Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
Hazel aired from September 1961 until September 1966 on NBC and CBS.
One of the few successful tv series based on a comic strip, Hazel came to television in 1961, about 19 years after her creation by Ted Key ( the cartoons were published in the Saturday Evening Post). The series was set in the fictional town of Hydsberg, New York and centered around George Baxter ( Don Defore), a highly successful corporation lawyer who was always in control of everything at the office, but of almost nothing at home. When he returned from the office at day's end, to his wife, Dorothy( Whitney Blake ), and his young son, Harold ( Bobby Buntrock), he entered the world of Hazel ( Shirley Booth)!
Hazel was the maid/housekeeper who ran the Baxter household more efficiently than George ran his office. She was always right, knew exactly what needed doing, and preempted his authority with alarming, though justified, regularity. She invariably referred to him as " Mr. B" and she called Dorothy " Missy." Other regulars included The Johnson's, Harriet and Herbert ( Norma Varden,Donald Foster) the Baxter's nutty neighbors, Harvey Griffith ( Howard Smith), George's biggest client; and Rosie ( Maudie Pricket), another maid from the neighborhood who was Hazel's friend. Smiley was the family dog.
When the show moved to CBS in 1965, Hazel changed families. George and Dorothy had been "transferred" to the Middle East on an assignment, leaving Hazel and son Harold to live with George's brother's family - which consisted of brother Steve ( Ray Fulmer), his wife Barbara( Lynn Borden), and daughter Susie.( Julia Benjamin) Steve Baxter was a real-estate agent who had never understood why George had let Hazel take over his home. He soon found out why!
Here's some facts about Hazel you might not know.
1) Shirley Booth, a veteran Broadway actress whose film career was limited to just five 1950's movies, won a Tony and an Oscar ( for both the stage and screen versions of Come Back Little Sheeba), as well as 2 emmys for her role as Hazel.
2) Whitney Blake was the mother of tv star Meredith Baxter ( Family Ties). She also was the first defendant on Perry Mason in 1957 and with husband Alan Mannings, later created the tv sitcom One Day At A Time.
3) Bobby Buntrock died in April of 1974 in a car accident. He was only 21.
Here is Shirley Booth's Obituary From The New York Times.
October 21, 1992
Shirley Booth, Star of TV, Radio, Stage and Screen, Is Dead at 94
By PETER B. FLINT
Shirley Booth, an actress whose warmth and versatility brought her acclaim on stage, screen and television, died on Friday at her home in North Chatham, Mass. She was 94 years old.
She died after a brief illness, said David Hunt of the Nickerson Funeral Home in Chatham, who announced her death yesterday.
Miss Booth was celebrated for never giving a bad performance. She portrayed many quick-witted women with acerbic tongues, but gained her greatest recognition for playing an ingratiating but drab, garrulous housewife clinging to wistful illusions in "Come Back, Little Sheba."
In "Sheba," she captivated audiences as Lola Delaney opposite Sidney Blackmer in William Inge's 1950 Broadway play, and then co-starred with Burt Lancaster in the 1952 movie version. Miss Booth's portrayals of a woman struggling to cope with her husband's alcoholism and their barren life together garnered every dramatic award, including a Tony and an Oscar.
'I Like My Work'
In a lighter vein, on television, the actress played the title role of an irrepressible maid on "Hazel" from 1961 to 1966, for which she received two Emmys. When associates deplored her doing the sitcom as demeaning her talents, she gently took issue with them. "Why not enjoy Hazel's success?" she said to a colleague. "I'm as pleased as I can be. I like my work."
She said the only other work she might enjoy as much as acting was interior decorating. For many years, she enjoyed remodeling her Manhattan apartment and 1810 cottage in Cape Cod, Mass.
In 1973, Miss Booth starred in a second television sitcom as a perky widow in "A Touch of Grace." Thirty years earlier, on radio, she had been a wisecracking cashier, Miss Duffy, on "Duffy's Tavern."
In Praise of Talents
She learned her craft by performing in 600 plays in stock companies before she appeared in some 40 plays on Broadway and in a few movies. On the stage she was a gangster's moll in "Three Men on a Horse" (1935), an inquisitive photographer in "The Philadelphia Story" (1939), a caustic writer in "My Sister Eileen" (1940), an anti-fascist teacher in "Tomorrow the World" (1943) and an exuberant gossip columnist in "Hollywood Pinafore" (1945).
Also on Broadway, Miss Booth was an urbane secretary in "Goodbye My Fancy" (1948), a freewheeling aunt in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1951), a romantic tourist in "The Time of the Cuckoo" (1952) and an ingratiating researcher in "The Desk Set" (1955).
Her films included "About Mrs. Leslie" (1954), "Hot Spell" (1958) and Thornton Wilder's "Matchmaker" (1958).
In comedies and musicals as well as dramas, reviews of her performances resembled love letters. The New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson, reviewing a 1954 Broadway musical, "By the Beautiful Sea," wrote that Miss Booth's acting "radiates all through a large theater and draws an audience close together."
"The stage begins to glow the moment she steps on it and the audience melts, like a crowd of children whose imagination has been captured by someone they trust," he continued. "No one else in the theater has made native decency so human, so triumphant and so captivating."
The actress was born in Manhattan to the former Virginia Wright and Albert J. Ford, a business executive. The young Thelma Booth Ford attended public schools in Brooklyn and Hartford, and dropped out at 14 to seek a stage career, despite angry opposition by her father.
She made her first professional appearance in 1921 in Hartford in a thriller, "The Cat and the Canary," and appeared in stock theater in New Haven for more than a year, under the name Shirley Booth. She made her Broadway debut in "Hell's Bells" in 1925, along with another newcomer, Humphrey Bogart, and then interspersed stock engagements with short-lived Broadway plays for a decade.
For Room and Breakfast
She gained notice in New York by appearing in skits by Dorothy Parker at the Barbizon-Plaza Hotel in return for a room and breakfast. The performances led George Abbott, the producer and playwright, to give her the ingenue's role in "Three Men on a Horse." The comedy's two-year run elevated her from stock and led Mr. Abbott to remark, "I have worked with more actresses than I can count, and to me Shirley is easily tops."
Appraising her own views on acting, Miss Booth said: "I'm lucky. I play characters, not types. I don't care what the part is as long as it's a person I'm interested in, someone I want to introduce to people."
In an interview in 1971, she said: "I'd rather have affection than admiration. Affection is warmer and it lasts longer. I love a good critic. I don't care if he pans me, if he does it elegantly."
Miss Booth was married to Ed Gardner, the Archie of "Duffy's Tavern," from 1929 until their divorce in 1942. Her second husband, William H. Baker Jr., an artist and farmer, died of heart disease in 1951.
She is survived by a sister, Jean Coe of Los Angeles.
Here is Don Defore's Obituary from The New York Times
Don DeFore, 80, Dies; Was Mr. B. on 'Hazel'
Published: December 24, 1993
Don DeFore, the actor who played Mr. B., the exasperated boss in the 1960's television program "Hazel," died on Wednesday night here at St. John's Hospital and Health Center. He was 80.
The cause was cardiac arrest, said his son Ron.
Mr. Defore acted in a number of Broadway plays and appeared in some two dozen movies, but it was his television work that made him a popular figure. He first played the next-door-neighbor, Thorny, in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" from 1952 to 1958. But his most popular role was as Mr. Baxter, the employer of the Shirley Booth character, a headstrong maid, in "Hazel." The program ran from 1961 to 1965.
Onstage, Mr. Defore appeared in "Where Do We Go From Here?" (1938), "Steel" (1939) and the Broadway production of James Thurber's comedy "The Male Animal" (1940). He was also featured in a production of Elmer Rice's "Dream Girl," starring Judy Holliday, in 1951.
On screen, he appeared in the 1942 film adaptation of "The Male Animal" with Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland. Among his other film credits are "Wings for the Eagle" (1942), "You Came Along" (1945), "The Stork Club" (1945), "Too Late for Tears" (1949) and "My Friend Irma" (1949).
His last television guest-star roles were in the 1980's on episodes of "St. Elsewhere" and "Murder, She Wrote."
In addition to his son Ron, of Annandale, Va., he is survived by his wife, Marion Holmes of Los Angeles; another son, David, of Encino, Calif; and three daughters, Penny Hill of Beverly Hills, Calif., Dawn Burdine of Macungie, Pa., and Autumn Moore of San Jose, Calif.
Here is Whitney Blake's Obituary from The LA Times
Published on October 2, 2002
Whitney Blake, 76; Star of 1960s' 'Hazel' Helped Create 'One Day at a Time'
Whitney Blake, the versatile actress who portrayed comedian Shirley Booth's housewife-employer in the long-running television series "Hazel" and co-created the edgier sitcom "One Day at a Time," has died. She was 76.
Blake died Saturday at her home in Edgartown, Mass., after a long illness, attended by her family and the Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, said her husband, writer-producer Allan Manings.
The actress, who also maintained a home in Malibu, portrayed Dorothy Baxter, wife to Don DeFore's George Baxter, from 1961 to 1965 on "Hazel," a series modeled on the maid of Ted Key's Saturday Evening Post cartoons.
The show, in which Booth actually ran the household rather than Blake, was so popular, Blake told The Times in 1963, because "we make people happy."
"We don't deal with deep problems," she said. "We have happy problems. People tell me it's refreshing to see our show, that they never miss it because they feel good afterward."
But the sitcom carrying Blake's credit as co-creator a decade later did deal with deeper problems and broke new ground by making a divorced single mother, played by Bonnie Franklin, the head of the household. "One Day at a Time," set in an Indianapolis apartment house with Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli as the teenage daughters, aired from 1975 to 1984.
Blake, who co-created the show with her husband for his boss, Norman Lear, was determined to depict a single-mother household because of her own family experiences. She had been raised by her divorced mother, and she was a divorced mother before marrying Manings, bringing up three children: sons Richard and Brian, and her daughter, actress Meredith Baxter. Her daughter had also been a single mother. All the involved children, Blake told The Times in 1975, "turned out fine, but there were terrible things that happened along the way."
Born in Eagle Rock and educated at Pasadena City College, Blake began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse and returned there as frequently as possible, playing everything from Shakespeare to musicals.
The stage may have been her preferred medium, but she became far better known during the Golden Age of television on dramatic anthology series such as "Playhouse 90" and the "Zane Grey Theater" and in early episodes of "Maverick" and "Bonanza." She was in the first episode of "Perry Mason" in 1957, as Evelyn Bagby in "The Case of the Restless Redhead."
On the large screen, Blake appeared in the movie adaptation of the Mickey Spillane novel "My Gun Is Quick" in 1957; was Jack Webb's wife in the 1959 newspaper film "-30-"; and two decades later appeared with Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in Harold Robbins' "The Betsy."
Blake, who was also an activist for civil rights, co-hosted her own local KCBS-TV Channel 2 daytime show "Boutique" in the late 1960s, interviewing guests and offering opinions about fashion, books and home decor.
In the 1980s, Blake tried another venue, producing and directing her own low-budget documentary: "Reno's Kids: 87 Days Plus 11." She said she was inspired to make the film after she read a Los Angeles Times article about Daly City teacher Reno Taini and his Wilderness Class for troubled teenagers, including drug addicts and delinquents.
It was the teacher, who was selected as California Teacher of the Year for 1982, not the teenagers, who intrigued her, Blake said.
"He creates in people the will and the tools to survive," she told The Times in 1988 after following Taini scaling desert rocks and walking a tightrope between trees. "My experience was, 'I can do anything after this.' "
The movie opened to good reviews and honors from the International CINE Council and the Chicago International Film Festival.
Asked about her cinema verite style, she said, "I was trying to edit real life into a form of theater."
She is survived by her husband, three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The family has asked that memorial donations be made to Planned Parenthood.
Creator Ted Key's Obituary from CNN
May 8, 2008
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Cartoonist Ted Key, whose comic strip "Hazel" about a bossy maid went from magazine page to TV screen, has died. He was 95.
Ted Key created "Hazel," which became a popular TV series starring Shirley Booth (left).
He died Saturday at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Tredyffrin Township after a 1 1/2-year battle with cancer, his son Peter Key said Monday.
"Hazel" was a popular feature in The Saturday Evening Post from the time it debuted in 1943. It evolved into a prime-time series in 1961 that starred Shirley Booth and ran for four years on NBC and one year on CBS.
Key also created the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman for producer Jay Ward. The time-traveling dog/scientist and his boy made their TV debuts in 1959 in segments on the animated show "Rocky and His Friends."
He created cartoon panels called "Diz and Liz" for the Jack and Jill children's magazine and produced a number of other animal characters. He also wrote a play for radio, authored and illustrated books, and had freelance cartoons appear in Cosmopolitan, Better Homes and Gardens and Sports Illustrated.
Key literally dreamed up the concept of his wildly popular maid cartoon.
"Like a lot of creative people, he kept a notepad near his bedside," Peter Key said of his father. "He had a dream about a maid who took a message, but she screwed it up completely. When he looked at the idea the next day, he thought it was good and sold it to the Post."
Key randomly picked the name for the maid and was flattered that it later became synonymous with maids, according to his son.
Key acquired the rights to "Hazel" in 1969 and the comic was picked up for syndication by King Features. King still distributes the cartoon today, using those drawn by Key before he retired in 1993.
"Hazel" was so popular that when the first collection of cartoons was published in 1946, E.P. Dutton sold 500,000 copies. In all, Dutton published eight collections of "Hazel" cartoons.
Later, Key and a neighbor published biweekly motivational posters called "Positive Attitude Posters," and he created a series of motivational pamphlets for sales people.
Theodore Keyser was born in Fresno, California, on August 25, 1912. His father, a Latvian immigrant who had changed his last name from Katseff to Keyser, changed his name to Key during World War I.
Key was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and suffered a stroke in September.
He is survived by his second wife, Bonnie, three sons and three grandchildren. His first wife, Anne, died in 1984.
Here is Lynn Borden's Obituary from The Hollywood Reporter
Lynn Borden, Actress on TV's 'Hazel,' Dies at 77
11:18 AM PST 3/6/2015 by Mike Barnes
Lynn Borden, who starred on the 1960s TV comedy Hazel and was done in by a killer turtle in the 1972 cult eco-horror film Frogs, died Tuesday after an extended illness, her family announced. She was 77.
Borden played Barbara Baxter on the fifth and final season of Hazel, which starred Shirley Booth as a live-in maid. The show had shifted from NBC to CBS, and Hazel had moved in with another family.
Frogs, distributed by American International Pictures, stars Ray Milland as a wealthy wheelchair-bound man who is polluting the swamp around his island estate. Nature soon exacts its revenge, and Borden pays the price when she is stuck in the mud and killed by a snapping turtle.
Borden also appeared in such films as Days of Wine and Roses (1962), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Black Mama White Mama (1973), Walking Tall (1973), Breezy (1973), Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) and Savannah Smiles (1982). Her TV work included The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Three Sons, Get Smart, McMillan & Wife, Fantasy Island and, in her last onscreen appearance, CSI: NY.
Born in Detroit, Borden was raised in Tucson, Ariz. She was the winner of the Miss Arizona 1957 pageant and then was a runner-up in the Miss America contest. Her father, Bill Freyse, drew the newspaper comic strip Our Boarding School for three decades.
Survivors include her husband of 33 years, Roger, and her brother, Steve. A memorial Mass will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Our Lady of Grace Church in Encino.
To read some articles about Hazel go to https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=PftGAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5vMMAAAAIBAJ&dq=bobby%20buntrock&pg=4257%2C4588871 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wXZPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FwUEAAAAIBAJ&dq=hazel%20tv%20show&pg=1553%2C4951088 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gA5UAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fTkNAAAAIBAJ&dq=hazel%20tv%20show&pg=922%2C4696258 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=bYNiAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iXcNAAAAIBAJ&dq=hazel%20tv%20show&pg=2994%2C244310 and https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=StlaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mGwDAAAAIBAJ&dq=bobby%20buntrock%20commercial&pg=5421%2C3611246 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=lndKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JCMNAAAAIBAJ&dq=hazel%20shirley%20booth&pg=5246%2C2723153
To watch some clips from Hazel go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hazel++shirley+booth
To go to Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20100103181855/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/hazel.html
For an episode guide go to http://ctva.biz/US/Comedy/Hazel.htm
For another episode guide go to http://web.archive.org/web/20060109211855/www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/6689/hazelepg.htm
For a page dedicated to Hazel go to https://web.archive.org/web/20081205031217/http://tvland.classictvhits.com/Hazel/
For more on Shirley Booth go to https://web.archive.org/web/20060414091438/http://www.classicimages.com/1999/june99/booth.html
For a Blog dedicated to Shirley Booth go to https://web.archive.org/web/20120207033830/http://shirleyboothstory.blogspot.com/
For a Website dedicated to Don Defore go to http://www.defore.net/
For a Page dedicated to Whitney Blake go to http://www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com/show/28/Whitney+Blake/index.html
For a page dedicated to Bobby Buntrock go to http://www.tvbanter.net/2015/02/bobby-buntrock-tragic-death-of-hazels.html
For 2 other reviews of Hazel go to https://web.archive.org/web/20091009193538/http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/H/htmlH/hazel/hazel.htm and https://web.archive.org/web/20111225223137/http://www.televisionheaven-usa.com/overview2.htm#hazel
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEnc5tvjgfo
� Date: Thu December 30, 2004 � Filesize: 48.1kb � Dimensions: 380 x 480 �
Keywords: Shirley Booth Don Defore (Links Updated 5/20/2017)