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A comedy of situations . . . and an overlooked gem
Elizabeth appeared to be an ordinary, everyday housewife of her time(the early 50s), and so she was . . . er, aside from the fact that an off-camera announcer regularly led forays to check into the goings-on around her house, of course. And then, come to think of it, she wasn't exactly the docile, unassuming "little woman" that husband Alvin always hoped (against all reason) she'd turn out to be, either.
In a word, she was an imp. She delighted in puncturing Alvin's pomposity, always lovingly, but invariably disastrously.
Introduced each week by harp music, which gave a deceptively tranquil lead-in to what was to follow, "Life With Elizabeth" wasn't a 'situation comedy' -- indeed, that concept had barely been formed at the time; instead, it was a comedy of situations, usually two to each show, individual and unrelated, each of them introduced by the off-camera announcer who then just let events unfold. Once chaos had yet again been firmly established as the order of the day, his voice would be again heard, this time presumably as her conscience: "Elizabeth!" (pause) "Aren't you ashamed?"
She usually gave it a moment's thought before shaking her head impishly.
As with the harp music, the show itself was deceptive in its simplicity, the writing, production and, not least of all, the performances of Betty White and Del Moore who were letter-perfect. Produced by a local Los Angeles TV station (at which White and Moore had been staffers), "Life With Elizabeth" seems to have lived its entire life in syndication.
And Elizabeth kept life from ever becoming dull!
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