Barbara Jean Morehead Huffman's Outstanding Likability Quotient
Peter Graves narrates this account of the life and career of the lovely television, stage and film star Barbara Eden, from her 1934 birth, in Tuscon, Arizona, through her formative years in San Francisco, California, and her many years to follow in the public eye as the ever-youthful star which she remains to this day.
Because poor Barbara is born with a lazy eye, she requires a patch to be worn beneath her thick eyeglasses, and so other children at her school naturally bully her mercilessly. As a result, Barbara finds solace in singing in her church choir, and in harmonizing with her mother around their residence.
And because of the Great Depression, father, Harrison Huffman labors long shifts as a telephone lineman, but the family cannot afford singing lessons for Barbara until a relative pays the fees. Alice Mary Huffman soon tells her daughter that Barbara hits all of the right notes, and so perhaps she may instead wish to study her other passion, acting.
While attending San Francisco College, Barbara enters the Miss San Francisco beauty pageant and wins its 1951 title, and so she heads to Hollywood to audition with Warner Bros. Studio, which rejects her and advises Barbara to return to San Francisco, but, instead, she heads to 20th Century Fox Studio, which grants her an acting contract along with a new screen name, which she selects from a list of potential marquis-friendly ones: Barbara Eden.
20th gives Barbara Eden a chance to shine in film and on television for the next seven years (1956-63). But after the studio loses a great deal of money producing its 1963 version of "Cleopatra," 20th is forced to sell much of its prime back-lot Real Estate and to lay off many of its contract performers, including Barbara Eden.
But Columbia Pictures makes Barbara Eden a star so famous that she is unable to be seen or heard without being recognized by an adoring public. This, of course, comes with her starring role in the television series "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965-70), as well as its several revival productions.
(This episode focuses upon Barbara's "Jeannie" period a great deal, hence its sub-title.)
From here, Barbara Eden draws audiences in many memorable performances, as she appears on other series and in made-for-television movies, as well as performing on the nightclub circuit with her wonderful singing voice.
Although life continues to deal harsh lessons on occasion, with a painful miscarriage, tragic divorces, the loss of beloved family members and her supporting her only child through his substance addiction, Barbara Eden continues to rebound difficult experiences with her effervescent persona intact, and the well-received respect of her peers, critics and audiences alike.
Barbara's marriages are with actor Michael Ansara (1958-74), Charles Donald Fegert (1977-83), and Jon Eicholtz (whom she marries in 1991). With Michael, she welcomes son, Matthew Ansara, who appears in this episode.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Barbara Eden (Self), Alison Scanlan (Sister), Dolores Goldstein (Friend), Loni Anderson (Actress), Matthew Ansara (Son), Jon Eicholtz (Husband), Gene Schwam (Manager), Wayne Rogers (Actor), Bill Daily (Actor), and Matt Roush (TV Critic), with Harry Smith (Host), Peter Graves (Narrator).
Still Photographs include Barbara Eden, Alice Mary Franklin Morehead Huffman, Harrison Connor Huffman, Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Sammy Davis, Jr., Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda, Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, David Hartman and others.
Archive film footage includes Barbara Eden, Tony Randall, Henry Jones, Raymond Burr, Edith Evanson, John Forsythe, Stephen Dunne, Robert Rockwell, Sal Mineo, Gary Crosby, Michael Ansara, Elvis Presley, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, Red Buttons, Peter Lorre, Larry Hagman, Rita McKenzie, Hayden Rorke, Jen Thompson, James Brolin, and several unidentified performers.
Film and Television Clips include Michael Ansara in "Broken Arrow" (1956-58), 20th Century Fox's Cleopatra (1963), and a screen glimpse of Barbara Eden through the years, in scenes from Peyton Place (screen test), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), "Bachelor Father: Bentley and the Revolving Housekeepers" (1957) "How to Marry a Millionaire: Alias the Secretary" (1957), A Private's Affair (1959), Flaming Star (1960), From the Terrace (1960), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962), "I Dream of Jeannie: The Lady in the Bottle" (1965), "I Dream of Jeannie: Jeannie or the Tiger" (1967), "I Dream of Jeannie: Jeannie-Go-Round" (1969), "I Dream of Jeannie: The Wedding" (1969), "Harper Valley P.T.A.: To Dunk or Not to Dunk" (1981) Visions of Murder (1993) (TV), plus footage of home movies, one of Barbara's Las Vegas nightclub performances, she singing "A Sunday Kind of Love," and her portraying Jeannie in an automobile advertising campaign commercial.
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