By the time Doris Day came to television in 1968, her place in entertainment history was as sealed: She was the freckle-faced all-American blonde who had ruled the box office with bubbly musicals (The Pajama Game) and pseudosophisticated bedroom farces (Pillow Talk, for which she was Oscar-nominated).

Her CBS sitcom, collected on

The Doris Day Show Season 1 (MPI Home Video, $39.98), was wisely built on her bona fide girl-next-door appeal. She played a widowed mother who moves from the big city to the country to raise her boys (Philip Brown and Tod Starke).

Critics at the time dismissed the show as poorly written fluff, but audiences spooned it up like a butterscotch parfait, and it ran for five successful seasons.

True, the shows' plots make even Everybody Loves Raymond seem multilayered (a noisy clock keeps everyone up; the kids take Mom out to an expensive restaurant and don't have enough money to pay). But it doesn't much matter when that sunny personality goes into overdrive. The show becomes as bright and pleasurably distracting as Day's groovy canary-yellow outfits (for eye-popping style, her TV wardrobe is rivaled only by Marlo Thomas' on That Girl).

Day, now 81 and an animal-rights activist, has said that the show was made during an emotionally trying time in her life. Her husband of 17 years, manager-producer Marty Melcher, died in 1968, and Day learned after his death that he had squandered her considerable savings and left her broke. (A subsequent court case against Melcher's lawyer netted her a substantial sum.) But the forgotten Doris Day Show is a testament to the power of pluck, and stands as a charming snapshot of an extraordinary talent.