1 9 6 6 – 1 9 6 7 (USA)
30 x 30 minute episodes
Swinging bachelor and wannabe baby food company executive Peter Christopher (Michael Callan) has a boss – Mr Brahms (Jack Collins) – who frowns on swinging bachelors.
Swinging bachelor wants to make points with the boss, so he proposes to the hat-check girl in his local bar, Greta Patterson (Patricia Harty): “Greta, I want you to be my wife . . . occasionally.”
They make a deal. He agrees to set her up with an apartment two floors above him in his brownstone on East 64th Street and pay her rent and pick up the tab for her art lessons (she’s a would-be dress designer) and her contact lenses.
She agrees to pose as his wife whenever the boss is in the neighbourhood. Peter’s mother (Sara Seegar) also believes the pair are truly married.
Peter’s 7th-floor apartment and Greta’s 9th-floor apartment are connected by a fire escape, and the traffic on it – boy, girl, boy’s girlfriends, miscellaneous visitors – is a constant source of bewilderment and entertainment to the ‘Man in the Middle’ (Bryan O’Byrne) who lives in between on the 8th floor.
Peter’s main rival at the office is Wally Frick (Jack Riley) – a “gifted tattletale and dangerous backstabber” who has a scheming wife (Susan Silo).
Stuart Margolin appeared as one of Greta’s intermittent love interests and Joan Tompkins was Mr Brahms’ more considerate better half. Legendary Dodgers baseball announcer Vin Scully was the show’s uncredited narrator.
NBC scheduled the show on Tuesday nights at 8:30 (opposite The Red Skelton Show on CBS) and the series was cancelled after its sole first season of 30 episodes, last airing on 29 August 1967.
Michael Callan and Patricia Harty got married in real life after Occasional Wife left the air. The marriage eventually ended in divorce.
Mr Max Brahms
Man in the Middle