December Bride is an American sitcom that aired on the CBS television network from 1954 to 1959, adapted from the original CBS radio network series that aired from June 1952 through September 1953.
December Bride centered around the adventures of Lily Ruskin, a spry widow played by Spring Byington, who was not, in fact, a "December" (rather old) bride but very much desired to become one if the right man would come along. Aiding Lily in her search for this prospective suitor were her daughter Ruth Henshaw (Frances Rafferty) and son-in-law Matt Henshaw (Dean Miller), and her close friend Hilda Crocker (character-actress Verna Felton). A next-door neighbor, insurance agent Pete Porter (Harry Morgan), was frequently seen. Married miserably himself, according to his constant complaints about his unseen wife Gladys, he also envied Matt's positive relationship with Lily, as he despised his own mother-in-law. The pilot episode premiered on October 4, 1954 and involved Lily Ruskin moving in with her daughter and son-in-law. December Bride was unusual in that all five stars appeared in all 111 episodes of the sitcom. Most of the scenes filmed for the series took place in the Henshaws' living room.
First-run episodes of December Bride aired for 5 seasons (1954-1959), sponsored by General Foods' Instant Maxwell House Coffee. During the first four seasons, the program was not shown in the summer, supplanted by "summer replacement" series (such as Ethel and Albert) but in its final year, repeat episodes were run in its timeslot during the summer months. On March 26, 1959, as the program wound down, Rory Calhoun, star of CBS's western series, The Texan, appeared as himself in the episode "Rory Calhoun, The Texan."
Thanks in part because it followed I Love Lucy, December Bride had high ratings its first four seasons - #10 in 1954-1955, #6 in 1955-1956, #5 in 1956-1957 and #9 in 1957-1958. When CBS moved it to Thursdays in the fall of 1958, ratings fell dramatically and the series went off in 1959.
In 1960, a new series set around many of the same characters, Pete and Gladys, debuted; this new series focused on Pete Porter and his now-seen wife, Gladys. Hilda Crocker appeared in 23 episodes of the new series, which aired until 1962.
December Bride itself was sufficiently popular that even after its production had ceased, CBS used repeat episodes to fill slots in its primetime programming. In July 1960, December Bride repeats were used to fill in for the second half of the Friday 9 pm Eastern timeslot vacated by Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, running until the beginning of the fall 1960 schedule, and again as a temporary replacement on Thursday nights in April 1961. Additionally, repeats were shown on CBS as a daytime program from October 1959 until March 1961.