Ford Star Jubilee (1955–1956)

This Happy Breed 

Ten years in the life of A London family. Together they must deal with arguments, the ups and downs of romance, an infestation of raccoons and the approach of WW2.


Noël Coward (as Noel Coward), Ralph Nelson


Noël Coward (adaptation) (as Noel Coward), Noël Coward (play) (as Noel Coward)


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Episode credited cast:
Noël Coward ... Frank Gibbons (as Noel Coward)
Norah Howard ... Mrs. Flint
Edna Best ... Ethel Gibbons
Beulah Garrick Beulah Garrick ... Aunt Sylvia
Guy S. Paull Guy S. Paull ... Bob Mitchell
Robert Chapman Robert Chapman ... Reg Gibbons
Patricia Cutts Patricia Cutts ... Queenie Gibbons
Joyce Ash Joyce Ash ... Vi Gibbons
Rhod Walker Rhod Walker ... Sam Ledbitter (as Rhoderick Walker)
Sally Pierce Sally Pierce ... Phyllis Blake
Vera Marshall Vera Marshall ... Edie (as Very Marshall)
Roger Moore ... Billy Mitchell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anthony Franciosa
Kate Harrington Kate Harrington
Margaret Hill Margaret Hill


Ten years in the life of A London family. Together they must deal with arguments, the ups and downs of romance, an infestation of raccoons and the approach of WW2.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »


Comedy | Drama | Music







Release Date:

5 May 1956 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Remaining in New York City, Noél, over-riding CBS and Ford, determined not to return to Hollywood's CBS Television City facility. This caused a tremendous sensation in television circles with Noél suspected of having sinister powers! Noél began editing the script for television, planning camera shots, angles and close-ups, as he had prepared "Present Laughter"; casting, in production meetings, directing and rehearsing the television play "This Happy Breed" with the NYC-CBS assigned TV-facility booth director Ralph Nelson (1916-1987, age 71). Casting stage actress Edna Best as Ethel in-spite of her being dreadfully ill with a mental breakdown for months, her doctors swearing she will be all right for the television appearance and that it would be therapeutically the best thing in the world for her. A hectic terrific hoo-ha as to whether Kay Kendall should play Queenie. Kendall was arriving in New York City to secretly live-in-sin with Rex Harrison, which was madness from her point of view. Noél managed to get Rex to agree to her playing the role and "then the silly bitch refused", so Noél engaged Patricia Cutts. Rehearsals began Monday, 16 April 1956, Everyone was word perfect in rehearsals with a week to go! Noél was playing his role better than he performed originally, probably because he was older, knew more, seeming to feel right as Frank Gibbons the moment he enters the first scene. Edna Best giving an exquisite performance as Ethel, true, uncompromising and infinitely touching. Noél noting she is a fine actress and no trouble at all. When Noél reflected back on the bloody hell that Claudette put him through, he could hardly believe his good fortune in having a leading lady who goes through her business calmly and methodically and is concentrated on getting every ounce of reality out of the character rather than fussing about her angles, her clothes, not troubling to learn the words. The Thursday and Friday night camera dress rehearsals, with an invited studio audience at the CBS Studio 72, were kine-scope copied and reviewed the next morning. Noél did a successful "Person to Person" impromptu interview with Ed Murrow from Charles and Ham's apartment on Friday night prior to the Saturday night color special live broadcast on CBS' "Ford Star Jubilee" showcase. Sunday, May 6th, it was all over and, it seems, a much greater triumph than either of the other two television productions. Saturday night, before the credits were over on the screen, CBS had over one thousand telephone calls. Bill Paley called Noél immediately telling him "it was the greatest thing he had ever seen on television,' his voice still husky with emotion. From Hollywood, as always, Marlene Dietrich in an emotional state; also receiving telephone calls from Clifton Webb, the Bogarts, glamorous American stage actress Katherine Cornell and director Guthrie McClintic who had been friends since the early 1920s. New York can be a rat race at the worst of times and, at the best of times, a three-ring circus. The notices of "This Happy Breed" were fabulous. The New York ones soberly enthusiastic and most heart-warming but nothing compared with the raves from Philadelphis, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angels, San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, etc. The general consensus of opinion is that "This Happy Breed" is the finest telecast ever broadcast, with Noél's performance the best of all!! Edna, rightly, shared all honors and the entire cast received good notices and immediate offers for jobs from all over the place. The one discordant note in all of this was that the rating was lower than either of the previous two broadcasts. See more »


Version of This Happy Breed (1944) See more »

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