Guestward Ho!

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




Guestward, Ho! is a situation comedy which aired on the ABC network in the 1960-1961 television season, based on the 1956 book of the same title by Patrick Dennis, author of Auntie Mame.

Guestward Ho started out as a CBS-TV pilot which was filmed by Desilu in 1958 as a starring vehicle for Vivian Vance, who had been best known as Ethel Mertz on the comedy series I Love Lucy.

Vance played Babs Hooten and veteran film actor Leif Erickson was cast as her husband, Bill Hooten. On viewing the pilot, network executives felt that Vance had become so typecast in the Ethel Mertz role that she was unconvincing playing a leading character in a situation comedy. One executive was heard to say after screening the episode, "I kept waiting for Lucy to come in." As a result, CBS rejected the pilot and Vance continued to play her supporting role on The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show until the series ended in 1960.

Ironically, that very same year, Guestward Ho! was taken off the shelf and given two new leads, with movie actress Joanne Dru as Babs Hooten and television actor Mark Miller playing Bill Hooten. This time, the show sold to ABC, where it premiered in September 1960.

The premise is a New York City family, the Hootens, tired of the urban lifestyle, relocate to operate a dude ranch in New Mexico. They bought the place unseen, and found it to need considerably more work than they had been led to believe. The Hootens did, however, befriend the American Indian "Hawkeye" whose "trading post" was the only source of supplies in the vicinity. Hawkeye, played by J. Carrol Naish, was a rather cynical Indian, who sold Indian-looking trinkets which had been mass-produced in Asia, and frequently read The Wall Street Journal, seemingly in search of a way to buy the country and return it to its "rightful owners".

The program ran for one season.

Written by Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf

Directed by Claudio Guzmán


Original run: September 19, 1960 to September 21, 1961


Who talked about this show

Earle Hagen

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Composer Earle Hagen on using library music for Guestward Ho!

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