Our Miss Brooks (1952)

our-miss-brooks-movie-poster-1956 Our Miss Brooks (1956)

Run time: 85 min
Rating: 6.9
Genres: Comedy
Stars: Eve Arden, Gale Gordon, Don Porter
Miss Brooks teaches English at Madison High, rents a room from Mrs. Davis, gets rides to school with student Walter, fights with Principal Conklin, and tries to snag shy biology teacher Boynton. In the last year she switches to Mrs. Nestor’s private school. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

4 responses to “Our Miss Brooks (1952)”

  1. IMDBReviewer says:

    "Our Miss Brooks" was one of the first television programs to feature an independent, sharp, strong, beautiful woman who planned on a career and loved her career as a teacher. Eve Arden was a consummate comedienne who took the romantic comedy heroine from 1930’s romantic comedy and combined her with a career woman in her portrayal of Connie Brooks. Eve Arden’s portrayal pioneered shows starring actresses in roles as bright, career-minded women who were not defined by husbands nor boyfriends.

    "Our Miss Brooks" featured one of the most brilliant casts of any television comedy. They played character who were only slight exaggerations of real people found in any American high school of the 1950’s. Gale Gordon as pompous, arrogant Principal Osgood Conklin displayed Gordon’s talents that made him a star character actor on television. The nerdy characters portrayed by Richard Crenna and Leonard Smith are as hilarious and believable today as they were in the 1950’s. Jane Morgan as the befuddled Mrs. Davis was a great foil for Eve Arden. It is singular that so many characters serve as comic foils for the star of a show. "Our Miss Brooks" led the way. The combination of character writing, slapstick, and witty, sophisticated lines has never been equalled. Eve Arden’s artistry was never so artfully displayed as it was in "Our Miss Brooks". When one realizes that, for several years, original scripts of "Our Miss Brooks" were written for concurrent radio and television versions of the show, it is astounding the consistent excellent level of script quality that the show’s writers were able to produce.

    One of the highlights of American television!

  2. IMDBReviewer says:

    To me this is the funniest TV sitcom ever made. Its type of humor is absolutely unique and can’t be found anywhere else, a refined type of camp that produces a ticklish bitter-sweet inner chuckle. One wonders how much Eve Arden had to do with it. The show is unthinkable without her. In other roles she exhibits the same trademark worldweariness. Half the time she seems to be talking to herself, surrounded as she is, by a mass of clueless, shallow, though likable humanity. Miss Brooks inhabits a kind of solipsistic universe in which she seems to be the only one really alive. Yet the deadness of others seems to drag her down to a point where she is just going through the motions of living. Depression was never funnier. All other characters are adorable, particularly the landlady.

  3. rgkeenan says:

    and heard the radio show, too. The show made a seamless transition from radio to television with the original cast and writers intact. It was filmed by Desilu as a one-camera show, so it lacks some of the energy which shows like I Love Lucy derived from a live studio audience. But the cast was perfectly cast and the writing was sharp. The only false note in the program concept is Arden's desperate and somewhat pathetic attempt to "hook" shy biology teacher "Mr. Boynton." There is almost no chemistry between the two and no evidence of passion on "Miss Brooks'" part. The real sizzle here comes from the classic exchanges between "Miss Brooks" and principal "Osgood Conklin." Gale Gordon as "Mr. Conklin" is far funnier than in his later roles as foil for Lucille Ball. Richard Crenna is a bit too old to play a high school boy in the TV version but his strong abilities as a comic actor allow him to pull it off. The TV show is not available on DVD or video tape; the movie version is shown regularly on TCM and is very close to the TV series (albeit with more money to spend on the production). The main difference between the two, the movie focused on the Brooks-Boynton romance and downplayed "Miss Brooks'" work in the classroom, interactions with students and – unfortunately – her classic exchanges with "Mr. Conklin."

  4. IMDBReviewer says:

    In a seemingly never-ending succession of Television Sitcoms and Dramas that owed their origins to Radio Network Series, we present for your approval, "OUR MISS BROOKS" (1952-56). Miss Brooks came onto the Friday night scene with a vengeance, and never really let-up until the production decided to make "Her" cool off on her own. But more about that later.

    That Miss Brooks came from a Radio Series should not have been such a stunning surprise to anyone. Remember, in the period of the Late 1940's to the Early 1950's, we had more attempts with moving series completely from Radio to Television. Some were not so successful, but once in a while, we'd have a complete success! Such is the case with Eve Arden in "OUR MISS BROOKS".

    To begin with, there had to be very little adaptation from Radio (Sound & Imagination) to Television, as the situations were set in ordinary, "everyday" sorts of settings. The story lines, though varied and comically exaggerated, had a certain high degree of plausibility, and required very little of that old "Suspension of Disbelief" in order for them to work.

    Secondly, we still had the one and only 'real' Miss Brooks in the TV Sitcom, who had managed to wise crack her way through so many of the Radio Shows, still here doing her Connie Brooks for the whole world.

    In addition we had the vast majority of the original radio cast on board, doing the same characters for the Camera that they did on CBS Radio. (1948- 1957, also!) We had Gale Gordon as everybody's idea of a School Principal, Osgood Conklin. Jane Morgan was wise-cracking Land Lady, Mrs. Davis. Gloria McMillan portrayed Harriet Conklin daughter of Principal Osgood, with Richard Crenna* as troublesome student and boyfriend to Harriet, Walter Denton. (He always gave Miss Brooks a ride to school, jus' 'bout ever day! Furthermore the cast was composed of Mrs. Conklin portrayed by Virginia Gordon and Paula Winslow. Leonard Smith was the great school athlete and tutorial bonanza, 'Stretch' Snodgrass, who also had a brother 'Bones' Snodgrass (actor unknown), to fill in when he wasn't available. Also there was semi-regular Joseph Kearns as Superintendent Stone.

    Robert Rockwell came on board for the TV Series, as well as the OUR MISS BROOKS Feature Film (1957) to portray Miss Brooks slightly shy and unaware love interest, Mr. Boynton. He had replaced an actor named Ira Grossel from the Cast of the Radio 'Our Miss Brooks'. This Ira Grosel fella', you might not be familiar with his name. But he was the only one from the old Radio Cast to not make it to the TV version. He was just a trifle pre-occupied with his new found job in front of the Motion Picture. And by the way, he did change his professional name to Jeff Chandler! In the last season the producers did the usual monkeying around with the premise of the series, by putting Connie Brooks out of Madison High and in to some Private School. Gone were Mr. Conklin, Mr. Boynton, Walter, Harriet, Mrs. Davis, et al., and new characters were introduced with such new cast members as Gene Barry, Bob Sweeney and Frank Nelson. It was curtains for the lovable English Teacher.

    As the Wise Man once said, "If it ain't broke, why fix it!"

    NOTE: * Mr. Richard Crenna indeed had some career. He was in Radio in the 1940's where he specialized in doing Juvenile Voice Characterizations (Type Casting?). Because of his youth and seemingly overnight maturation process, I can remember being about 12 years old, when I refused to believe that he was the same guy in portraying Luke McCoy in Walter Brennan's "THE REAL McCOYS!" Of course he had an even more long-lived career, which included co-starring with Bernadette Peters in "ALL'S FAIR"(1976-77) and with Sly Stallone as Rambo in FIRST BLOOD (1982).

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