The John Forsythe Show

The John Forsythe Show began as a situation comedy in the fall of 1965 on NBC, but at mid-season it switched to a spy show. In the first phase of the series, John Forsythe appeared as United States Air Force veteran John Foster, who inherited the private Foster School for Girls in San Francisco, California, from his late aunt, Victoria. Forsythe's co-stars were Elsa Lanchester as the principal, Miss Culver; Ann B. Davis, as the physical education teacher, Miss Wilson; and Guy Marks as Ed Robbins, Forsythe's aide and a former sergeant. Actors who portrayed students included Pamelyn Ferdin as Pamela, Darlene Carr as Kathy, Page and Brooke Forsythe (Forsythe's actual daughters) as Marcia and Norma Jean, Peggy Lipton, as Joanna, Tracy Stratford as Susan, and Sara Ballantine as Janice.[1]

The John Forsythe Show
Directed byEarl Bellamy
StarringJohn Forsythe
Guy Marks
Elsa Lanchester
Ann B. Davis
Peggy Lipton
Pamelyn Ferdin
Composer(s)Lyn Murray
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes29
Producer(s)Peter Kortner
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Universal/Forsythe
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Picture formatColor
Original releaseSeptember 13, 1965 

August 29, 1966

NBC advertising in February, 1965, gave a working title of The Mr. and The Misses.

When the format changed to espionage (in the February 21, 1966 episode "Funny, You Don't Look Like a Spy"), it was explained to viewers that Major Foster had been recalled to active duty as a secret agent. All the other regulars except Forsythe and Marks were dropped from the cast.

Peter Kortner was the producer of the series, which aired twenty-nine episodes (and eighteen selected repeats) from September 13, 1965, to August 29, 1966.[1] The series was produced by Forsythe's own company in conjunction with Universal Television Studios. Earl Bellamy was the director.

Selected episodes include "'Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost" with Kim Darby, "Duty and the Beast" with Harvey Korman and Sandra Smith, "Engagement, Italian Style" with stuntman Dick Shane, "Little Miss Egghead" with Angela Cartwright, "That Little Old Matchmaker" (also with Sandra Smith), "The Bainbridge Curse", and the series finale, "Get Me to the Execution on Time".

The John Forsythe Show aired on Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern following the Hullabaloo music program and preceding Dr. Kildare starring Richard Chamberlain. Its competition was Garry Moore's quiz program, I've Got a Secret on CBS, and the second half of the military drama Twelve O'Clock High starring Robert Lansing, Paul Burke, and Robert K. Dornan.[2] The series' primary sponsor was Colgate-Palmolive.


  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 436
  2. 1965-1966 American network television schedule, in appendix of Total Television
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