The Donna Reed Show first appeared on ABC television network, on September 24, 1958 and would air its last show on March 19,1966.
The Donna Reed Show hasn’t received the recognition it deserved over the years. I have not heard of it being shown on the schedule of any television network. It was one of the better known situation comedies, at the time but with time has faded into oblivion, for the most part since its last show 47 years ago.
The show made recording stars of Shelley Fabares who sang the million selling “Johnny Angel” and Paul Petersen who sang “She Can’t Find Her Keys”.
Donna Reed tired of making the shows, so the show ended after 275 episodes in 1966. She appeared as Miss Ellie in 24 episodes of Dallas from 1984-1985 and died on January 14, 1986 in Beverly Hills, California from pancreatic cancer.
Carl Betz went on to star in Judd For The Defense from 1967-1969 and appeared on television and in the movies through 1977, before dying of cancer on January 18, 1978 in Los Angeles, California.
Paul Petersen has been very active in television and movies, since the Donna Reed Show ended and he appeared in eight episodes of Matt Houston in different roles. He is currently filming the movie Executive Ranks.
Petersen is well-known for his work with former child stars, who had problems adapting to life after stardom. The death of Rusty Hamer of Make Room For Daddy fame. Hamer committed suicide 10 miles from where I am writing this, when he shot himself in Deridder, Louisiana at the age of 42.
It was all the motivation that Petersen needed to strive to help child stars, who couldn’t cope in the real world.
Petersen will be 68 in September.
Shelley Fabares is now 69 and acted in three Elvis Presley movies, Girl Happy in 1965, Spinout in 1966 and Clambake in 1967.
She was the co-star of the Brian Keith Show and appeared in all 47 episodes from 1972-1974. Fabares also appeared in 27 episodes of One Day At A Time from 1978-1984.
Her most successful role after the Donna Reed Show was her run on Coach from 1989-1997, when she portrayed Christine Armstrong in all 199 episodes.
The last movie Fabares appeared in was Playing To Win: A Moment of Truth a 1998 TV movie and she has done voice work mostly and has not been active in the last seven years.
Crazyabouttv.com lists all 275 episodes in the series:
This is a list of Donna Reed shows available for viewing at youtube.com: