Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another look at Our Miss Brooks

For the last 2 months, I have daily been listening to the radio show, Our Miss Brooks.  This is my second time to listen to the series.

First, let me get off my chest all of the stuff I don't like about the show.

In my first review of the program, I made it known I am not a fan of Mrs. Davis, Connie Books' landlord, played by radio veteran, Jane Morgan.  This still is the case but for some reason, she is not nearly as hard to stomach this time around.  It's probably that I knew she'd be there messing up my enjoyment of every show and I just went ahead and prepared myself for this.

Another complaint is Mrs. Davis' cat, Minerva, who is obviously played by an overpaid voice actor.  There are only a few episodes where the cat is prominent and I have toughed those out.  And another animal is Mr. Boyton's frog.  Boyton, who is Connie's "love interest" - is much more interested in animals than he is in Connie it seems.  His noisy frog is annoying to me.  [Treating animals as part of the cast in otr is a dumb idea anyway, in my opinion.  This just doesn't work well.]

My biggest complaint, however,  is something I somehow overlooked during the first listen.  The misuse of the boom microphone by the crew.  Many times, almost a half of a sentence will be almost lost into the ether because the guy running the boom mike has the mike off somewhere else.  If you haven't noticed it, listen closely to the show next time and see if I am not right.

There are some good things about the show, most of them named Gale Gordon, who plays Mr. Conklin, the principal of the school.  He usually has a quick temper but sometimes he has a slow burn.  Either way, he's terrific.  If he weren't on the show, the show would be totally a stinker and not worth listening to at all.  You can imagined a Joseph Kerns-type playing the part as well but Gordon is just perfect for the role and deserves credit as being the one thing that almost makes the show work.

Eve Arden, of course, plays Connie and while I don't have anything bad to say about her and her constant dry sarcasm, I really don't have anything good to say about her either.  She's a mostly positive cog in the wheel of the show but she's more or less vanilla as far as what I hear.

Richard Crenna, who plays the constant-student-thorn is  Walter Denton.  He plays the part of an older juvenile well and he's definitely not vanilla.  He seems like he's in every scene and that's mostly a positive.  Although, his cracking voice after a while is annoying as well.

Leonard Smith, who plays Stretch Snodgrass, the school's star player of all sports, is stereotypically stupid.  And since Miss Brooks teaches English, he is prone to mangle his grammar on every other line.  This is a strong plus to the show, especially over Crenna's cracking voice .  While he's not funny, exactly, he is more than a fill-in while you listen patiently, waiting for Walter or Miss Brooks to goof up something that will excite Mr. Conklin so we can hear him blow up like a covered steam pot.

To me, the show is just a filler.  I look at this way: there are shows I want to listen to.  If I listen to them all 'now' then I will be stuck with stuff like Our Miss Brooks the rest of my life.

That's not something I would be looking forward to.


  1. This is one of the first shows I listened to when I first discovered OTR in high school so I enjoy it mostly for memory's sake. Another "flaw" I have noticed is the inconsistencies, especially if you don't listen chronologically. Siblings come and go, people suddenly live different places. Despite these errors and the annoying things you mentioned, this will continue to remain one of my favorites.

  2. Hi Lauren,

    I appreciate your comment!

    1. Jimbo, I think if you are judging the show based on listening to back to back to back shows, that might be the problem with you being a little harsh on the show. If you listen to the show between other shows, it might not be as draining. NOt sure if I making my self clear.

  3. I think I know what you are saying but I only listen to one show a day.

  4. Great point about Gale Gordon. He's not nearly as big a name as he should be in OTR and TV, yet he is one of those people like Frank Nelson, Mel Blanc (not that Gale is in his lofty category) or Sheldon Leonard that just make you laugh with anticipation when he comes on mic.


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