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Hazel (TV series)

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Title: Hazel (TV series)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Lynn Borden, Whitney Blake, Shirley Booth
Collection: 1960S American Comedy Television Series, 1960S American Television Series, 1961 American Television Series Debuts, 1966 American Television Series Endings, American Television Sitcoms, Black-and-White Television Programs, Cbs Network Shows, English-Language Television Programming, Fictional Maids, Nbc Network Shows, Television Programs Based on Comic Strips, Television Series by Fremantlemedia, Television Series by Sony Pictures Television, Television Series Revived After Cancellation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hazel (TV series)

Shirley Booth as the main character, Hazel Burke
Genre Sitcom
Created by Based on a comic strip by Ted Key
Directed by E.W. Swackhamer
William D. Russell
Theme music composer Jimmy Van Heusen (music)
Sammy Cahn (lyrics)
Opening theme "Hazel"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 154 (list of episodes)
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 26 mins.
Production company(s) Screen Gems Television
Original channel NBC (1961–1965)
CBS (1965–1966)
Picture format Black-and-white (season 1)
Color (seasons 2–5)
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 28, 1961 (1961-09-28) – April 11, 1966 (1966-04-11)

Hazel is an American sitcom about a fictional live-in maid named Hazel Burke (Shirley Booth) and her employers, the Baxters. The five-season, 154-episode series aired in primetime from September 28, 1961, to April 11, 1966, and was produced by Screen Gems. The show aired on NBC for its first four seasons. Season 1 was broadcast in black-and-white for all but one episode and seasons 2–4 were aired in color. The fifth and final season was broadcast in color on CBS. The show was based on the popular single-panel comic strip by cartoonist Ted Key, which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.


  • Synopsis 1
    • Seasons 1–4 1.1
    • Network change and final season 1.2
  • Production notes 2
    • Theme song 2.1
    • Sponsors 2.2
  • Reception 3
  • Syndication 4
  • Episodes 5
  • DVD releases 6
  • References in pop culture 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Seasons 1–4

Hazel is a competent, take-charge, live-in maid in the home of the Baxter family. George Baxter (Cathy Lewis) and his gruff client Harvey Griffin (Howard Smith). Dotty neighbors Herbert and Harriet Johnson (Donald Foster and Norma Varden) often call upon Hazel's expertise in household matters.

Network change and final season

In the show's final season, George and Dorothy depart for the Ray Fulmer), a real estate agent, Steve's wife Barbara (Lynn Borden) and their daughter Susie (Julia Benjamin). Hazel provides housekeeping services for her revamped family. The new Baxters reflected a desire for younger demographics (CBS said that Blake was not available after NBC's cancellation, although DeFore noted that he found out about the change while reading the newspaper). Ann Jillian, who was then a teenager, was also added to the cast as Millie Ballard, Steve Baxter's receptionist; she later went on to star in her own series, It's a Living and numerous television movies.

Production notes

Don DeFore, Bobby Buntrock, Whitney Blake from the first season episode, "Hazel's Secret Wish"

The series was filmed at Columbia Ford Motor Company. Two months after the announcement, the show's producers announced that a black production executive had joined the show.[1]

Theme song

While the weekly show began with an instrumental theme song by the team of Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, the closing credits during the first eight shows of the inaugural season played the song with lyrics sung by The Modernaires. There were different arrangements of the theme song as the series progressed, including a later version by Howard Greenfield and Helen Miller.


During its first four seasons, Hazel was sponsored by Ford Motor Company, which had earlier underwritten Tennessee Ernie Ford's comedy and variety show, The Ford Show. As a result, Ford vehicles, including the Mustang when it was introduced in 1964, were often prominently featured on the series, even as a part of the storyline (an example of product placement). During season four, Bristol-Myers co-sponsored Hazel. In its final season, Procter & Gamble and Philip Morris were the sponsors.


The show's first season placed fourth in the 1961-1962 Nielsen's ratings. Shirley Booth received two Emmy Awards (1962 and 1963) for Hazel, and garnered a nomination for her third season (1964). Booth also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Star (1964) and two nominations for the TV Land Award, Favorite Made-for-TV Maid (2004 and 2006).

ABC loosely copied the Hazel theme in the 1962-1963 series Our Man Higgins as an English butler to a suburban American family. Stanley Holloway played the lead role, along with Audrey Totter and Frank Maxwell.[2]

At the end of the 1963-1964 season, the ratings had slipped from #15 the previous year to #22. By the time NBC canceled the series in the spring of 1965, Hazel had fallen out of the top 30 programs. CBS picked it up for the 1965-1966 season, and made a number of cast changes. Buntrock remained in the cast as Harold Baxter; DeFore and Blake were dropped and replaced with Fulmer and Borden, respectively. Child actress Benjamin was added to the cast as Susie Baxter. In the spring of 1966, Hazel ended its primetime network run.

In 2014, according to Erin Sullivan, Sharone Sayegh and Kevin Spirtas as the Narrator/Newscaster. The musical, which had first been announced to be in development for Broadway in 2010, is written by composer Ron Abel and lyricist Chuck Steffan, with a book by Lissa Levin. The industry presentations took place October 24-25, 2014, at the June Havoc Theatre.


Hazel was seen in syndicated reruns on local stations for much of the 1970s and 1980s. On cable, Hazel aired on Superstation WTBS from 1980 to 1986, followed by a brief run on WGN Superstation in 1994. Hazel also aired on TV Land from 2002-2003. As of January 2011, it airs on Antenna TV.


DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the first season of Hazel on DVD in Region 1 on August 1, 2006. On February 18, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series (under license from Sony) and would be releasing season 2 on DVD in 2011.[3] They have subsequently released seasons 2-4 on DVD.[4][5][6] The fifth and final season has been released on January 14, 2014.[7]

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
The Complete 1st Season 35 August 1, 2006
The Complete 2nd Season 32 February 21, 2012
The Complete 3rd Season 32 May 15, 2012
The Complete 4th Season 26 December 11, 2012
The Complete 5th Season 29 January 14, 2014

References in pop culture

  • In episode 313 of Hazel?"
  • In episode 25 of That 70s Show, "The Good Son," Eric calls Hyde "Hazel" because he is doing dishes and cleaning up after himself.
  • The Hanna-Barbera series Hazel and was influenced by Hazel's references to her boss as "Mr. B."
  • In episode 19 of Season 6 of Barney Miller, "Dietrich's Arrest, Part 2," Inspector Luger refers to the 12th Precinct night cleaning woman as "Hazel."
  • In episode 19 of The Sopranos, "The Happy Wanderer," Silvio Dante is getting increasingly agitated during a losing night of poker. He finally explodes after an underling sweeps up crumbs near him, yelling at Tony Soprano: "This moron's playing Hazel?"
  • In episode 6 of Season 6 of Mad Men, "For Immediate Release," that aired on May 5, 2013, Ted tells Peggy he is "trying to watch Hazel" in his office.
  • In episode 2 of Mr. Belvedere, when butler Belvedere is told by a young girl not to spill a drink on her dress and he replies that he wouldn't think of "spoiling such a lovely party dress," she replies "Don't patronize me, Hazel."
  • In Season 3, Episode 10 of "The Nanny" ("Having His Baby"), while Maxwell Sheffield was reviewing his company's financial reports, he says: "Profits are down, ticket sales are down." Niles the butler answers "But some figures are increasing," taunting C.C. Babcock. The latter retorts by replying "Listen, Hazel.." which she follow with a derisive laugh.


  1. ^ (September 28, 1963) "Negro Hired to Head Off Ford Boycott" Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ TV website:
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

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