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Big Chuck

July 1, 2013

Moms, girlfriends and wives of TV history

I recently saw on TV a birthday salute to actress Betty White. It included many archival videos, celebrity interviews and reminisces from her early days on television. There is no doubt that Betty has found the magic pill. Into her 90s, she is still starring in a hit sitcom, “Hot in Cleveland!”

If you look up the word “durable” in the dictionary, it should say: “See White, Betty.”

This sentimental tribute to Ms. White really got me thinking about some of my own cherished TV shows from the past and made me wonder how many of my favorite ladies from that era are still around. Surprisingly, quite a few are.

Baby Boomers remember the great character actress Ann B. Davis long before she whipped the Brady kids into shape. As Charmaine “Schultzy” Schultz, she was the go-to-Girl Friday to cad photographer Robert Cummings in “The Bob Cummings Show.” Yes, Davis is an Emmy Award winner. But for “The Bob Cummings Show,” not for “The Brady Bunch.”

June Lockhart made a career out of playing television moms. Folks my age will remember her first putting the kitchen apron on back in 1959 as Ruth Martin on “Lassie.” Although she was not the first mother on the show (Jan Clayton and Cloris Leachman preceded her) it was Lockhart we remember most vividly standing at the farmhouse door praying that Lassie would find that darn well that Timmy had fallen into. Later, Lockhart headed up the Robinson family in the series “Lost in Space”

I find it somehow quite comforting to know that Joyce Randolph is still with us. She is the last surviving member of my favorite television show of all time, “The Honeymooners.” Oh, what stories Trixie Norton could tell us today!

The biggest movie this week in theaters is “Superman: Man of Steel.” To me, Superman will always be George Reeves, the square, solid actor who essayed the caped hero in the 1950s television series. Noel Neill played the persistent and always flustered Lois Lane in the show. Both she and cub reporter Jimmy Olsen are still with us 60 years later. 

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