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Old Time Radio - Our Miss Brooks

Category: Radio
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Our Miss Brooks

Our Miss Brooks is an American situation comedy starring Eve Arden as a sardonic high-school English teacher. It began as a radio show broadcast on CBS from 1948 to 1957.
Our Miss Brooks was a hit on radio from the outset; within eight months of its launch as a regular series, the show landed several honors, including four for Eve Arden, who won polls in four individual publications of the time. Arden had actually been the third choice to play the title role. Harry Ackerman, at the time CBS's West Coast director of programming, wanted Shirley Booth for the part, but as he told historian Gerald Nachman many years later, he realized Booth was too focused on the underpaid downside of public school teaching at the time to have fun with the role.[2]
Lucille Ball was believed to have been the next choice, but she was already committed to My Favorite Husband and did not audition. Then CBS chairman Bill Paley, who was friendly with Arden, persuaded her to audition for the part. With a slightly rewritten audition script—Osgood Conklin, for example, was originally written as a school board president but was now written as the incoming new Madison principal—Arden agreed to give the newly revamped show a try.[3]
Constance Brooks is a witty professional woman as the central character of the old time radio show,
Audiences can relate to Connie Brooks as a clever, sarcastic, kindhearted teacher.  Produced by Larry Berns and written and directed by Al Lewis, Our Miss Brooks premiered on the network on July 19th, 1948.
The show was sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive-Peet, promoting Palmolive soap (Palmolive soap, your beauty hope), Lustre Creme shampoo, and Toni hair.  The old time radio series continued until 1957, a year after its television life ended.  Our Miss Brooks show featured a number of memorable and unique characters, whose trials and tribulations offered zany humor for old time millions of listeners.
Critics and fans alike applauded Our Miss Brooks. Radio Mirror magazine nominated Eve Arden as the top-ranking comedienne two years in a row for her portrayal as Miss Brooks.  The National Education Association and other teaching organizations awarded Arden for sympathic portrayal of teachers.  After the old time radio show Our Miss Brooks ended its run, Eve Arden was offered positions as a High School English teacher at a number of High Schools. 
Eve Arden won a radio listeners' poll by Radio Mirror magazine as the top-ranking comedienne of 1948–49, receiving her award at the end of an Our Miss Brooks broadcast that March. "I'm certainly going to try in the coming months to merit the honor you've bestowed upon me, because I understand that if I win this two years in a row, I get to keep Mr. Boynton," she joked. But she was also a hit with the critics; a winter 1949 poll of newspaper and magazine radio editors taken by Motion Picture Daily named her the year's best radio comedienne.
OUR MISS BROOKS
Eve ArdenEveArden Eve Arden (April 30, 1908 – November 12, 1990) was an American film, stage, and television actress, and comedian. She performed in leading and supporting roles over nearly six decades.
Beginning her career on Broadway in the early 1930s, Arden's first major role was in the RKO Radio Pictures drama Stage Door (1937) opposite Katharine Hepburn, followed by roles in the comedies Having Wonderful Time (1938) and At the Circus (1939), the latter starring the Marx Brothers. Arden would go on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945). In the latter part of her career, she played the sardonic but engaging title character of a high school teacher in Our Miss Brooks, winning the first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and as the school principal in the musicals Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982).
Arden was born Eunice Mary Quedens in Mill Valley, California on April 30, 1908[1][2][3] to Charles Peter Quedens, son of Charles Henry Augustus and Meta L. (née Dierks) Quedens, and Lucille (née Frank) Quedens, daughter of Bernard and Louisa (née Mertens) Frank, both of German descent. Lucille, a milliner, divorced Charles over his gambling, and went into business for herself. Although not Roman Catholic, young Eunice was sent to a Dominican convent school near Modesto, and later attended Tamalpais High School, a public high school in Mill Valley until age 16. After leaving school, she joined a stock theater company.[4]
Arden's ability with witty scripts made her a natural talent for radio; she became a regular on Danny Kaye's short-lived but memorably zany comedy-variety show in 1946, which also featured swing bandleader Harry James and gravel-voiced character actor-comedian Lionel Stander.[17]
Kaye's show lasted one season, but Arden's display of comic talent and timing set the stage for her to be cast in her best-known role, Madison High School English teacher Connie Brooks in Our Miss Brooks. Arden portrayed the character on radio from 1948 to 1957.
Arden's character clashed with the school's principal, Osgood Conklin (played by Gale Gordon), and nursed an unrequited crush on fellow teacher Philip Boynton (played originally by future film star Jeff Chandler. Except for Chandler, the entire radio cast of Arden, Gordon, Richard Crenna (Walter Denton), Robert Rockwell (Mr. Philip Boynton), Gloria McMillan (Harriet Conklin), and Jane Morgan (landlady Margaret Davis) played the same roles on television.[18]
Arden's portrayal of the character was so popular that she was made an honorary member of the National Education Association, received a 1952 award from the Teachers College of Connecticut's Alumni Association "for humanizing the American teacher", and even received teaching job offers.[16] Her wisecracking, deadpan attitude as the character ultimately became her public persona as a commedienne as well.[16]
 

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