A great man was born on this day one hundred years ago. Though he was in several productions on radio, stage, television and film I am going to try and just list the most memorable roles he particiapted in over the years.
-The voice of Mr. Magoo
-Judge Bradley Stevens on "I Married Joan" (1952-1955)
-Frank Stark in Rebel Without a Cause
-Mike O'Toole on "The Jim Backus Show" (1960-1961)
-The voice of Smoky the Genie on "The Bugs Bunny Show"
-Thurston Howell III AKA "The Millionaire" on "Gilligan's Island" (1964-1967)
"The Honeymooners", created by the marvelous Jackie Gleason, was featured on several different programs in the 1950's and 1960's and also showed up for some TV specials in the 1970's. The 30 minute sitcom version was only on the air for one television season (1955-1956) producing 39 episodes which are now known as "The Classic 39." It began on October 1, 1955 and ended on September 22, 1956. Here is a look back at the cast and the "Gleason Players" which were a wonderful group of talented character actors that Gleason always used to bring his projects together.
The main cast:
Jackie Gleason (1916-1987)
-Ralph Kramden, success seeking Brooklyn bus driver
Art Carney (1918-2003)
-Ed Norton, happy go lucky sewer worker, best friend to Kramden
Audrey Meadows (1922-1996)
-Alice Gibson Kramden, Ralph's long suffering but loyal wife of many years
Joyce Randolph (1924- )
-Trixie Norton, Ed's less patient but loving wife. At the time of this posting, Randolph is still with us at age 88.
The Gleason Players and Supporting Cast:
Jack Lescoulie (1917-1987)
George O. Petrie (1912-1997)
Ethel Owen (1893-1997)
Zamah Cunningham (1892-1967)
Anne Seymour (1909-1988)
Rita Colton (1927-2007)
Charles Eggleston (1882-1958)
Luis Van Rooten (1906-1973)
Cliff Hall (1894-1972)
Dick Bernie (1907-1971)
John Gibson (1905-1971)
Eddie Hanley (1904-1997)
At the time of this writing, Frank Marth (1922- ) is still with us.
*yesterday there was an error on the birthday list, the subject of today's post was born on 2/21 not 2/20*
Born: February 21, 1934
A character actress who tackled stage, screen and television. As a regular cast member she could be seen on "Maude", "Mama's Family", "The Golden Girls" and "The Golden Palace." As a guest star she appeared on several television shows including "The Love Boat", "Alice", "Mannix", "Columbo", "Newhart", "Fantasy Island", "Charles in Charge", "Gimme a Break!", "Lou Grant", "Murphy Brown", "Burke's Law" (60's and 90's version), "Murder, She Wrote", Boy Meets World" and "Law & Order."
February 19, 2013 marks the 44th anniversary of this lady's passing.
Born: May 31, 1899
She was a very busy character actor in Hollywood in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. She appeared in numerous films however most of her appearances were uncredited. 1952's Singin' in the Rain featured her as Dora Bailey, once again an uncredited but memorable part. Some other film appearances include The Long, Long Trailer and Please Murder Me.
On television she made appearances on several programs including "Racket Squad", "Beulah", "The Public Defender", "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show", "The Ray Milland Show", "Four Star Playhouse", "Cavalcade of America", "Private Secretary", "December Bride", "G.E.True Theater", "Lassie", "Bachelor Father", "The Bob Cummings Show", "Dennis the Menace", "The Gale Storm Show", "Date with the Angels", "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet", "The Donna Reed Show", "Angel", "Make Room for Daddy", "Dr. Kildare", "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre", "The Addams Family", "The Lucy Show", "Bewitched", "The Dick Van Dyke Show", "Burke's Law", "My Favorite Martian", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "The Smothers Brothers", "Mannix" and "Gomer Pyle: USMC."
Between 1955 and 1964 she made 7 appearances on "The Jack Benny Program" as Jack's fan club president. "I Love Lucy" fans will recognize her as Mrs. Mulford, owner of Lucy's favorite hat shop in the episode "Ricky Loses His Temper" and as Martha, a perspective tenant of the Mertzes in the episode "Lucy and Superman." Between 1958 and 1960 she appeared in 11 episodes of "Leave it to Beaver" as Mrs. Margaret Mondello. She made 21 appearances as Flora MacMichael on "The Real McCoys" between 1957 and 1963. During the 1961-1962 television season she played Mrs. Barnes in 20 episodes of "The Joey Bishop Show."
In 1965 she was cast as Mrs. Harriet Cooper, the dotty aunt of Dick Grayson (Burt Ward), the youthful ward to millionaire Bruce Wayne (Adam West) on the action series "Batman." Along with Adam West and Burt Ward as the caped crimefighters the cast also included Alan Napier as Alfred, the Wayne Butler, Neil Hamilton as Police Commissioner Gordon and Stafford Repp as Police Chief O'Hara. "Batman" began on January 12, 1966 and was an immediate success. Aunt Harriet was a very loyal supporter of Batman and Robin and sometimes she found herself menaced by their rogues gallery. In addition to being kidnapped by Zelda (Anne Baxter) she also encountered The Joker (Cesar Romero), Mr. Freeze (Otto Preminger), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), The Clock King (Walter Slezak) and The Catwoman (Julie Newmar). Her trademark expression whenever trouble arose was always "Mercy Alive!"
Aunt Harriet found herself as a target of the villainous Chandell (Liberace) and his twin brother Harry (also Liberace) in the episodes "The Devil's Fingers" and "The Dead Ringers" who were out to acquire her fortune. In the episode "Marsha, Queen of Diamonds" the Queen (Carolyn Jones) kidnaps Robin, Gordon and O'Hara and blackmails Batman into marrying her. Alfred and Aunt Harriet leap into action with Alfred pretending to be a lawyer and Aunt Harriet pretending to be the long lost 1st wife of Batman. Marsha is shocked that Batman would be a bigamist and flees. By the end of the series Aunt Harriet had appeared in 84 episodes. She appeared only twice during the final season due to health issues. Her last mention is in the episode "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time" when Bruce and Dick are kidnapped by Louie, the Lilac (Milton Berle) and Alfred tells the reporters that Mrs. Cooper is in shock upstairs.
She passed away on February 19, 1969 following a heart attack. Her final two projects aired after her death. She appeared in an episode of "The Doris Day Show" which aired on March 11, 1969 and she also appeared in a TV movie "Hastings Corner" which aired on January 14, 1970.
It is very important to remember the character actors of yesteryear. They were the backbone of the finest productions we ever had the honor of watching.
The ultimate TV western aired on CBS television from 1955 to 1975 and produced over 600 episodes.
James Arness (1923-2011)
Milburn Stone (1904-1980)
-Dr. Galen "Doc" Adams
Amanda Blake (1929-1989)
Ken Curtis (1916-1991)
Dennis Weaver (1924-2006)
Bert Ramsey (1892-1974) -Sam Noonan, the Bartender #1
Glenn Strange (1899-1973)
-Sam Noonan, the Bartender #2
Pat Hingle (1924-2009)
-Dr. John Chapman (6 episodes - 1971)
**filling in for Milburn Stone who had suffered a heart attack
Fran Ryan (1916-2000)
-Miss Hannah (5 eps), Mrs. Keller (1 eps)
Burt Reynolds who played Quint is still alive at the time of this writing
The show had MANY MANY MANY famous guest stars duing its 20 years run, big celebrities and several well known character actors. Just to name a few, Doris Singleton, Jim Davis, William Windom, Herb Vigran, Jeanette Nolan and many many more.
Please excuse my ignorance with regard to the show, I have only seen it a few times but my research over the years has always pointed out its importance and significance in television history.
"Batman" was on the air from January 1966 until March 1968 and during its two year run it produced 120 episodes. The stars of the show, the terrific trio Adam West (84), Burt Ward (67) and Yvonne Craig (75) are still with us at the time of this post. They were Batman, Robin and Batgirl, respectively. The following is a list of performers who made up their team of allies.
*Blake was only with the show during seasons 1 & 2 before illness forced her departure. She appeared in 2 season 3 episodes ("Ring Around the Riddler" and "The Bloody Tower") and was mentioned once in the episode "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time."
Davis Lewis (1916-2000)
-Warden Crichton, took care of Gotham State Prison (9 episodes)
Byron Keith (1917-1996)
-Mayor Linseed, Mayor of Gotham City (10 episodes)
"Our Miss Brooks" began on radio in the late 1940's with Eve Arden in the title role. The show moved to television in 1952 and finally audience could see what the wacky Madison High School looked like.
Eve Arden (1908-1990)
-Miss Constance "Connie" Brooks, English Teacher
Gale Gordon (1906-1995)
-Mr. Osgood P. Conklin, Principal of Madison High School
Jane Morgan (1890-1972)
-Mrs. Margaret Davis, Connie's widowed landlady
Robert Rockwell (1920-2003)
-Mr. Philip Boynton, Biology Teacher
Richard Crenna (1926-2003)
-Walter Denton, Student
Mary Jane Croft (1916-1999)
-Miss Daisy Enright, English Teacher & Rival to Miss Brooks
Paula Winslowe (1910-1996)
-Mrs. Martha Conklin, Mr. Conklin's wife
Virginia Gordon (wife of Gale Gordon) also played Mrs. Conklin in a handful of episodes
Bob Sweeney (1918-1992)
-Oliver Munsey in 30 episodes
Gerald Mohr (1914-1968)
-Jacques Monet, French Teacher
Gene Barry (1919-2009)
-Mr. Gene Talbot, Gym Teacher
Joseph Kearns (1907-1962)
-Mr. Edgar T. Stone, Superintendent
at the time of this writing Gloria McMillan (Harriet Conklin, Mr. Conklin's daughter) and Leonard Smith (Fabian "Stretch" Snodgrass, dense football player) are still alive both in their late 70's.
Across the decades of classic film, television and radio there have been so many stars that shined brightly into our lives. Whether they've scared us, fooled us, or made us fall in love with them we always knew that they would be there forever. So many great stars have left us over the years but thanks to the magic of technology they will never truly be gone. To paraphrase the great Bob Hope, God may have them now but thanks to movies and television we'll have them forever.