Pete and Gladys is an American situation comedy broadcast by CBS on Monday night at 8:00pm Eastern and Pacific time for two seasons, beginning on September 19, 1960. The last episode aired on September 10, 1962.
In the popular 1950s Spring Byington sitcom December Bride, Pete Porter (Harry Morgan) was the next-door neighbor who spent most of the time complaining about his scatterbrained wife Gladys, who never was seen. In this spin-off series, she was seen, and heard, in the form of redheaded comedian Cara Williams. Not only was the show occupying the time slot that once belonged to another wacky redhead, Lucille Ball, but its premise was a variation on that of I Love Lucy, focusing on a level-headed, wise-cracking, and often sarcastic husband (combining elements of both Ricky Ricardo and Fred Mertz) and his sincere, ingenuous, and frequently in-hot-water wife. (By coincidence or not, this show was produced in the 2-year period after the end of production of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and before the premiere of The Lucy Show.)
Aside from leading man Pete, the character of Hilda Crocker, played by character actress Verna Felton, was the sole carryover from the Bride series. The older woman was a close equivalent of Ethel Mertz. Barbara Stuart appeared nine times in the first season as Alice, a friend of Gladys's. Gale Gordon portrayed Gladys' Uncle Paul, seen on occasion in the first season and as a semi-regular in the second. Gordon was a Lucille Ball crony and sometime guest star, who went on to become a regular in her subsequent series, The Lucy Show. Even series director James V. Kern was a Lucy veteran, as were the series' head writers, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf (in fact, when they returned to Lucille Ball to write The Lucy Show after Pete and Gladys was cancelled, she angrily told them, "You gave my best material to that other redhead!"). Bill Hinnant frequently appeared during the second season as Gladys' nephew Bruce Carter, who stayed with his aunt while attending a nearby college. If the producers thought that the similarities and/or connections to the highly successful Ball sitcom would draw viewers to its old Monday night berth, they were mistaken. Pete and Gladys never made it into the Nielsen ratings Top 25 during the course of its run. However, it was used in weekday morning reruns for several years after it ceased production.
Williams was nominated for a 1962 Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by a Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, but lost to veteran Shirley Booth in Hazel.
Pete and Gladys was followed on the CBS schedule its first year by the Frank Aletter sitcom Bringing Up Buddy. While Pete and Gladys survived for a second season, Bringing Up Buddy was not renewed beyond its original thirty-nine episodes.
Created by Parke Levy
James V. Kern
Theme music composer Parke Levy
Composer(s) Wilbur Hatch
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 72
Executive producer(s) Parke Levy
Producer(s) Devery Freeman
Running time 30 mins.
Production company(s) El Camino Productions, in association with the CBS Television Network
Original channel CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Original run September 19, 1960 – September 10, 1962