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

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Dennis O'Keefe

This sitcom starring popular actor Dennis O'Keefe lasted for one season in 1959. The premise had him as a newspaper columnist with one son, Randy (Ricky Kelman), and a housekeeper named "Sarge" (played by Hope Emerson after she was replaced on Peter Gunn). The very lovely Eloise Hardt plays a sometimes girlfriend, Karen. Three episodes from this lost, pretty much forgotten series are available at the Internet Archives, and two more on youtube. In "June Thursday" 42-year-old Hal Towne (O'Keefe, who was actually a somewhat older-looking fifty-one at the time)) tries to make a star out of a talented cigarette girl. In another episode Randy sends a note to a cute little girl, but her grandmother (Zazu Pitts) thinks the note is for her and that it was sent by Hal! In "Counterfeiters" two elderly counterfeiters buy tickets from Randy with phoney bills, leading to complications. In another episode Hal tries to romance his son's teacher, upon whom he has an unrequited crush, while another teacher (Nancy Kulp, who was eternally cast as the homely "other woman) tries to get a date with him. The best and most amusing episode you can find on line [on youtube], "The Regency Club," has Hal romancing a snobbish society lady who's only dating him so she can dump him, but he goes her one better with some help from his son, housekeeper, and Karen [why Hal would want any other woman when the very attractive, classy yet down-to-earth Karen is available is the question]. Judging from these episodes, there have certainly been worse sitcoms than The Dennis O'Keefe Show and much better ones as well. The cast is appealing, O'Keefe is fine, Emerson amusing, Kelman a cute kid, and Jerome Cowan scores, as he generally does, as a rival columnist. O'Keefe was in Hold That Kiss, Weekend for Three, and many, many other movies.

Verdict: No I Love Lucy, but O'Keefe fans may enjoy. **1/2.

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