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Our Miss Brooks is an American situation comedy starring Eve Arden as a sardonic high-school English teacher. It began as a radio show broadcast on CBS from 1948 to 1957. When the show was adapted to television (1952–56), it became one of the medium's earliest hits. In 1956, the sitcom was adapted for big screen in the film of the same name. The television episodes have returned to air as of September 6, 2016, shown every weekday on MeTV at 5:00 a.m.

Our Miss Brooks
Eveasconnie.jpg
Eve Arden as Connie Brooks
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Starring Eve Arden
Gale Gordon
Announcer Bob LeMond
Verne Smith
Hy Averback
Created by Al Lewis
Written by Al Lewis
Directed by Al Lewis
Produced by Larry Berns
Original release July 19, 1948 (October 3, 1952 on CBS-TV) – July 7, 1957

Contents

CharactersEdit

  • Connie (Constance) Brooks (Eve Arden) is an English teacher at fictional Madison High School.
  • Osgood Conklin (Gale Gordon) is a blustery, gruff, crooked, and unsympathetic Madison High principal, a near-constant pain to his faculty and students. (Conklin was played by Joseph Forte in the show's first episode; Gordon succeeded him for the rest of the series' run.) Occasionally, Conklin would rig competitions at the school—such as that for prom queen—so that his daughter Harriet would win.
  • Walter Denton (Richard Crenna, billed at the time as Dick Crenna), is a Madison High student, well-intentioned and clumsy, with a nasally high, cracking voice, which he can disguise when making mischief, often driving Miss Brooks (his self-professed favorite teacher) to school in a broken-down jalopy. Perfectly aware of Miss Brooks' feelings, he tirelessly tries to help Brooks snare Mr. Boynton, despite the latter's cluelessness.
  • Philip Boynton (Jeff Chandler on radio, billed sometimes under his birth name Ira Grossel; Robert Rockwell on both radio and television), is a Madison High biology teacher, the shy and often clueless object of Miss Brooks' affections.
  • Margaret Davis (Jane Morgan), Miss Brooks' absentminded landlady, has two trademarks, a cat named Minerva and a penchant for whipping up exotic and often inedible breakfasts.
  • Harriet Conklin (Gloria McMillan) is a Madison High student and daughter of principal Conklin. A sometime love interest for Walter Denton, Harriet is honest and guileless, with none of her father's malevolence and dishonesty.
  • Stretch (Fabian) Snodgrass (Leonard Smith) is a dull-witted Madison High athletic star and Walter's best friend.
  • Daisy Enright (Mary Jane Croft) is a Madison High English teacher and a scheming professional and romantic rival to Miss Brooks.
  • Jacques Monet (Gerald Mohr) is a French teacher.
  • Ruth Nestor (Isabel Randolph), introduced as the new school principal in the episode "Big Ears" (November 4, 1955)[1]

RadioEdit

 
Eve Arden from the CBS Radio version of Our Miss Brooks (1949)

Our Miss Brooks was a hit on radio from the outset; within eight months of its launch as a regular series, the show landed several honors, including four for Eve Arden, who won polls in four individual publications of the time. Arden had actually been the third choice to play the title role. Harry Ackerman, at the time CBS's West Coast director of programming, wanted Shirley Booth for the part, but as he told historian Gerald Nachman many years later, he realized Booth was too focused on the underpaid downside of public school teaching at the time to have fun with the role.[2]

Lucille Ball was believed to have been the next choice, but she was already committed to My Favorite Husband and did not audition. Then CBS chairman Bill Paley, who was friendly with Arden, persuaded her to audition for the part. With a slightly rewritten audition script—Osgood Conklin, for example, was originally written as a school board president but was now written as the incoming new Madison principal—Arden agreed to give the newly revamped show a try.[3]

Produced by Larry Berns and written by director Al Lewis, Our Miss Brooks premiered on CBS July 19, 1948. According to radio critic John Crosby, her lines were very "feline" in dialogue scenes with principal Conklin and would-be boyfriend Boynton, with sharp, witty comebacks.[4] The interplay between the cast—blustery Conklin, nebbishy Denton, accommodating Harriet, absentminded Mrs. Davis, clueless Boynton, scheming Miss Enright—also received positive reviews.

Jeff Chandler played Boynton and stayed with the role for five years, even after becoming a movie star. He ultimately resigned because it was too exhausting to juggle a regular radio role with his film commitments.[5][6]

Others in the cast included Anne Whitfield as Conklin's daughter, Harriet.[7]

Arden won a radio listeners' poll by Radio Mirror magazine as the top-ranking comedienne of 1948–49, receiving her award at the end of an Our Miss Brooks broadcast that March. "I'm certainly going to try in the coming months to merit the honor you've bestowed upon me, because I understand that if I win this two years in a row, I get to keep Mr. Boynton," she joked. But she was also a hit with the critics; a winter 1949 poll of newspaper and magazine radio editors taken by Motion Picture Daily named her the year's best radio comedienne.

For its entire radio life, the show was sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive-Peet, promoting Palmolive soap, Lustre Creme shampoo, and Toni hair-care products. The radio series continued until 1957, a year after its television life ended.

This content is now available for download at the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/Our_Miss_Brooks_190_Episodes.

TelevisionEdit

 
Mr. Boynton (Robert Rockwell) borrows money from Connie.
 
Connie said she would eat her hat if Boynton took her out and paid the whole tab. When he did, she prepared to do that.
 
When Mr. Conklin accidentally glued his hand to his desk, Miss Brooks tried to help, 1952.

The show's full cast, minus Jeff Chandler, played the same characters in the television version (with most of the scripts adapted from radio), which continued to revolve largely around Connie Brooks' daily relationships with Madison High students, colleagues, and principal. Philip Boynton was played by Robert Rockwell, who also succeeded Jeff Chandler on the radio series. The television show, sponsored by General Foods, shifted focus later in its run, moving Connie Brooks and Osgood Conklin from a public high school to an exclusive private school in the fall of 1955. It also changed the title character's romantic focus: Gene Barry was cast as physical education teacher Gene Talbot, and Connie was now the pursued instead of the pursuer, although Mr. Boynton reappeared in several episodes before the season ended.

Our Miss Brooks ran for 130 episodes on television and won an Emmy Award before it was canceled in 1956. In the 1954–55 season, it overpowered its NBC competition, Dear Phoebe, starring Peter Lawford and Charles Lane, which failed to be renewed for a second season. Our Miss Brooks finished in Nielsen ratings that season at number 15 overall after previously ranking at number 23 in 1952–1953 and #14 in 1953–1954.[8] For the 1955–56 season, with the format change and Rockwell (as Boynton) replaced by Gene Barry, the ratings fell. To rectify their mistake, the producers brought back Rockwell as Boynton in midseason, but it did not help. The show was canceled in the spring of 1956. However, in the theatrical film Our Miss Brooks released by Warner Bros. in the same year, Connie and Mr. Boynton were finally engaged to be married. The television series was seen for several years thereafter in rebroadcasts.

AwardsEdit

Both the radio and television shows drew as much attention from professional educators as from radio and television fans, viewers, and critics. In addition to the 1948-49 poll of Radio Mirror listeners and the 1949 poll of Motion Picture Daily critics, Arden's notices soon expanded beyond her media. According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, she was made an honorary member of the National Education Association and received a 1952 award from the Teachers College of Connecticut's Alumni Association "for humanizing the American teacher."

Our Miss Brooks was considered groundbreaking for showing a woman who was neither a scatterbrained klutz nor a homebody, but rather a working woman who transcended the actual or assumed limits to women's working lives of the time. Connie Brooks was considered a realistic character in an unglamorized profession (she often joked, for example, about being underpaid, as many teachers are), and who showed women could be competent and self-sufficient outside their home lives without losing their femininity or their humanity.

Our Miss Brooks remained Eve Arden's most identifiable and popular role, with numerous surviving recordings of both the radio and television versions continuing to entertain listeners and viewers. (The surviving radio recordings include both its audition shows.) A quarter century after the show ended, Arden told radio historian John Dunning in an on-air interview just what the show and the role came to mean to her:

I originally loved the theater. I still do. And I had always wanted to have a hit on Broadway that was created by me. You know, kind of like Judy Holliday and Born Yesterday. I griped about it a little, and someone said to me, "Do you realize that if you had a hit on Broadway, probably 100 or 200,000 people might have seen you in it, if you'd stayed in it long enough. And this way, you've been in Miss Brooks, everybody loves you, and you've been seen by millions." So, I figured I'd better shut up while I was ahead.[9]

Television castEdit

List of television episodesEdit

Season 1: 1952–53Edit

Ep Title Air date
1 1 "Trying to Pick a Fight" October 3, 1952 (1952-10-03)
2 2 "The Loaded Custodian" October 10, 1952 (1952-10-10)
3 3 "The Embezzled Dress" October 17, 1952 (1952-10-17)
4 4 "The Birthday Bag" October 24, 1952 (1952-10-24)
5 5 "The Wrong Mrs. Boynton" October 31, 1952 (1952-10-31)
6 6 "Living Statues" November 7, 1952 (1952-11-07)
7 7 "Madison Country Club" November 14, 1952 (1952-11-14)
8 8 "Mr. Whipple" November 21, 1952 (1952-11-21)
9 9 "The Big Game" November 28, 1952 (1952-11-28)
10 10 "Blue Goldfish" December 5, 1952 (1952-12-05)
11 11 "The Stolen Aerial" December 12, 1952 (1952-12-12)
12 12 "The Hobby Show" December 19, 1952 (1952-12-19)
13 13 "Christmas Show" December 27, 1952 (1952-12-27)
14 14 "Aunt Mattie Boynton" January 2, 1953 (1953-01-02)
15 15 "The Pet Shop" January 9, 1953 (1953-01-09)
16 16 "The Hurricane" January 16, 1953 (1953-01-16)
17 17 "Monsieur La Blanche" January 30, 1953 (1953-01-30)
18 18 "Old Marblehead" February 6, 1953 (1953-02-06)
19 19 "The Model Teacher" February 13, 1953 (1953-02-13)
20 20 "Wake-Up Plan" February 20, 1953 (1953-02-20)
21 21 "The Cafeteria Strike" February 27, 1953 (1953-02-27)
22 22 "Mister Casey's Will" March 6, 1953 (1953-03-06)
23 23 "Conklin's Love Nest" March 13, 1953 (1953-03-13)
24 24 "The Honest Burglar" March 20, 1953 (1953-03-20)
25 25 "Fisher's Pawn Shop" March 27, 1953 (1953-03-27)
26 26 "Lulu, the Pin-Up Boat" April 3, 1953 (1953-04-03)
27 27 "The Yodar Kritch Award" April 10, 1953 (1953-04-10)
28 28 "Madame Brooks DuBarry" April 17, 1953 (1953-04-17)
29 29 "Marinated Hearing" April 24, 1953 (1953-04-24)
30 30 "The Festival" May 1, 1953 (1953-05-01)
31 31 "Suzy Prentiss" May 8, 1953 (1953-05-08)
32 32 "Conklin Plays Detective" May 15, 1953 (1953-05-15)
33 33 "Public Property on Parade" May 22, 1953 (1953-05-22)
34 34 "Mrs Davis Reads Tea Leaves" May 29, 1953 (1953-05-29)
35 35 "The Stolen Wardrobe" June 5, 1953 (1953-06-05)
36 36 "Cure That Habit" June 12, 1953 (1953-06-12)
37 37 "Capistrano's Revenge" June 19, 1953 (1953-06-19)
38 38 "June Bride" June 26, 1953 (1953-06-26)

Season 2: 1953–54Edit

Ep Title Air date
39 1 "Clay City Chaperone" October 2, 1953 (1953-10-02)
40 2 "Bones, Son of Cyrano" October 9, 1953 (1953-10-09)
41 3 "Spare the Rod" October 16, 1953 (1953-10-16)
42 4 "Faculty Band" October 23, 1953 (1953-10-23)
43 5 "The Little Visitor" October 30, 1953 (1953-10-30)
44 6 "Trial by Jury" November 6, 1953 (1953-11-06)
45 7 "Phone Book Follies" November 13, 1953 (1953-11-13)
46 8 "Thanksgiving Show" November 20, 1953 (1953-11-20)
47 9 "Vitamin E-4" November 27, 1953 (1953-11-27)
48 10 "Swap Week" December 11, 1953 (1953-12-11)
49 11 "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" December 18, 1953 (1953-12-18)
50 12 "The Magic Tree" December 25, 1953 (1953-12-25)
51 13 "Hospital Capers" January 8, 1954 (1954-01-08)
52 14 "Postage Due" January 15, 1954 (1954-01-15)
53 15 "Do It Yourself" January 22, 1954 (1954-01-22)
54 16 "Bobsey's Twins in Stir" January 29, 1954 (1954-01-29)
55 17 "The Jockey" February 12, 1954 (1954-02-12)
56 18 "Brook's New Car" February 19, 1954 (1954-02-19)
57 19 "The Hobo Jungle" February 26, 1954 (1954-02-26)
58 20 "The Wild Goose" March 12, 1954 (1954-03-12)
59 21 "Hello, Mr. Chips" March 19, 1954 (1954-03-19)
60 22 "The Parlor Game" March 23, 1954 (1954-03-23)
61 23 "A Dry Scalp Is Better Than None" April 9, 1954 (1954-04-09)
62 24 "The English Test" April 16, 1954 (1954-04-16)
63 25 "Second Hand-First Aid" April 23, 1954 (1954-04-23)
64 26 "The Egg" April 30, 1954 (1954-04-30)
65 27 "The Bakery" May 14, 1954 (1954-05-14)
66 28 "Old Age Plan" May 21, 1954 (1954-05-21)
67 29 "The Hawkins Travel Agency" May 30, 1954 (1954-05-30)
68 30 "The Bicycle Thief" June 11, 1954 (1954-06-11)
69 31 "Just Remember the Red River Valley" June 18, 1954 (1954-06-18)

Season 3: 1954–55Edit

Ep Title Air date
70 1 "The Miserable Caballeros" October 1, 1954 (1954-10-01)
71 2 "Blood, Sweat and Laugh" October 15, 1954 (1954-10-15)
72 3 "Life Can Be Bones" October 22, 1954 (1954-10-22)
73 4 "Two-Way Stretch Snodgrass" October 29, 1954 (1954-10-29)
74 5 "Angela's Wedding" November 5, 1954 (1954-11-05)
75 6 "Van Gogh, Man Gogh" November 12, 1954 (1954-11-12)
76 7 "The Jewel Robbery" November 26, 1954 (1954-11-26)
77 8 "Space, Who Needs It?" December 3, 1954 (1954-12-03)
78 9 "The Novelist" December 10, 1954 (1954-12-10)
79 10 "Four Leaf Clover" December 17, 1954 (1954-12-17)
80 11 "The Citizen's League" January 7, 1955 (1955-01-07)
81 12 "Buddy" January 14, 1955 (1955-01-14)
82 13 "Noodnick, Daughter of Medic" January 21, 1955 (1955-01-21)
83 14 "The Stuffed Gopher" January 28, 1955 (1955-01-28)
84 15 "Safari O'Toole" February 4, 1955 (1955-02-04)
85 16 "The Weighing Machine" February 11, 1955 (1955-02-11)
86 17 "Public Speaker's Nightmare" February 18, 1955 (1955-02-18)
87 18 "The Auction" February 25, 1955 (1955-02-25)
88 19 "The Mambo" March 4, 1955 (1955-03-04)
89 20 "The Dream" March 11, 1955 (1955-03-11)
90 21 "The Return of Red Smith" March 25, 1955 (1955-03-25)
91 22 "Le chien chaud et le mouton noir" April 8, 1955 (1955-04-08)
92 23 "Kritch Cave" April 15, 1955 (1955-04-15)
93 24 "Mister Fargo's Whiskers" April 22, 1955 (1955-04-22)
94 25 "The Great Baseball Slide" April 29, 1955 (1955-04-29)
95 26 "Turnabout Day" May 6, 1955 (1955-05-06)
96 27 "Here Is Your Past" May 13, 1955 (1955-05-13)
97 28 "Madison Mascot" May 20, 1955 (1955-05-20)
98 29 "The Big Jump" May 27, 1955 (1955-05-27)
99 30 "Home Cooked Meal" June 3, 1955 (1955-06-03)

Season 4: 1955–56Edit

Ep Title Air date
100 1 "The Blind Date" October 7, 1955 (1955-10-07)
101 2 "Transition Show" October 14, 1955 (1955-10-14)
102 3 "Who's Who?" October 21, 1955 (1955-10-21)
103 4 "Burnt Picnic Basket" October 28, 1955 (1955-10-28)
104 5 "Big Ears" November 4, 1955 (1955-11-04)
105 6 "Have Bed – Will Travel" November 11, 1955 (1955-11-11)
106 7 "Protest Meeting" November 18, 1955 (1955-11-18)
107 8 "The King and Brooks" November 25, 1955 (1955-11-25)
108 9 "Mad Man Munsey" December 2, 1955 (1955-12-02)
109 10 "Connie and Bonnie" December 9, 1955 (1955-12-09)
110 11 "Music Box Revue" December 23, 1955 (1955-12-23)
111 12 "The New Gym Instructor" December 30, 1955 (1955-12-30)
112 13 "The Skeleton in the Closet" January 6, 1956 (1956-01-06)
113 14 "Amalgamation" January 13, 1956 (1956-01-13)
114 15 "Reunion" January 20, 1956 (1956-01-20)
115 16 "Twins at School" January 27, 1956 (1956-01-27)
116 17 "Mrs. Nestor's Boy Friend" February 3, 1956 (1956-02-03)
117 18 "Acting Director" February 10, 1956 (1956-02-10)
118 19 "Mr. Boynton's Return" February 17, 1956 (1956-02-17)
119 20 "White Lies" February 24, 1956 (1956-02-24)
120 21 "The Great Land Purchase" March 2, 1956 (1956-03-02)
121 22 "Raffle Ticket" March 9, 1956 (1956-03-09)
122 23 "Library Quiz" March 16, 1956 (1956-03-16)
123 24 "A Mother for Benny" March 23, 1956 (1956-03-23)
124 25 "Connie and Frankie" March 30, 1956 (1956-03-30)
125 26 "Top Hat, White Tie, and Bridle" April 6, 1956 (1956-04-06)
126 27 "24 Hours" April 13, 1956 (1956-04-13)
127 28 "Geraldine" April 20, 1956 (1956-04-20)
128 29 "The $350,000 Question" April 27, 1956 (1956-04-27)
129 30 "Principal for a Day" May 4, 1956 (1956-05-04)
130 31 "Travel Crazy" May 11, 1956 (1956-05-11)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ David C. Tucker Eve Arden: A Chronicle of All Film, Television, Radio and Stage - 2011 0786488107 "This episode introduces Isabel Randolph as Ruth Nestor."
  2. ^ Nachman, Gerald (2000). Raised on Radio. University of California Press. p. 544. ISBN 0-520-22303-9. 
  3. ^ Dunning, John (1998). The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 528. ISBN 0-19-507678-8. 
  4. ^ Bertel, Dick; Corcoran; Ed (February 1972). "Radio Shows of 1947". The Golden Age of Radio. Season 2. Episode 11. Broadcast Plaza, Inc.. WTIC Hartford, Conn. 
  5. ^ 'Our Miss Brooks' Starring Eve Arden to Make Bow Tonight, Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 19 Sep 1948: n12.
  6. ^ Tony Curtis Trains for Role in Musical, Los Angeles Times (1923-current file) [Los Angeles, Calif] 24 Oct 1953: 10.
  7. ^ "Jill Corey's Rise A Success Story; Out-Of-Town Hubber Games On KFYO". Texas, Lubbock. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. March 11, 1956. p. 70. Retrieved April 15, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.   
  8. ^ http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/index.htm
  9. ^ Dunning, John. KNUS (Denver) radio interview with Eve Arden, 1982.
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0157893/?ref_=tt_cl_t4

SourcesEdit

  • Arden, Eve. The Three Phases of Eve (1985)
  • Buxton, Frank and Bill Owen, The Big Broadcast 1920–1950 (1971) (New York: Avon Books.)
  • Nachman, Gerald. Raised on Radio (1998) (New York: Pantheon Books.)
  • Ohmart, Ben, It's That Time Again (2002) (Albany: BearManor Media.) ISBN 0-9714570-2-6
  • Wertheim, Arthur Frank, Radio Comedy (1979) Oxford University Press, USA, ISBN 0-19-502481-8

External linksEdit