Compared to today's awful television (CSI, REBA, WILL& GRACE, SEX & THE CITY, etc) this new release of "The Doris Day Show" (1968-1973) is a step back to a time when television WAS INDEED family friendly. I remember watching this show as a child when it first premiered and I fell in love with it. The show has lost nothing of its magic. This is a DVD set well worth owning to introduce today's immoral generation to a clean, wholesome, decent program about a "functional" family for a change with episodes that vary from slapstick funny to heartwarming and sentimental to sometimes sad and moving. Doris wanted a good, clean family show and she got it. There are 28 episodes in the first season set on a farm in the rural town of Cotina near San Francisco. Doris plays Doris Martin a widow with two sons Billy (Phillip Brown) and Toby (the late Todd Starke killed at the age of 21 in a motorcycle accident. Doris was reportedly shocked and saddened when she heard about his death). Denver Pyle is her father Buck played in his irascible style, James Hampton plays Leroy B. Simpson, a bungling handy man with a heart of gold and for the first ten episodes their housekeeper is played by Fran Ryan (Aggie). The next 18 episodes feature Naomi Stevens as Juanita, the housekeeper. Why they changed housekeepers is a mystery as Aggie's departure was never explained with Juanita replacing her. (One of the great television mysteries). Truthfully Fran Ryan's portrayal as Aggie was a bit cynical and ascerbic while Naomi Steven's portrayal as Juanita was warm and loving. Here is a list of the episodes with their plot lines and how I rate them on a scale of one to five.
1. Dinner For Mom -- Toby and Billy take Doris out to dinner for her birthday, insisting they pay the bill with money they have earned. ****1/2 stars. A truly heartwarming story with Doris interacting beautifully with her onscreen children.
2. The Uniform -- When Billy comes home with a baseball uniform, Toby becomes jealous of all the attention his big brother receives so he tries out for the school choir which leads to complications. ***** A truly outstanding episode with a great message!!
3. The Friend -- In return for a donation of milk for the school kinds, Doris agrees to pose with her family for an advertising picture. **** This episode is fine dealing with interracial friendship and prejudice. Truly ahead of its time.
4. The Matchmakers -- Billy and Toby play cupid for their widowed mother, choosing the local deputy sheriff to be their future stepfather. **1/2. Not the best episode. The payoff is disappointing.
5. The Songwriter -- After receiving a glowing acceptance of one of his songs, Leroy fancies himself becoming a successful music composer. ***** My favorite episode of the season. Hilarious and heartwarming at the same time. Watch this one!!!!
6. The Antique -- When two old ladies con Billy and Toby out of a valuable antique from the attic, Doris has to plot to get it back. ***** Another outstanding and funny episode with the great Estelle Winwood playing one of the old ladies. Hilarious!!
7. Leroy B. Simpson -- A flashback recalls how Leroy became hired with the help of Billy and Toby. ***1/2. Slapstick antics with Bungling LeRoy and Buck going at it.
8. The Black Eye -- Ater Billy comes home from school with a black eye and admits he didn't fight back, Buck fears he is a coward. **** A great lesson to be learned here but I didn't find the payoff believable.
9. The Librarian -- Leroy has a crush on a librarian so he tries to make her believe he is an expert on 19th century poetry. ***** Another outstanding entry that leaves you teary eyed at the end.
10. The Camping Trip -- When Buck invites Billy and Toby on a camping trip, the boys become enthralled with Buck's friend, Indian Joe. *** It has its moments but not the best entry.
11. The Job -- (Naomi Stevens first appearance as Juanita). Doris returns to New York to help her former employer for a week but the woman wants her back permanently. **** A great episode dealing with family communication.
12. Buck's Girl -- Buck and the local veterinarian vie for the affections of the town's new manicurist. **1/2 A tepid episode.
13. Love a Duck -- Tyrone Lovey (Strother Martin) is suspected of shooting ducks on the Martin's property, prompting Doris to take action. *** The payoff here is disappointing but this episode shows Doris's affinity for animals.
14. Let Them Out of the Nest -- Once Billy and Toby get themselves an egg delivery route, Doris cannot restrain herself from helping them too much. ***** An outstanding episode with a great lesson dealing with responsibility. A hilarious, excellent entry!!! Not one wasted frame in the entire episode!!
15. The Clock -- Tyrone Lovey convices Leroy to buy Doris an antique clock, a gift that backfired when Doris is unable to sleep. ****1/2 Another great slapstick performance from Doris!
16. The Buddy -- With Doris away, Buck and the boys find themselves at the mercy of an old female Marine who takes charge. ****1/2 guest stars in this episode and she is wonderful!! A solid entry.
17. The Fly Boy -- An airforce colonel becomes smitten with Doris and bets his flying buddies that he will romance her on the first date. ***1/2 An o.k. episode reminiscent of Doris's films "Pillow Talk" and "Send Me No Flowers".
18. The Tournament -- After Leroy accidently injures Buck's horsehoe partner, Leroy is recruited once his special ability is discovered. **** A good, solid entry and a lesson in self-confidence.
19. Love Thy Neighbor -- Doris reviews the farm's financial accounts, discovers an outstanding debt from a neighbor and sets out to collect it. ** A weak episode that could have benefited from better writing. The premise starts off good but the payoff is extremely disappointing.
20. The Con Man -- When Doris is put in charge of raising funds for a new convention center, she is taken in by a handsome architect. **1/2 Another weak entry. Joe Campanella plays the Con Man and though he is redeemed he doesn't seem to ever pay for his past sins.
21. The Musical -- Buck volunteers Doris to direct the grammar school musical. *** A so-so entry with Doris tackling the issue of the generation gap. Could have been better.
22. The Baby Sitter -- Doris finds herself in the middle of chaos while taking care of the children of a neighbor about to have a baby. ***** Another superior effort with Doris at her slapstick best. This episode is a laugh-riot!!
23. The Still -- Doris tries to help two elderly ladies get rid of their moonshine still and liquor before federal agents discover them. ***** Another hilarious offering. My sides ached from laughing so much!!
24. The Gift -- Doris and the family decide to give Leroy a surprise on his first anniversary, but he thinks he's being fired. ***** Another heartwarming episode!!
25. The Tiger -- While Doris is shopping, an escaped circus tiger slips into the back of her van. ****1/2 Another great episode showing Doris's love for animals.
26. The Date -- Doris sets up Juanita on a blind date. ****
A fine entry showcasing Naomi Stevens.
27. The Five Dollar Bill -- Billy returns a wallet he has found to a neighborhod woman who later accuses him of stealing five dollars from it. ***** Another superior effort with a great message!! Outstanding!!
28. The Relatives -- When Buck, Leroy and the boys go camping, Leroy's cousins arrive and try to help Doris to work on the house. **** Another slapstick filled offering. Harmless bucolic stuff.
Extras: A message from Doris Day about her Animal League. Two television promos. Interviews with James Hampton and grown up Phillip Brown, A Doris Day Movie Trailer Gallery and subtitles.