Her Miss Brooks: Old-time radio listening, 1 October

Our Miss Brooks: Measles (CBS, 1950)

Gloria McMillan, early in her Miss Brooks’s popularity . . . (Photo: CBS)

One pretty teenage student at Madison High often finds her allegiance to her favourite English teacher is tested only too often by her imperious, pompous principal father. But if Gloria McMillan’s Harriet Conklin will come to seem like the least immediately remembered or appreciated figure among Our Miss Brooks‘s company, when the show graduates from fixture to memory, McMillan herself may yet prove the company’s most appreciative, never forgetting what the series star teaches her as a mentor, castmate, and friend above all.

[Eve Arden] was my mentor, teacher and surrogate mother for so many years, taught me how to not use any language, not to backtalk her, just to become a professional actress. She even took me to a play. She was very, very good to me and was very great to me. We became friends and have been up until it was time for her to go—her passing. It was a wonderful experience.

And I’ll never forget Eve, one day, went over to Wendell Lightman [a lighting director on the television version], who was using a big expletive about the light that didn’t work, and she walked over to him, in a very gentle manner . . . [and] she said, “We have a young teenager on the set, and I won’t allow that language, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t use [it].”

McMillan, around the end of Our Miss Brooks’s broadcast life, looking more like the accessible homecoming queen than the principal’s oft-put-upon daughter . . . (Photo: Unknown publicity still)

Heard on radio as early as age four in Oregon, McMillan—whose mother was the first known female children’s talent agent—joined Our Miss Brooks on radio at age thirteen. After the series leaves radio and television, she will act sporadically in the years to come while devoting most of her time to raising both her own children and a California performing arts school with her husband. Presumably, still rooting the curriculum in the values she was taught by her Miss Brooks . . . and everybody’s.

Tonight: The last thing Connie (Eve Arden) wanted to do the night before was babysit her neighbour’s young son . . . especially because the last thing she needs the day after is to come down with the measles when Conklin (Gale Gordon) asks her to type his speech for his Goodfellows Club luncheon.

Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Walter: Richard Crenna. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Miss Enright: Mary Jane Croft. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Announcer: Bob LaMond. Music: Wilbur Hatch. Writer/director: Al Lewis.

FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .

Comedy

Fibber McGee & Molly: Back from Vacation (NBC, 1940)—The Crown Couple of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim and Marian Jordan) return from vacation to get a few unpleasant surprises from Gildersleeve (Harold Peary), who was minding their homestead while they were away. Teeny: Marian Jordan. The Old-Timer/Intruder: Bill Thompson. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

Fibber McGee & Molly: Doc Gives McGee a Placebo (NBC, 1946)—McGee (Jim Jordan) is feeling run down and ill, Molly (Marian Jordan, who also plays Teeny) is alarmed enough to call Doc Gamble (Arthur Q. Bryan), and Gamble figures out the root of the problem is an inadvertently swallowed cigars—but prescribes him a placebo which McGee, the dear boy, has no idea is worthless, medicinally. Elsie: Bea Benaderet. The Old-Timer: Bill Thompson. La Trivia: Gale Gordon. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Director: Max Hutto. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

The Henry Morgan Show: The Radio Serial to End All Radio Serials (ABC, 1948)—A classic soap opera spoof, Just Plain Mr. Wagstaff of Flagstaff, in which the characters get to choose the calamities into which they fall, which probably didn’t mean to predict exactly what would happen, to a lot of characters, when the genre went on to infest television in due course. Also: Morgan speaks to the first New Yorker he’s met in Hollywood since his arrival—Gerard (Arnold Stang), who can’t come up with something to write to his girl back home; a marriage counseling session at the John J. Morgan Trouble Clinic; and, Heinrich von Morgan on the eve of the World Series. Additional cast: Madeline Lee, Florence Halop, Art Carney. Announcer: Art Ballinger. Music: Bernie Green Orchestra, the Jubilaires. Writers: Henry Morgan, Joe Stein, Aaron Ruben, Carroll Moore, Jr.

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