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Thursday, June 5, 2014

To Me, She'll Always Be Charmaine Schultz, Part Two.

I'm doing this one pretty much for myself, and a select few.
It's very much like playing to the band.
It interests me, and maybe not many others.
So, stick with me if you care to.
I knew that Ann B. Davis had won two Emmys for "The Bob Cummings Show".
But I never knew who her competition was.
Because it was something that interested me, I decided to investigate.
It was all there in Wikipedia.
All the various colors and markings are their doing.
The goal here is to determine who I think should have won all five years Ann B. Davis was nominated, and whether she was ever deserving of winning.  
The award was for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series.
So what's the best criteria to determine this?
Well, being outstanding, for one.
Funny counts for a lot with me.
Talent and versatility are major considerations.
She must truly provide support.
And it must be a comedy series.
Those last two actually sometimes become an issue.
So I will go year by year, and dope it out.
The winner for each year is the top one listed, and tanned out, color-wise.   

1955-1956:
Nanette FabrayCaesar's HourVarious CharactersNBC
Ann B. DavisThe Bob Cummings ShowCharmaine SchultzCBS
Jean HagenMake Room for DaddyMargaret WilliamsABC
Audrey MeadowsThe HoneymoonersAlice KramdenCBS
Thelma Ritter The Catered AffairAggie HurleyNBC
19561957
(9th)
[note 1]
Pat CarrollCaesar's HourVarious CharactersNBC
Ann B. DavisThe Bob Cummings ShowCharmaine SchultzCBS
Audrey MeadowsThe Jackie Gleason ShowAlice Kramden
Mildred Natwick Blithe SpiritMadame Arcati
Vivian VanceI Love LucyEthel Mertz
19571958
(10th)
[note 1]
Ann B. DavisThe Bob Cummings ShowCharmaine SchultzCBS
Pat CarrollCaesar's HourVarious CharactersNBC
Verna FeltonDecember BrideHilda CrockerCBS
Marion LorneSallyMyrtle Banford
Vivian VanceI Love LucyEthel Mertz
19581959
(11th)
Ann B. DavisThe Bob Cummings ShowCharmaine SchultzCBS
Rosemary DeCampThe Bob Cummings ShowMargaret MacDonaldNBC
Elinor DonahueFather Knows BestBettyCBS, NBC
Verna FeltonDecember BrideHilda CrockerCBS
Kathleen NolanThe Real McCoysKate McCoyABC
Zasu PittsThe Gale Storm ShowElvira NugentCBS

1955-1956:    Nanette Fabray was easily the class of the field, in all respects.
                      She filled Imogene Coca's shoes admirably, and was every bit as funny, going toe to     
                      toe with Sid Caesar.
                     
                      Ann B. Davis broke in Schultzy, and charmed the pants off America.
                      She certainly deserved the nomination, but as she later proved, was limited in what she
                      could play, and really wasn't a laugh riot.

                      Jean Hagen, as the first Mrs. Danny Thomas, either chose to, or was forced to, not be
                       funny on this show.  And if you saw "Singin' In The Rain", you certainly know that
                       she was hilarious.  Marjorie Lord, as the second Mrs. Danny Thomas, was much
                       funnier.
 
                       Audrey Meadows was great as Alice Kramden, going at it with Gleason,  Hilarious.
                      Great timing.  She was the best of three Alice Kramdens.  She was the more talented
                      of the Meadows sisters.  But I don't recall her being even remotely funny in anything
                      else.

                      Thelma Ritter was one of the greats.  And one of the funniest.  But "A Catered Affair"
                      was a play.  A very good play.  And I'll bet she was great in it.  But it's not a comedy.
                      And it wasn't a series.  I don't know what she's doing here.

Nanette Fabray.  No contest.

1956-1957:  For pure talent and funny, nobody can beat Pat Carroll.  I worked on three series with
                     her. I wouldn't deny her anything.  She was used so sporadically on Caesar's Hour that it
                     really didn't show her off well.  I think the nomination was nothing more than a slap in
                     the face to Janet Blair, who couldn't fill Coca's or Fabray's or anybody's shoes.

                    Ann B. Davis:  Nothing either improved or got worse from the previous year.

                    Audrey Meadows:  Ditto.

                    Mildred Natwick:  What I said about Thelma Ritter essentially applies here, except I
                    never liked her work as much as Ritter's, and Blithe Spirit, though a one-shot play, was,
                    in fact, a comedy.

                    Vivian Vance:  Was always a hoot, and always made Lucy look better.  Desi knew what
                    was doing when he cast her.

Vivian Vance.  I'd have stuffed the ballot box myself.

1957-1958:  Ann B. Davis---Schultzy's first win.  I think there were better options.

                    Pat Carroll: Same issue as the previous year.

                    Verna Felton:  Played Spring Byington's best friend on "December Bride"  A walking
                    punchline.  Nobody could deliver snappers like her.  You might also remember her as
                    Dennis Day's mother on the Jack Benny Show.  Just as funny there.

                    Marion Lorne:  Given the opportunity, I would have voted for her earlier, when she was
                    nominated for Mr. Peepers, doing the same dithering act as on The Garry Moore Show
                    and Bewitched.  I think I only saw "Sally" a few times.  It wasn't good, and she couldn't
                    save it.

                    Vivian Vance:  Still Ethel, and still great.  This one's  a very close call.

I tossed a coin, and it came up Verna Felton.

1958-1959:  Ann B. Davis:  Schultzy wins again, against a considerably weaker field
                     Still doesn't get my vote.

                    Rosemary DeCamp:  Never made me laugh.

                    Elinor Donahue:  Much as I've loved her personally, folks, let's face it.  "Father Knows
                    Best" was not a comedy.

                    Verna Felton:  Another year older and just as funny.

                    Kathleen Nolan:  Never made ANYBODY laugh.

                    Zasu Pitts:  Had this Olive Oyl shtick that she did that was pretty funny, and
                    was the only thing that made "The Gale Storm Show" watchable.     


  It's once again Verna Felton.  Good thing she was in the race, or I might have had to vote for  Zasu.

So no, I suppose I don't think Ann B. Davis deserved her Emmys.
But she certainly didn't  deserve her ignominious death either.
It was very sad to hear how she went.                

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:  www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

5 comments:

  1. Apropos of nothing but hearing Cocktails for Two on the radio this morning, do you have any memories of the Odd Couple episode where Pernell Roberts sings it at the end with Felix's band?

    ReplyDelete
  2. My funniest memory of that episode is when Jack, as Oscar, in order to get Felix to supply his "Western" band for Pernell Roberts' party, told him that he'd front his own band. He would then proceed to sing "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" as badly as possible, shaming Felix into filling in for him. Jack felt that his singing was good enough that he'd have to exaggerate the badness, go over the top, or under the bottom. He didn't have to. He was already the worst singer in the world. This was gilding the lily.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the story. It's one of those episodes of TV that stuck with me, as some randomly do. For some reason I've never forgotten the phrase, "Felix 'Red River' Unger and his Saddle Sores."

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is a chance you're qualified for a free Apple iPhone 7.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is a chance you are eligible for a complimentary $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at macchus999@aol.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."