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  • "Our Miss Brooks" was one of the first television programs to feature an independent, sharp, strong, beautiful woman who planned on a career and loved her career as a teacher. Eve Arden was a consummate comedienne who took the romantic comedy heroine from 1930's romantic comedy and combined her with a career woman in her portrayal of Connie Brooks. Eve Arden's portrayal pioneered shows starring actresses in roles as bright, career-minded women who were not defined by husbands nor boyfriends.

    "Our Miss Brooks" featured one of the most brilliant casts of any television comedy. They played character who were only slight exaggerations of real people found in any American high school of the 1950's. Gale Gordon as pompous, arrogant Principal Osgood Conklin displayed Gordon's talents that made him a star character actor on television. The nerdy characters portrayed by Richard Crenna and Leonard Smith are as hilarious and believable today as they were in the 1950's. Jane Morgan as the befuddled Mrs. Davis was a great foil for Eve Arden. It is singular that so many characters serve as comic foils for the star of a show. "Our Miss Brooks" led the way. The combination of character writing, slapstick, and witty, sophisticated lines has never been equalled. Eve Arden's artistry was never so artfully displayed as it was in "Our Miss Brooks". When one realizes that, for several years, original scripts of "Our Miss Brooks" were written for concurrent radio and television versions of the show, it is astounding the consistent excellent level of script quality that the show's writers were able to produce.

    One of the highlights of American television!
  • To me this is the funniest TV sitcom ever made. Its type of humor is absolutely unique and can't be found anywhere else, a refined type of camp that produces a ticklish bitter-sweet inner chuckle. One wonders how much Eve Arden had to do with it. The show is unthinkable without her. In other roles she exhibits the same trademark worldweariness. Half the time she seems to be talking to herself, surrounded as she is, by a mass of clueless, shallow, though likable humanity. Miss Brooks inhabits a kind of solipsistic universe in which she seems to be the only one really alive. Yet the deadness of others seems to drag her down to a point where she is just going through the motions of living. Depression was never funnier. All other characters are adorable, particularly the landlady.
  • and heard the radio show, too. The show made a seamless transition from radio to television with the original cast and writers intact. It was filmed by Desilu as a one-camera show, so it lacks some of the energy which shows like I Love Lucy derived from a live studio audience. But the cast was perfectly cast and the writing was sharp. The only false note in the program concept is Arden's desperate and somewhat pathetic attempt to "hook" shy biology teacher "Mr. Boynton." There is almost no chemistry between the two and no evidence of passion on "Miss Brooks'" part. The real sizzle here comes from the classic exchanges between "Miss Brooks" and principal "Osgood Conklin." Gale Gordon as "Mr. Conklin" is far funnier than in his later roles as foil for Lucille Ball. Richard Crenna is a bit too old to play a high school boy in the TV version but his strong abilities as a comic actor allow him to pull it off. The TV show is not available on DVD or video tape; the movie version is shown regularly on TCM and is very close to the TV series (albeit with more money to spend on the production). The main difference between the two, the movie focused on the Brooks-Boynton romance and downplayed "Miss Brooks'" work in the classroom, interactions with students and - unfortunately - her classic exchanges with "Mr. Conklin."
  • The first thing you notice is the voice. Even before you look at the picture you notice the voice. Eve Arden started off as a showgirl but soon learned that it was her voice and aggressive delivery that would make her a star -- and it did. Like many, she tried to translate her talent into TV ... and succeeded. Easily the template for every high school TV series and movie that followed, brimming with stars (Gale Gordon, Richard Crenna). Gordon would later appear as a regular in several iterations of the Lucy show (each progressively worse than the last) and Crenna became a major TV star. No coincidence that Eve was brought out of mothballs years later to play her old character in GREASE. Nominated for awards .. and won several. Superb way to remember an era gone by.
  • In a seemingly never-ending succession of Television Sitcoms and Dramas that owed their origins to Radio Network Series, we present for your approval, "OUR MISS BROOKS" (1952-56). Miss Brooks came onto the Friday night scene with a vengeance, and never really let-up until the production decided to make "Her" cool off on her own. But more about that later.

    That Miss Brooks came from a Radio Series should not have been such a stunning surprise to anyone. Remember, in the period of the Late 1940's to the Early 1950's, we had more attempts with moving series completely from Radio to Television. Some were not so successful, but once in a while, we'd have a complete success! Such is the case with Eve Arden in "OUR MISS BROOKS".

    To begin with, there had to be very little adaptation from Radio (Sound & Imagination) to Television, as the situations were set in ordinary, "everyday" sorts of settings. The story lines, though varied and comically exaggerated, had a certain high degree of plausibility, and required very little of that old "Suspension of Disbelief" in order for them to work.

    Secondly, we still had the one and only 'real' Miss Brooks in the TV Sitcom, who had managed to wise crack her way through so many of the Radio Shows, still here doing her Connie Brooks for the whole world.

    In addition we had the vast majority of the original radio cast on board, doing the same characters for the Camera that they did on CBS Radio. (1948- 1957, also!) We had Gale Gordon as everybody's idea of a School Principal, Osgood Conklin. Jane Morgan was wise-cracking Land Lady, Mrs. Davis. Gloria McMillan portrayed Harriet Conklin daughter of Principal Osgood, with Richard Crenna* as troublesome student and boyfriend to Harriet, Walter Denton. (He always gave Miss Brooks a ride to school, jus' 'bout ever day! Furthermore the cast was composed of Mrs. Conklin portrayed by Virginia Gordon and Paula Winslow. Leonard Smith was the great school athlete and tutorial bonanza, 'Stretch' Snodgrass, who also had a brother 'Bones' Snodgrass (actor unknown), to fill in when he wasn't available. Also there was semi-regular Joseph Kearns as Superintendent Stone.

    Robert Rockwell came on board for the TV Series, as well as the OUR MISS BROOKS Feature Film (1957) to portray Miss Brooks slightly shy and unaware love interest, Mr. Boynton. He had replaced an actor named Ira Grossel from the Cast of the Radio 'Our Miss Brooks'. This Ira Grosel fella', you might not be familiar with his name. But he was the only one from the old Radio Cast to not make it to the TV version. He was just a trifle pre-occupied with his new found job in front of the Motion Picture. And by the way, he did change his professional name to Jeff Chandler! In the last season the producers did the usual monkeying around with the premise of the series, by putting Connie Brooks out of Madison High and in to some Private School. Gone were Mr. Conklin, Mr. Boynton, Walter, Harriet, Mrs. Davis, et al., and new characters were introduced with such new cast members as Gene Barry, Bob Sweeney and Frank Nelson. It was curtains for the lovable English Teacher.

    As the Wise Man once said, "If it ain't broke, why fix it!"

    NOTE: * Mr. Richard Crenna indeed had some career. He was in Radio in the 1940's where he specialized in doing Juvenile Voice Characterizations (Type Casting?). Because of his youth and seemingly overnight maturation process, I can remember being about 12 years old, when I refused to believe that he was the same guy in portraying Luke McCoy in Walter Brennan's "THE REAL McCOYS!" Of course he had an even more long-lived career, which included co-starring with Bernadette Peters in "ALL'S FAIR"(1976-77) and with Sly Stallone as Rambo in FIRST BLOOD (1982).
  • I've seen a good many episodes of Our Miss Brooks and they are excellent, a not so everyday school with an English teacher and her strong crush on the bashful biology teacher Mr. Boynton. My favorite was Mr. Conklin, the crusty no nonsense Pricipal who always clashed with Miss Brooks as well as the nerdy Walter Denton who had a crush on Conklin's daughter, Harriet. But, in the 4th season the show show was not as good at all because Miss Brooks transfers to a private school along with Mr. Conklin who also gets a job there as principal and so then the show just just kind of sunk. I never liked it as well. The 1st 3 seasons were the best when the cast was at Madison High school. Those are the episodes worth watching, after that the 4th season isn't worth seeing because it just wasn't as funny.
  • "Our Miss Brooks" was the second hit series to come out of Desilu. It was based on a successful radio series that had been around since 1948. Rumor has it that this was created for Shirley Booth, but that she turned it down. Enter the marvelous Eve Arden, who was an expert on wisecracking, of which there was a lot of on this series. When watching Richard Crenna as Walter Denton, he plays with the high-pitched voice so convincingly that it is difficult to remember that he actually didn't speak like that. Gale Gordon started his long TV carrer with this series, and as Osgood Conklin, he was the prototype for Uncle Paul Barton ("Pete and Gladys"), The second Mr. Wilson ("Dennis The Menace"), and most memorably Theodore J. Mooney ("The Lucy Show"). Many people have criticized the last season of this show, when the format was slightly changed to put Miss Brooks in an elementary school. I always liked these episodes as much as the earlier ones. It is sad that this series is not widely available on DVD. I have but three episodes that I got on a disc with four "Love That Bob" episodes. I can only assume that there are rights issues with this series which more people should get the chance to see. Connie Brooks was a one-of-a-kind and a real pip.
  • hybucket2 September 2007
    OUR MISS BROOKS was one of the funniest shows on radio and TV, and, amazingly, both the radio and TV show hold up well even today. In an item above, it is mentioned that the show was "one camera." It was not. It was filmed the same way that I LOVE LUCY was, and that is, with three-cameras and a "live" studio audience. I believe the poster above was thinking of the movie version, which was nothing like the TV show, in that there was little interaction with the students. There are bootlegged collections of the series available on DVD, obviously taped on someone's VCR when they were re-run somewhere or other, and the quality is poor, but they're better than nothing at all. Try to avoid collections that have 4th season episodes when Connie moved from Madison High to a private school.
  • Absolutely, an outstanding television show fully realizing the comedic talents of Eve Arden and Gale Gordon-English teacher and principal of Madison H.S. The exchanges between those two are memorable. Teachers of yesteryear may have even had some of those challenges as well.

    When the show was first being casted, Miss Brooks was supposed to be a gym teacher. When Arden was cast for the starring role, the writers and director correctly saw that her diction merited the part being changed to an English teacher. How right they were.

    With a support like landlady Davis and biology teacher, Mr. Boynton, who Brooks wanted and would go miles to get, a perfect comic imagery of high school life was depicted. Of course, Walter Denton, our favorite student, etched an unforgettable character as played by an excellent Richard Crenna.

    This show was certainly indicative of the lay-back 1950s era.
  • Growing up in Brooklyn close to where I live was James Madison High School and as a little kid I imagined that the folks I saw on Our Miss Brooks were those I would find in that school. By the time I reached that age I knew such was not the case. And I was in a different school district besides.

    Like William Bendix with The Life Of Riley, Eve Arden was known as a crack supporting player in dozens of films. Speaking of crack, her wise cracks usually as the heroine's best friend made her reputation even today. But with Our Miss Brooks first on radio then television she became a star as the wise English teacher with an ever ready wit doing battle with her arch nemesis, pompous Principal Osgood Conkling played by Gale Gordon who made this the first of many TV series he would be an indispensable part in.

    Some of the other regulars on television were Robert Rockwell as Mr. Boynton the biology teacher who could never quite get together with Arden though not for lack of trying, Carol McMillan as Gordon's nice but totally clueless daughter and Richard Crenna as ever voice changing Walter Denton. He had the longest entrance to puberty that anyone ever had in history.

    I remember Crenna saying how he hated the part because he thought he would be typecast and no one would take him seriously. He was lucky to get to be Luke McCoy in The Real McCoys, but then got his real break in the short lived Slattery's People where he was finally seen as a serious actor with a rich baritone actually.

    One thing with Our Miss Brooks that made it work was that both Arden and Gordon came with built in images, Gordon carrying over from the radio Our Miss Brooks, Arden from there and dozens of films displaying a woman of wit. Audiences expected it and got it.

    I think though that if Our Miss Brooks had been started in the 70s Eve Arden would have expected and demanded that the title be Our Ms. Brooks.
  • It has not been realized heretofore that "Our Miss Brooks" is an objectivist program. Its central character, Constance Brooks, is a Renaissance man, decidedly feminine. She is beautiful, poised, intelligent, well-educated, professionally capable, a gifted teacher well appreciated by her students, sexy, possessed of a rapier wit and unusual patience, as well as life-experience, common sense and self-confidence. She likes her job and a number of those with whom she works. There are only three things she lacks, and she know them all-too-well--a constitution to protect her rights, a government to enforce those protections and a male counterpart with whom to share her life. So there are two allegories being played out in "Our Miss Brooks"--the anti-statist or republican characters targeted for satire, and the anti-socialist or democratic characters target for satire. The key to the show is the name "Madison" high school; James Madison was the Founding Father who defined the marketplaces which, together with their ideal-level corresponding markets (which he omitted) would define how a marketplace of lives should operate. This is what the United States was to be--a marketplace of lives in which categorical equal adult self-responsibles were to act under category-level definitions and scientist-drawn regulations enjoying life, liberty and prioritized volitional goals of "ethical happiness" as their birthright. Since 1902, the United States however had been a public-interest bureaucratic totalitarianism--so our heroine (whose name signified "constancy" and "brooking" meaning putting up with everything) had no choice but to be a revolutionary for self assertion she had to be an opponent of an Establishment that had let her down as it had let everyone else down in the country. The high school's founder, Yodar Krich, was given a Communist name; and in the person of her high school's principal, Osgood Conklin, a mental cipher and stuffed shirt suggesting Lord Haw Haw the WWII British Quisling added to a barbarian who clubbed people by "conking them" into submission, the totalitarian Establishment was given a condign figure. Other characters confirm the two allegories I suggest. The school's biology teacher is a handsome obtuse bachelor named Philip Boynton, who is blind to the fact that Miss Brooks thinks he is wonderful and would be his perfect partner, who puts up with everything with "boyish' cheerfulness; in the pseudo-religious US, as in "Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf" of some years later, the intellectual class has thus been rendered impotent. Miss Brooks gets a ride to work each day from perpetual student and rebel Walter Denton, whose joy in life is bedeviling Principal Conklin (putting "dents" in his armor?) while romancing his daughter. Conklin has a wife, Martha, First Lady to this head frog in a rural puddle; the daughter is named Harriet. The series is fleshed out with many interesting but decidedly secondary characters; they all revolve about the amazingly powerful persona of Miss Brooks as "ethical central character". But the program is a satire and not a comedy since Miss Brooks's success depends upon ideas, not physical attributes or actions; she is smarter than all the others present and is the natural leader of any action to thwart the latest Conklin plot against student and parental well-being. The cast of this award-winning and well-loved comedic offering was headed by Eve Arden, gorgeous and immensely-talented actress who was seldom if ever allowed to play leads in a Hollywood devoted to making films denigrating feminine capability, leadership qualities and basic rights. Her nemesis, Mr./Conklin, was played by talented comedy actor Gale Gordon. Richard Crenna, much older than his character, used a high-pitched voice to bring Walter Denton to life. Virginia Gordon and later Paula Winslowe played the oblivious and long-suffering wife, and Gloria McMillan the Walter Denton worshipping Harriet. Others in the very talented cast included Bob Sweeney, Mary Jane Croft, Jesslyn Fax, Jane Morgan as Connie Brooks' dotty landlady, Joseph Kearns as Superintendent Stone (stony-heart?); Robert Rockwell as Mr. Boynton, and Leonard White as a the campus athlete and dumb-head "Stretch" Snodgrass. Bob Weiskopf was the show's head writer, William Asher (later of "Bewitched") and John Rich its capable directors. Karl Freund did the unusually strong cinematography with music by TV veterans Wilber Hatch and Harry Lubin. The program's writers went off into far-fetched situations at times; but the core of the show was Miss Brooks. And she was anything but a person who believed a human being ought to live either in order to obey blind orders from public tsars or to hand out hard-earned benefits to the unworthy. She taught her students that life is to be lived according to judgment; that this requires self-discipline, a clear goal and honesty. And for as long as our Miss brooks was permitted to bring sunshine to us as enemies of pomposity, stupidity, empty order-giving and pragmatic violators of individual liberties (1952--1956) we had the female champion we had been waiting half a century to hear from on our screens--the woman who could put up with anything, but chose instead to fight back quietly and often very effectively, using the barbed one-liner and the appeal to reason as her weapons in her fight for individual happiness.
  • Like I said I have seen a lot of 1950s TV shows this one is the least funniest of them all. Our Miss Brooks started in 1952 and ran to 1956. This show comes on early in the morning where I live so I watch it before I go to work while I am getting dressed I have seen maybe about 15 to 18 episodes and the show is not funny. Bad enough the theme music sounds like I Love Lucy she wears that same hairstyle as Lucille Ball but she is a blonde. She's always chasing after some school teacher want him to like her she doesn't make enough money to live on her own evidently and she has a school student drive her to work I have seen enough episodes to make this judgement. As time went on I'd watch it maybe it was just that one episode that wasn't funny but the next episode wasn't funny and the next one wasn't funny so after about 15 episodes than I made the judgement that said the show wasn't funny and just let it go but as I read more about the show people love it and I just don't see why. Some people seem to think that old 1950s TV shows are classic and they are funny that is not true. This is a prime example of that. I Love Lucy was funny Phil Silvers show was funny. This show has a laugh track or it was filmed before a live studio audience but you can tell the audience is being told to laugh. Sad. Maybe the audience was paid to sit through this 30 minutes dreaded television I know I would have to be paid.