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Old 09-05-2011, 06:22 PM   #1
Steve E
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Default Harriet & Herbert Johnson (Norma Varden & Donald Foster)

I love Donald Foster and Norma Varden as Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,the "idle rich" neighbors of Hazel and the Baxter family.I think they are very funny...the "upper crust" of society,yet completely inept at doing the most ordinary household tasks.Heck,in a season one episode,they are only vaguely aware of what an electrical outlet is for!

I wish they would've had their own spin-off series...it had sitcom classic written all over it!

Both were excellent character actors,and appeared in many roles over the years.Among their many movie/TV credits,I've enjoyed them in episodes of:

Donald Foster:

Mike Hammer
The Addams Family
The Monkees
That Girl

Norma Varden:

I Love Lucy
How To Marry a Millionaire
Mister Ed
Batman

One of the things that I most like about 50's/60's TV is the vast array of great character actors that would appear across the television landscape.Foster & Varden were just two of the many memorable faces that helped to make shows from that era "Classic TV"!
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
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You're right, their characters could have been developed into a sitcom of their own. It would have been very funny. Did they play the neighbors in later seasons also? I'm still waiting for Shout! Factory to release S2 on DVD.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:06 PM   #3
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Mrs. Johnson was also famous for appearing in the movie "Casablanca", she plays an English lady at an outdoor (as I recall) cafe. I think I also can remember at least Mr. Johnson appearing in a Perry Mason episode. They were perfect in their parts on Hazel.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:04 PM   #4
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Norma Varden also secured a place in movie history for playing the von Trapp family's maid in The Sound of Music.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:22 AM   #5
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The Johnsons are a hoot. I love the Thanksgiving episode where their maid has the day off and they are trying to make Thanksgiving dinner.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:27 PM   #6
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The Johnsons are eccentric almost to the point of being strange. It's amazing to me that despite their wealth, they seem to have no clue or knowledge about anything. It's like they were living as if it were still the early 1900's instead of the 1960's. Shirley Booth and the rest of the cast was great, but those Johnsons were just plain weird. I don't care for them at all, I'm glad they didn't appear in too many Hazel episodes.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
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I admit, not knowing what a plug is that you plug into a wall for electricity was a bit much. The writers did over-do it a bit with the Johnsons, as you say, surely by the '60's they would know how to plug in a wire to get power. They also never heard of screwing a light bulb to get light. Yeah, they were exaggerated, but what the hey, they were still fun.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:15 AM   #8
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Well if they were pampered from childhood it may be beliveable always having servants do everything to the point where you can't function without them.
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comedyfreak
Well if they were pampered from childhood it may be beliveable always having servants do everything to the point where you can't function without them.

Your point is valid, however I agree with the previous poster that the Johnsons were exaggerated as characters. They are way over the top, that's for sure.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:35 PM   #10
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I liked Norma Varden, but I didn't care for the guy who played her husband. The writers made him way too stupid, and the way he talks annoys me.
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:18 AM   #11
Leslie Eckhardt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve E
I love Donald Foster and Norma Varden as Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,the "idle rich" neighbors of Hazel and the Baxter family.I think they are very funny...the "upper crust" of society,yet completely inept at doing the most ordinary household tasks.Heck,in a season one episode,they are only vaguely aware of what an electrical outlet is for!

I wish they would've had their own spin-off series...it had sitcom classic written all over it!

Both were excellent character actors,and appeared in many roles over the years.Among their many movie/TV credits,I've enjoyed them in episodes of:

Donald Foster:

Mike Hammer
The Addams Family
The Monkees
That Girl

Norma Varden:

I Love Lucy
How To Marry a Millionaire
Mister Ed
Batman

One of the things that I most like about 50's/60's TV is the vast array of great character actors that would appear across the television landscape.Foster & Varden were just two of the many memorable faces that helped to make shows from that era "Classic TV"!
I totally agree with you. My late Mother, who also loved "Hazel" said the same exact thing about how funny a spin-off with the Johnsons might have been.
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Old 11-25-2011, 05:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronny G
I liked Norma Varden, but I didn't care for the guy who played her husband. The writers made him way too stupid, and the way he talks annoys me.
I agree with you, I've always enjoyed Norma Varden but I didn't care much for the husband's character.

Norma Varden's greatest claim to fame may be her snooty Lady Beekman in Marilyn Monroe's classic movie GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953) which pairs Norma with Charles Coburn.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:51 PM   #13
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I always remember Norma as Mrs Benson in the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ricky change apartments.
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:25 PM   #14
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I knew Norma Varden at the end of her life. She and Donald Foster were actually signed for a spin-off series called "The Johnsons", but it never came to anything.
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:19 PM   #15
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Interesting and it might have been a good show, but this was the late 1960s and advertisers were starting to go in for the youth market and both Varden and Foster were older so it may not have played well at that time.
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