The John Forsythe Show

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The John Forsythe Show began as a situation comedy in the fall of 1965 on NBC television]], but at mid-season it morphed into a spy show. In the first phase of the series John Forsythe (1918-2010) appeared as United States Air Force veteran John Foster, who inherited the private Foster School for Girls in San Francisco, California, from his late aunt, Victoria. Forsythe's co-stars were Elsa Lanchester (1902-1986) as the principal, Miss Culver; Ann Bradford Davis (1926-2014) as the physical education teacher, Miss Wilson; and Guy Marks (1923-1987) as Ed Robbins, Forsythe's aide and a former sergeant. Actors who portrayed students included Pamelyn Ferdin as Pamela, Darlene Carr as Kathy, Page and Brooke Forsythe (Forsythe's actual daughters) as Marcia and Norma Jean, Peggy Lipton, as Joanna, Tracy Stratford as Susan, and Sara Ballantine as Janice.[1]

In February 1965, NBC advertising said that the working title of the series was The Mr. and The Misses, but that was dropped, and the more conventional title, The John Forsythe Show, was adopted instead.​

The format changed to espionage (in the February 21, 1966 episode "Funny, You Don't Look Like a Spy"), it was explained to viewers that Major Foster had been recalled to active duty as a secret agent. All the other regulars except Forsythe and Marks were dropped from the cast. Peter Kortner (1924-1991) was the producer of the series, which aired twenty-nine episodes (and eighteen selected repeats) from September 13, 1965, to August 29, 1966.[1] The series was produced by Forsythe's own company in conjunction with Universal Television Studios. Earl Arthur Bellamy (1917-2003) was the director.​

Selected episodes include "Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost" with Kim Darby, "Duty and the Beast" with Harvey Korman and Sandra Smith, "Engagement, Italian Style" with stuntman Dick Shane, "Little Miss Egghead" with Angela Cartwright, "That Little Old Matchmaker" (also with Sandra Smith), "The Bainbridge Curse," and the series finale, "Get Me to the Execution on Time."​[2]

The John Forsythe Show aired on Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern following the Hullabaloo music program and preceding Dr. Kildare starring Richard Chamberlain in the title role. Its competition was Garry Moore's quiz program, I've Got a Secret on CBS, and the second half of the ABC military drama Twelve O'Clock High starring Robert Lansing, Paul Burke, and Robert K. Dornan, later a Republican U.S. Representative from California.[3] The primary sponsor of the series, Colgate-Palmolive.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 436.
  2. Episode List of The John Forsythe Show. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on June 12, 2020.
  3. 1965-1966 American network television schedule, in appendix of Total Television

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