Saturday, April 30, 2016
She was Our Miss Brooks; she played a pickpocket in The Marx Brothers flick At The Circus; and for an encore, turned in memorable performances as the wacky high school principal in Grease and its sequel. Eve Arden, born on this day in 1908, was multi-talented and loved by millions for her roles in radio, TV, and film.
The lovely strawberry blonde began her show biz career on the stage, as a teenager. But before long she was on the silver screen, finding a niche as the sidekick, witty and wise-cracking. Her prolific late-30's film output inlcuded Oh, Doctor, Stage Door, Cocoanut Grove, and Having Wonderful Time.
In 1948, after nearly two decades fighting in the show business trenches as a comic character actress, Arden landed a starring role, that of high school teacher Connie Brooks in Our Miss Brooks.
The literature teacher was likeable--in fact, praised by organizations of actual teachers--a strong female character who stood up to the shenanigans of the sketchy Principal Conklin (Gale Gordon). She was sarcastic rather than ditzy or bubbly, and rather than being hit on by her male colleagues, she was the one doing the hitting, repeatedly trying to snag the attention of the bio teacher, Mr. Boynton (Jeff Chandler).
The show succeeded on the radio and succeeded in its television guise, which ran from 1952-57.
Eve Arden's given name was Eunice Queens, and legend has it that the Arden came from a fortuitously-placed jar of Elizabeth Arden hand cream.
She died in 1990, and was posthumously inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
We salute the 1891 birth of Dear John star, Irene Rich. Rich's co-star was Gale Gordon, star of Our Miss Brooks, and the show was broadcast Sunday nights on the Columbia Network.
The flapper was a frequent contributor of Will Rogers, starring in such silent films as The Strange Boarder and Jes' Call Me Jim.
Share your cherished memories of Ms.Rich in our "comments" section!
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Sunday, November 30, 2014
If anyone had the acting prowess to change characterizations over the years, that was embodied in Richard Crenna. Born November 30, 1926, Crenna started his early years as a character actor for radio, eventually moving on to film and television. He grew up in Los Angeles and served his tour of duty as a radio operator in WWII. Upon his return after the conflict, Crenna attended college and took up acting. Richard Crenna began his radio legacy on The Great Gildersleeve as Walter “Bronco” Thompson. He played that role for 9 years, 1948-1957. His stimulus as a comic actor carried him over to do a duel run on another radio program from 1948 to 1952, as Walter Denton on Our Miss Brooks. His portrayal as the affable and naive Mr Denton played well in attracting him handle television roles in similar character positions. He performed on the I Love Lucy program and George and Gracie. In both guest star roles Crenna hit his mark as a “lacking worldly wisdom, but sure willing to learn” framework teenager. As he grew older and developed his skills, Richard Crenna starting playing rougher characters...most remembered as the iron-hide Colonel on the Rambo movies. During Richard Crenna's work on Judging Amy (2003), Richard Crenna passed away of a heart attack. For all the talent in Hollywood, very few actors have possessed the dimensional abilities that belonged to Richard Crenna.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
On Our Miss Brooks, Mrs. Brooks interacted with the bio teacher, Mr. Boynton (Jeff Chandler), Principal Conklin (Gale Gordon), and Walter Denton, one of her wacky students, played by Richard Crenna.
For her efforts, Eve Arden won a Radio Mirror magazine readers' poll for best comedienne of 1948-49.
Though her own series was her claim to fame, Arden also guested on The Danny Kaye Show, and The Lux Radio Theater.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
December 26: Happy Birthday, Steve Allen
Born December 26th, 1921, Steve Allen was an American television personality, actor, and comedian best known for the Steve Allen Show.
Our Miss Brooks, exposing him to a national audience for the first time in his career.
Making the leap to TV, Allen helped to create the Tonight Show with Sylvester “Pat” Weaver. Several years later, NBC offered him his own prime time slot that would compete with The Ed Sullivan Show. Unfortunately, the TV Western Maverick was often able to best both Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen in audience size.
Allen passed away on October 30th, 2000 from a massive heart attack. He now has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for radio, and one for television.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Aug 30: Happy Birthday, Shirley Booth!
Shirley Booth played the role of "Mrs Duffy" in the old time radio comedy, Duffy's Tavern and appeared in classic old time radio shows including Cavalcade of America, Fred Allen Show, Royal Gelatin Hour, Our Miss Brooks, Kate Smith, Theater Guild of the Air, and UN Story.