The Doris Day Show is a 128-episode American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 1968 until September 1973. In addition to showcasing Doris Day, the show is remembered for its many abrupt format changes over the course of its five-year run. It is also remembered for Day's claim, in her autobiography Doris Day: Her Own Story (1975), that her husband Martin Melcher had signed her to do the TV series without her knowledge, a fact she only discovered when Melcher died of heart disease on April 20, 1968. The TV show premiered on September 28, 1968.
The opening sequence features Day singing the Livingston & Evans classic, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)." The song is an obvious reference to her appearance in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock suspense film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, a remake of an earlier Hitchcock movie, also starring James Stewart. Day sings the song in this film.
Day had been a popular film actress in the 1950s and early 1960s. In this gentle sitcom, she was cast as Doris Martin, a widow and mother of two young sons who, when the series premiered, had just moved back to a rural ranch outside of San Francisco after having lived in big cities for most of her adult life.
Other characters during this initial phase of the program included Doris's father Buck (played by Denver Pyle) and their hired hand on the ranch, Leroy (played by James Hampton).
In the 1969-70 TV season, the Doris Martin character began to commute from the ranch to San Francisco, where she worked as a secretary for a magazine. New workplace characters were added. McLean Stevenson (who would later leave the series to star in M*A*S*H) played her boss, and her friend and coworker, Myrna Gibbons, was played by Rose Marie in a role similar to her more famous Sally Rogers role on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Also in the cast, Paul Smith, who portrayed Ron Harvey. Pyle and Hampton were still seen during this season.
At the start of the 1970-71 season, Doris and her sons moved from the ranch to San Francisco, where they lived above an Italian restaurant. Doris began writing articles for the magazine at which she worked, Today's World. Most of the characters from the previous season remained, with the exceptions of Pyle and Hampton's characters.
The fourth season, 1971-72, saw the most radical change in the series. Perhaps inspired by the success of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Day's character suddenly became a swinging single career woman. The entire cast, other than Day herself, was gone; even Doris Martin's two sons were no longer in the cast, and ,many people believe that there was no mention again. But it was said that her boys moved back to Buck's farm to help him out. Doris Martin now had a new editor, Cy Bennett (played by character actor John Dehner) , and she was no longer a secretary, but rather a full-time staff writer. Actress Jackie Joseph joined the cast as well, as Doris' friend, Jackie Parker. (The character was now depicted as though she has always been a reporter, and no reference was ever made to her ever having been a secretary.) The series continued with this format until it was canceled in 1973.
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