|Ozzie, Harriet, David, & Ricky Nelson|
From Radio to the Big Screen: “If de Cordova had the patience and dedication to coax a persuasive performance from a chimpanzee, he certainly would encounter no difficulty whatsoever wrangling David and Ricky Nelson.”
Here Come the Nelsons opens in the family’s fictional radio burg of Hillsdale (with longtime radio announcer Verne Smith narrating), though you may be a little disappointed that the clan’s signature address of 1847 Rogers Road isn’t displayed on the mailbox. (I think The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was being sponsored at that time by Heinz Foods anyway.) The old “What-did-Ozzie-Nelson-do-for-a-living?” joke is dispensed with in this film by having Oz work as an advertising executive for the H.J. Bellows Agency. Bellows (played by OTR veteran Gale Gordon) wants his top inventive mind (though technically, Oz appears to be the only employee…outside of a secretary played by Lillian Bronson) to dream up a publicity campaign for a corset/girdle manufacturer, Samuel T. Jones (Paul Harvey).
|Ozzie, Barbara Lawrence, Harriet|
|The Nelson family subdues Sheldon Leonard.|
Here Come the Nelsons is described by Erickson as “Ozzie and Harriet for people who don’t like Ozzie and Harriet.” It is without question unlike any episode of the long-running TV sitcom, choosing to spotlight a darker side of the Nelsons’ seemingly perfect marriage in a scene where the two engage in a rather ugly quarrel (Harriet even bursts into tears!). As for the plot point of Ricky being held hostage, Hal notes: “Little Ricky in danger? The most danger anyone ever encountered on TV’s Ozzie and Harriet was trying to carry on an intelligent conversation with David’s troglodyte college pal Wally.” I think the slapstick wrap-up of Nelsons (including a rather inspired use of girdles to stop the bad guys) is riotously funny…even if it does seem borrowed from a Ma and Pa Kettle movie.
|Backus, Ozzie, and character great Chubby Johnson.|