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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

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

The TV news reports following the death of Ann B. Davis went pretty much as I thought they would.
Lots of attention, befitting a TV icon.
Centering almost exclusively on her work as the maid on "The Brady Bunch".
Her character name was Alice.
This was news to me.
As I only watched "The Brady Bunch" once, and realized I'd never go back, thus I never retained the name "Alice".
The TV reports all expressed mild shock that she had received two Emmy Awards.
But not for "The Brady Bunch"
Rather for a relic from the Stone Age of TV Sitcom: "The Bob Cummings Show".
That show ran for five years, from 1955 through 1959.
It had an extended life in syndication, where it was known as "Love That Bob".
For our purposes, let's refer to it that way.
The writing muscle for "The Brady Bunch" was Sherwood Schwartz.
The writing muscle for "Love That Bob" was Paul Henning.
They were both cut from the same piece of cloth.
They were both very talented writers, who both worked on very respectable shows.
Schwartz worked for Bob Hope, Ozzie and Harriet, and Red Skelton.
Henning did extensive work for Burns and Allen.
"Burns and Allen"was a very difficult show for a writer.
He'd have to keep coming up with double-entendre straight lines for the other characters to deliver to Gracie, so she could choose the wrong entendre.
And Schwartz and Henning both descended into the world of utter crap in their later careers.
Henning with   "The Beverly Hillbillies", Petticoat Junction", and "Green Acres".
Schwartz with "Gilligan's Island" and "The  Brady  Bunch"
"Love That Bob" was a MUCH better show than "The Brady Bunch".
But that's not really saying much.
"Love That Bob" was pretty funny.
And Henning was still flexing his writing chops.
And it starred a wonderful light comedian, Bob Cummings.
The dialogue was excellent.
It was hardball comedy.
And it was probably the first sitcom to equally use the home environment and the office environment.
"The Dick Van Dyke Show" is usually given credit for that, but "Love That Bob" preceded it by about five years.
But there was an underlying problem with "Love That Bob".
The premise was unredeemingly dopey.
Dopey along the lines of "If the Professor can come up with all these inventions, why can't he build a raft to get them all off the island?"
Cummings played a glamor boy Hollywood Photographer.
Your standard wolf.
He lived in a house with his sister (Rosemary DeCamp), and her son, (Dwayne Hickman).
It was never established whose house it was.
Bob and his sister were constantly arguing about something.
Usually about how Bob's womanizing was a bad influence on her son.
Or about how his sister's constant meddling in his life was untenable.
This led to a lot of plots that involved scheming.
A lower form of comedy.
And it all begged the question "Why did they all live in the same house?
If it was her house, why didn't he just live somewhere else?
If it was his house, why didn't he just have them leave?
This was the major question we dealt with on "The Odd Couple"
If they drove each other that crazy, why did they stay together?
We all resolved it by calling attention to the fact that deep-down, they loved each other.
There seemed to be no love in the Cummings household.  Only scheming.
It was a shallow sitcom.
Ann B. Davis was an oasis on this show, playing Bob's hopelessly smitten secretary at his studio.
Smitten with Bob, and all men in general.
She was totally charming.
Perhaps more charming than funny.
But funny nonetheless.
It's just the kind of character that wouldn't fly today because of the brazenness of her man-chasing.
And it didn't help that she wasn't particularly attractive.
It was the same dynamic that existed in those MGM musicals where Betty Garrett chased after Frank Sinatra when he was smitten with Esther Williams.
But the curse was somewhat taken off because Betty Garrett was attractive in her own right.
No Esther Williams, but still attractive.
And she'd always end up with him.
Ann B. Davis's character's name on "Love That Bob" was "Schultzy", short for "Charmaine Schultz"
When I was in my early twenties, and people still remembered "Schultzy", I would stump my colleagues with the question "What was "Schultzy"'s first name?"
I was the only one who knew it was "Charmaine".
And now, I seem to be the only one who remembers that she played "Schultzy"

She was nominated for the Emmy for all five years that "Love That Bob" was on.
She won for the last two.
Next time, I'm going to go down the list of nominees for that award for those years to offer up my thoughts on who should have won..

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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. Lest we forget her single season on The John Forsythe Show as one of the heads of the all-girl's school along with
    Elsa Lanchester.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The John Forsythe Show was a very bad sitcom which had two formats within its short life span, but co-stars Ann B. Davis and the awesome Guy Marks almost made it tolerable.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Got to meet her while living in Orlando. She was a guest star on a short-lived sitcom called "HI, HONEY, I'M HOME" that was taped there. I was in the studio audience for numerous episodes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You might be eligible to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You might be qualified to receive a Apple iPhone 7.

    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."