Created by Ted Key
Final episode date 11 April 1966
First episode date 28 September 1961
Networks CBS, NBC
|Based on The Saturday Evening Post character|
Directed by E.W. SwackhamerWilliam D. Russell
Starring Shirley BoothDon DeFore (1961–1965)Whitney Blake (1961–1965)Bobby BuntrockRay Fulmer (1965–1966)Lynn Borden (1965–1966)Julia Benjamin (1965–1966)
Theme music composer Jimmy Van Heusen (music)Sammy Cahn (lyrics)
Cast Shirley Booth, Don DeFore, Bobby Buntrock, Whitney Blake, Lynn Borden
Hazel is an American television situation comedy about a live-in maid named Hazel Burke (played by Shirley Booth) and her employers, the Baxters. The five-season, 154-episode series aired in prime time from September 28, 1961, to April 11, 1966, and was produced by Screen Gems. The first four seasons of Hazel aired on NBC, and the fifth and final season aired on CBS. Season 1 was broadcast in black-and-white except for one episode which was in color, and seasons 2–5 were all broadcast in color. The show was based on the popular single-panel comic strip by cartoonist Ted Key, which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post.
Hazel sitcom dorothy s birthday
Hazel is a competent, take-charge, live-in maid in the home of the Baxter family. George Baxter (Don DeFore) is a partner in the law firm of Butterworth, Hatch, Noll and Baxter; Hazel calls him "Mr. B". George's wife, Dorothy (Whitney Blake), is an interior decorator, whom Hazel nicknames "Missy". Their son Harold (Bobby Buntrock) is dubbed "Sport" by Hazel. The family dog is Smiley. Hazel had worked previously with Dorothy's family, and has a close relationship with her.
The series humorously dramatizes Hazel's life with the Baxters and her friendships with others in the neighborhood such as postman Barney Hatfield (Robert Williams), taxi-driver Mitch Brady (Dub Taylor) and Rosie Hammaker (Maudie Prickett), another maid in the area. Johnny Washbrook, formerly of My Friend Flicka, guest starred as Hazel's nephew, Eddie Burke. Many episodes focus on the perennial contest of wills between Hazel and her boss over issues around the house; "Mr. B" usually concedes defeat and grants Hazel's wishes when she tortures him by serving meager portions of her mouth-watering desserts.
Some episodes take Hazel outside the Baxter house and follow her life in the community. In the first episode, for example, she spearheads a drive for the construction of a neighborhood playground. Hazel's life is sometimes complicated by George's snobby Bostonian sister Deirdre Thompson (Cathy Lewis) and his gruff client Harvey Griffin (Howard Smith). Dotty neighbors Herbert and Harriet Johnson (Donald Foster and Norma Varden) often call upon Hazel's expertise in household matters, of which they seem ignorant.
Network change and final season
In the show's final season, George and Dorothy depart for the Middle East in conjunction with George's work (as a result, DeFore and Blake were dropped from the cast). Harold (who apparently did not depart with his parents) and Hazel move in with George's younger brother, Steve (Ray Fulmer), a real estate agent, Steve's wife Barbara (Lynn Borden) and their daughter Susie (Julia Benjamin). Hazel provides housekeeping services for her revamped family. The new Baxters reflected a desire for younger demographics (CBS said that Blake was not available after NBC's cancellation, although DeFore noted that he found out about the change while reading the newspaper). Ann Jillian, who was then a teenager, was also added to the cast as Millie Ballard, Steve Baxter's receptionist; she later went on to star in her own series, It's a Living and numerous television movies.
The show's first season placed fourth in the 1961-1962 Nielsen's ratings. Shirley Booth received two Emmy Awards (1962 and 1963) for Hazel, and garnered a nomination for her third season (1964). Booth also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Star (1964) and two nominations for the TV Land Award, Favorite Made-for-TV Maid (2004 and 2006).
ABC loosely copied the Hazel theme in the 1962-1963 series Our Man Higgins as an English butler to a suburban American family. Stanley Holloway played the lead role, along with Audrey Totter and Frank Maxwell.
At the end of the 1963-1964 season, the ratings had slipped from #15 the previous year to #22. By the time NBC canceled the series in the spring of 1965, Hazel had fallen out of the top 30 programs. CBS picked it up for the 1965-1966 season, and made a number of cast changes. Buntrock remained in the cast as Harold Baxter; DeFore and Blake were dropped and replaced with Fulmer and Borden, respectively. Child actress Benjamin was added to the cast as Susie Baxter. In the spring of 1966, Hazel ended its primetime network run.
In 2014, according to Playbill, actress and cabaret performer Klea Blackhurst was cast in a New York City reading of Hazel, a musical based on Ted Key's cartoon character as well as the 1961-1966 TV sitcom of the same name. Lucie Arnaz directed the AEA reading that featured Blackhurst as Hazel in a cast that included Paul Shaffer as George Baxter, Jessica Keenan Wynn as Dorothy Baxter, Colin Crest as Harold Baxter, Warren Kelley as Bonkers Johnson, Ava-Riley Miles as Benedetta Bomicino, Bonale Fambrini as Scotty Fuyu and Ethan Khusidman as Reuben Steuben, along with Lance Roberts, Romelda Benjamin, Gerard Salvador, Erin Sullivan, Sharone Sayegh and Kevin Spirtas as the Narrator/Newscaster. The musical, which had first been announced to be in development for Broadway in 2010, is written by composer Ron Abel and lyricist Chuck Steffan, with a book by Lissa Levin. The industry presentations took place October 24–25, 2014, at the June Havoc Theatre.
Hazel was seen in syndicated reruns on local stations for much of the 1970s and 1980s. On cable, Hazel aired on Superstation WTBS from 1980 to 1986, followed by a brief run on WGN Superstation in 1994. Hazel also aired on TV Land from 2002-2003. As of January 2011, it airs on Antenna TV. Since 2015, Hazel has aired on World Harvest Television's FETV outside of hours that network airs shows from Cozi TV.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the first season of Hazel on DVD in Region 1 on August 1, 2006. On February 18, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series (under license from Sony) and would be releasing season 2 on DVD in 2011. They have subsequently released seasons 2-4 on DVD. The fifth and final season has been released on January 14, 2014.