The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet
began life as a radio program in 1944, before the end of the second world war. A theatrical film, Here Come the Nelsons
(which included Rock Hudson!), was shot in 1951 and shown in 1952, serving as a lead-in to the legendary television series that ran for 14 seasons, from 1952 to 1966. 435 episodes were produced overall, each starring parents Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, and their real-life kids David and Ricky Nelson. The show launched the rock-and-roll music career of Rick Nelson, of course! Throughout the history of the DVD format, plenty of cheap public domain releases have been floating around, and a few years back Shout! Factory had put out a handful of officially authorized releases...but that represents only a fraction of the episodes from the show's longtime run!
Now DVDs of every episode COULD be in the works, if everything goes right. Honestly, we've been uncertain if we should post news about this, or wait until its certain that the 2-week-old project eventually produces the intended results. But we've decided that more publicity can only help things along, so we're letting our readers know that Sam Nelson, the grandson of the show's stars, has "kickstarted" a project to restore and digitize every episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
, with the ultimate intention to release the complete series on DVD.
Sam, the youngest son of Rick, has launched a project at Kickstarter.com
to drum up the funds necessary to make this happen. Fans who donate a minimum of $10 will have their name "included in the liner notes of the completed DVD package
," which is has an "Estimated Delivery" of December 2013
." Sam explains more about this project at the Kickstarter website; here's a lengthy quote:
About six months ago, after the passing of my uncle David Nelson, I was granted access to the family archives which haven't been opened for 45 years. Since then, I have accumulated 100's of hours of film from the vaults and from individuals including actors, musicians, producers, and others closely involved with the show. These interviews and footage give an important never before seen historic snapshot of the iconography of Ozzie and Harriet, and its cultural impact on American society as it defined an era.
In addition to this material, the next step, and the goal of my Kickstarter project, is to restore the actual footage, as well as document modern day input and perspectives from the fans themselves, old and new alike who participate in that process. To do this, I am asking for help in funding the actual transferring and digitizing of original film for all 435 episodes. The result would be two fold. In addition to giving people a first hand opportunity to participate in preserving a piece of American history, my hope is to make contact with those contributors (or relatives of those contributors), to get present day perspectives on how my family has impacted theirs/(yours), and to learn how the The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet became an American classic.
Ultimately, the accumulated footage together will be produced into a documentary that will encompass the journey of restoring and revitalizing the show from the musty vaults, all the way back to broadcast and a mainstream audience. Aside from the show's historical and cultural significance, and the exciting possibility that the success of this Kickstarter project could help bringOzzie and Harriet back to life for a whole new era, my hope is that it also helps me achieve a better understanding of my family's effect on the country, get closer to the people they touched, and help me learn a little bit more about myself in the process.
Can Sam pull this off? Stay tuned and we'll find out together! We'll be cheering him on, of course, and you can too. But the nice part of this project is that fans don't have to just cheer from the sidelines; you can be a part of it and contribute anything you're able to. The project page at Kickstarter.com (which we linked to above) has a 6-and-a-half minute video with Sam Nelson's personal appeal, a look at the masters being wheeled out of storage and a peek at how deteriorated they are starting to become (hence the need to restore and digitize these episodes as soon as possible!), and a description of how you can help with the funding. You can donate any amount, you can sponsor a favorite episode, or can can sponsor an entire season if you can afford it!
The ultimate amount needed is a one-time total of $56,550 for the situation, but Sam began this project 2 weeks ago with an immediate $10,000 goal to get started. We're pleased to say that he's already got pledges of $11,136 as of this writing, surpassing the initial goal...but Sam will still need the read of the overall $56,550, of course. The more you donate, the greater the rewards will be...up to and including your being interviewed for inclusion on the DVD bonus materials! Head over there and check it out. Our thanks to the MANY readers of ours who emailed us and made sure we were aware of this project. We hope it's successful, and results in the "complete series" DVD releases that fans surely want.