Spring Byington began acting as a school girl in Denver, and her career took her to Buenos Aires in 1910. After a short marriage to the touring company's manager, she came to New York to raise her daughters. She began touring with the company of Birds of Paradise, bringing the wonders of Hawaii to the mainland. She appeared in 18 Broadway productions between 1925 and 1935, and then became a contract player for MGM. She had done some radio work during WWII, and as her film career began to wain, she made a return to the medium as Lily Ruskin in December Bride.
December Bride had the unlikely premise that a mother-in-law could be a likable person. Lily was a widow living with her daughter and son-in-law, played by Doris Singleton and Hal March. The series starts with the son-in-law amazed at Lily's popularity with single men, but the series is built around her search for a new mate.
In typical sitcom fashion, son-in-law Matt may be head of the household, but becomes the buffoon of the show. Lily is presented as warm but slightly scatter-brained, not unlike the teenage daughter role in many other sitcoms.
December Bride was originally presented on CBS as a summer replacement for the Jack Benny Program, and then continued for another season as a sustained program. For the 1954 season the series was taken over by Desilu Productions and brought to the small screen to fill the half hour after I Love Lucy.
Joining the TV cast was Harry Morgan playing henpecked neighbor Pete Potter (Hans Conried on radio). Pete was a popular enough character to spin off into his own show, Pete and Gladys. Harry Morgan would go on to be Sgt Joe Friday's partner on Dragnet, and Col. Sherman Potter on MASH.