I loved “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” one of the most enduring sitcoms from the early days of television. Ozzie Nelson, bandleader turned radio and then television personality, played “Ozzie Nelson,” perpetually genial but often befuddled suburban father. His wife Harriet and sons David and Ricky played not themselves but television versions of themselves. The show ran from 1952-66 and we all felt we grew up with the Nelsons, as Ricky went from cute kid to pop idol to married man. When David and Ricky got married, their wives joined the cast. And the house on television was the real house they lived in. But it was far from a reality series; it was a light but very scripted comedy, with episodes about the usual mix-ups, misunderstandings, and gentle arguments that exemplified middle-class America’s aspirational sense of itself in the Eisenhower era. A baseball mitt that didn’t arrive in time, Ozzie gets a cold, David has a crush on a girl at school — and no one ever figured out what Ozzie did for a living.
David Nelson, who died today at age 74, was the last of the Nelson family. He began producing and directing while still on the show, and continued to work on commercials and in television. He also appeared in John Waters’ “Cry-Baby” with Johnny Depp. He — and the sweetness and innocence of the stories his family brought to us — will be missed.
List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts
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List: Sam Rockwell Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in "Laggies," playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances:
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Lauren Bradshaw's Terrific New "Before They Were Famous" Column My friend and fellow critic Lauren Bradshaw has a great new series on the very earliest appearances by some of Hollywood's biggest stars. You can see Emma Stone, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain in their very first roles, and give her suggestions for who she should report on next.
Nell Scovell Pays Tribute to the Under-Used Women Alumnae of SNL The wonderful Nell Scovell, who helped Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg write Lean In and is now working on a screenplay based on the book, has an excellent essay in Time about the talented women who appeared on "Saturday Night Live" but never transitioned to the kind of high-profile careers that some of
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