.

Indeed. (Sorry.)

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posted by Sys Rq at 3:53 PM on January 12, 2011


R. I.P. to the last member of a time when we were YOUNG and INNOCENT too.
posted by tustinrick at 3:53 PM on January 12, 2011


Given these odes to lost innocence, it's ironic that, after 9/11, David Nelson was placed on the no-fly list.

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posted by jonp72 at 3:58 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, yes, very sad—but seriously: when they started in about the tutti-frutti ice cream, I felt like I was watching Greg Nog's baked potato people.
posted by wreckingball at 4:14 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also the uncle of Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, also known as NELSON

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posted by Mchelly at 4:23 PM on January 12, 2011


An ex-boyfriend of mine was named Ricky. Not Richard... RICKY. You know, after the Nelson child.

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posted by hippybear at 4:34 PM on January 12, 2011


I was fortunate to grow up in a time when the sitcom families were just as bad as mine if not worse -- not paragons on a pedestal -- even though even then the likes of "Ozzie and Harriet" and "Leave It to Beaver" were being trumpeted as what America had really been like, once upon a time, in the gauzy, airbrushed Eisenhower years. Thank God for Norman Lear. Although I kind of had guilty crushes on David Nelson and Wally Cleaver.

Anyway, David Nelson had a refreshingly blasé and lackadisaical attitude about all of the fame and the glory of the series. And he did a lot of work behind the camera, too. RIP.
posted by blucevalo at 4:48 PM on January 12, 2011


"Indeed. (Sorry.)"

"Also the uncle of Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, also known as NELSON"


Apparently, no one reads the comments up here. I mean, I know I'm subtle, but geez.
posted by Eideteker at 4:55 PM on January 12, 2011


No offence, but Garden Party is probably Ricky Nelson's least significant hit.

Eh. "Hello Mary Lou" was his most important and best, but "Garden Party" is pretty fucking good, too.

RIP, David.
posted by jonmc at 5:07 PM on January 12, 2011


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posted by jgaiser at 5:17 PM on January 12, 2011


I had the great fortune to interview him for some mindless "Where Are They Now?" show and he could not have been more gracious or professional. After the camera was off, he told funny semi-ribald stories about his family.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:21 PM on January 12, 2011




The show was purposefully retro in 1954; Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard (as she was known before her marriage) were 1930s singing and movie stars known for their squeaky-clean stage and screen image, and the idea of starring them in a sit-com centered around their being throwbacks to "the good old days."


yeah the big danger in trying to gauge how the actual Mid Century was by it's cultural products is not realizing a lot of TV (and radio) was self-consciously Old Fashioned and homey, complete with insane production code requirements (twin beds) that everyone laughed at at the time. TV was still a new thing, and they wanted to pull in the larger older crowd with old stars and favorite and stuff that would read as nostalgic to them but not us.

That being said, no one blinks that the top sit-com at the time was a childless multi-ethnic couple living the big city.

Also, .
posted by The Whelk at 5:47 PM on January 12, 2011


I think you're forgetting Little Ricky.
posted by crunchland at 6:01 PM on January 12, 2011


Not at the start!
posted by The Whelk at 6:05 PM on January 12, 2011


I think you're forgetting Little Ricky.

D'you mean the "blessed event"?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:05 PM on January 12, 2011


no one blinks that the top sit-com at the time was a childless multi-ethnic couple living the big city. --- Well, I guess you have a point. That, and that show with the drag queen.
posted by crunchland at 6:10 PM on January 12, 2011


I grew up in the 50's, in a family which consisted of my mom, my two sisters, and me (my dad died when I was 6 months old).

Not knowing what was like to have either a father or a brother, Ozzie and Harriet, David and Ricky were the imaginary family I didn't have..

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posted by HuronBob at 6:31 PM on January 12, 2011


"I mean, I know I'm subtle, but geez." Sorry. I wasn't expecting so much awesome in such an understated package.
posted by Mchelly at 6:41 PM on January 12, 2011


When I was a kid in the early 80s, my grandma often dragged me to go shopping at South Coast Plaza. I loved going with her because we didn't so much shop as watch wealthy people buy designer duds while we nibbled on chocolates and talked about the rich ladies' flowy fabrics, flawless makeup, and huge hair. On one of these outings, grandma jumped up from our bench and yelled, "Harriet! Oh, Harriet!" Harriet and David Nelson were shopping together and both of them graciously hugged grandma and listened to her yack about what a big fan she was. Harriet asked her questions about our family and made her feel like she was a dear old friend. David kissed my grandma's hand as they parted and he couldn't have been more charming. Grandma was positively giddy afterward and told that story for years. She would have gotten a kick out of knowing that they'd all be buried in the same cemetery someday.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:42 PM on January 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


I saw the wreath over his Walk of Fame star today, and wondered...

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posted by carsonb at 6:59 PM on January 12, 2011


Aww, I liked him.

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posted by nickyskye at 8:49 PM on January 12, 2011


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posted by cass at 8:51 AM on January 13, 2011


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