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Donald O'Connor did quite a bit of television, more than is reflected here. If you have information on, or copies of, any of Donald's work on Television, please drop us a line.

T n' T

To see which of Donald's Movies will be on TV this month
Donald's Current TV Schedule


The Web Page Links to televsion shows below are those that we found most helpful in supplying detailed information and/or pictures. Of general assistance were the Internet Movie Database and TV Land


These are arranged chronogically from newest to oldest, in four categories:
Episodic Specials Documentaries TV Movies



Episodic Televsion

Appearances, guest or starring, on Comedy, Drama, Variety and Anthology Series.

Senior Lifestyles Show
Host - 1997
A weekly Magazine Show with co-host Jane Withers. It was locally produced and aired in Phoexnix Arizona. We don't know how many were made or what the content was.

The Nanny
Frieda Needa Man - 10/16/96 Season 4 Episode 5 (CBS)
Donald plays "Fred" the boyfriend of Fran's Aunt Frieda. In order to get the suddenly poor Frieda out of the house, Fran plays matchmaker and tries to get Fred to marry Frieda. This requires Fran to teach Fred how to dance.

For information on The Nanny Laura's The Nanny Zone. Postively the best fan or official site we ran across while researching this page.

Fraiser
Crane Vs. Crane - 4/9/96 Season 3 Episode 19 (NBC)
Niles is scheduled to appear on Court TV as a psychiatric consultant for the family of an elderly man whom they wish to declare incompetent. Fraiser takes the opposing view when he is charmed by the old man, "Harlow Stafford" played by Donald.
For more information on Fraiser visit the Official Site

The Building
Bonnie's Father - 10/10/1993
This was a short lived series about an actress who lives in a building with other wacky tenants. Donald guest starred as her father, which is what leads us to guess the title.

Tales from The Crypt
Strung Along - 9/2/92 Season 4 Episode 12
In this HBO Horror anthology episode Donald's character, Joseph Renfield, is a retired puppeteer, who is rich, jealous of his young wife, has a heart condition and thinks his puppet can talk. To help him prepare for a television appearance he hires a young man. This being a Tale from the Crypt, things, of course, end badly.
For more information on Tales From the Crypt Visit the Official Site

Murder She Wrote
The Big Show of 1965 - 2/25/90 Season Six, Episode 16 (CBS)
Donald is a rare, almost murder victim in this Angela Lansbury series. He plays "Barry Barnes", the star of a revival show, which during it's first run ended in murder.
For more information on Murder She Wrote

Highway to Heaven
Playing for Keeps - 11/4/87 Season 4 (NBC)
Jonathan the Angel (Michael Landon) assists an ex-vaudevillian, played by Donald O'Connor to reconcile with his famous son, played by Eric Douglas.

Love Boat
Second Banana / The Prodigy / What Goes Around Comes Around - 3/8/86 (ABC)
Donald's story in this episode is Second Banana, he plays a guy who must give away a chimp because his wife is sick of it. For more on The Love Boat

Love Boat
Paying the Piper / Baby Sister / Help Wanted - 12/1/84 (ABC)
Donald's story in this one is Paying the Piper. That Love Boat page again.

Hotel
The Offer 12/7/83 (ABC)
We must admit we never watched this series, and were surprised to find out it was on for five years. So we don't know what role Donald played.

Simon and Simon
Grand Illusion 9/29/83 Season 3 Episode 1(CBS)
Donald plays George DeCova a.k.a. Barnaby the Great who hires the Simons to find out how a rival magician stole his new trick. For more information on Simon and Simon

The Littlest Hobo
The Clown - 1/28/82 Season 3 Episode 14
This Canadian produced series centered around an itinerant German Shepherd helping out the people he meets in his travels. In this episode that's Donald O'Connor's character, "Freddie", an unemployed clown. In the accompanying picture London, (the dog) races back to Freddie with a mouthful of balloons.
For information on The Littlest Hobo

Fantasy Island
Save Sherlock Holmes/The Case Against Mr. Roarke 2/6/82 (ABC)
Donald appears in the first story, Save Sherlock Holmes. A store security guard's Fantasy is to assist a great private detective. Mr. Roarke obliges by sending him back in time and fiction to rescue Sherlock Holmes (Peter Lawford). Donald gives an interesting comic interpretation of Watson.

Alice
Guinness On Tap 1981 Season Six 10/11/81 (CBS)
He plays himself in this episode. Vera (Beth Howland) tries to break a tap dancing endurance record. Her idol, Donald O'Connor, shows up to help her do it.
Information on Alice

Love Boat
Isaac's Secret / Seal Of Approval / The Curse of the Dumbrowskis 1/10/81 (ABC)
As you can see Love Boat episodes have three titles. Donald's was the middle one Seal of Approval. As we recall Donald's character had difficulty getting his performing seal, Shirley, to accept his inevitable Love Boat romance. (Donald's romance not the seal's.) Georgia Engel co-starred.
For information on The Love Boat

The Music Mart
Pilot 2/8/80 (NBC)
This is a pilot for a show that was not picked up by NBC. Sit-com based on ex-song and dance team Wally and Carol Coogan (Donald O'Connor and Gloria DeHaven) who run a music store. Also with Sid Miller and Lucille Ball. Louis DaPron, choreographer. Apparently a companion piece to "Lucy Moves to NBC".

Hunter
3/18/77 (CBS)
No this isn't the 1980s cop show with Fred Dryer, this is an earlier spy show, with James Franciscus and Linda Evans. We don't even have a title for this episode.

The Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour
11/9/76 (CBS)
Donald was the special guest star, along with Soupy Sales. For more on
Tony Orlando and Dawn

Police Story
Payment Deferred - 9/21/76 Season 4 Episode 1(NBC)
Donald appears as a reformed junkie who assumes his former guise to aid in the investigation of a cop killing. We do recall it was a very good drama and well worth tracking down.






The Bionic Woman
A Thing of the Past - 2/18/76 Season 1 Episode 4 (ABC)
Jaime Somers, as you may recall, was a school teacher, when she wasn't off doing Bionic things. Donald plays the school bus driver "Harry Anderson", who it turns out has been hiding out from criminals in peaceful little Ojai.
For information on The Bionic Woman

Ellery Queen
The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader - 10/2/75 (NBC)
Ellery Queen finds himself unwillingly turned into a comic strip by a nasty editor, who, of course, turns up dead. Donald is Kenny Freeman, a comic book letterer with a penchant for drawing cute furry animals. Well, we wouldn't want to give away the rest in case you haven't seen every episode of this short, but delightful, series.
For more information on Ellery Queen

The Girl With Something Extra
Irreconcilable Sameness 2/15/74 Season 1 Episode 19(NBC)
This series starred John Davidson and Sally Field. Sally was the girl with something extra. In this case ESP. John and Sally try to keep her parents from separating. Guest stars Donald O'Connor and Audra Lindley, presumably as Sally's parents. Go to the TV Party for more information on this show.

The Bobby Darin Show
3/2/73 (NBC)
Donald sings a duet of "Two of A Kind" with Bobby Darin. For more information on Bobby Darin

The Julie Andrews Hour
1973, 1972 (ABC)
Donald guested on Julie Andrews' show twice. We're still trying to discover any details.

Dean Martin Presents The Bobby Darin Amusement Company
8/17/72 (NBC)
Donald did a guest spot on this summer replacement show. He sang a duet of "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" with Bobby Darin. For more information on Bobby Darin

The Andy Williams Show
10/3/70 (NBC)
Donald made an appearance on this somewhat more modernized Andy Williams variety show.

The Carol Burnett Show
12/29/69 & 10/26/70 (CBS)
Donald was a guest on Carol's show twice. The first was in the third season, and featured a salute to MGM, and the second was in the fourth season, and included a "Hooray for Hollywood Canteen" sketch.
For more information on The Carol Burnett Show

The Jackie Gleason Show
The Honeymooners 11/15/69
One of the "Miami Episodes" of the Jackie Gleason show. Donald plays a greedy maitre 'd, Charlie, who sells Ralph on "diet sauce" to help him slim down on a visit to Hawaii. For more on The Honeymooners

The Donald O'Connor Show
1968
A Syndicated Variety Talk Show hosted by Donald, along the lines, we think, of The Mike Douglas Show or Merv Griffin.

ABC Stage 67
Olympus 7-0000 10/12/66 (ABC)
A Musical. Also starring, Phyllis Newman, Eddie Foy Jr. and Larry Blyden. Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler. Donald plays "Hermes", the go between for Greek Gods and a losing football team. For more on this see Larry Blyden's page and our Music Page.



[Soupy Sales and Donald in The Hoofer] The Hoofer
Pilot 8/15/66 (CBS)
Sit-com about an unsuccessful 1920s vaudeville team, Donald O'Connor and Soupy Sales as Donald Dugan and Freddy Brady. Pilot revolves around Freddy gambling away train fare to a gig and they spend the rest of the show trying to find alternative transportation.



The Bob Hope Chrysler Theatre
Brilliant Benjamin Boggs 3/30/66 (NBC)
Still looking for details. May also star Broderick Crawford. We've found no evidence that this is a 1964 feature film, as reported elsewhere, though it may have been made that year as an unaired special.

Hollywood Palace
1964 - 1965 (ABC)
Donald was the host on this variety show performed in front of a live audience, at least three times. On the first of them he does the opening number, Clap your Hands, Me and my Shadow with Louis Da Pron, and a hilarious comedy sketch where he does musical parodies of Marshall Dillon, Harry Belafonte, Ben Casey and Fred Astaire (some nerve, eh?).
In the second appearance (4/11/64) guests were Jerry Van Dyke, Jimmy Durante and Rich Little. Donald's numbers included, Let's Face the Music, Tea For Two, Though Swell, and Sing you Sinners.
In the third appearance he sings and dances Everybody Loves to Take a Bow, The Dances They Used To Do with Dorothy Provine and That Minstrel Feeling. These delightful hour long shows also included, juggling, singers, dog acts and bad puns. Two available from Movies Unlimited

Bob Hope Special, Chrysler Presents
11/10/64
One of Donald's appearances on Bob Hope's Variety show.

Petticoat Junction
The Ladybugs 3/24/64 (CBS)
Director: Donald O'Connor. Not an acting credit. In this episode of the rural sit-com Uncle Joe convinces the girls to form a musical group, to take advantage of the "Beatle craze" sweeping the country. TV Land has plans to air the black and white episodes from the first two seasons next year. For more on Petticoat Junction and for Ladybugs in particular, this page there.

The Judy Garland Show
9/29/63 (CBS)
Donald guest starred in this first aired episode of Judy's short-lived comedy variety show. He started out with a song and dance of Sing You Sinners. He and Judy did a medley of "Songs We're famous for", which were actually songs other people were famous for. Next was a number with Judy and her other guest, Jerry Van Dyke, doing The World is a Toy Balloon. And finally Donald and Judy did a medly of Vaudeville tunes and a softshoe.
For more about Judy Garland

The Tonight Show
Guest Host 1962 (NBC)
We don't know exactly how many Tonight Shows Donald hosted that year. It was just before Johnny Carson was hired and they were trying out a lot of different hosts. We did run across the tidbit that one of his guests was drummer Gene Krupa, with whom he had an "amusing drum talk exchange".

Dinah Shore Chevy Show
12/19/59 (NBC)
Donald appeared during the third season of Dinah's hour-long variety show. Which had become a weekly series in 1957. This episode also guest starred Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Dizzy Dean and Evelyn Rudie. Donald did a comic flamenco number.

Dupont Show of the Month
The Red Mill - 4/19/58 (CBS)
Also featuring, Elaine May, Mike Nichols, Shirley Jones, Elaine Stritch, Evelyn Rudie and Harpo Marx. A Musical Comedy about a Dutch town, and a troupe of actors passing through and the legend of the "Red Mill". It does still exist, but is not available commercially.

Playhouse 90
The Jet Propelled Couch - 11/14/57 (CBS)
Sorry, we haven't the foggiest idea what this one's about, or what part Donald plays in this episode of the dramatic anthology series. But we should mention that it co-stars Peter Lorre.

The Donald O'Connor Texaco Show
Host - 10/9/54 to 9/10/55 (also called Here's Donald) (NBC)
This show was shown twice a month, alternating with The Jimmy Durante Show It had a loose sit-com plot of Donald and co-star Sid Miller as Songwriters. In 1955 Donald received an Emmmy nomination for best Specialty Act.

The Colgate Comedy Hour
(AKA The Colgate Variety Hour and The NBC Comedy Hour) (NBC)
Occasional Host - 1950 to 1955
This was an hour long weekly musical variety show, hosted by a roster of rotating celebrities, primarily Martin & Lewis, Abbott and Costello, Eddie Cantor and Donald O'Connor. Donald won an Emmy for Best Male Star on a regular series for this program in 1953. In 1952 he received an Emmy nomination for Most Outstanding Personality. Have a look at our guide to Donald's episodes of this series.

Episodic Specials Documentaries TV Movies





Specials

American Film Institute honors Gene Kelly
1985
Hosted by Shirley MacLaine. Appearances by Fred Astaire, Jimmy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Olivia Newton-John, Donald O'Connor, Leslie Caron, Steve Martin, Nicolas Bros, Baryshnikov, Grgeory Hines, Cyd Charisse. Carl Reiner. Donald does a brief musical number with Cyd Debbie, Comden and Greene, to "You Are my Lucky Star" with new lyrics praising Gene.

Texaco Star Theater
Special 9/11/82 (NBC)
A salute to musicals, with Sammy Davis, Jr., Carol Burnett, Donald O’Connor, Ethel Merman, and Robert Guillaume.

Kennedy Center Honors
1982
Hosted by Walter Cronkite. Honored are Gene Kelly, Lillian Gish, George Abbott, Benny Goodman. Guests include Cyd Charisse, Donald O'Connor, Comden & Greene, Yves Montand, Betty Buckley, Gregory Hines. Donald does a musical number with Cyd Charisse, Comden and Greene, "Singin' in The Rain" with special lyrics.

All Star Tribute to Mothers Day
Special 5/10/81 (NBC)
Hosted by Ed McMahon. Thirty-four guests including Donald O'Connor.

52nd Annual Academy Awards
April 14, 1980 (ABC)
Donald led thirty two dancers in the production number "Dancin' on the Silver Screen". He got a standing ovation from the audience and later an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Individual Special Achievement Special Event.

Lucy Moves to NBC
2/8/80 (NBC)
Donald O'Connor plays himself in this Lucille Ball vehicle. The premise was Lucille Ball playing herself, trying to launch a television series for NBC. This was truly, painfully, awful.(Gary Coleman is in it. Need we say more.) Things don't pick up until Donald comes on screen. He does a medly of the tunes from his movies, and a dance. Then he does a little comedy dance bit with Lucy. Then despite Donald's heroic efforts, things get painfully awful again. The only bright spot is in the "Music Mart" part where Donald does a comedy sketch with his long time partner Sid Miller. Somebody should have been criminally prosecuted for murdering "The Music Mart" with this pathetic Lucy intro.
For more information on all things Lucy

Bing! 50th Anniversary Gala
3/20/77 (CBS)
A celebration of Bing Crosby's 50th year in show biz. Donald was one of many guests.

Bob Hope Special, Chrysler Presents
11/13/1969
One of Donald's appearances on Bob Hope's Variety show.

And Debbie makes Six...
Special 1/19/67 (ABC)
Variety show hosted by Debbie Reynolds, with Bob Hope, Donald O'Connor, Jim Nabors, Bobby Darin and Frank Gorshin.

Hollywood Melody
Special 1962 (NBC)
About movie musicals. Produced by Arthur Freed.

The Donald O'Connor Show
Special - 10/11/60 (NBC)
With Sid Miller, Andre Previn and Mitzi Gaynor.

Ford Startime: Soldiers in Greasepaint
Special 1960 (NBC)
Donald makes an appearance along with many others.

Pontiac Star Parade
Special - 11/21/59 (NBC)
Hosted by Gene Kelly. Donald was a guest star, along with Carol Lawrence.

Dean Martin Show
Special - 3/26/59 (NBC)
Donald guests and does a dance solo. Also guest starring Giselle MacKenzie and the Curfew Kids.

Standard Oil 75th Anniversary Show
Special - 10/13/57 (NBC)
With Donald O'Connor, Marge and Gower Champion, Duke Ellington, Jane Powell, Kay Thompson and Jimmy Durante. Donald apparently did a comedy number with his partner, Sid Miller. A
Review of this show.

The Academy Awards
March 25 1954
Donald hosted the 26th annual Academy Awards. This was only the second televised presentation, the first having been the year before with Bob Hope.

Bell Telephone Hour
Special 1/16/54
Variety show, also with Anthony Newley and the Nicholas Brothers. Anthony Newley and Donald perform "The Evolution of a Song and Dance Man."

Episodic Specials Documentaries TV Movies




TV Movies

Bandit: Bandit's Silver Angel
(TV Movie) 1994
Donald plays "Uncle Cyrus" who owns a carnival that needs the Bandit's help. One of a series of TV movies based on the feature film, Smokey and the Bandit.

A Mouse, A Mystery and Me
Animated Special 12/13/87 (NBC)
Voice Only. Other than what can be gathered from the title, we don't know what this one was about.

Alice In Wonderland
12/9/85, 12/10/85 TV Movie (CBS)
Just about everyone was in this Irwin Allen production. You can spend the entire 94 minutes just star spotting, and it's not always easy through those costumes. Donald as The Lory Bird is on quite early, but he has only a couple of lines, and a brief opportunity to dance around while Sherman Helmsley (the mouse) sings.

Great Performances
Alice In Wonderland 1983 (PBS)
Another all-star cast with Donald as the Mock Turtle.

Li'l Abner
Special 4/26/71 (NBC)
Cameo appearance by Donald. Still looking for any other details.

Episodic Specials Documentaries TV Movies



Documentaries

A&E Biography
Donald O'Connor: Make 'em Laugh - 12/29/99
Finally Donald gets his own A&E biography, appropriately aired on the fiftieth anniversary, to the day, of Francis the Talking Mule's premiere. Includes interviews with Family and Friends (Gloria DeHaven, Fayard Nicholas, Mitzi Gaynor), as well as clips from some little seen movies (these days, all hits in their time, of course), still photos, etc. Available at A&E Biography.

A&E Biography
Ethel Merman: There's No Business Like Show Business - 5/27/99
Donald is interviewed for this life story of Ethel Merman. He comments on singing with Ethel in Call Me Madam and problems with Marilyn Monroe in There's No Business Like Show Business. Available at A&E Biography.

A&E Biography
The Nicholas Brothers - 2/23/99
Profile on the A&E series Biography. The program includes interviews with Fayard and Harold, Gregory Hines, Debbie Allen, Donald O'Connor and many others, along with never-before-seen footage of the team at the Cotton Club, in Hollywood, and on tour around the world. Available at A&E Biography

A&E Biography
Gene Kelly - February 1996
Among those interviewed - Leslie Caron, Donald O'Connor. Donald only speaks briefly relating the story of how Gene's suits kept shrinking during the famous "Singin' in the Rain" number.

Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow
(TV Movie - Documentary) 1987.
Donald appears as himself. In his interview he recounts how some of Buster's tricks were recreated in the The Buster Keaton Story in which Donald starred. And he tells the story of the first time he met Buster.

Donald O'Connor's Dublin
March 1972
Musical journey through Dublin with the Chieftains and the Wolftones (syndicated).

Episodic Specials Documentaries TV Movies

Radio Television




Below is all of Donald O'Connor's radio credits of which we are aware. Since this all happened before we were born, there might be a lot that we don't know about, so please, if you know of any other radio shows Donald was on, drop us a note. The most valuable site for most of our information was
The Vintage Radio Place.

Guest Star
Program #341 - 10/4/53

Family Theater
The Thinking Machine 1/23/52
Comedy co-starring Debra Padget. Donald plays Hector Casey a bank employee who invents a... well... it's a computer, they just never call it that.

The Screen Guild Theater
Free For All - 2/1/51
The Postman Always Rings Twice - 2/8/51 ABC
Donald co-starred with Ann Blyth in these two productions, but that's all we know so far.

Guest Star
On With the Dance - 4/16/50

Bing Crosby's Chesterfield Show
April 1950
In this show Bing and Donald sing a the duet "Small Fry", with humourous lyrics dealing with Donald's prominence in television at the time and Bing's reluctance to the enter the medium. Bing sings a Donald O'Connor/Sid Miller composition If I waited a little too long.

Sealtest Variety Theater
Rootin' Tootin' Western - 11/25/48
Comedy Variety show hosted by Dorothy Lamour. The Western portion is handled by the other guest star, John Lund, while Donald has an earlier sketch centering around an African safari.

Suspense
Smiley - 8/14/47
The Visitor - 9/18/47
Donald did two episodes of this series. For audio samples of both visit Jerry Haendiges'Old Time Radio Programs Preview Listening Lounge. These are gems.

Command Performance
Armed Forces Radio - April 1947, 7/22/47, 8/12/47, 8/19/47, 5/25/48, 12/28/48, 9/27/49 Apparently some sort of musical/variety show. Donald went on it twice with his then wife Gwen O'Connor, and once with his songwriting partner Sidney Miller. Lina Romay and Gloria DeHaven (Donald's co-star in Yes, Sir That's My Baby and more recently in Out to Sea) were the most frequent hosts during Donald's guest spots.

The Ginny Simms Show
Philip Morris (Sponsor?) - 1947
Donald was supposedly a regular guest on this program.

Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall
2/2/44
Bing Crosby and Donald do a skit playing a father and son, and sing "Small Fry" (From Sing you Sinners their first picture together. They do a reprise/parody on Bing's show some years later.) The other guest on this show was Marilyn Maxwell.

Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall
194?
According to Bing on the 2/2/44 show, Donald made his coast to coast radio debut on this show some time before.

Many thanks to Lindsay Milligan for suggesting this addtion to our page.




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