Home Television Comedy It’s a Great Life

It’s a Great Life

1 9 5 4 – 1 9 5 6 (USA)
78 x 30 minute episodes

Two ex-GI’s – the witty and self-confident ladies man Denny (Michael O’Shea) and the simple-minded straight-up Steve (William Bishop) – return home from the Korean War to the Los Angeles suburbs and take a room at the boarding house of the doting widow Amy Morgan (Frances Bavier).

Also in the house are Amy’s young and beautiful daughter Katy (Barbara Bates) and her irascible, penny-pinching brother Earl (James Dunn) – an incurable loafer whose only gainful employment is his annual gig as a department store Santa.

Denny Davis is a lazy, wisecracking, scheming guy, prone to hitting on every attractive woman he meets, while Steve Connors is the handsome straight arrow who immediately attracts the interest of Katy. Both Denny and Steve quickly become fond of the Morgans, and soon they both address Amy as “Mom”.

Denny and Steve try to find their niche in postwar America, trying various jobs and schemes in order to better themselves. Their longest-lasting gig is a job selling Handy Dandy vacuum cleaners door to door, though they aren’t terribly successful at it.

In other episodes, they try their hands at opening a restaurant, working in retail, and even booking Steve as a prizefighter.

The series debuted on 7 September 1954 and followed the exploits of the boys as they tried to get rich quick and meet the girls of their dreams while working as vacuum-cleaner salesmen. The final episode aired on 3 June 1956.

Steve Connors
William Bishop
Denny Davis
Michael O’Shea
Mrs Amy Morgan
Frances Bavier
Cathy ‘Katy’ Morgan
Barbara Bates
Earl Morgan
James Dunn