Dangerous Terrorists? No Problem For Donna Reed and Family

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to

Cas of "The Donna Reed Show," left to right, Shelly Fabares; Paul Petersen; Donna Reed and Carl Betz
Cas of "The Donna Reed Show," left to right, Shelly Fabares; Paul Petersen; Donna Reed and Carl Betz

Amazing show business fact

It was not a male Hollywood idol who “ruled” ABC Television from September 24, 1958 to March 19, 1966. It was a fine, refined lady in every sense of the word: Donna Reed. She didn’t adopt or implement a “female take-over” of the airways, but more like a gentle wielding of her natural grace, charm and endless well of acting talents. And that suited ABC, female and male America just fine.

My secret admiration for Donna Reed began in 1965, the time of getting our first television. It was an Admiral black and white set, but this did not affect Reed’s riveting good looks. I couldn’t speak of my thoughts for in this day and time, young men were teased by older people for wanting to “court” a certain girl and what would I have faced if my folks had known that I was completely-smitten by a grown woman named Donna Reed?

Donna Reed, left, co-stars with Jimmy Stewart and Karolyn Grimes "Zu Zu" .in "It's a Wonderful Life."
Donna Reed, left, co-stars with Jimmy Stewart and Karolyn Grimes "Zu Zu" .in "It's a Wonderful Life."
"Donna Stone" listens as family members confess a problem to her knowing that she will easily solve it for them
"Donna Stone" listens as family members confess a problem to her knowing that she will easily solve it for them

I idolized Donna Reed

I found myself living to watch her show each week. Chores, homework, and other life issues had ended up way down on my priorities list. It was just that way with me. Donna Reed, on or off the screen could do no wrong. Whatever she said was law and every way she moved was grace defined. I can confess this selfish feeling today for I cannot get teased. I only watched “The Donna Reed Show,” to see Donna, not her costars Carl Betz, “Dr. Alex Stone,” Paul Petersen, “Jeff Stone,” Shelly Fabares, “Mary Stone,” and when Fabares left the show, Patty Petersen, Jeff’s baby sister, joined the show as Tricia, an adopted child.

For me it would be very easy looking back at “The Donna Reed Show,” now in 2014, through the ideologies of real and surreal, and establish a literary beachhead of my own, but because of my love for this show, I refuse to do this.

But one thing I “can” do is help bring “The Donna Reed Show” into 2014 and help give Reed and cast, a new place on the mantel where we all can look at this show as a special body of work and let genuine smiles reign over our faces.

Upgraded cast--from left, Tricia Petersen, Jeff Petersen, Carl Betz, Donna Reed and Shelly Fabares
Upgraded cast--from left, Tricia Petersen, Jeff Petersen, Carl Betz, Donna Reed and Shelly Fabares
Reed and Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" listen to a mutual friend, "Wayne Wayneright," (Hee haw!) on the phone from his plastic factory
Reed and Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" listen to a mutual friend, "Wayne Wayneright," (Hee haw!) on the phone from his plastic factory
Shelly Fabares grew out of her neurotic state of mind and went on to star in "Coach," with Craig T. Nelson, and other televison and films
Shelly Fabares grew out of her neurotic state of mind and went on to star in "Coach," with Craig T. Nelson, and other television and films
Carl Betz looking very stately
Carl Betz looking very stately
Donna in happy mood
Donna in happy mood

There were no terrorists in the euphoric-days of Donna Reed. Things, although many times were hectic, were mostly peaceful and easy. And no troubled-conscience to keep anyone awake. Life was that perfect for Donna and family.

But let’s pretend that today, “Donna Stone” and her family live next door to any of you. And one day a band of blood-thirsty, men without hearts, terrorists who live on violence take over her home to use as a “bargaining chip,” to make local authorities and Homeland Security do their bidding. Would “Donna Stone” and her family panic? No.

With no such person as Superman or Batman, what is the “Stone” family to do?

With that being said, I pose this question to you:

Dangerous Terrorists? No Problem for Donna Reed and Family

  • Donna Reed had devastatingly good looks so her natural western beauty would stun these terrorists who are not allowed to look at women so much that they would be unable to make deadly-decisions in time to cause any hurt to anyone.
  • Donna’s husband, “Alex,” was a pediatrician, but Donna, with her care for her humanity, no matter how violent, would not allow him to use tranquilizers to put the terrorists to sleep while the family escapes. No. Donna would expose the terrorists to her fine-tuned manners and etiquette, thus confusing them to a point of having nervous break-downs giving authorities an easy time arresting them.
  • Since Donna was an excellent cook, she would just be natural and prepare the terrorists a dinner that her family eats most every night: Primerib; Pot roast; Pork chops; Rainbow Trout cooked with butter; Grecian bread and Chocolate cake. The famished terrorists who have only been living on pork and beans they have stolen from local grocery stores, would eat themselves into a frenzy and pass-out because their digestional systems would not be able to digest such rich food.
  • If Donna, after assessing the situation, sensed that she would not be able to do defeat the terrorists alone, would give the job to Jeff, who was known for asking endless strings of annoying, pointless questions to drive the terrorists into fits of rage making them just want to get out of this “horror hole,” they called “The Stone Household.”
  • Alex, Donna’s husband the pediatrician, would not be left out of the action. He would, in his smooth-tone of voice he uses to chat with kids, convince the terrorists that their parents did them wrong at child birth is not giving them a full-exam. And when the terrorists who are almost hypnotized by Alex’ voice are about to collapse, Donna has slipped-out to the den and phoned the authorities.
  • And if by chance “these” defenses do not work . . .
  • Donna will bring up the “big guns,” by sending Mary, her neurotic daughter to simply whine incessantly about things that mean nothing and not let the terrorists get out of earshot. Mary just keeps whining and asking asinine questions until these battle-hardened terrorists simply beg to be arrested and carried to a maximum-security prison where they can get some peace and quiet. What Mary used as “the final nail in the coffin,” was singing her only hit song, “Johnny Angel,” to these uncivilized ruffians and they were ready to run out of the house with hands in the air.

Next time: Why I Can Never Be a Guest on Late Night with David Letterman

Donna in early days of her career
Donna in early days of her career

Donna Reed: Behind the scenes

  • The Donna Reed Show is an American situation comedy starring Donna Reed as the middle-class housewife Donna Stone. Carl Betz co-stars as her pediatrician husband Dr. Alex Stone, and Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen as their teenage children, Mary and Jeff. The show originally aired on ABC from September 24, 1958 to March 19, 1966. When Fabares left the show in 1963, Petersen's little sister, Patty Petersen, joined the cast as adopted daughter Trisha. Patty Petersen had first appeared in the episode, "A Way of Her Own", on January 31, 1963. Actress Janet Landgard was a series regular from 1963-1965 as Karen Holmby.
  • The Donna Reed Show was one of television's top 25 shows in 1963-1964. Reed was repeatedly nominated for Emmy Awards between 1959 and 1962, and won a Golden Globe as Best Female TV Star in 1963. She eventually grew tired of the work-a-day grind involved in the program, and it was cancelled in 1966 after 275 episodes.
  • This show was the first TV family sitcom to feature the mother as the center of the show. Reed's character, Donna Stone, is a loving mother and wife, but also a strong woman, an active participant in her community, a woman with feelings and a sense of humor. According to many of Reed's friends and family, Reed shared many similarities to the character that she portrayed on screen, implying that the fictional Donna Stone was a near-identical copy of Reed herself.
  • In a 2008 interview, Paul Petersen (Jeff Stone) stated, "The Donna Reed Show] depicts a better time and place. It has a sort of level of intelligence and professionalism that is sadly lacking in current entertainment products. The messages it sent out were positive and uplifting. The folks you saw were likable, the family was fun, the situations were familiar to people. It provided 22-and-a-half-minutes of moral instructions and advice on how to deal with the little dilemmas of life. Jeff and Mary and their friends had all the same problems that real kids in high school did." Petersen continued, "That's what the show was really about, the importance of family. That's where life's lessons are transmitted, generation to generation. There's a certain way in which these are transmitted, with love and affection."

Source: Wikipedia

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Comments 9 comments

CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

I never saw the Donna Reed show. I just didn't watch much television in those days. You've shown me what I missed. I bet I would have liked her. I definitely like strong women with style.


favored profile image

favored 2 years ago from USA

There you go, you had to do it. If there was a way to bring terrorists to Donna and mess with our childhood memories you would be the one. How do you come up with this stuff? :)

I didn't see this program too much as a child but more in my adult years. Loved the program and the role of Jeff. He made us laugh. Can we at least have that?

Shall we alert David Letterman? :0


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

I remember watching the Donna Reed show as a child. In fact, it's as the star and focus of that show that I knew her. It was strange to later see her in supporting roles in old movies. It's interesting that the Donna Reed show is not one I've seen lately in reruns, though other popular shows of the era, like Father Knows Best, Jack Benny, and Burns and Allen, have all been shown recently. I wonder why.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

RonElFran,

You are right. Donna Reed was Donna Stone. She was like Stone in real-life. Not that she was perfect, but close.

I wish some rich network excutive would remaster her shows and put them on TVland.

Thanks for your comment and Merry CHRIStmas.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear favored,

Hey, do not get upset with me. I was making Donna the heroine of this show if it were made today. I loved her that much.

I am sorry if you got mad at me. I always dreamed of having her as our neighbor and just what if she were to smile that smile at me . . .nuff said.

Favored, thanks for your sweet comments and I pray that you and yours have a Merry CHRISTmas.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Catherine,

Thank you for your sweet comment. I am sorry that you didn't get to see The Donna Reed Show and yes, dear, she WAS a strong woman and could let the smarties have it if pushed too far.

I appreciate you very much.

Have a Very Merry CHRISTmas.


favored profile image

favored 2 years ago from USA

Kenneth I'm not upset, I was just saying how you seem to get into areas that most don't, even Donna can't escape a KA hit :) No worries.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 23 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear favored,

Firstly, I apologize for it being five weeks since you left me this comment. I am so sorry. And I was not about hurting dear Donna. I loved her and still do. She stood for and symbolized womanhood in that era and to me, she will always be a lady.

Thanks, favored, for your kindness. Stay with me longer next time.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 23 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear favored,

Firstly, I apologize for it being five weeks since you left me this comment. I am so sorry. And I was not about hurting dear Donna. I loved her and still do. She stood for and symbolized womanhood in that era and to me, she will always be a lady.

Thanks, favored, for your kindness. Stay with me longer next time.

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