TV classics: The Eve Arden Show
USA 1957-58, 1 season, 26 episodes, 30 minutes each, CBS. Created by Emily Kimbrough, from the novel It Gives Me Great Pleasure. Cast examples: Eve Arden, Allyn Joslyn, Frances Bavier, Gail Stone, Karen Greene
Plot summary: Liza Hammond, a widowed writer, lives with her mother and set of thirteen-year-old twins in a nice apartment in New York where she is trying to keep her career going with a little help pf her literary agent George Howell.
Review: Following her long-lasting success as Our Miss Brooks on radio, television and the silver screen, Eve Arden starred in her own show created by Emily Kimbrough. Loosely based on her book “It Gives Me Great Pleasure”, The Eve Arden Show circled around the life of fictional Liza Hammond, a widowed mother and writer whose career changes when her agency pressures her to increase her popularity by giving public lectures. Scared of public speaking at first, Liza soon grows into her new job which secures her a steady income. Living with her mother and her thirteen-year-old twin girls Mary and Jenny, Liza’s private life is frequently stirred up by her profession and the literary agent who comes along with it.
Allyn Joslyn played George Howell, the intermingling agent whose interests in Liza often bordered the personal. Always butting heads with Liza on a friendly level, he was a good match with Eve Arden’s natural comebacks and genuine comedic skills. Her timing worked especially well with co-star Frances Bavier, aka Aunt Bee from The Andy Griffith Show. Supported by an entertaining team of performing youngsters as the show’s teenage twins, Eve Arden and Frances Bavier created memorable grandmother-mother-daughter moments that still tickle my risible muscles today.
With its twenty-six episodes, The Eve Arden Show is a real gem to (re)discover for anyone who likes 1950s comedy and the hilarity of the program’s leading lady. It is unfortunate that not all original episodes are available for us to savor these days, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a chance. The cast is fantastic and the writing diverting. A truly funny show that will relax you with style and wit.
Selected episodes available on DVD and online.