4/16/10

TIME passes


For every television show that made it into lucrative reruns and our cultural history there are dozens more that aren't even remembered.

MASH made it. From the September 9, 1972 TV Guide.


Click image to see it larger.

The Paul Lynde Show, not so much. Also from the September 9, 1972 TV Guide.

Click on image to get the facts.

I think most people would be aware of the actors from MASH and what became of them, but what about the "stars" of The Paul Lynde Show? There's a whole generation that's been born and grown up without knowing who Paul Lynde was. That sort of boggles my mind. Perhaps most people remember him mainly as the center square on Hollywood Squares, but he was so much more, plus someone really really easy to imitate.

And what of his wife on the show, Elizabeth Allen?
Elizabeth Ellen Gillease in Jersey City, New Jersey, she began her career as a Ford Agency high-fashion model before landing the television role of the “Away We Go!” girl on The Jackie Gleason Show in the 1950s. Thereafter, she honed her stage skills by joining and performing with the Helen Hayes Repertory Group before expanding into the big and small screens. Elizabeth made numerous television appearances in guest starring roles on such programs as The Fugitive, Kojak, Columbo, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. She was also a regular cast member on TV's Bracken's World, The Paul Lynde Show, C.P.O. Sharkey, Another World and its spin-off, Texas. Her television, film and stage career spanned three decades.

The coolly attractive actress is perhaps best known on TV for her role as the creepy saleslady in the first-season episode of Rod Serling's original The Twilight Zone, entitled The After Hours, where actress Anne Francis (playing 'Miss Marsha White') finally realizes that she is a mannequin and that her month of freedom and living among the humans is over. Allen's saleslady character (seen by no one but Marsha) is the mannequin whose turn in the outside world is up next and has already been delayed by one full day, thus explaining her slightly peeved attitude.

In 1963, Elizabeth starred with John Wayne, Dorothy Lamour and Lee Marvin in the John Ford film Donovan's Reef. She also starred in Diamond Head with Charlton Heston and Yvette Mimieux. Both movies were filmed on location in Hawaii. Allen also appeared with James Stewart in Cheyenne Autumn and won a Laurel Award in 1963 as the year's most promising film actress.

She was twice nominated for Tony Awards for her performances on Broadway in The Gay Life and Do I Hear a Waltz?. She can still be heard today, singing beautifully throughout the original cast album of Waltz, available on CD. Her other notable stage productions on the Great White Way and beyond included Romanoff and Juliet, Lend an Ear, Sherry!, California Suite, The Pajama Game, The Tender Trap, Show Boat, South Pacific, and culminating in the 1980s Broadway musical 42nd Street, as fading star Dorothy Brock.

Allen quietly retired from show business in 1996, after touring numerous cities throughout the world for over a decade with her 42nd Street role from Broadway. This was her last, significant acting job after appearing in the 1980s TV series Texas for two seasons.

She was married briefly to Baron Karl von Vietinghoff-Scheel, but they divorced and she never remarried. She died from kidney disease, aged 77, in Fishkill, New York. She was predeceased by her only sibling, brother Joseph L. Gillease, and survived by her sister-in-law, Marion Gillease, her nephew and Godson, Patrick J. Gillease, her niece, Erin Gillease Phelan, and two grand-nieces, Alicia Phelan and Alexandria Phelan. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
And John Calvin who played the son-in-law? No, not "THE" John Calvin, but an actor whose face is familiar even if his name isn't. I'm finding nothing about him but the post at IMDB.

Jane Actman, who played Lynde's eldest daughter, had an acting career that seemed to flourish in the 1960s and '70s. I'm not finding anything about her life after showbiz and hopefully that's a good thing. Remember folks, just because you're on tv one day and not the next does not mean your life doesn't go on. It's those people who only think their lives are real when they're on tv shows we need to worry about.

And finally there's Pamelyn "Pamela" Ferdin. Her face is so very familiar. She was one of those child actors who seemed to be on everything in the mid-1960s through the 1970s. Turns out she left showbiz and became a registered nurse and animal-rights activist. Personally I'll always remember her as one of the strange children on a very weird Star Trek episode (okay, I know "weird" and Star Trek in the same sentence is a given).

Actors come and go. The business is always looking for new faces to exploit. People thinking they're the latest-thing and believe the gravy train they're on is going to last forever should just pick-up some old TV Guide Fall Preview issues. Guaranteed stardom and the gold at the end of the rainbow because you're the face of a tv show? Not so much.

7 comments:

  1. I had never even heard of the Paul Lynde show. Blame my parents for not letting me watch TV. I can tell I missed out.

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  2. I have only vague memories that something was on. I know I didn't make it a regular viewing experience. I probably turned it on just to see Lynde do his schtick and then turned it off. It was on opposite The Carol Burnett Show and Adam 12. I think the nail was in its coffin before the first episode was on.

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  3. The Paul Lynde show never made it to the UK as far as I am aware. However, MASH was and still is a huge hit. Alan Alda is one of my favourite actors, did you ever see the movie 'The Four Seasons'?

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  4. Be glad Janice the Lynde show didn't make it across the pond. Better you think of us as the country that created MASH.

    Yes, I adore Alda and do know that film. I also loved him on West Wing.

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  5. I do remember Paul Lynde - but as you mention, more for his Hollywood Squares appearances. But back then, those game shows - like Match Game - were big time!

    And although I do have plenty of guilty pleasure Reality TV shows I watch, I wish some of their 15 minutes of fame truly only lasted 15 minutes! Those "where are they now" updates are pretty sad sometimes.

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  6. Hello Bumbles.

    Yes, it's always sad to find out that the reality is rarely like the tv world for the people we watch. It's all made up for entertainment purposes only.

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  7. I can't believe it! No mention of Uncle Arthur on Bewitched? Oh, maybe in the "more" link, eh? He was one of my favorite characters on that show, and the only reason to watch Hollywood Squares! It's where I learned to get my snark on. He was the king of snarky humor.

    I couldn't stand Pamelyn Ferdin! Like you said, she was on every freakin' TV show and she wasn't even a very good actress. Not sure how she got all those parts. Weren't there any other pre-pubescent female stars then?

    I really loved Elizabeth Allen. I watched Bracken's World and back when I was into soaps, also Another World and I had forgotten about Texas. I'm sure I watched it, too. I didn't know she was an accomplished singer.

    This was a fun post! :)

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