Poster: Mr. Television
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Photo Courtesy of The Gale Storm Official Site.
Man: How do you and your father get along?
Margie: Oh fine-although there were those 18 months I didn't speek to him.
Man: when were those?
Margie: From the time I was born, till the time I could talk.
My Little Margie aired from June 1952 until August 1955 on CBS and NBC.
Vern Albright ( Charles Farrell), was a very eligible widower whose 21-year-old daughter was determined to save him from the evil ways of women.
An executive with the investment-counseling firm of Honeywell and Todd, Vernon was trimly athletic at age 50, and was most often romantically involved with Roberta Townsend ( Hillary Brooke).
Margie( Gale Storm), who shared her father's Fifth Avenue apartment, was always scheming with old Mrs. Odetts( Gertrude W. Hoffman), the next-door neighbor, to make Vern more sedate as well as to release the parental control he vainly tried to maintain over her.
Other cast members included: Freddie( Don Hayden), Margie's boyfriend and Charlie( Willie Best), the combination handyman and elevator operator in the apartment building.
In an unusual move, My Little Margie went from TV to radio in December 1952, airing on the CBS radio network for the rest of its TV run. Gale Storm and Charlie Farrell also played the leads in the radio version as well.
An Article From Time Magazine
A Kind of Pollyanna
Monday, Nov. 09, 1953 Article
By all the rules of TV logic, My Little Margie (Wed. 8:30 p.m., NBC) should have quietly vanished after a brief stint as a summer replacement in June 1952. It was badly written, ineptly acted, and thoroughly panned by the critics (Syndicated Columnist John Crosby described it as "a little stinker"). Margie not only survived, "It flourished, even against such overpowering competition as Arthur Godfrey & His Friends. The latest ARE ratings give Godfrey's Friends a comfortable 52.5, but Margie has 28.1, up nearly three points from last month.
The plot has curious Freudian undertones: round-faced Gale Storm, 31, and her prancing-goat TV father, played by oldtime Silent Cinemactor Charles (Seventh Heaven) Farrell, 51, spend their half-hour each week trying to keep each other from falling in love with outsiders who might break up their cozy family of two. Margie has made the jump from television (sponsor: Scott Paper Co.) to radio, where Philip Morris has it on both CBS and Mutual. It is thus the first radio and TV show to span three networks. On radio the Nielsen ratings place it third, behind Lux Theater and People Are Funny, and well ahead of both Jack Benny and Dragnet. Most of the credit for the show's surprising success goes to ex-Sunday School Teacher Storm, a stable, sunshiny girl who says: "I guess I've always been a kind of Pollyanna. You make the best of a situation and have a good time doing it." Born Josephine Owaissa Cottle, she changed her name and got out of her native Texas by winning a nationwide Gateway to Hollywood movie contest which asked: "Who will be Gale Storm and Terry Belmont?" Says Gale: "If there was one thing I needed, it was a new name." Winner of the Terry Belmont stakes was Lee Bonnell, an Indiana boy who did not bother to change his name. The two prizewinners married a year later, and are now raising three handsome sons.
While her husband settled quietly into the insurance business, Gale labored on the wrong side of Hollywood's film tracks in westerns, quicky murders and musicals. "I was no Garbo," she recalls, "just medium lousy. But I loved it. They used to ask me if they could start a new picture or was I pregnant again." TV has brought her greater fame than movies ever did, but Gale insists: "My career is just the frosting on the cake, and I mean that." The girl who used to be Josephine Owaissa Cottle admits cheerfully: "I never had it so good."
Here is Charles Farrell's Obituary from The New York Times.
Charles Farrell, Actor, Dies at 88; Made Debut in 'Seventh Heaven'
By ERIC PACE
Published: May 12, 1990
Charles Farrell, the gentle-mannered actor whose career spanned four decades, ranging from silent films to talkies to the 1950's television series ''My Little Margie,'' died on Sunday at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 88 years old.
Mr. Farrell was so durable as a performer that Bob Hope is said to have referred to him once as a ''19th-century Fox star.''
An athletic six-footer, he gained fame as the romantic lead in ''Seventh Heaven'' (1927). The Times critic Mordaunt Hall said that he was ''splendid'' in that role, playing opposite Janet Gaynor.
''Sometimes he may seem to be a little too swaggering, but what of it?'' Mr. Hall observed. ''The actions suit the young man's agreeable bombast. You find that you like him.''
A Walk-Up Heaven
The Seventh Heaven in the silent film was the walk-up Parisian garret where Mr. Farrell, playing an impecunious laborer, made his home.
Mr. Farrell and Miss Gaynor then co-starred in a series of other film romances. For seven years they were movieland's leading on-screen romantic couple. Then his movie career waned.
His film work included serious as well as romantic roles in such films as ''Wings of Youth'' (1925), ''Sandy'' (1926), ''The Rough Riders'' (1927), ''Aggie Appleby'' (1933), ''Fighting Youth'' (1935) and ''The Deadly Game'' (1942). He retired from films in the 1940's.
In television he turned to comedy, starring as a widowed father in more than 100 installments of ''My Little Margie,'' which was widely popular.
Began as Extra
Charles Farrell was born Aug. 9, 1901 in Onset Bay, Mass., and attended Boston University. He played some stage roles and broke into films as an extra in ''The Cheat'' (1923). He then had various supporting parts before ''Seventh Heaven,'' which opened in New York at the old Sam H. Harris Theater and remained his best-known movie.
Recalling his movie work in a 1954 interview Mr. Farrell, still handsome and wavy-haired, said: ''They wouldn't accept my voice. They said I didn't have diction. When the talkies came in, a lot of stage people came to Hollywood from New York and I knew that I didn't talk like them, but my voice was me and that's all there was to it.''
''One fellow kept needling me about improving my diction until I finally sat on him - but good,'' he added. ''My life was made miserable. There were other complicating factors, and I decided to move on.''
Resort Hotel Manager
He served in the Navy in World War II and prospered in a new career as a manager and host of the Racquet Club, a private resort hotel in Palm Springs, where he lived with his wife, the former silent film star Virginia Valli, whom he married in 1932; she died in 1968.
Mr. Farrell served as mayor of Palm Springs for several years in the 1940's and 50's. He sold the Racquet Club in 1959.
His television career, mainly in the 1950's, included the starring role in the ''The Charlie Farrell Show'' in addition to ''My Little Margie,'' in which he played the father of a prankish unmarried daughter, portrayed by Gale Storm.
''I took the part because I'm a ham,'' Mr. Farrell said in the 1954 interview. ''The work is not exactly the same as making pictures, but it's pretty close.''
Here is Gale Storm's Obituary from The New York Times
Gale Storm, TV Star of My Little Margie, Dies at 87
By ANITA GATES
Published: June 30, 2009
Gale Storm, the Texas-born actress who made wholesome perkiness a defining element of television's golden age on two hit sitcoms, My Little Margie and The Gale Storm Show, died on Saturday in Danville, Calif. She was 87.
Her death was confirmed by a representative of the convalescent hospital where she died.
Ms. Storm had been a B-movie actress for more than a decade when My Little Margie had its premiere on CBS in June 1952 as a summer replacement for the era's biggest hit series, I Love Lucy. Ms. Storm played a young Manhattanite living with her widowed father (Charles Farrell), an affluent businessman, and often trying to keep amorous single women away from him. Critics dismissed the show as silly, but the public disagreed and the series ran for three full seasons.
A year later Ms. Storm returned to television with another sitcom, The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna. The title character was a social director on a cruise ship who, with her beautician sidekick (ZaSu Pitts), regularly confounded the ship's stuffy captain and, every third episode, burst into song (a condition of Ms. Storm's contract). The show ran from 1956 to 1960.
During the same decade Ms. Storm had a successful recording career, with a gold record for I Hear You Knockin and other pop hits including Teen Age Prayer, Tell Me Why and Dark Moon. Six of her records reached the Top 10 between 1955 and 1957.
After her decade of television fame, Ms. Storm turned to stage work in Las Vegas and to regional theater. But she also battled alcoholism in the 1970s and wrote about her struggle in her 1981 autobiography, I Ain't Down Yet.
I was the star of my own cornball B movie, she wrote, alluding to her success and her stable, happy home life, and suddenly it turned into a horror story. She gave the credit for her recovery to a California hospital's aversion-therapy program.
Josephine Owaissa Cottle was born on April 5, 1922, in Bloomington, Tex., a small town near the Gulf of Mexico. She was the youngest of five children (an older sister suggested her middle name, an American Indian word for bluebird). Her father, a potter, died when Josephine was a year old, and her mother became a seamstress to make ends meet.
The family moved to Houston, where Josephine was active in high school dramatics. Two teachers there persuaded her to enter the Gateway to Hollywood talent contest, sponsored by the producer Jesse L. Lasky, RKO Radio Pictures and Wrigley, the chewing gum manufacturer.
In 1939 she won the local competition and traveled with her mother to Hollywood, where she won the national prize, which included the preordained screen name Gale Storm and an RKO contract. In a fairy tale twist, she also met and fell in love with the contest's male winner, Lee Bonnell, a young actor from Indiana. She married him in 1941.
Ms. Storm made her film debut in the boys boarding school drama Tom Brown's School Days (1940), starring Cedric Hardwicke. But RKO soon canceled her contract, and the three dozen or so movies she made during the next decade were less than artistic triumphs.
Where Are Your Children? (1943), an early treatment of juvenile delinquency starring Jackie Cooper, garnered some positive attention. She played opposite the cowboy star Roy Rogers in three films, including Red River Valley (1941). Her personal favorites among her films were It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947), a holiday comedy with Don DeFore, in which she was cast as a millionaire's daughter, and The Dude Goes West (1948), a comedy with Eddie Albert.
After her second television series went off the air, Ms. Storm's screen-acting career largely ended. She did two episodes of Burke's Law in the 1960s and one of The Love Boat (considered something of an Oh! Susanna copycat) in 1979. Her final screen appearance, in 1989, was on the CBS drama series Murder, She Wrote playing a bridegroom's mother.
Ms. Storm's marriage to Mr. Bonnell, who abandoned his acting career early on and became an insurance executive, lasted until his death, in 1986. They had four children. In 1988 she married Paul Masterson, a former ABC television executive, who died in 1996.
She is survived by three sons, Phillip, Peter and Paul; a daughter, Susie; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
In her memoir, Ms. Storm looked back on her greatest success, My Little Margie, and the difficulties of doing a weekly series for several years.
I'd get tired, but I'd wake up every morning looking forward to the day's work, she wrote. I think that the secret to happiness is being surrounded by people you love and having work that you look forward to doing.
Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
To watch clips from My Little Margie go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=my+little+margie+tv+show
To go to Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20090208131729/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/margie.html
For an episode guide go to http://ctva.biz/US/Comedy/MyLittleMargie.htm
For The Official Gale Storm Site go to http://www.galestorm.tv/index/
For a page dedicated to Gale Storm go to http://www.retrogalaxy.com/remember/gale-storm.asp
For more on Gale Storm go to http://www.tvparty.com/50-gale-storm.html
To watch an interview with Gale Storm go to http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/shows/my-little-margie
For two great reviews of My Little Margie go to https://web.archive.org/web/20091009200117/www.museum.tv/archives/etv/M/htmlM/mylittlemar/mylittlemar.htm and https://web.archive.org/web/20080216004951/http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/overview8.htm#margie
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT96bevIed4
� Date: Sat March 27, 2004 � Filesize: 48.6kb � Dimensions: 482 x 609 �
Keywords: My Little Margie