1 9 5 4 – 1 9 5 9 (USA)
156 x 30 minute episodes
December Bride began on radio in 1952 and made the transition to television two years later, debuting on CBS on 4 October 1954.
Veteran character actress Spring Byington played Lily Ruskin, a charming 60-year-old widow who was always looking for a suitable man.
Lily and her best friend, Hilda Crocker (Verna Felton), would get into a number of unusual situations.
Also on hand were Lily’s daughter, Ruth (Frances Rafferty) and her husband Matt (Dean Miller), with whom she lived at 728 Elm Street (later 728 North Palm Drive) in Westwood, California, and next-door-neighbour Pete Porter (Harry Morgan) – an insurance salesman who often complained about his heard-but-never-seen wife Gladys.
Lily wrote an advice column for the Los Angeles Gazette called “Tips for Housewives”. She also had a second column for a short time called “Let Yourself Go” (about doing only what you want to do).
December Bride aired in the coveted time slot behind I Love Lucy on Monday nights (Desilu co-produced it), and the show soon became a top-ten series, running for five seasons.
The character of Pete Porter was popular enough to launch a separate series, Pete and Gladys, which starred Morgan with Cara Williams as Gladys, a scatterbrained but earnest woman. Verna Felton and Frances Rafferty were occasional regulars on the show, which ran from 1960 through 1962.
The character of Lily was based on creator Parke Levy’s own mother-in-law.