The Donna Reed Show premiered on September 24, 1958, on ABC.
The show revolves around housewife, Donna Stone, and her family--husband Alex who is a pediatrician, 14 year-old Mary, and 11 year-old Jeff. The Stone family reside in the midwestern town of Hilldale. Donna was the perfect American housewife and mother. She was always neatly-groomed, lovely, good-natured, thoughtful, and capable. Alex was handsome, well-respected in his profession, usually thoughtful and sometimes ill-tempered. Mary was a typical teenage girl of the time, pretty, popular, and prone to bouts of insecurity now and then. Jeff was the average boy, rambunctious, bright, preferred sports to studies, and a total burden to his sister.
The episodes involved the usual family problems and adventures, with Donna usually saving the day in her quiet, capable way. In addition, Alex's career as a pediatrician figured prominently in many episodes, and the president of the AMA had a cameo in one episode, "Quads of Trouble" in season 7 .
The show won many awards from various civic, educational, and medical groups due to it's wholesome nature and it's handling of topics like adoption, prescription drug abuse, home safety.
In 1963, Shelley Fabares, who played Mary, left the show to pursue a movie career and thus Mary went away to college having up to that point been a student at the local college. To fill the void, Paul Petersen's real-life little sister, Patty Petersen, joined the cast as Trisha, a little girl adopted by the Stones.
Also in 1963, Ann McCrea and Bob Crane joined the cast as the Stones next-door neighbors, Midge and Dave Kelsey. Bob Crane remained with the show till 1965 and Ann till 1966.
Both Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen had short but successful recording careers during the run of the show. In January, 1962, Paul sang "She Can't Find Her Keys" in the episode, "For Angie With Love", and "My Dad" in the episode, "My Dad" from October, 1962. February, 1962, Shelley sang "Johnny Angel" in the episode, "Donna's Prima Donna", and "Big Star" in the episode, "Big Star" from November, 1962.
The Donna Reed Show was on the air for 8 seasons on ABC. From September, 1958-September, 1959, it aired on Wednesdays at 9pm. Then from October, 1959-January, 1966, it aired on Thursdays at 8pm. And finally, from January, 1966-Spetember, 1966, it aired on Saturdays at 8pm.
Donna Reed's husband, Tony Owen, was executive producer of the show, and the...