George Tibbles Papers

Finding aid created by Writers Guild Foundation Archive staff using RecordEXPRESS
Writers Guild Foundation Archive
7000 West Third Street
Los Angeles, California 90048
(323) 782-4680

Descriptive Summary

Title: George Tibbles Papers
Dates: 1952-1986
Collection Number: WGF-MS-074
Extent: 10 linear feet
Repository: Writers Guild Foundation Archive
Los Angeles, California 90048
Abstract: The George Tibbles Papers contains scripts written by him for television, film, and stage. There are produced works, unproduced works, treatments, and other development materials.
Language of Material: English


Available by appointment only.

Publication Rights

The responsibility to secure copyright and publication permission rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

George Tibbles Papers. Writers Guild Foundation Archive

Acquisition Information

Donated by Angela Westengard on 2/28/2007

Biography/Administrative History

George Tibbles was born on June 7, 1913 in New York City. He grew up in Los Angeles and studied at Los Angeles City College. Tibbles got his start in the entertainment industry in the 1930s and 1940s as a musician, touring and working in nightclubs. He began as a piano accompanist and later became a songwriter. He co-write the Oscar-nominated Woody Woodpecker song with Ramez Idriss in 1947. Tibbles’ TV career started with writing jokes and sketches for performer Betty White, for whom he was piano accompanist. Tibbles, White and producer Don Fedderson created two TV series’ Life with Elizabeth and Date with the Angels, both starring White. One of Tibbles’ most notable contributions to television was his work on the TV series My Three Sons. Starring Fred MacMurray as Steve Douglas, a widower raising his three sons, Tibbles co-created the series with Don Fedderson which premiered in 1960 and ran for 12 seasons. For his work on the show, Tibbles was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award twice in 1961 and 1963. Tibbles wrote the pilot episode for the series and served as a producer in the earliest season. In addition, he wrote 92 episodes over the show’s run. Dennis the Menace and Leave It to Beaver are among Tibbles’ other early credits. He also created the 1966 show Pistols 'n' Petticoats, a 27-episode television western for which he also wrote the theme song, and he wrote the screenplay for the 1971 Don Knott’s comedy How to Frame a Figg. He would continue to write for television sitcoms until 1986. George Tibbles also wrote 24 stage plays, some of which were musicals, and 7 novels. He also wrote a memoir of his music career which would go unpublished titled “Don't Shake Hands On the Job.” Tibbles passed away from cancer on February 14, 1987 leaving behind his wife, Mildred (née Danson), children and grandchildren.

Scope and Content of Collection

The George Tibbles Collection is divided into two series. Series I: Scripts, 1952-1985 contains the majority of the collection materials. Subseries A: Television, 1952-1985contains materials related to George Tibbles writing for television. Teleplays from early in his career include The Betty White Show, Dennis the Menace, Life with Elizabeth, Bringing Up Buddy, A Date with the Angels, and Leave it to Beaver. All 95 scripts Tibbles wrote for the TV series My Three Sons are included. Later works in this subseries are Hello Larry and One Day at A Time. In addition to teleplays, the subseries features episode outlines, development materials and hand-written drafts for a few titles including Dennis the Menace and Life with Elizabeth. Subseries B: Film, 1965-1986, contains screenplays by Tibbles, both produced and unproduced, and film treatments. Notable produced screenplays are Halloween with the New Addams Family (TV movie), How to Frame a Figg, and Munster, Go Home. This series contains nine unproduced screenplays and seven film treatments by Tibbles. Series II: Other Writings, 1970-1987, includes manuscripts, outlines and development materials for Tibbles' plays and novels. Plays include The Duchess of Pasadena, Later, Leonardo, and two unproduced musicals titled Follow the Hat and Get Out the Madonna! This series also contains an unpublished memoir about his music career in LA titled "Don't Shake Hands On the Job." He describes his work playing in bands, on soundstages, the origins of the Woody Woodpecker song and ends with the story of transitioning to TV while working for the Betty White Show. Finally, there is a humorous pamphlet by Tibbles titled Required Reading for a Sick Musician, which contains cartoon drawings and axioms by Tibbles about being a working musician.

Indexing Terms

Pianists -- United States -- 20th Century
White, Betty, 1922-
Television scripts
Television writers