CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, June 7, 2010

Donna Reed - Classic Movie Goddess Part 2

When Nick at Nite started showing classic series during the 80's, The Donna Reed Show was one of my favorites. My whole family would sit down and watch this show, and we all had a really good time. The premise was simple enough: lovely homemaker Donna Stone, her pediatrician husband Alex (Carl Betz), and their children Mary (Shelley Fabares) and Jeff (Paul Petersen) engage in typical family situations that yielded loads of laughs and also a positive message. Without a doubt Donna Reed was the star, hence the title of the show. But she brought her positively serene presence to the surroundings. Reed had a strong movie career prior to making the jump to TV. Remember she co-starred with Jimmy Stewart in the classic holiday favorite It's A Wonderful Life and won an Oscar for her role as Alma in From Here To Eternity. So we knew Donna could act, but we didn't know how good she would be in a weekly situation comedy. Well her easy going charm and lovely looks made her show one of the most watched in TV history. And it produced a staggering 275 episodes in a short 8 year span. It was wholesome entertainment at it's best. And Donna received great support from her TV family. Carl Betz who played her husband Alex, may have played second fiddle to her in the billing, but he still managed to carve out a notable role himself as the always stand up husband and father. Paul Petersen as Jeff, their youngest provided most of the laughs, as he was constantly in trouble, or trying to get out of said trouble. And then there was Shelley Fabares as Mary, who I must admit I had a major crush on back then, was awesome in her first major role as an actress. Mary usually dealt with the regular teen-age girl issues like boys and clothing. Her banter with her brother Jeff were usually the highlights of the show. But in the end, the show usually came back to Donna Reed, who would sum up the episode with a pearl of wisdom or a sly joke. So The Donna Reed show was very good in that in showed a family that was pretty much normal. No eccentric characters here or any outlandish situations. Just good old family values that everyone could relate too. Donna was co-producer on this show or should I say she was married to the producer at the time. But you could tell she had a lot of say in how her character and the show would be displayed. Donna wasn't your everyday 1950's housewife. She spoke her mind and didn't take a backseat to anyone. But she also let her husband shine too. They were equal partners and had a loving family to show for it. Catch up on this very underrated classic show from a past time, but still enjoyable to this day.

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