The Women Who Made Television Funny

Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms

The Women Who Made Television Funny

Most of the bright and talented actresses who made America laugh in the 1950s are off the air today, but their pioneering Hollywood careers irrevocably changed the face of television comedy. These smart and sassy women successfully negotiated the hazards of the male-dominated workplace with class and humor, and the work they did in the 1950s is inventive still by today’s standards. Unable to fall back on strong language, shock value, or racial and sexual epithets, the female sitcom stars of the 1950s entertained with pure talent and screen savvy. As they did so, they helped to lay the foundation for the development of television comedy. This book pays tribute to 10 prominent television actresses who played lead roles in popular comedy shows of the 1950s. Each chapter covers the works and personalities of one actress: Lucille Ball (I Love Lucy), Gracie Allen (The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show), Eve Arden (Our Miss Brooks), Spring Byington (December Bride), Joan Davis (I Married Joan), Anne Jeffreys (Topper), Donna Reed (The Donna Reed Show), Ann Sothern (Private Secretary and The Ann Sothern Show), Gale Storm (My Little Margie and The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna), and Betty White (Life with Elizabeth). For each star, a career sketch is provided, concentrating primarily on her television work but also noting achievements in other areas. Appendices offer cast and crew lists, a chronology, and an additional biographical sketch of 10 less familiar actresses who deserve recognition.

Orson Welles Remembered

Interviews with His Actors, Editors, Cinematographers and Magicians

Orson Welles Remembered

With a career spanning almost five decades, Orson Welles became--and in many ways still is--one of entertainment's biggest names. His temperamental vitality, his humor and his general theatricality contributed volumes to the American stage and movie screen. His concepts of lighting and staging brought a new era to American productions. Welles influenced an entire generation of directors. These interviews conducted between 2003 and 2005 record the reminiscences of 30 individuals who worked with Orson Welles in a professional capacity. Beginning with 1937 and his work in Mercury Theatre, it follows a selected few of many who were part of Welles's life up to his sudden death in October 1985. Including actors, editors, cinematographers, camera assistants and magicians, the work presents a rounded view of Welles's career and, to some extent, his personal life. Each interview is presented in question and answer format with occasional commentary inserted for context or clarification. Projects discussed include Welles's most notable (Citizen Kane and War of the Worlds) as well as others like Heart of Darkness and The Cradle Will Rock which never quite reached fruition.

It’s the Pictures That Got Small

Hollywood Film Stars on 1950s Television

It’s the Pictures That Got Small

An original study of Hollywood film stars and 1950s television

Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television

Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen

Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television

Originally broadcast on American television between 1952 and 1969, the 30 situation comedies in this work are seldom seen today and receive only brief and often incomplete and inaccurate mentions in most reference sources. Yet these sitcoms (including Angel, The Governor and J.J., It’s a Great Life, I’m Dickens ... He’s Fenster and Wendy and Me), and the stories of the talented people who made them, are an integral part of television history. With a complete list of production credits and rare publicity stills, this volume, based on multiple screenings of episodes, corrects other sources and expand our knowledge of television history.

Eve Arden

A Chronicle of All Film, Television, Radio and Stage Performances

Eve Arden

The remarkable career of American actress Eve Arden (1908–1990) is thoroughly chronicled from her earliest stage work in 1926 (under her given name Eunice Quedens) to her final television role in a 1987 episode of Falcon Crest. Included are detailed descriptions and critical commentaries of the actress’s 62 feature film appearances between 1929 and 1982, notably her Oscar-nominated performance as Joan Crawford’s sardonic confidante in 1945’s Mildred Pierce. Complete coverage is provided of Eve Arden’s work in the popular radio and television series Our Miss Brooks, and her later costarring stint with Kaye Ballard in the two-season TV sitcom The Mothers-in-Law. Also listed are her many other radio and television appearances, as well as her theatrical roles in such Broadway productions as Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 and Let’s Face It.

Shirley Booth

A Biography and Career Record

Shirley Booth

An Oscar-winning Best Actress for her tour-de-force role in Come Back, Little Sheba, Shirley Booth would ultimately win every major acting award that could be bestowed on an actress. Awarded three Tony Awards, two Emmys, and a Golden Globe, Booth was described by the judges at the Cannes Film Festival as “The World’s Best Actress.” Yet today fans know her best as the warm-hearted, busybody maid of television’s Hazel. This, the first biography of the beloved star, provides complete coverage of a career that encompassed theater, film, radio, and television, and co-stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. It begins with Shirley’s childhood in Brooklyn, and her rebellious decision to become an actress against the wishes of her strict father. Included is complete coverage of her tumultuous marriage to radio comedian Ed Gardner (of “Duffy’s Tavern” fame), and a second, happier union that ended abruptly with her husband’s death of a heart attack. Readers of this exhaustively researched biography will come to know a versatile and gifted star whose career spanned almost 60 years. Appendices provide extensive details of her Broadway, film, radio and television (episode-by-episode) credits.

Stealing the Show

How Women Are Revolutionizing Television

Stealing the Show

From a leading cultural journalist, the definitive cultural history of female showrunners—including exclusive interviews with such influential figures as Shonda Rhimes, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer, and many more. “An urgent and entertaining history of the transformative powers of women in TV” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). In recent years, women have radically transformed the television industry both behind and in front of the camera. From Murphy Brown to 30 Rock and beyond, these shows and the extraordinary women behind them have shaken up the entertainment landscape, making it look as if equal opportunities abound. But it took decades of determination in the face of outright exclusion to reach this new era. In this “sharp, funny, and gorgeously researched” (Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker) book, veteran journalist Joy Press tells the story of the maverick women who broke through the barricades and the iconic shows that redefined the television landscape starting with Diane English and Roseanne Barr—and even incited controversy that reached as far as the White House. Drawing on a wealth of original interviews with the key players like Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black), and Jill Soloway (Transparent) who created storylines and characters that changed how women are seen and how they see themselves, this is the exhilarating behind-the-scenes story of a cultural revolution.

Falling Fast (A fun contemporary romance about secrets, reality TV...and unexpected love)

Falling Fast (A fun contemporary romance about secrets, reality TV...and unexpected love)

When Alexa is sent by a magazine to be an undercover contestant on the reality TV series "Falling For Mr. Right" she assumes the worst part of the assignment will be having to act like a brainless bimbo to win the affection of an arrogant guy out looking for his 15 minutes of fame. Color her shocked when it turns out not only are several of her fellow contestants intelligent, funny women...but Brandon – aka Mr. Right - isn't at all the kind of guy she thought he'd be.

Virginia Woolf

Lesbian Readings

Virginia Woolf

The last two decades have seen a resurgence of critical and popular attention to Virginia Woolf's life and work. Such traditional institutions as The New York Review of Books now pair her with William Shakespeare in promotional advertisements; her face is used to sell everything from Barnes & Noble books to Bass Ale. Virginia Woolf: Lesbian Readings represents the first book devoted to Woolf's lesbianism. Divided into two sections, Lesbian Intersections and Lesbian Readings of Woolf's Novels, these essays focus on how Woolf's private and public experience and knowledge of same-sex love influences her shorter fiction and novels. Lesbian Intersections includes personal narratives that trace the experience of reading Woolf through the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Lesbian Readings of Woolf's Novels provides lesbian interpretations of the individual novels, including Orlando, The Waves, and The Years. Breaking new ground in our understanding of the role Woolf's love for women plays in her major writing, these essays shift the emphasis of lesbian interpretations from Woolf's life to her work.

Some Girls Bite

A Chicagoland Vampires Novel

Some Girls Bite

The First Chicagoland Vampires Novel They killed me. They healed me. They changed me. Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but I was doing fine until Chicago’s vampires announced their existence to the world. When a rogue vampire attacked me, I was lucky he only got a sip. Another bloodsucker scared him off and decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead. Now I’ve traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude—and servitude. Right… But someone’s out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches? My initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.