Home Television Comedy Mama


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Mama made its television debut in 1949 and became something of an institution, running until 1956.

Based on the Broadway play I Remember Mama – which was, in turn, based on Kathryn Forbes’s book Mama’s Bank Account – the programme was a warm comedy-drama that was both a domestic piece and a period piece.

Starring Peggy Wood in the title role, Mama concerned a family of Norwegian immigrants in 1910 San Francisco.

Mama was a practical, loving, matriarch and the rock of the family who could always be depended upon for a solution to whatever problem her family may be having.

Each episode was introduced and seen through the eyes of Katrin, the eldest daughter of the Hansen household.

Each programme began with Katrin’s narration: “I remember the big white house on Elm Street, and my little sister Dagmar, and my big brother Nels, and Papa. But most of all, I remember Mama.”

Other characters regularly seen on the show were Mama’s sister, Aunt Jenny; Mama’s gruff and often overbearing Uncle Chris; Mama’s younger sister, Aunt Trina, and her husband, Gunnar Gunnerson, and cousin Ingeborg.

Mama was telecast live for seven years before it was cancelled on 27 July 1956.

Thousands of letters, wires, phone calls and petitions flooded CBS for the return of Mama.
The network acted on the viewers’ letters and newspaper editorials and reinstated the show on 16 December 1956.

This time Mama was filmed and Toni Campbell became the new Dagmar.

The series closed for good on 17 March 1957.


‘Mama’ Marta Hansen
Peggy Wood
‘Papa’ Lars Hansen
Judson Laire

Dick Van Patten

Rosemary Rice

Iris Mann (1)
Robin Morgan (2)
Toni Campbell (3)
Aunt Jenny
Ruth Gates
T R Ryan

Kevin Coughlin
Uncle Chris

Malcolm Keen (1)
Roland Winters (2)
Uncle Gunnar Gunnerson

Carl Frank
Aunt Trina Gunnerson

Alice Frost

Patty McCormack