1 9 6 6 – 1 9 6 7 (USA)
30 x 30 minute episodes
“There are eight million stories in the Naked City. Some are violent, some happy, some sad. But one of them is just plain cuckoo. This is a modern fable about two young people who make a bargain only to find that they were going to get a lot more than they bargained for. We call our fable Occasional Wife and it stars Michael Callan and Patricia Harty and it features among other things, a fire escape.”
Swinging bachelor and wannabe baby food company executive Peter Christopher (Michael Callan) has a boss – Mr Brahms (Jack Collins) – who frowns on swinging bachelors.
This 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 pay for her contact lenses.
She agrees to pose as his wife whenever the boss is in the neighbourhood.
Peter has a girlfriend named Marilyn Granville (Chris Noel) who Mr Brahms believes is Peter’s sister. Greta has a boyfriend named Bernard J. Cramer (Stuart Margolin). He believes Peter is Greta’s brother. Peter’s mother (Sara Seegar) believes Peter and Greta are really married and that it was love at first sight.
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 called Vera (Susan Silo). 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 the 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
Mrs Lydia Brahms
Mom Patterson (Greta’s mother)
Pop Patterson (Greta’s father)