Monday, June 29, 2009

Gale Storm, 1922 - 2009

This has been a bad week for showbiz.

Some of you youngsters might not remember Gale Storm, but I sure as shit do. We got our first TV set in about 1953. In those days Los Angeles only had seven stations and if it was snowing on Mt. Wilson, it was snowing on the TV too.
There weren't many viewing choices, but My Little Margie was a good one and we watched it each week without fail.

I don't watch sitcoms much any more because most of 'em are not-very-funny crap, but those were simpler times, gentle innocent humor that wasn't all put-downs like it is now. Stuff that wouldn't cut it today was terrific back then.


Gale Storm, who shot to the top on television as the vivacious star of two popular 1950s situation comedies, "My Little Margie" and "The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna," has died. She was 87.

A summer replacement for "I Love Lucy," "My Little Margie" ran from 1952 to 1955, with Storm starring as the plucky young Margie Albright and Charles Farrell as her widower father, Vern. Although critics generally panned "My Little Margie" as a lightweight farce, the public fell in love with the mischievous Margie. A 1953 poll of the most popular TV stars listed Storm at No. 2, behind TV comedy queen Lucille Ball.

After "My Little Margie" ended, Storm starred in "The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna," in which she played social director Susanna Pomeroy aboard the luxury liner the SS Ocean Queen*. The situation comedy, featuring Zasu Pitts as the ship's flighty beautician Elvira "Nugey" Nugent and Roy Roberts as Capt. Huxley, ran from 1956 to 1960.

*Homeported at Fire Island, perhaps? The reference would never have crossed anybody's mind back then. ZaSu Pitts was funnier'n shit. My folks remembered her from silent movies.

I didn't know about this but I can relate:

In 1980, she returned to the limelight as the commercial spokeswoman for Raleigh Hills Hospital, the now-defunct alcohol treatment chain where she had been treated for a serious bout with alcoholism.

I beat alcohol when I was in my fifties as well. Good for you, lady.

Her obit has a pretty good account of her life. Please go read about her.

Thanks for the memories, Ms. Storm.

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