25 November 2002 | F Gwynplaine MacIntyre
Quaint early sitcom
The 1952 American sitcom 'My Hero' was the second Yank comedy series transmitted on British television. (The first was "Amos 'n' Andy", airing on the BBC fortnightly from April 1954. 'My Hero' made its UK debut on ITV in September 55. The third Yank sitcom to show up in Britain was some unfunny piece of gudge about a redhead and a conga player.)
American actor Robert Cummings worked under several different names. He started out in the theatre as a fake Englishman under the stage name Blade Stanhope Conway. When that gambit failed to get him any bookings, he adopted a Southern accent and made his Broadway debut as Brice Hutchins. Eventually he got work in films as a dramatic actor under his real name, Robert Cummings (notably in Hitchcock's 'Saboteur' and 'Dial M for Murder'), but he billed himself as BOB Cummings when he played comedy roles.
'My Hero' stars Bob Cummings in comedy mode as Bob Beanblossom (ouch!), a charming but incompetent estate agent in Los Angeles. The 'My' in the title is his attractive secretary Julie Marshall, who for some reason idolises Bob even though she is constantly rescuing him whenever he screws up a deal. Bob's hot-tempered boss is Willis Thackery.
'My Hero' isn't very funny, although it's a lot less painful to watch than an unrelated British sitcom of the same title, made nearly 50 years later. Bob Cummings was a charming, easy-going actor, and his presence brought pleasance, rather than hilarity, to the proceedings.