Friday, November 24, 2023

Jerome Lawrence

Jerome Lawrence was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio; his parents, Samuel and Sarah, were a printer and a poet. Lawrence left Cleveland for Columbus in the early 1930s, where he studied at the Ohio State University and earned a bachelor's degree in 1937. In the short year after graduation, Lawrence held two newspaper jobs in small Ohio towns before heading off to Beverly Hills, where he worked until 1939 as a radio station continuity editor. He began graduate studies at UCLA when his radio job ended, but took a position as a senior staff writer at CBS at the same time; the job eventually eclipsed his education. Lawrence stayed with CBS, working in both New York and Los Angeles, until 1942, when he served in the army during World War II. While enlisted, Lawrence served as a correspondent, was promoted to staff sergeant, and earned a battle star from the secretary of war. He also helped found the Armed Forces Radio Service with friend and business partner Robert E. Lee.

Robert E. Lee was born not far from Jerome Lawrence, in a distant suburb of Cleveland called Elyria. His mother, Elvira, was a teacher, and his father, Claire, was an engineer. In 1934, Lee left home for Northwestern University in Chicago, where he studied for one year. In 1935, he resumed studies closer to home, at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, and also took a job as a technician at a local observatory; but, after just two years, Lee left both behind. He took a directing job at a Cleveland radio station but was drawn once again to higher education, and spent a year at Cleveland's Western Reserve University.

He again left school for work this time for a job at an ad agency in New York City. In 1942, Lee enlisted in the air force; while there, he gave one last attempt at college and studied for a year at Drake University. But earning a higher degree was never meant to be; while in service, Lee cofounded the Armed Forces Radio Service with Jerome Lawrence.

Though their first play, Laugh, God! was published in 1939, Lee and Lawrence did not form an official partnership until 1942, at the beginning of their tours of duty. By the time both men were released in 1945, they had already published their second collaboration -- Inside a Kid's Head. The pair wrote and produced two more plays over the next decade, but their careers as playwrights really took off in 1955 with Inherit the Wind, the story of one of the first teachers who dared to teach Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The play was wildly successful and, the same year as its release, the pair formed Lawrence and Lee, Inc.

From there Lawrence and Lee went on to write over thirty different plays, one-act operas, and musicals. Two of their works included the popular Auntie Mame, about the adventures of a fascinating woman who lived life to its fullest, and The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, about "Thoreau's imprisonment for tax evasion based on moral reasons."

Lawrence and Lee collaborated on four different screenplays, numerous television and radio shows, and even books; they have won countless awards, including two lifetime achievement awards, two Peabody Awards, and two Tonys between them.

They continued writing, directing, and producing plays through the 1990s, as evidenced by Lee's comment: "We are lovers of the living theatre and intend to continue working and living in it." Both men also found time to teach and lecture at schools and universities the world over, cofound the American Playwrights Theater in Columbus, Ohio, and cofound the Margo Jones Award.

Lawrence never married, had no children and lived at home in Malibu, California; Lee married actress Janet Waldo in 1948 and together, they had two children. He served for twenty years as an "adjunct professor of playwriting at UCLA and served on the Executive Writers Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences." He died of cancer July 8, 1994, the same year that his and Lawrence's final play, Whisper in the Mind, received its professional premiere. Lawrence died in 2004.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

A date with Judy

A date with Judy was firstly served as replacement for Bob Hope's show, It was teenage sitcom that aired on NBC and ABC from 1941 to 1950. The story was about the life of teenager named Judy Foster, played by actresses Ann Gillis (1941), Dennie Ellis (1942), and Louis Erickson (1943-1950). The show also had different sponsors at different periods, which include Bristol Myers, Tums, Ford Motors, and Revere Cameras.
At first, the show was played every summer, from June to September. However, since the audience, particularly the teens, could very much relate to Judy's problems at school, with her parents, and love life, the show grew very popular. As a result, in 1944, it started to be heard all-year round, and lasted for seven more years, with the final episode broadcast on May 25, 1950.
A Date with Judy was also adapted for the big screen on 1948 starring Jane Powell for the lead role, along with Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Stack, Carmen Miranda, and Wallace Beery as her co-stars. A comic book adaptation was also released by the National Periodical Publications.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Eve Arden

Eve Arden (Mill Valley, California, April 30, 1908 – Los Angeles, November 12, 1990) was an Emmy Award-winning American actress. Her real name was Eunice Quedens. There are different stories about how he adopted his stage name; The most repeated one points out that she chose "Arden" for the perfume brand and "Eve" for the abbreviation of the name of one of them, Evening in Paris. Arden developed a long career in film, television and radio, achieving resounding success in all areas.

Probably the most famous teacher ever on radio, Connie Brooks was a wonderful combination of sincere and smart, and Eve Arden played her perfectly. From the very beginning of the radio run in 1948, Our Miss Brooks became a favorite of women, high school kids and parents across the nation.

As she taught English on the show, it made perfect sense that she had the funny lines. Eve Arden's timing and delivery made her one of the best radio and television comedians, and she's fondly remembered by her many fans. Teachers across the country related to Our Miss Brooks Arden received thousands of letters from teachers relating their own frustrating experiences. She was even offered teaching jobs, which she turned down. 
Teaching English was no cup of tea for Our Miss Brooks . First on the list of characters was Mr. Osgood Conklin, the principal. Again, the casting of the show was perfect, as Mr. Conklin was the great character actor Gale Gordon (though initially Joe Forte). Those who heard the show know Mr. Conklin was a perfect foil for the witty Miss Brooks. He was the perfect type A, bossy and irascible character, like Dagwood's boss and Archie's principal. Also a favorite was the loveably goofy Walter Denton. The later star of TV's The Real McCoysRichard Crenna did Walter as a kid very much like Henry Aldrich.

In cinema, she mainly played secondary roles, usually playing the faithful friend of the protagonist, in roles of an independent, sarcastic woman, as a critical counterpoint to the action. Already in one of his first roles for the big screen he gave the image that he would later perfect, it is his character in Ladies of the Theater, always back from everything, and with his cat in tow, who in the end will give him a surprise. In 1937, he worked alongside Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn in the film (considered today a classic) Ladies of the Theater. In 1939, he worked alongside Groucho Marx in An Afternoon at the Circus, hilarious in a head-down scene glued to the ceiling. In 1945, along with Joan Crawford, she starred in Alma en Suplicio, a role for which she was nominated for an Oscar, without winning. One of his most important roles, although in a little-known film, but to be claimed, was in Goodbye, my fancy (Goodbye, my fancy) in 1951, again with Joan Crawford, and with a clear subtext against the witch hunt. of McCarthy, which took place in those years. In 1956, she brought her radio character, Miss Brooks, to the screen in the film Our Miss Brooks, which would later also be brought to television. In 1959, he appeared alongside James Stewart and another great character actor, Arthur O'Connell, in Otto Preminger's famous film, Anatomy of a Murder. In 1966 she played Nurse Kelton in the episode And Then There Were Three of the series Bewitched. In the show she assists Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) after Tabitha's birth. For younger generations of moviegoers, however, she is best remembered as the high school principal in Grease (1978), which she would later repeat in the sequel Grease II (1982). He died in Los Angeles of a heart attack on November 12, 1990. His remains are in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. However, in Taylor Holland's biography it is mentioned that she committed suicide by jumping from a boat, which is why actress Taylor replaces her in the characterization of a character in a play Moose Murders.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Our Miss Brooks

Our Miss Brooks was a hit on radio from the outset; within eight months of its launch as a regular series, the show landed several honors, including four for Eve Arden, who won polls in four individual publications of the time. Arden had actually been the third choice to play the title role. Harry Ackerman, at the time CBS's West Coast director of programming, wanted Shirley Booth for the part, but as he told historian Gerald Nachman many years later, he realized Booth was too focused on the underpaid downside of public school teaching at the time to have fun with the role. Lucille Ball was believed to have been the next choice, but she was committed to My Favorite Husband and did not audition. CBS then-chairman Bill Paley, who was friendly with Arden, persuaded her to audition for the part. With a slightly rewritten audition script—Osgood Conklin, for example, was originally written as a school board president, but was now written as the incoming new Madison principal—Arden agreed to give the newly revamped show a try.

Produced by Larry Berns and written by director Al Lewis, Our Miss Brooks premiered on CBS on July 19, 1948. According to radio critic John Crosby, her lines were very "feline" in dialogue scenes with principal Conklin and would-be boyfriend Boynton, with sharp, witty comebacks. The interplay between the cast—blustery Conklin, nebbishy Denton, accommodating Harriet, absentminded Mrs. Davis, clueless Boynton, and scheming Miss Enright—also received positive reviews.

Jeff Chandler played Boynton and stayed with the role for five years, even after becoming a movie star. He ultimately resigned because it was too exhausting to juggle a regular radio role with his film commitments. Others in the cast included Anne Whitfield as Conklin's daughter, Harriet.

For its entire radio life, the show was sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive-Peet, promoting Palmolive soap, Lustre Creme shampoo, and Toni hair-care products. The radio series continued until 1957, a year after its television life ended. 

Our Miss Brooks remained Eve Arden's most identifiable and popular role, with numerous surviving recordings of both the radio and television versions continuing to entertain listeners and viewers. 

Jerome Lawrence

Jerome Lawrence was born and raised in   Cleveland , Ohio; his parents, Samuel and Sarah, were a printer and a poet. Lawrence left Cleveland...