TAC Table of Contents
She was born Joyce Rae Brown at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her birth year has deviated depending on whom reported it; however, Joseph Dougherty's book Comfort and Joi lists it as April 6, 1928. Her father, Jack Glenn Brown, was a shoe salesman, and her mother, Virginia Grace Shupe Brown, was a housewife. Both parents were devout Mormons. When Joyce turned twelve, her parents relocated to Los Angeles.
As of June 1949, she became one of the Goldwyn Girls, a musical stock company for female dancers whom Samuel Goldwyn employed. Ms. Lansing was in good company, for the likes of Lucille Ball, Paulette Goddard, Betty Grable, Ann Sothern, Jane Wyman, Virginia Bruce, Virginia Grey and even Virginia Mayo were also Goldwyn Girls during their career formation. Still, Joi was not taken seriously as an actress and most of her parts were uncredited where she was more like window dressing.
When MGM dropped her contract, she decided to take a break from films and concentrated once more on her modeling career. She appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1949. And from Joseph Dougherty's biography, Comfort and Joi:
In 1950, she entered and won the Miss Hollywood Beauty Contest and toured U.S. Armed Forces bases in Japan, Europe and North Africa. As a freelance actress she moved between major studio productions and low-budget pictures in what became a life-long pattern. There was also a return to modeling assignments.
When getting a modeling or an occasional acting job, Ms. Lansing was often cast in similar roles as Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren, many times her rivals for roles. As one site stated, "She was a gorgeous platinum blonde in the tradition of Monroe, Mansfield, and Van Doren but she was nowhere near as popular." Her costumes and bikinis accentuated her figure, while little or no attention was paid to her acting. Joi was never truly afforded the opportunity to showcase her acting ability, and therefore, was not given the lead in any film. The male movie goers would only remember her for her physical attributes. As Dougherty stated in his book:
Prettier than Mansfield, more stable than Monroe, Joi Lansing soldiered on in the trenches, an affordable third choice for a role, often becoming the only memorable thing in the movies that surrounded her, where the size of her billing was inversely proportionate to the budget.
Lansing almost landed roles in All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle, both in 1950 but lost out to newcomer Marilyn Monroe. Still, the decade of the 1950's did afford her more opportunities to be seen on the big screen.
In 1951 she played better minor roles. She was Susan Matthews in FBI Girl (1951) and Marilyn Turner in On the Riviera (1951) where her characters actually had names. During this time she changed the spelling of her name from Joy to Joi. Television brought new opportunities and she managed to get out of bit parts for a while. Ms. Lansing proved she could handle light comedy in her role as model Shirley Swanson in The Bob Cummings Show from 1956-1959.
This led to a few more substantial parts in films such as The Brave One, Hot Cars (Dabbs Greer was among the cast), and So You Think the Grass Is Greener, all in 1956. That same year, Joi was cast with the Bowery Boys and Robert Shayne in Hot Shots.
Once again though, Ms. Lansing continued to appear in "B" movies with less than quality roles like Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958) as a dancer and the sci-fi flick, Queen of Outer Space (1958). Her scene lasted about 3-4 minutes - she kissed an astronaut good-bye before takeoff , and as he left she was blowing kisses to him, and the camera focused on her facial expressions as the rocket was getting ready to launch. It was also during this time that she starred and sang in the Scopitone video-jukebox musical films. Her 1960's films repeated the same pattern starting with Inside Magoo (1960) - narrated by Marvin Miller (Michael Anthony of The Millionaire), Jim Backus as Mr. Magoo, Jeff Corey as the doctor, and Joi Lansing as the nurse and The Atomic Submarine (1960). That same year, she appeared in Who Was That Lady, a comedy with an all-star cast including Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, Janet Leigh, and James Whitmore though her one scene clearly showed her as a sexy blonde bombshell. In 1964, Louella Parsons reported that Joi would interrupt her nightclub performances to star opposite George Hamilton and Geraldine Chaplin for producers Stanley Todd and John Shelton in Project 22. It was to be filmed outside the United States for international release; however, the movie was never made. Marriage on the Rocks followed in 1965, probably due to her long standing relationship with Frank Sinatra. In 1967, she appeared in Hillybillys in a Haunted House opposite Ferlin Husky, Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney, Jr., Merle Haggard and John Carradine. This film was a sad commentary for Rathbone, Chaney and Carradine who had left their mark with so many memorable films. This film didn't do much for Ms. Lansing's career either, although it did give her a chance to showcase her singing. One reviewer hit the nail on the head when he stated that she was "mainly hired for her looks" and that "most of her movies were laden with cheesiness". Clearly, her measurements and beauty were the reason why she was cast by producers and directors. Her last film was Bigfoot (1970), was to be the last time in film that she would be scantily clad, although, for many, that was the highlight and/or main reason why the film was seen at all.
While the big screen hadn't brought Ms. Lansing much luck, television afforded her more opportunities to be seen. Throughout her career, she appeared in fifty-one different TV series. Racket Squad, Gang Busters, The Lone Wolf, Four Star Playhouse, The Ford Television Theatre, The Star and the Story, Cavalcade of America, Celebrity Playhouse, Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre, Noah's Ark, Playhouse 90, Perry Mason, Mike Hammer, Adventures of Superman, The Thin Man, Sea Hunt, Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, Richard Diamond - Private Detective, The Untouchables, and Mr. Lucky (last episode of the series) were most of the dramas in which she made an appearance. Joi was no stranger to westerns either being seen in Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Sugarfoot, Maverick, Bat Masterson, and Rawhide. Her resumé contained many comedies like Meet Corliss Archer, So This Is Hollywood, It's a Great Life, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Gale Storm Show, December Bride, The People's Choice, The Jack Benny Program, The Bob Cummings Show, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Joey Bishop Show, Petticoat Junction, and The Beverly Hillbillies. She once stated that Ozzie Nelson had the greatest sex appeal of any actor with whom she worked. The two played a love scene in Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre. Ms. Lansing was sometimes referred to as television's version of Marilyn Monroe. How tragic that what may have possibly been her best role was to be the least-seen -- as the leading lady in The Fountain of Youth, directed by Orson Welles in 1956 and a Peabody Award-winning television pilot unsold for Desilu. It was broadcast once for the Colgate Theatre two years later. The half-hour film may still be available for public viewing at the Paley Center for Media in New York City and Los Angeles.
Of all the shows, she is best remembered for three recurring characters: 1) as Shirley Swanson in The Bob Cummings Show, aka Love That Bob (1956-1959) - this show did in fact prove that that she could act; 2) Goldie in the short-lived Klondike; and 3) Gladys Flatt in The Beverly Hillbillies. One review of her appearances stated: "Joi always filled out her clothes pretty well on the show and although she could act most of the times, you'll sit there in front of the screen going "Ga! Ga! Ga!" But seriously she was funny in a cute sort of way and didn't play an airhead bimbo."
Another favorite sighting of the men, though only seen once, was her portrayal of Sgt. Helen J. O'Hara in the Adventures of Superman. It would be hard enough for a human male to not be affected by this face that could have launched a thousand ships just like Helen of Troy. One could hardly blame the Man of Steel for proposing to her, even if it was on the same day of meeting for the first time. Of course, as we come to realize later on, this was all a ploy to draw Mr. X out in the open by using O'Hara as bait. This episode did have a bit of humor in it - ranging from the shocked reaction of Inspector Henderson having his top detective soon to be wedded to Superman, to seeing firsthand that Lois Lane did have romantic feelings toward Superman. While Joi acted more like a model in the episode, she was pleasing to the eyes and rendered the first competition of Lois for Superman's affections.
Her film career had virtually ended as of 1965, but some sources indicate that it was the actor's strike during the 1960's that caused Joi to dive right in to her singing career. She was booked in nightclubs and dinner theaters starting with the Living Room Club in New York. From there she appeared in the Cork Club of Houston, Texas, the Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida, Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, the Copa, and the Persian Terrace of the Hotel Syracuse in New York City. In May of that same year, Ms. Lansing cut her first record album - a collection of songs written especially for her by composer Jimmie Haskel and actress Stella Stevens. As of April 1965, she became a top nightclub act.
In January 1963, she attended dancing classes for charity, conducted by singer-dancer Eartha Kitt. The proceeds from the classes were donated to the Syanon House, a non-profit organization in Santa Monica dealing with drug addiction. In May 1963, Lansing appeared in Falcon Frolics '63. The broadcast honored the men stationed at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Santa Barbara County. In June, 1966 Joi sent a wire to then Senator Everett Dirksen, famous for his baritone, asking him to record some duets with her. She became one of the favorite pinup models of the Vietnam War, and was named "Miss Armed Forces Day of the World" for 1967. Ms. Lansing appeared in the stage version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in Memphis, 1968. Joi Lansing practiced yoga for relaxation, and did not drink or smoke.
Joi Lansing seemed, to borrow the phrase from a song, "looking for love in all the wrong places." She had married a very young man at age 17, but, the couple ended up divorcing within a year or two. In March 1950 she and then western sales manager for Columbia pictures, Jerry Safron eloped to Acapulco, however, the marriage was annulled four months later because Safron was not yet divorced from his first wife. The following year, Lansing eloped to Las Vegas with fellow actor Lance Fuller. They met while working on the set of Singin' in the Rain where Joi portrayed one of Gene Kelly's admirers. Fuller was recruited by the Army and this marriage ended in divorce by 1954. In August 1960, Joi tried again for wedded bliss to her finance manager, Stan Todd. While they separated in the mid-60's, they remained friends for the remainder of her life and never divorced.
In 1970 the actress was diagnosed with breast cancer and surgery for removal of the tumor. Joi recuperated, but two years later the cancer returned. Joi Lansing died on August 7th, 1972 at St. John's Hospital, in Santa Monica, CA and was buried in Santa Paula Cemetery in Ventura County. It was rumored that Frank Sinatra paid her medical expenses after her death. Throughout her life, her name and photo were linked with Mickey Rooney, George Raft, Arthur Loew, Jr., Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra and George Jessel.
How tragic that this woman, who had been so typecast as nothing
more than a beautiful face and body, could only demonstrate her
acting, singing and dancing abilities toward the end of her career.
In her own words, Miss Lansing told Charles Champlin, reporter
for the Los Angeles Times (Feb. 24, 1967):
Margaret Mitchells famous novel Gone with the Wind at Tara plantation with Southern belles aplenty was the embodiment of traditional Southern hospitality and lifestyle. The women of that era and beyond in both the North and South were groomed from an early age to become great ladies of genteel demeanor with special attention paid to social protocols. Our most recent Lady of TAOS, Elizabeth Patterson was a Southern product of this environment. Almira Sessions, on the other hand, was a Northern counterpart. Born September 16, 1888 in Washington, D.C. as Almira (Almyra) De Camp Sessions, she was the first daughter of Irone Hancock and a Mr. Sessions. Very little was known of her father except that he and Irone had three children Almira, her sister, Elizabeth (Bessie), and a third child who died at an early age. Almira had been accustomed to being around military men as her great uncle was General Winfield Scott Hancock, who received top honors from the Union army during the Civil War. He was also once considered as a presidential candidate to oppose James Garfield.
Miss Sessions mother married Marine Lt. Colonel, Benjamin Reeves Russell in 1902. His family was very prominent and distinguished in Washington society. This was the man who became the father figure to Almira and Bessie. In 1906, at the age of 18, Almira made her first public appearance:
Mrs. Benjamin Reeves Russell was hostess at a delightful tea yesterday afternoon, when her daughter, Miss Almira DeCamp Sessions, was formally present to society. The drawing rooms were prettily decorated in pink roses, carnations, palms and ferns. .
As with Elizabeth Patterson, Ms. Sessions disregarded any thought of scandal when she sang comic songs in vaudeville. She traveled to New York in 1909 where she debuted in a comic opera as the wife of The Sultan of Sulu. She appeared on the Mainstage of the National Theater in 1911 for The Girl in the Train. Publicly, the family had accepted her career choice, but privately, her mother was against it. When Bessie, the younger Sessions girl wanted to follow in her sisters footsteps, she was met with opposition from both mom and stepdad:
Stepdaughter of Lieut Col. Benjamin Reeves Russell, USMC, retired who resides at 1616 Eighteenth St NW Bessie is 19. When my other daughter, Almyra went on the stage, it was a different matter. She went with my consent with good reasons, for she has a good voice and it was with the idea of developing her voice that she joined musical comedy. Besides that she was older than Bessie and was able to take care of herself
A follow up article appeared the very next day in which Almiras mother told the press that this was just a passing phase for her daughter:
My other daughter, Alymra, who is playing in Columbus with the Valerie Bergerre Company, has also had enough of the state and has decided to give it up. She will finish her contract about the middle of May and then we are going to have one long family love feast.
For Almira, though, this was anything but a whim or passing fancy. She preferred the accolades of stage performances rather than the reserved politeness of high society. Some of her shows were given for social causes with church sponsorship. Such was the case when she was part of the war risk insurance bureau. Almira sang several solos and joined the chorus in others before a crowd of soldiers and their sweethearts. There is a gap for any information on her whereabouts from 1918 until 1932 when she appeared as Miss Knickerbocker in Chamberlain Brown's Scrap Book. The cast also included Valerie Bergere and Pierre Watkins. She was cast in a local Washington project, Going Native in which she was one of the highlights of the show:
and Almira Sessions, their revues principal comedienne, has been a strange fixture for years with her angular impersonations of off key prima-donnae. Their individual and joint triumphs are complete and unequivocal.
She appeared in Ethan Frome (1936) with Ruth Gordon and Raymond Massey, White Horse Inn (1937) costarring with Kitty Carlisle and Arlene Francis, Curtain Call (1937) on Broadway, Shadow and Substance (1938) also on Broadway with Cedric Hardwicke, and Yokel Boy (1939-40) with costars Judy Canova, Buddy Ebsen, and Phil Silvers.
By 1940, Almiras repertoire in the theater was well established. This was to be the year when she ventured into another entertainment venue that of radio. She had a regular spot on Bob Hopes radio program as Cobina, one of two highly exaggerated man-hungry spinsters. Ms. Sessions made her film debut in a picture taken from George M. Cohans play, Little Nellie Kelly with Judy Garland, George Murphy, Arthur Shields and Pat OMalley. From 1940-50, she became one of the busiest actresses in the decade appearing in 74 films. Among them were the notables: Dixie Jamboree (Frances Langford, Lyle Talbot); The Heats On (Mae West, Lloyd Bridges); Sun Valley Serenade (Sonja Henie, John Payne, Milton Berle); My Sister Eileen (Rosalind Russell, Janet Blair, Elizabeth Patterson, Kirk Alyn, Ann Doran, Three Stooges, Arnold Stang, Forrest Tucker); The Ox-Bow Incident (Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Dana Andrews and many others); Its A Wonderful Life (James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore); and The Bishops Wife (Loretta Young, David Niven, Cary Grant). In an MGM film based on the Hatfield/McCoy feud, Almira also appeared in Rosanna McCoy (Farley Granger, Raymond Massey, Richard Basehart) along with child stars, Gigi Perreau, Peter Miles, and William Mauch. While her parts were usually limited to very small bits, or even uncredited efforts, Almira had a few moments to shine onscreen, like her portrayal as an outraged in-law in Charlie Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux (1947).
From 1950-60 she was still seen in films, although she turned her attention elsewhere. Her movies included Harvey (James Stewart, Jesse White, Fess Parker, Maudie Prickett), Oh, Susanna (Sarah Padden, Ellanora Needles, Carol Forman, Rod Cameron, Chill Wills, Jim Davis); The Blue Gardenia (uncredited); Rebel Without a Cause (James Dean, Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and many others); and The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (Debbie Reynolds, Bobby Van). One of her last films of this era was The Badlanders (Alan Ladd, Ernest Borgnine, Anthony Caruso, Ann Doran).
Her final films during the 1960-70 years included Firecreek (James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Inger Stevens); Rosemarys Baby (Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer); The Boston Strangler (Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy, Sally Kellerman); The Over-the-Hill Gang (Walter Brennan, Edgar Buchanan, Andy Devine, Pat OBrien, Jack Elam, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ricky Nelson); and Willard (Bruce Davison, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Borgnine).
As of 1950, Almira ventured into the new world of the small, boxed entertainment known as television. Her maiden voyage was in two episodes of Ralph Byrds Dick Tracy series. She quickly followed up with two episodes of The Lone Ranger. She appeared in many viewer favorites for the next decade which included, The Adventures of Kit Carson, Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Gene Autry, The Adventures of Superman, The Cisco Kid, I Married Joan, Hopalong Cassidy, The Public Defender, The Loretta Young Show, Annie Oakley, Tales of the Texas Rangers, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, Cheyenne, Bachelor Father, Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Dusty Drawer),and Walt Disneys Wonderful World of Color. It was in the Spring Byington vehicle, December Bride that she had a somewhat recurring role as Elsie, the neighbor. She was also cast in one of her many uncredited roles as Mrs. Mergatroyd in Abbott and Costellos musical, Jack and the Beanstalk, and featured among the cast, David Stollery (Adventures of Spin and Marty), Mel Blanc, and Arthur Shields.
To say that Ms. Sessions was a workhorse would be an understatement. In the ten years that followed from 1960-70, she continued to guest star in ten more television series which included The Donna Reed Show, The Ann Southern Show, The Munsters, F Troop, Laredo, The Andy Griffith Show, Marcus Welby, M.D., and Night Gallery (The House). Her F Troop cameo (Old Iron Pants) appeared at the end when she and several elderly mail order brides arrived for the soldiers at Fort Courage. Returning to her vaudeville and theatrical roots, in 1962, she co-starred in Suzuki Beane, one of the pilot episodes produced for a proposed TV anthology series called The Victor Borge Comedy Theatre.
Her TAOS appearance in Night of Terror, as with so many others in her lifetime, was brief, yet her character has been the subject of many a discussion within the George Reeves community. As Miss Bachrach, Ms. Sessions elevated total fluster to a new level when Clark Kent tried to get the location where Lois was staying. After Clark succeeded he rather forcefully sent poor Miss Bachrach on her way. The manner, stance and posture in her response that he practically threw her out the door of his office is typical Almira Sessions at her best.
She retired from show business in 1971 leaving behind many fleeting, yet memorable characters. Almira, throughout her career, whether it was as the proverbial housekeeper, landlady, schoolmarm, old maid aunt, local busy body, or retirement/nursing home resident, always displayed a rebellious, independent spirit which reflected her own personality.
Few people ever knew that Almira Sessions was fluent in French, Italian and German. Late in her life, she was interviewed and shared her thoughts as a character actress:
I never was the pretty one, but I've got character. A character is somebody who isn't good-looking. And they want old women regularly around here for films, television and ads--commercials, that is. All this gives me a soft cushion under where I sit, a fine car out in front and anything I want to order at the best restaurants in town. What else could a girl want?
Another obscure event in her life, especially to those in the entertainment industry was that Almira had once been married. In fact, the only mention of it was found through genealogical sources in the Washington Post, dated May 10, 1936:
The marriage of Miss Almira De Camp Sessions, daughter of Mrs. Benjamin Russell of Kensington Md to Mr. Albert Allen, took place Tuesday in the Little Church Around the Corner in New York. They will make their home in New York.
Nothing was mentioned about Mr. Allen regarding occupation or family history. There was no indication that this was a May-September romance, however, given her date of birth and the announcement printed in the Washington Post, Almira was about 48 when she married. In fact, when Ms. Sessions was asked about her marriage, she responded:
A very young man. Need I say more? It was off and on for some years, but you can't be a jackass all your life.
In a conversation I had with John Doucette, Jr., he indicated that he used go by her house and yard as a youth. When he managed his store in the Los Angeles area, Ms. Sessions used to come in and ask him to say hello to his parents. She died on August 3, 1974, a little over a month before her 86th birthday in Los Angeles, California and laid to rest in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California.
Savannah, Tennessee is located on the banks of the Tennessee River. Located in Hardin County, it bears the name of Colonel Joseph Hardin, trailblazer through the woodlands of the state. Savannahs waters, abundant with prize fish, have earned the citys nickname Catfish Capital of the World. And while Savannah is home to some country western and gospel stars, its cemetery is the final resting place for Alex and Queen Haley, grandparents of author Alex Haley and one Mary Elizabeth Patterson.
Born on November 22, 1874, Ms. Patterson was the daughter of Confederate soldier and later judge, Edmund Dewitt Patterson and Eleanor Mildred McDougal. She was a descendant of Andrew Patterson, an exiled Scottish Covenanter who came to America in 1685 and settled in Stratford, CT. She was "Aunt Mary" to her family, and nicknamed "Patty" to her theatrical friends. Everyone who knew her loved and admired this genteel Southern lady.
Ms. Patterson attended Martin College where she studied music, elocution (diction) and English. Her post-graduate work brought her to colleges in Pulaski and Columbia where she pursued her interest in drama and theater. When Mary Elizabeth proclaimed her intention to become an actress, her parents were less than pleased, as this was not the career path they had envisioned for their daughter. Her announcement brought scandal to her family and the town for nice girls, being Southern belles, were not to be found in a profession such as acting.
"Mah mother cried and mah brother said, 'When mah friends at college start talking about actresses, am ah supposed to tell 'em that MAH sister is an actress?'" she later recounted. "Finally granddaddy packed me off to Europe to get these strange ideas out of my head. I went to school in Paris, and for the first time I really saw theatre. The Comedie Francaise! When I came back from Europe, nothing could keep me off the stage!"1
Upon her return, she taught for a year at the Institute in Columbia, Tennessee, before going to Chicago to study drama. She spent the next year in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. This led to a membership with the Chicago Ben Greet Company, where she made her stage debut with Shakespearean roles in 1907. She later toured through Canada with Gilmor Brown, founder of the Pasadena Playhouse, as her leading man. She then toured with a stock company in Indianapolis, where Booth Tarkington saw her. Tarkington personally selected her to appear in a new play he had written, Intimate Strangers, and Patty fell in love with Broadway instantly. The gangly actress had mainly Shakespearean roles until reaching middle age, when her focus changed to old maids and spinsters. Now recognized as a proficient actress, good parts found their way to her. Among her favorite plays were Her Master's Voice with Roland Young and Deep South with Richard Bennett and a young newcomer, Bette Davis. She was blessed with many roles on Broadway, making friends with numerous stars of the stage and screen.
While she loved New York and the stage, Hollywood beckoned to her in 1926. Ironically, she hated the exaggerated, theatrical behavior of silent films. At the age of 55 (1929), she appeared in a talkie, It Happened in Paris, with Will Rogers as his wife. Ms. Patterson stated that she lived in Hollywood and worked in movies so she could help support her brothers and sisters. She moved into the Hollywood-Roosevelt Hotel on the day it opened and lived there until she died.
One of her more prominent roles came in So Red the Rose (1935), a King Vidor film of Southern romance between an aristocrat (Margaret Sullavan) and Confederate soldier (Randolph Scott). Another notable film appearance was Remember the Night (1940), in which a woman (Barbara Stanwyck), caught shoplifting during the Christmas season was released to prosecutor Fred MacMurray while awaiting her trial. He took her home to his mother, Beulah Bondi, and Aunt Emma, portrayed by Elizabeth Patterson. In the John Ford film, Tobacco Road (1941), Ms. Patterson gave a touching performance as Ada Lester, wife of a Georgia dirt farmer in danger of losing the farm during the Depression. As she stated, I loved my part as Ma in Tobacco Road". Her appearance in the 1949 picture, Little Women showed her charm and gentleness. As housekeeper to the March family, she blended perfectly with version starring June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet
Leigh and Margaret OBrien. She was also asked by William Faulkner to portray the elderly lead character in the movie version of his book Intruder in the Dust (1949). One of her last film projects was Washington Story (1952) starring Van Johnson and Patricia Neal. Johnson portrayed a congressman while Neal was a reporter assigned to do a story on him. Ms. Patterson stepped a bit out of her normal demeanor. While she remained ever so much a lady, her character was steadfast in her beliefs, and unafraid to call her congressman nephew on the carpet. In her scenes, the two faces of Aunt Emma were presentsoft and tender on one hand, with firm justice on the other. Her film credits totaled 104.
Mary Elizabeth also appeared on the NBC radio sitcom, Halls of Ivy, which starred Ronald Colman as the president of an Ivy League college and Benita Hume as his wife. Ms. Patterson was the maid for the Colman household. Don Quinn of Fibber McGee and Molly fame, created the show which aired from 1950-1952 in half hour segments.
The dawn of television created a new forum of fans for Ms. Patterson. Although approaching her 80s she went on to appear in 26 different television series totaling 46 episodes in some of the major dramas and comedies of 1950s. Her two appearances on the Adventures of Superman from the color years exemplified the roles that made her famous on stage and film. Olsens Millions revealed Miss Peabody (Patterson) as an eccentric, wealthy woman dressed in a full length dress of another century and white lace shawl draped over her shoulders. Jimmy was assigned to do a feature story on why she would devote $5 million to the care and feeding of alley cats. Her answer clearly stated her reasoning in that An alley is no place for a cat. Since she herself never married, it appeared that Patterson really identified with her character as You know, I started this home for cats about 50 years ago, when I inherited all this money. And ever since then, Ive cared for them as if they were my own children. When Topsy was accidentally locked in the safe, Miss Peabody frantically tried to find the combination. Superman was called, and saved at least one of her nine lives. Miss Peabody then rewarded Jimmy with a million dollars in appreciation for Topsys life being spared. This marked the end of her appearance in the episode and the start of Jimmys humorous escapades on how to spend a million dollars without really trying.
Her second TAOS appearance, The Unlucky Number, took place outside Vics Lunch Room where Clark and Lois paused because of a contest being sponsored there. Patterson was the demure, little Mrs. Clara Exbrook in this episode. As she gazed at the jar of jelly beans in the window, she remarked to Clark and Lois, Oh my! What a lovely house! Just the kind Ive always dreamed about. But I never could guess all those jelly beans. Clark, filled with compassion, gave her the money to enter the contest while Lois looked on, and wondered what he was up to. Even when the elderly lady told him Id miss it by a country mile, he told her to guess 2,845 using his x-ray vision for the exact amount. When revealed that she won the house, she was filled with gratitude and stated it was the happiest day of her life. She left the diner and thanked Clark while he remained behind to uncover the scam behind the contest. Ironically, one of the men connected with the scam, Dexter, happened to rent a room at Claras, where she lived with her grandson, Bobby. A drive-by shooter tried to kill Dexter, suspecting he double-crossed the rest of the crooks. When the bullets fell out of Dexters hands, Bobby incorrectly assumed that he was Superman. When the real Superman came to visit Bobby, he was conned into demonstrating his super powers for the young man. One of the more important messages in this installment was Superman telling Bobby that no one could do the things Superman did, especially flying.
Perhaps the most famous television role Ms. Patterson had was that of Mrs. Matilda Trumball, neighbor to the Ricardos and part-time baby sitter to Little Ricky in the I Love Lucy series. She was featured in many of the television theatres of the decade like Ford, Kraft, General Electric, Studio One, and Four Star Playhouse. She also had appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, and 77 Sunset Strip. When asked about how she felt doing live television, she responded, "Live television is the hardest work I ever did and I was a nervous wreck. You really have no time for learning and rehearsals. Swallowing the play whole, hanging on and just hoping that you will come on in the right place and say the right thing."
Elizabeth Patterson enjoyed a full and rich life doing what she loved. She was a beloved treasure of the South. She died in 1966 from complications of pneumonia at the age of 90 in Los Angeles.
IMDb by Gary Brumburgh
Born Ann Lee Doran on July 28, 1911 in Amarillo, Texas, her career began at the age of 4 in silent films. Many of her acting jobs were done under assumed names to prevent her fathers family from finding out about them. Her father was Lt. John Doran, US Army and mom, Carrie, was an actress whose stage name was Rose Allen. With the familys move to Los Angeles in 1920, Carrie appeared in many silent movies. Another move took them to San Bernardino, where Ann graduated from high school in 1929. She attended both USC and UCLA and afterwards had teen roles at Educational Studios.
At the age of 11 (1922), Miss Doran was a page to the king in Robin Hood with Douglas Fairbanks. There is a gap between this and her next role as she focused on educational pursuits. She had an uncredited role as a maid in the 1934 film Servants Entrance, in which Walt Disney did a cartoon sequence of the main character being attacked by pots and pans. Although not impressive to the critics, in her first major feature film, Ring around the Moon she played a love interest from the poor side of the tracks.
Its been said that no job was too small for Ann Doran. Working as a stand-in, bit player or supporting actress, she did it all. As of 1938 she was under contract to Columbia pictures, where these actors were used as often as possible. Thats probably why we see her in serials like The Spiders Web and Flying G-Men. She was seen in short subjects with the likes of The Three Stooges, Andy Clyde, Harry Langdon, and Charley Chase. Her B movies included Blondie, Five Little Peppers and the Ellery Queen series, along with major feature films. She was well liked by Frank Capra, and used in all of his films except Lost Horizon. She just kept on working, but always fell short of the role that would skyrocket her to stardom. In all, she appeared in over 500 films.
Because she was not the glamorous or sexy type, she was ideal for portraying supporting roles as tough-minded workingwomen: reporters, executive secretaries, and scientists. Among the best-remembered films in which she appeared: A Summer Place (1959), It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958), Them! (1954), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Mr. Skeffington (1944), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Meet John Doe (1941), Penny Serenade (1941), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). She has a rare leading role in 1938's Rio Grande. She appeared in two George Reeves movies Blue, White and Perfect (1942) and So Proudly We Hail (1943). In the 1947 movie, Fear In The Night, she portrayed the wife of Paul Kelly, who happens to be a police detective. Her brother is none other than DeForest Kelley (Bones in Star Trek) in his first major film appearance. Ann Doran was very good at portraying maternal types, which is why she landed the role of James Deans mother in Rebel without a Cause. Ms. Doran became friends with Dean and he confided in her often about personal matters
Ben Peter Freeman who wrote The Monkey Mystery, which aired the week before, also wrote this one. His credits also included some of the most memorable from the Lee Sholem/Robert Maxwell era: The Deserted Village, The Stolen Costume, Mystery In Wax, The Evil Three, The Riddle of the Chinese Jade, and Crime Wave.
The opening scenes find Lois on vacation and stopping at the Restwell Cabins for the night. Upon entering the office, she hears the radio, sees a burning cigarette, but no person until she steps around to the side of the desk. Thats when she notices the feet and body of a woman (Ann Doran)
lying face down on the floor. As she turns the woman over, she discovers that she is bleeding. As Lois tries to get up, she is confronted by the sinister thug, Solly (Frank Richards). Solly has a very nasty scar running down on one side of his face. She tries to escape, but Solly not only prevents that, he punches her in the face to knock Lois out. This is the episode where Phyllis Coates did indeed connect with Richards fist. Locked inside one of the cabins, Mrs. King (Doran) is distraught and sobbing as she lies on the bed. Lois tries to console her and is then told what caused all this. Mrs. King states that the motel is but 20 miles from the Canadian border. The thugs had been using the motel as a haven for criminals before sneaking them across. When he caught on to this, the thugs murdered her husband as he tried to contact the police.
Realizing it is only a matter of time before they too will be killed, Lois tries to get help. She sneaks out through a back window, gets to the phone booth, and manages to get hold of Jimmy Olsen. She gives him her location and tells him to get hold of Clark to bring help. Before she can give him anything further, she is grabbed and we hear a classic Phyllis Coates scream. When she is returned to the cabin, Ann Doran states that she feared Lois was being killed when she heard the screaming. Both women are now gagged and tied back-to-back on the floor. During this sequence, we see Miss Dorans head slumped down on her chest as though she is unconscious.
Jimmy, unable to catch Clark with Inspector Henderson, leaves a note for Clark and takes off to rescue Lois himself. He arrives at the motel where he is mistaken for the assassin Baby Face Stevens (Richard Benedict). He is sent into the cabin with a gun containing only two bullets.
He frees the women only to have the real Baby Face show up. Jimmy is forced to fire both shots and now all three are at the mercy of these criminals. Superman comes through the roof, overcomes all of them, and saves the three captives.
Ann Doran racked up roles in over 1000 television shows. She is probably best remembered for another maternal role, Martha Brown, mother to Velvet in the National Velvet series (1961-62). Her husband was another TAOS alum, Arthur Space. Her other recurring role was that of James Franciscus housekeeper, Mrs. Kingston in the Longstreet series (1971-72). Among her other credits are Highway To Heaven, Eight Is Enough, MASH, Little House on the Prairie, The Streets of San Francisco, Bewitched, The Virginian, Perry Mason, Leave It To Beaver, and Wagon Train to name just a few.
Ann Doran was recording secretary for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1960-65. She was also on the SAG Pension and Health Board of Trustees for 30 years. In 1973, she helped establish a fund to provide financial aid to college students, the John L. Dales Scholarship Fund. SAG honored her work by giving her the Hollywood Branch Ralph Morgan Award (1990). In addition, she served on the boards for Actors Fund, Theater Authority, Permanent Charities, and the Motion Picture and Television Fund.
Ann Dorans career spanned eight decades; not too many actresses can make that claim. Her final years were spent in a senior citizen complex in Carmichael, California. She died September 19, 2000 following a series of strokes. Upon her death, she had bequeathed $400,000 to the Motion Picture Country House, retirement home for the industry.
Some of the best insights into the person of Ann Doran come from her own words:
Very simply, I was a working actress all my life. I love the atmosphere of the set. I love the long hours. I love my feet hurtin because I stand up so much. I love coming home exhausted so that I cant eat and all I can do is flop into bed. Im happy in the leak light, whatever leaked over the side, thats what I got.
Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide http://www.moviefone.com/celebrity/ann-doran/1789740/filmography
Special thanks to Mister X and Thom Hamilton for the photos.
Born on July 24, 1901 in Lynn, Massachusetts, Mabel Albertson was not the only one in show business, as her younger brother is Jack Albertson, of the Chico and the Man television series. Her parents were Russian immigrants father, Leopold Albertson, a shoemaker, and mother, Flora Kraft Albertson, a dressmaker and stock actress. Mabel grew up in poverty. Her parents divorce necessitated mom to work in a shoe factory. At nineteen, Mabel worked as a saleslady in New York, where she lived with a Canadian family. She studied acting at the New England School of Speech and Expression. Mabel was briefly married to Harold Austin Ripley and had two children a girl, Patricia and a son, George. Now 28 and divorced, Mabel and her two children lived with brother Jack in Manhattan. Jack was a theatre actor; Mabel was a stage actress. As of 1937, Mabel remarried Ken Englund, a writer for both film and radio. He adopted Mabels son, George. George Englund continued the family business as a writer, producer, and director. The show biz connections continued. George married Cloris Leachman, and one of their children, George Englund, Jr. married Sharon Stone. As you can see, the vein runs deep in this family for the entertainment industry!
Her film career began in 1928 with her appearance in the Prologue for Gang War, a crime drama. Her next film, Mutiny on the Blackhawk (1939), dealt with the slave running between Hawaii and California in 1840. Mabel portrayed a widow, featured with Noah Beery, Andy Devine, and Paul Fix. She also functioned as a supporting actor on a radio series, The Phil Baker Show in the 1930s. She was absent from films until the 1950s where she made up for lost time. During this decade, she appeared with many TAOS alumni. In 1953, Mabel appeared in a musical, Shes Back On Broadway. Our very own Phyllis Coates was part of the cast. Also that year came So This Is Love, the story of Grace Moore, opera singer turned silver screen star. Ms. Albertson was paired up with a kaleidoscope of TAOS stars: John Hamilton, Tris Coffin, Herb Vigran, Frank Ferguson, and Arthur Space. Two films followed in 1954 and then came Ma and Pa Kettle in Waikiki, directed by Lee Sholem in 1955. Myron Healy, Ben Weldon and Richard Reeves co-starred with her. In The Cobweb, directed by Vincent Minelli, Mabel worked with the likes of Bacall, Boyer, Tommy Rettig (Lassie), Fay Wray, and our favorite lady in black, Virginia Christine. During 1956-59, Ms. Albertson appeared in ten films with TAOS regulars Billy Nelson, Dale Van Sickel, Maurice Marsac, Almira Sessions, and Claude Akins. Among them were Forever Darling, a Lucy/Desi movie; The Hangman, a western directed by Michael Curtiz with Fess Parker and Robert Taylor; and Dont Give Up the Ship, considered one of Jerry Lewis finest comedies. The 1960s decade certainly belonged to Mabel for both film and TV! Her five films paired her with some of Hollywoods best: Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, Shirley MacLaine, Cliff Robertson, Dean Martin, John Astin, Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward, Colleen Dewhurst, Redford and Jane Fonda (Barefoot in the Park). Her last two films were in 1970, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, with Streisand, and 1972s Whats Up Doc? with Streisand again, and Ryan ONeal.
Ms. Albertsons television 1952 debut was in Mr. and Mrs. North. The following year was her TAOS episode, Drums of Death. For the rest of the decade, Mabel appeared in 14 different series. Some of them were Four Star Playhouse, Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre, Make Room For Daddy, December Bride, The Millionaire, Bachelor Father, Have Gun Will Travel, and six episodes of The Loretta Young Show. During the 1960s, Ms. Albertson appeared in 32 different TV series! She began this era with Rawhide, Roaring 20s, Ben Casey, Perry Mason, Burkes Law, Mr. Novak, The Munsters, The Lucy Show, Bonanza, The Wild, Wild, West, Daniel Boone, Dragnet 1967, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, The Virginian, and our marine, Gomer Pyle. Those are just the single episodes! She had a recurring role in The Andy Griffith Show (Mrs. Sprague), and That Girl (Donalds mother), along with various characters on 4 episodes of Gunsmoke. It is in the 1970s, however that Mabel came into her two signature roles Phyllis Stevens in Bewitched, and Mrs. Preston, Dicks mother in The New Dick Van Dyke Show.
As the oldest in my family, I recall being jealous of friends who had an older brother. I kept thinking how neat it was to have someone to protect me, help with homework, and be a great buddy. But can you imagine having Perry White as your older brother? How you would get along with this man who whose growls rivaled that of a grizzly bear, yet could be as tame as a kitten? Having him as a boss would be scary enough, but as a disciplinarian, this older sibling might have given new meaning to the term dictator.
In Drums of Death, it appears that the White siblings have inherited some of the same characteristics headstrong, independent, yet possessing a fierce care and concern for each other. In the opening scenes, as Clark and Perry view a home movie that Perrys sister, Kate had sent him from Haiti, his concern is genuine. He hadnt heard from her in ten days and nothing from Jim Olson, her companion, in over a week. Heres where we get our first glimpse of Kates personality, That sister of mines crazy enough! Perry regrets having sent Jimmy along with her. He refers to both of them as two irresponsible nuts. Were now seeing that trouble seems to find Kate just like the Daily Planet reporters!
When Mr. Barbarier questions the validity of a voodoo doctor from a photo made from Kates last newsreel, Perry fiercely defends his younger sibling: Not my sister. When she takes a picture of a voodoo doctor, you can be sure its a McCoy the real thing. Another quality Perry reveals about Kate integrity in her work. When Clark catches anthropologist Leland Masters, (portrayed by Leonard Mudie) out on the terrace, Masters recognizes Perry as Kates relative immediately with the strong family resemblance, cranial structure very similar.
When Kate and Jimmy are reunited with Perry in the wine press, we see Perrys frantic attempt to communicate despite her hypnotic spell, Kate! Kate! Its me, Perry. Dont you recognize me? After Superman rescues all of them, Perry takes his rage out on Johnson, aka, Legbo. Mabel says it all with a tone of voice, Perry, dont lose your temper. We are treated to classic John Hamilton in Perry White mode in response to her. Its too bad there wasnt more exchange of dialogue between these two as Im certain we would have had a real treat. At the end of this episode, when we are once again at the hotel, pay attention to Mabel Albertsons lines. Listen to her vocal intonation and remember this as you read on.
As Phyllis Stevens, Darrins mom, Mabel is at her best. She shows us style/class just as she exhibited back in the hotel room in TAOS while pouring tea. In this episode she meets her new daughter-in-law, Samantha and Aunt Clara. With typical maternal flare she tells her husband, I cant wait to see him (Darrin). I hope she hasnt let him lose weight. He cant afford to lose weight. Throughout this very amusing half hour, Mabel brings Phyllis Stevens to life. Its all in a look, or a tone of voice. Her meanings are unmistakably clear. At the end, we discover that Phyllis has been feeling she is no longer needed. What mother whose son has married hasnt felt that way at one time? When Samantha tells her that she cant cook, and Aunt Clara made the dinner, we see relief on Phyllis Stevens face, reconciliation, and the start of a great relationship.
In Dragnet, we see a different side of Ms. Albertson. She is seen with the same shorter coif as in Bewitched, but here she is seen with dark brown-rimmed glasses and practically no makeup. The stand out of this story is at the end, when Mrs. Jessie Gayman (Mabel) is confronted over the murder of her daughters estranged husband. The same, almost hypnotic stoicism that we saw in Drums of Death is here. Mabels demure is calm and quiet while telling Friday and Gannon that she shot her son-in-law after he shot a hole in her bible and says, Ive never been so angry.
Mabel Albertson died on September 28, 1982 in Santa Monica, California of Alzheimers disease. This lady added charm, wit, dignity, and grace to the small screen in all of the characters she portrayed. She, like many others certainly left her mark in certain roles that we fondly remember.
I have been in touch with the archivist at the Pasadena Playhouse for information pertaining to the review on TAC on The Deserter. What has amazed me is how the Playhouse has served as a central hub for many of the stars we know. It was the proving ground for actors such as George Reeves, Gig Young, Maudie Prickett, and Dabbs Greer.
As I mentioned in the Maudies tribute, her husband Charles had been head of the Playhouse. Actually, several generations of the Prickett family, starting with Charles and Maudie has been involved extensively with the Pasadena Playhouse. Charles Pricketts brother Ollie (Oliver Blake) joined the company back in 1916. At that time, they were operating out of a former burlesque house called the Savoy Theatre. The Shakespeare Club changed its name from Savoy Stock Company to Pasadena Community Players. Younger brother Charles ran the box office, swept the front entry, and was an apprentice to the Financial Manager until he was 18. His boss quit, placing Charles in charge. Charles Prickett ran the business side of the Playhouse operations for the rest of his life, saving it from financial disaster. In fact, when the Playhouse did run into financial problems in 1969 and had to close, it was because of Mr. Pricketts death earlier.
Maudie Doyle Prickett became a Playhouse regular and contributed many hats to the costume collection (one of the largest in the world at that time). Charles and Maudies descendents are among the more prominent Pasadena families, who still attend shows there.
Another note is what has been describes as an interesting and sporadically-documented case of a feud between Charles Prickett and Gilmor Brown. Charles was the money side of the organization, while Gilmor was the artistic side. Their conflicts revolved around Brown wanting to do grandiose productions that the Playhouse just could not afford. Both parties would occasionally go through periods of not speaking to one another. Theyd even play practical jokes on the other! Both of them wanted control over the organization. Despite all of this, both Prickett and Brown did seem to complement each other. The Playhouse needed both of them. As of 1969, with both Prickett and Brown now deceased, the Playhouse declared bankruptcy. It reopened in 1986, largely in part to Oliver Blake, who lived until 1992.
Maudie Prickett could be crowned with one or both of the following titles: either the Most Famous Plain Jane or the Most Uncredited Actress. In many of her roles, her strikingly harsh features give her that pioneer spirit that you might expect with Sarah Padden or with Marjorie Main as Ma Kettles. Yet, as seen in this photo of her in later years, we see a different side of Mrs. Prickett without the hair pulled back ever so tightly in a bun and with a little face paint.
She was born in 1914the same year as George Reeveson October 25 in Portland, Oregon. Little is known of her early years except for the fact that she was a member of the University of Wyoming Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi. The significance of this: it was the very first national secret womens sorority modeled after the Greek mens fraternities. At a time when women admitted to colleges and universities were scarce, this organization united these pioneering women. The sorority was philanthropic in nature and dedicated to service to the community and the world.
Another Reeves connection is that Maudie married Charles Prickett II, who would become the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Pasadena Playhouse. Going back a few years to the mid-1920s, when Charles Prickett was a mere managing director there, his brother, Oliver was a regular at the Pasadena Playhouse. Oliver Prickett was also known as Oliver Blake, for those who care to visit him at the IMDb. It was also during this time that Maudie was considered a resident character actress. She and Oliver must have had a great deal of influence at the Playhouse for it was because of their efforts that Jerome Robinson became the official Playhouse photographer from 1943 to 1958. He is known for his photographic stills in The Green Years and The Yearling. Another interesting tidbitGeorge Reeves, Nati Vacio and Robert Preston attended the first Annual Pasadena Playhouse Alumni Brunch where they performed Spanish songs. The officer elections were held during this meeting where Maudie Prickett was elected president.
As previously mentioned, Maudie Prickett could have been Queen of the Uncredited Performances. In fact, she had 41 of them in movies and 2 in television! Her film career began in Gold Mine in the Sky (1938) with Gene Autry, Smiley Burnett and George Montgomery. From 1945 49 she appeared in seventeen movies. Many of her appearances were in westerns like the Durango Kid series. In The Lone Hand Texan, one of her co-stars was Jim Diehl, who went on the following year to appear with George Reeves in The Adventures of Sir Galahad. In Lust for Gold (1949), her co-stars included TAOS villain John Doucette, Billy Gray (Shot in the Dark), Arthur Space (Star of Fate, The Seven Souvenirs), and Jay Silverheels (The Lone Ranger). Another western (uncredited role, of course) was The Cowboy and the Indians (1949). Of interest in this one is that Gene Autry and Jay Silverheels had starring roles, while Clayton Moore is lower down on the credits as one of the bad guys. Also in 1949 was Abandoned with TAOS alumni Sid Tomack (The Defeat of Superman, Clark Kent, Outlaw, Blackmail, Three in One,) and a controversial plot involving a baby adoption racket.
|From 1950-59, Maudie Prickett racked up 32 films, beginning with Montana and starring Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, and Almira Sessions (our very own Miss Bachrach). A bit of a tearjerker is No Sad Songs for Me. Among the cast were Ann Doran (Night of Terror) and Myron Healey||
(The Bully of Dry Gulch, Dagger Island, The Jolly Roger). Between Midnight and Dawn has numerous familiar faces, even if Maudie is still uncreditedTito Vuolo (My Friend Superman), Billy Gray, Myron Healey, Peter Mamakos (The Defeat of Superman, King for a Day, Peril in Paris), and Philip Van Zandt (Crime Wave, Superman in Exile, The Seven Souvenirs, King for a Day). You know you are moving up in the world when you appear in films with big name stars, even if you are uncredited. Such is Monkey Business (1952), directed by Howard Hawks, with Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn, Marilyn Monroe, Roger Moore, and our very own George Eldredge (Clark Kent, Outlaw, All That Glitters) and Dabbs Greer (Superman on Earth, Five Minutes to Doom, The Superman Silver Mine). Not all of Mrs. Pricketts TAOS connections were with the actors. Man in the Dark (1953) was directed by Lew Landers (Three in One, Supermans Wife). Raoul Walsh (Fighter Squadron with Jack Larson) directed Gun Fury (1953). Maudie has too many films in her resume to list here, however, other familiar faces include Jonathon Hale (The Evil Three, Panic in the Sky), Claude Akins (Peril by Sea), Chuck Connors (Flight to the North), Virginia Christine (Lady in Black), Herb Vigran, Judy Nugent (Around the World With Superman), Frank Ferguson (Lady in Black), Lane Bradford (Jet Ace, Test of a Warrior), and Sid Melton (The Deadly Rock), Leon Askin and Milton Frome. Hitchcocks North by Northwest, nominated for three Oscars was surely a hallmark for uncredited Maudie. Working with Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and Leo G. Carroll was enough, but Robert Shayne, John Beradino (The Unlucky Number), and Dale Van Sickel (Five Minutes to Doom, Money to Burn) were on hand as well.
Pricketts television performances, unlike her film work are where the star for this actress really shines. She had done single episodes with Hopalong Cassidy to Kit Karson, from Captain Midnight to Bob Cummings show, from Make Room For Daddy to Leave It to Beaver. Lets not forget 26 Men, The Millionaire, Donna Reed, Lawman, The Untouchables, a menace named Dennis (Dennis the Menace with Jay North), a doctor named Ben Casey, Wagon Train, Mister Ed, My Three Sons, Petticoat Junction, My Mother the Car, Adam 12, Mod Squad, Get Smart and Daniel Boone. Those are just the single episodes! Maudie did three appearances with a marine named Gomer Pyle, two on Bonanza, and nine on The Jack Benny show. She did three appearances on Gunsmoke, five on Bewitched, and seven as the feisty Mrs. Larch on The Andy Griffith show. Perhaps one of her more memorable characters was the recurring Rosie, who was the friend to Hazel. It has been said that, while Prickett worked with many of Hollywoods best and well-known actors, she was more like the bridesmaid, but never the bride. Maudies second experience with a superhero occurred in 1967 when she appeared as Diana Princes mother in the pilot for Wonder Woman. This was not the Lynda Carter series, but a movie with Ellie Wood Walker. Aside from an occasional movie musical, from 1965-74, Maudie was cast in weekly installments of the Wonderful World of Disney.
Admittedly, her TAOS appearance is a favorite episode of mine. The episode begins with Lois opening up an edible present of a good-sized gingerbread mana yearly birthday gift from her former nurse. Attempting to thank her, Lois is concerned when she does not get an answer from anyone in the town of Clifton. She and Clark decide to take a drive to Lois hometown to investigate. As Matilda Tazey in The Deserted Village, Prickett sports specs and typical housedress with apron. Not only is her hair pulled back, but also we see her with a braided hairpiece to boot! Her appearance, performance, and even vocal intonations are part of her trademark from the many movies she had done. She would continue this persona on The Andy Griffith Show and Hazel.
Maudie died on April 14, 1976 of uremic poisoning, but she left us with many memorable performances. So the next time you see the Plain Jane herself, think about all the connections this woman had with so many from not only our beloved the Adventures of Superman, but many great Hollywood stars of both the silver screen and small screen.
As always, thanks to both Thom and Mr. X for their invaluable assistance.
Special Thanks to:
Lou (March 12, 2011)
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