Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


MY LITTLE MARGIE (1952 - 1955).

Vivacious Gale Storm, who passed away this past June, was the star of this popular fifties sitcom that presented the comedic trials and tribulations of 21-year-old Margie Albright (Storm was actually around 30) and her late forties father Vern (Charles Farrell, who was actually in the mid-fifties). Vern wants Margie to literally stay out of his business at Honeywell and Todd, an investment firm, and Margie wants Vern to let her date whomsoever she wants, and to stay home like the "old man" he is and be a "nice, old father." Others in the cast included Clarence Kolb, as Vern's boss, Mr. Honeywell; Hillary Brooke as his girlfriend, Roberta; Don Hayden as Margie's steady, Freddie (although Margie practically dated a different man every episode); and Willie Best, as Charlie the elevator boy. Everyone on the show was excellent [except Brooke, who never really had much flair for this sort of thing], but Gertrude Hoffman, an actress in her eighties, stole every episode she was in as Mrs. Odets, who was also in her eighties, and was almost as man-crazy as Margie was.

With over a hundred episodes, you have to expect a few clinkers, and in truth, some episodes of the series are so monumentally silly (without being funny) that they are painful to watch. On the other hand, when the script clicks, it clicks. Some of the funniest include a wild business involving a boxing kangaroo; and an episode with Margie impersonating a fat, male opera singer. As noted, any episode with Mrs. Odets teaming up with Margie generally had more than its share of laughs. Vern made an excellent foil for the effervescent Storm, Hayden was appealing, Best was delightfully daffy, and Kolb was perfection as the contrary Honeywell, who seemed to fire Vern on every other episode. The scripts generally revolved around Vern and Honeywell trying to keep Margie away from some client of theirs, not realizing that she has probably already met the person and fouled things up. Margie often screwed things up for her father, but generally worked everything out before the wind-up.

NOTE: Another popular 50's sitcom was I Married Joan with Joan Davis.

Verdict: Appealing cast and quite a few funny moments. ***.

No comments: