Vintage TV: Ozzie and Harriet for Kodak

If you’re of a certain age, you remember when a television show had one sponsor, or maybe two; all of an episode’s commercials were for those companies. The show’s open usually incorporated the sponsor, too. When these shows were later syndicated, new “generic” opens had to be prepared that referenced no sponsor, as local stations sold all the commercial time.

One such show I watched in syndication as a boy was The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, a 1950s and 1960s family sitcom starring the family of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. A few years ago, someone gave me a big DVD set of episodes as a gift. All of those episodes used the original opens, with the sponsor mentions intact. I learned that for a few years, Kodak was a frequent sponsor.


Some of those episodes included commercials, and it was very cool to see advertisements for some of the Kodaks I have in my camera collection. Here’s Ozzie pitching the Kodak Brownie Starmatic. You can read about my Starmatic here and here.

I used to own a Kodak Automatic 35F, a 35mm viewfinder camera with a coupled light meter and a four-speed shutter. I used that camera on a trip to the Tennessee hills about 15 years ago and really enjoyed it. Here’s Ozzie again, introducing that camera’s forebear, the Automatic 35.

Ozzie and his family didn’t always appear in the Kodak commercials on their show. Here’s a commercial for the Kodak Signet 40, another 35mm rangefinder camera with a coupled light meter. I own a Signet 40; it’s remarkably capable. Read about it here. The spot also briefly shows members of the Pony line (read about my Pony here) and the Retina line (read about my Retinas here, here, and here).

Ozzie and Harriet shilled lesser Kodaks, of course; all the way down to the least-expensive Brownies. But I don’t have any of those in my collection!


13 responses to “Vintage TV: Ozzie and Harriet for Kodak”

  1. Richard Avatar

    Wardflex Camera

    I own a camera that “almost” was advertised on the show. It was called the Wardflex camera. I picked it up two summers ago in a huge camera lot.

    It’s a very nice looking TLR (twin lens reflex) in decent condition with oily blades.

    I just call it my “Leave it to Beaver” camera. It sits in one of my camera cases awaiting a visit to the camera repairman.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      ? In what way was this camera “almost” advertised? The only photo advertiser the show ever had was Kodak.

      1. Richard Avatar

        “Almost” Doesn’t Count

        But when I first searched “Wardflex camera” on Google, the very first reference (and others) was to a camera that was considered for an ad campaign on Leave it to Beaver. Apparently Montgomery Ward was considering advertising the camera (wasn’t the dad’s name Ward?).

        I looked up “Wardflex camera” again today and found the same results for a camera “almost” advertised on Leave it to Beaver.

        So I own a Wardflex. It’s actually a good looking well built camera.

  2. JW Avatar

    Hey, Jim, Kodak may have “shilled” Brownies, but I started my photographic life on a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye almost 60 years ago and made some beautiful shots with it of Peggy’s Cove in Canada. That original point-and-shoot was pretty sweet!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The Brownie Hawkeye is almost venerable – surprisingly capable for being a simple box!

  3. Neil Avatar

    I sure hope that’s not Ozzie in that second camera photo! That’s certainly not how I remember him. Ha. (Nice that you got that set of DVDs, by the way.)
    I remember having a Brownie when I was a kid. I used it for photos when my folks and I took our yearly two-week summer vacation. Those were great times!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My first camera was an old Brownie that I bought for a quarter at a yard sale. It was fun and easy to use, except for loading the roll film!

  4. Denny Gibson Avatar

    At one point, Ed Sullivan was sponsored by Kodak one week and Ford (Lincoln/Mercury) the next. A ventriloquist’s dummy (I believe it was Paul Winchell’s Jerry Mahoney) cut his finger and put Mercury chrome (mercurochrome) on it. I can’t recall the details but they somehow worked in a line something like “If Ed has us back on next week we’ll use Kodachrome.”

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s funny!

  5. JR Smith Avatar
    JR Smith

    There’s a great Polaroid Swinger commercial on You Tube that was inserted into one of these Ozzie & Harriet shows too! Check it out and watch for a soon to be famous actress making her debut and a great jingle sung by a soon to be famous pop performer!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve seen that – later seasons, right?

  6. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    Yeah, I knew when O&H got behind Kodak, that was it. It was over for Kodak. Another 50, 60 years, tops. :)

    Have you ever seen those commercials of Fred and Barney puffing away on Winstons? “Yabba dabba–COUGH COUGH, COUGH COUGH COUGH…”

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Not a cough in a foot-powered carload!

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