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Though it no longer runs anywhere in syndication, this was one of the best
sitcoms of the late '50's and early '60's. Nick at Nite showed it in
back in the late '80's and that's how I first discovered the adorable Ann
Sothern, who still stands some fifteen years later as my favorite
comedienne. In my opinion, Miss Sothern ranks right up there with Lucille
Ball as a Comedy Queen. In fact, Miss Ball guest-starred on "The Ann
Show" in an episode entitled "The Lucy Story", and Miss Sothern would later
guest-star in several episodes of Lucy's series, "The Lucy Show". It's
really something special to see these two extraordinarily gifted women work
"The Ann Sothern Show" was actually Ann's second TV series. Her first was "Private Secretary" which aired on CBS from 1953-57. Episodes of either series have yet to be released to home video. Hopefully the great TV Land will rerun these two wonderful series again for a whole new generation of television buffs to discover.
Today is a day of much sadness for me. I read in the newspaper early this
morning that Ann Sothern, the beautiful and talented star of the classic
shows "Private Secretary" and "The Ann Sothern Show", has
Ms. Sothern died of heart failure late Thursday at her home in Ketchum, Idaho. She was 92.
One of television's first and greatest comedians, Ms. Sothern also proved to be an equally gifted dramatic actress in such films as "Cry Havoc", "A Letter To Three Wives", and "Shadow on the Wall".
She received a much deserved Academy Award nomination for her delightful performance as the spirited New England friend and neighbor of Bette Davis and Lillian Gish in the acclaimed film "The Whales of August".
I will forever think of Ann Sothern as an exceptionally gifted actress who always delivered superb performances. She is a very beautiful and special woman who has brought so much happiness and enjoyment into my life. I will always love her and always be grateful to her.
Ann Sothern was always an amazingly talented woman. She had a beautiful singing voice (the Oscar winning "Lady Be Good"MGM 1941),was a superb dramatic actress(the Oscar winning "A Letter to Three Wives"20th 1948) and a wonderful comedienne(the classic "Trade Winds" UA 1938 and 50 years later Oscar nominated for her performance opposite Bette Davis and Lillian Gish in "The Whales of August" 1987). She remained a very big star for 30 years but today she is mysteriously forgotten. Like Eve Arden she could make a nothing script funny or at least amusing with her one of a kind timing. She was a star by 1935 and reached her peak as a major MGM star in the early forties though that studio rarely put her in the quality vehicles she deserved. By 1951 she had left MGM for the stage but hepatitis cut this short. Her old friend Lucille Ball had also been a highly popular yet misused star throughout the forties but Lucy suddenly became one of the greatest superstars with the debut of "I Love Lucy" in October 1951. Following Lucy's lead, the still very beautiful Ann jumped into the new medium in 1952. Her first Television sitcom "Private Secretary" debuted to mediocre reviews but great popularity in early 1953. When seen today this show as well as its followup "The Ann Sothern Show" is quite entertaining and Ann is at her most charismatic in both series which she produced herself. She had great chemistry with handsome Don Porter, mousy Ann Tyrell and just in P.S. catty Joan Banks. The Sothern-Porter-Tyrell team remained on the air almost continuously from February 1953 through September 1961 winning Sothern five Emmy nominations for Best Actress in a Comedy. Sothern first teamed with Lucy for the classic "Lucy and Desi Meet in Havana"(10/1957) special. They were back together on "The Ann Sothern Show" in 1959 but had their most delightful moments together on several marvelous "Lucy Show" episodes in 1965 which gave Ann her last big success. Though well past forty Sothern remained extremely beautiful in both hit series but her weight fluctuated wildly. In 1953 she still had her pinup girl figure but by early 1956 she had ballooned to such an extent she was always filmed in black and hidden behind over-sized clipboards, file cabinets and large plants. Watching these photographic tricks maintain Sothern's allusion of youth and sexiness is an amazing thing to see. By the debut of "The Ann Sothern Show" in October 1958 she had slimmed down considerably but she never got her figure back like it was in those early days of "Private Secretary."She remained a comedic delight until her last show was cancelled in late 1961. She returned to films in several superb performances through the mid-70s but her popularity finally faded out. Nonetheless she is still a joy to watch.
THE ANN SOTHERN SHOW was the star's second attempt at a prime time sitcom. While almost as successful as her earlier series, PRIVATE SECRETARY, it didn't quite hit the mark, though Miss Sothern's warm personalty and impeccable comedy timing always made the show worth tuning in. In perhaps the series' most popular episode, TV Queen Lucille Ball guest-starred as Sothern's old high school chum, Lucy, who came to stay at the hotel after having an argument with her husband, Ricky(Desi Arnaz). Though mentioned several times in the episode, Arnaz did not make an official appearance. Lucy's and Desi's highly successful production company, Desilu, produced THE ANN SOTHERN SHOW.
When I saw this series many years later, I vaguely remembered occasionally seeing it when I had been sick as a child and missed school - it was in re-runs at that time, during the day. It is so interesting to see this series, and to realize how provocative it was for the time - late 50's and early 60's. I think it was much better than Executive Secretary "renamed Susie" which was the first of her two series. In one episode, Katy realized she could successfully manage the hotel herself, but that she would have to be very unpopular by being forceful with the staff - her quote "I don't want to set the world on fire, just a few of its male citizens" or something similar to that. I love Ann Sothern's comedy!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spoiler: Ann Southern show, the beginning had Tod Andrews in it. It was
the last show where Katy catches the boss, but with a hysterical and
great cast. Tod was great. Don Porter (Mr. devry) thinks that Katy is
trying to hook him. In comes unsuspecting Crowley (TOD), who has a
complaint. He asks Katy out--and Mr. devry is thinking it is just a
Tod also was in millionaire sally Delaney and again he was great--and the millionaire had such great casts, it has to be put on DVD or shown often. Tod shines.
The movie that Ida Lupino directed, OUTRAGE, had Tod as a minister. What an actor. He helped Mala Powers, a rape victim, who runs away believing no one cares for her. She has what is now called Post traumatic syndrome--and Tod shines again--.
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