Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Classic TV: Hazel (1961)

To think that it started with a modest strip written & drawn by Ted Key for The Saturday Evening Post.

Hazel was adapted for television in 1961 by Screen Gems and enjoyed a pretty healthy run in syndication during the 70's. Shirley Booth starred as Hazel, the housekeeper who was, for all intents & purposes, the major domo of the Baxter household. Her boss, George Baxter (Don DeFore) could've just as easily had Hazel help him with his business, she was that good.

After the first few years, DeFore & Whitney Blake left the show, and I believe it was George's brother who moved in. Unfortunately, that also spelled the end of the series. Blake, meanwhile, is better known for having created another seminal sitcom in the 70's and early 80's---One Day At A Time.

Right now, MilkAmplifier has a montage of opens from all 5 seasons:

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I caught a few eps of Hazel on a local station that aired wholesome entertainment before ME-TV came along (KEEN-17). Despite a good cast, I was rather bored by it all. I know sitcoms were written differently than what's been coming down the pike for the past 20 years or so, but it was like something was missing from this production. No doubt Shirley Booth took the show as far as it got which shows her immense talent and presence. She truly believed in the character.

Whitney Blake was also the mother of future "Family Ties" actress, "Meredith Baxter Birney." When I saw the old show, I recognized the resemblance right away.

hobbyfan said...

I knew I was forgetting something. Thanx.

I'm waiting to see if Me-TV will pick up Hazel. They already have a few Screen Gems shows from that period and beyond (Naked City & Route 66 came over from Retro, and they have Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie now, too), so why not another. Maybe couple it with Dennis the Menace?