A brief history of TV couples sleeping in the same bed

No, the Flintstones nor the Bradys were not the first to share a bed. Not by a longshot.

As the fall television was kicking off in September of '69, gossip columnist Earl Wilson had a hot scoop. He got the news from Florence Henderson herself, who was promoting The Brady Bunch, a new sitcom about to premiere on ABC.

"Television's really running wild!" Henderson told the writer. "In our own series, we even have a double bed! That's a big breakthrough in TV. We had some fight to get it. They wanted to keep us in twin beds, like they do everybody else."

At this point in the interview, the PR person panicked. "That's off the record about the double bed," the network rep said. "We don't want it to get around to scare people." Wilson published it anyway.

The network had little to worry about; Henderson had little to boast about. If not the norm, television couples sleeping in the same bed was hardly new. It was as old as sitcoms themselves, in fact. 

It all began shortly after World War II…

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1. Mary Kay and Johnny

1947

This sitcom racked up a lot of firsts. Easy to do when you are literally the first sitcom in the history of television. Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns were married in real life. That perhaps allowed folks to not get too worked up about them sharing a bed. Or working Mary Kay's pregnancy into the show. (Sorry, I Love Lucy was not the first to do that.) The show premiered on the long-dead DuMont Network, before briefly jumping to CBS and settling on NBC. So why is Mary Kay and Johnny so forgotten? There were only 250,000 TV sets in America in 1947, and the series was largely a regional affair out of New York. And episodes were broadcast live, with little thought of preservation. Only one is known to exist, in the Paley Center.

2. I Love Lucy

1955

Lucy and Desi famously slept in separate beds when I Love Lucy premiered in 1951. However, the show did eventually get around to a double bed. In "First Stop," which aired on January 17, 1955, Fred and Ethel swap sleeping arrangements with Lucy and Desi while on the road at an Ohio hotel.

3. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

1952

Like Mary Kay and Johnny, Ozzie and Harriet were hitched in the real world, which is likely why censors and conservatives let their shared bed slide. The bed plays a prominent role in "A Day in Bed," broadcast on May 23, 1956, when Ozzie decides he needs to stay in his pajamas under the covers around the clock. 

Image: American International Television

4. The Flintstones

1960

The Flintstones are often cited as being the first couple to share a bed on television. Not so, as we have already learned. First animated couple? Perhaps. First couple in vivid color? Likely. Chronologically, they are the first, technically, seeing how they lived in the Stone Age… but now we're just getting technical.

5. Bewitched

1964

Darrin and Samantha share a mattress from the get-go. In the first handful of episodes, viewers get a glimpse of the pair's bedroom. In episode seven, "The Witches Are Out," seen here, the two are at least shown under the covers.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

6. The Munsters

1964

Maybe it was the kooky magical elements, but networks eased up on splitting beds. Clean-cut fictional couple Rob and Laura Petrie might have snoozed in separate beds — but a witch, or some monsters? The rules could be bent, seemingly. A month after the above Bewitched, Fred and Lily were shown sleeping together in "Autumn Croakus," on November 26, 1964.

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

7. Green Acres

1967

The Douglases can be seen in their jammies, tucked under a pink blanket, in "Alf and Ralph Break Up," which aired on December 13, 1967.

8. The Brady Bunch

1969

While the above couples beat the Bradys to bed, Mike and Carol certainly logged far more time together under the covers. The Brady parents were shown quite often in their bedroom and in repose. There was perhaps a good reason for that. Labor laws dictated that the cast full of kids could not work long hours. So the sitcom wrote a lot of scenes with the parents, to fill the day with shooting.

SEE MORE: A brief history of the belly button on TV

No, it wasn't Jeannie, Mary Ann nor Uhura. See who bared their navel first.

READ MORE

 
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Mike 6 days ago
For The Record:
When David and Rick Nelson married their respective spouses in the '60s, Ozzie Nelson had them share marital beds on camera - which most sitcoms still weren't doing even then.
pamfray1 8 days ago
I just can’t believe that in any “same bed” discussion I’ve ever seen, it has never been pointed out that Lucy and Ricky share the same bed in the pilot episode of I Love Lucy. I’ve seen the episode at least 10 times, and even though they are always shown in twin beds throughout the rest of the series, they definitely share the same bed in the pilot episode.
Michael 12 days ago
Isn't there a country song about "sleeping single in a double bed"? I think it's a Sweethearts of the Rodeo song.
Moverfan Michael 10 days ago
They may have covered it or put it on an album (I don't know), but the original version is Barbara Mandrell. Are you thinking of Midnight Girl In A Sunset Town?
JeffBaker 13 days ago
The Honeymooners sort of counts: we never see Ralph and Alice's bedroom but we do see Ed and Trixie Norton's on a couple of 50s episodes. While it IS two singles pushed together, and the only people we see (trying to sleep) in it are Ed and Ralph (in the episode where Ed is sleepwalking) it deserves a nod here!
Pacificsun JeffBaker 12 days ago
Very clever and kudos to your memory. Weren't there just 39 episodes or something like that? And yet strangely whenever I see an episode it does not seem repetitious to me (except for vet report they get on Alice's mother's dying cat, and Ralph thinks it's him). I don't know why they seem unique. Maybe due to the acting being so minimal, and no extra props, or distractions. It's really all about their dialogue, timing, and physical bits (expression and Gleason's physicality). Amazing what they accomplished with so little!
shalom4077 14 days ago
Please. Put. On tv. Mr. Ed. Thanks
Pacificsun shalom4077 14 days ago
They used to run it, but once it leaves, it usually stays that way.
shalom4077 Pacificsun 14 days ago
Ma. And. Pa. Kettle
Zip Pacificsun 14 days ago
Put out to pasture, as they say?
Not that I do not like some of the evening line up but I am getting tired of the same shows on. Time to change them up.
bagandwallyfan52 14 days ago
I wish this article had included
20 married couples instead of
8 Couples.
Load previous comments
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 12 days ago
I will make it all make sense ... when I get back (smile)
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 12 days ago
over in the room you chose
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 12 days ago
I am here. If you put those things together, have given you my contact number. In case you want to exchange off line. If not, I understand perfectly, no worries. But it's how I've made some online friends! Just a thought smile).
bagandwallyfan52 14 days ago
Lou and Helen Marie of That Girl.
Ann Marie and Donald never shared a bed, I don't even think off screen.
Lou Marie and Helen Marie
Were the mother and father of Ann Marie(Marlo
Thomas) on that delightful
TV show THAT GIRL.
Moverfan Michael 10 days ago
Since they were only dating on the show, I would say not!
bagandwallyfan52 14 days ago
Alfred and Amanda Bellows of
I Dream of Jeannie.
bagandwallyfan52 14 days ago
Also Wilbur and Carol Post of
Mr. ED and Herbert and Winnie
The parents of DOBIE GILLIS
And Thurston and Lovey Howell
Of Gilligan's island.
bagandwallyfan52 14 days ago
What.about the bedrooms of
Robbie and Katie on My 3 Sons
Steve Elliott and Betty Jo Elliot
On Petticoat Junction
Married With Children
Fathers Knows Best and
The Patty Duke Show and
The Jetsons?
ncadams27 14 days ago
I consider the ban on showing a toilet more puzzling. It looks odd seeing a bathroom without one. I’m sure some couples slept in separate beds (snoring, hogging covers, etc), but everybody needs a toilet.
Zip ncadams27 14 days ago
Actors don't go to the bathroom. They just explode when they are thirty.

(Someone from a sitcom said that "exploding when they are thirty" quote, but I'd be darned if I could find it on the web).
bagandwallyfan52 14 days ago
There were 2 Versions of Blondie with Dagwood and
Blondie Bumstead and The
Addams Family . Did the producers ever show the bedrooms of Dagwood and
Blondie and Gomez and Morticia
Addams? Also Howard and Marion Cunningham on HAPPY
DAYS had a double bed and
METV Left Out the Cunningham
Family of 4Minus Chuck Cunningham.
The Happy Days episode
Not With My Sister You Don't which was the first
Episode and Appearance of
Fonzie's cousin SPIKE played by Danny Butch shows the bedroom of
Howard and Marions bedroom , The Cunningham
Family Of Four Minus
Chuck Cunningham.
BrittReid 14 days ago
Fred Munster?
Herman Munster makes
More sense .
Andybandit 15 days ago
I never understood when I was younger why the husband and Wife didn't sleep in the same bed. It looks like they are staying in a hotel. It is weird. TDVDS Laura and Rob sleep in separate beds.
jeopardyhead Andybandit 14 days ago
If by "younger," you mean a little kid, it was never an issue with me at that time mainly because I wasn't familiar with real-world married couple's sleeping habits
Mirramanee Andybandit 12 days ago
Actually, I too wondered about that. Even though my own parents were divorced (when I was under 2 years old), I was fully aware that other parents did sleep in the same bed together from seeing the homes of other family members and the homes of parents of my friends. Obviously, I did not know "the facts of life" at that stage of my life, but I did know couples slept in the same bed.
OlgaBagley 15 days ago
#8 is 😂 because. 🧑🏻‍🦱is into 🛌👨🏼‍🦱. Other Robby’s
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