In the 1960s, Ozzie Nelson was considered a Hollywood genius
Image credit: The Everett Collection
There are many performers who fans feel are genius at what they do. From Lucille Ball to Carol Burnett and Carl Reiner; there is no shortage of good talent in Hollywood.
In fact, with the large amount aspiring actors, singers or dancers in the 1960s, it makes Ozzie Nelson an even bigger success story — which was a story that led to him being called a "genius" in Hollywood.
According to multiple articles and interviews during the time, Nelson was viewed as a special kind of actor, producer, director and writer. He was a quadruple threat. Plus, anyone who can get their family to work together for 18 years should be considered a genius.
"My family makes me look good," Nelson said in a 1961 interview with The Times. "My boys are much better actors than they are given credit for. They have a great show business tradition on their mother's side."
The Nelson family was made of Ozzie and Harriet and their two sons onscreen and in real life, David and Ricky. Acting ran in the family for Ricky and David who were both fourth generation actors.
Harriet had been performing even before her and Ozzie met. They met and married each other in the 1930s and went on to perform in a band together before starting The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
Once the two combined they came the ultimate '60s power couple. Their marriage grew while they were together and so did their fame.
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet had a weekly spot on ABC. Many fans considered them to be the most authentic family on-air and liked the series because it was easy to watch. Part of Ozzie's success and title as a "TV genius" came from his love of hard work.
His hard work led to him having one of the top-rated series of the '60s.
In a 1963 interview with the Hartford Courant, Nelson said the key to his success was doing what came naturally. However, for most people raising a real family onscreen wouldn't have come natural.
He said the thought of pretending to be someone else, even for the camera, was nauseating for Harriet and him.
"We've worked together this far by enjoying what we were doing," Nelson said. "We didn't have to pretend for anyone; so why start now? Let's just be ourselves and if we go down, we'll go down with the comfort of knowing we had some laughs on the way."
Said just like a true television genius.
"Our family has fun at home and it has been fun doing this show," Nelson said. "Hard work? Sure. But how hard can work be when you're having fun doing it?"