It's a Great Life (TV series)

It's a Great Life (also known in syndicated reruns as The Bachelors)[1] is an American situation comedy which aired on NBC from 1954 to 1956.[2] Frances Bavier, six years before being cast as Aunt Bee[note 1] in CBS's The Andy Griffith Show, played a somewhat similar role as Mrs. Amy Morgan, the owner of a boarding house.[3][4]

It's a Great Life
Also known as''The Bachelors''
Created byDick Chevillat
Ray Singer
Written byDick Chevillat
Leonard Gershe
Directed byChristian Nyby
StarringFrances Bavier
James Dunn
William Bishop
Michael O'Shea
Barbara Bates
Theme music composerDavid Rose
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes78
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Raydic Corporation
DistributorNBC Television Films
Original networkNBC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 7, 1954 (1954-09-07) 
June 3, 1956 (1956-06-03)


Frances Bavier stars as Mrs. Amy Morgan, the owner of a boarding house.[3][4] Harry Harvey portrayed Mr. Russell, a neighbor.[5] Two of her tenants are returning World War II veterans, played by William Bishop and Michael O'Shea in the roles of Steve Connors and Denny Davis, respectively. The former servicemen portray vacuum cleaner salesmen. James Dunn played Amy's brother-in-law, Earl Morgan, something of a deadbeat often pushing "get-rich-quick" schemes to entice Steve and Denny.

Steve and Denny are single in the series and in their spare time seek the companionship of women, including Amy's beautiful daughter, Cathy "Katy" Morgan played by Barbara Bates. Bates appeared in twenty-six episodes.[6] Guest stars included Parley Baer, Madge Blake, George Chandler, Phyllis Coates, Angie Dickinson, King Donovan (six episodes as Chris Norman), Richard Deacon, Hope Emerson, Douglas Fowley, Vivi Janiss (four times), Joseph Kearns, Nancy Kulp, Joi Lansing, Barbara Nichols, Doris Packer, Maudie Prickett, Tyler McVey, William Schallert, Randy Stuart, Lyle Talbot, Dolores Fuller,[7] and Mary Treen.

Production notes

The series was filmed at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California. David Rose, also musical director for The Red Skelton Show, is particularly cited for his theme music composition on this series.[4] In its first season, It's a Great Life aired at 10:30 p.m. EST Tuesdays opposite CBS's See It Now. In the second season, the series was switched to 7 p.m. EST on Sundays preceding Frontier western anthology series on NBC. With the switch in time, it aired opposite the second season of Lassie on CBS.[8]


  1. Some sources cite Frances Bavier's The Andy Griffith Show screen name from 1960-1970 as "Beatrice (Bea) Taylor."


  1. "It's a Great Life Episodes". Retrieved March 19, 2011.
  2. Tucker, David C. (2010). Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television: Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen. McFarland & Company. pp. 80–86. ISBN 978-0-7864-4466-3. Excerpt available at Google Books.
  3. Tucker, p. 82. Excerpt available at Google Books.
  4. "Comedy Time". Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  5. Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 415
  6. "It's a Great Life". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  7. seen in 1 episode in non-speaking role as woman in mink coat
  8. Alex McNeil, Total Television, appendix with network television schedule.
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