Thursday, December 10, 2015

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 10 - Department Store Contest with Connie Brooks

Well - when you are thinking about the holidays - you often think about presents.  Two days ago, I featured the centennial honoree Frank Sinatra as a department store detective Rocky Fortune trying to solve the thefts in his store.  Yesterday, we headed back to a department store with one of the earliest episodes of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.  So for today, I thought we would stay in the department stores - and visit Madison High School favorite English teacher, Connie Brooks.  This is part of my Christmas series on Old Time Radio (I will fall behind - but catch up next week - promise!)  Here is a link to all the 2014 OTR Christmas entries.  If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148).  He does a great job of showcasing great holiday themed episodes, especially as we get closer to Christmas and the end of December.

274/365/2100 (March 12, 2014) - Snowing Again on the Squirrels at the University of Michigan (March 12, 2014)
Squirrel at the University of Michigan - March 2014
Last year, I featured two of the standard Christmas episodes from Our Miss Brooks, one of my favorite comedies on Old Time Radio.  From 1948 through 1957, Eve Arden played the lovelorn English teacher at Madison High, Connie Brooks.  This series is one of the very best comedies that we have from Old Time Radio days.  Arden leads an all-star cast in this well written series on CBS Radio that actually holds up well, even today. Between never having enough money, job responsibilities that seem to change from week to week, a cat that is a character all to herself and a love interest who is more fixated on frogs than women...Eve Arden's Connie Brooks always maintains her grace and charm.  The show also featured Jeff Chandler as Mr. Philip Boynton (Connie's long suffering love interest), Jane Morgan as Mrs. Margaret Davis (Connie's landlord), Gale Gordon as Mr. Osgood Conklin (Madison High School's principal, and Richard Crenna as Walter Denton (a student at Madison High).

The show also was on television starting on October 3rd, 1952.  Through TV and Radio, she became one of the most famous teachers of her day!  From her obituary in the Los Angeles Times in 1990, they wrote:

But it was as Connie Brooks, the wisecracking English teacher in mid-America's mythical Madison High where she constantly engaged in hilarious battles with her stuffy principal, that she became a Friday night favorite.
She was offered the role of the classroom humanist with the smart mouth and warm heart after being heard as radio's Miss Brooks for four years. 
There she had developed a following of hundreds of teachers across American and had even been offered teaching jobs in real schools.  Miss Arden (making $200,000 a year at the time) did not accept, but she did begin speaking at PTA meetings.
Department Store Contest (or Connie's Letter To Sandy Clawsss) - December 18, 1949
In the weeks before Christmas, Mrs. Davis is sharing with Connie Brooks that Bush's Department Store is having a contest for little children to write Santa Claus.  The best letter earns the winning child a free toy!  Since Mrs. Davis goes to the store often, she volunteered to bring the letters from the children in her neighborhood.  Mrs. Davis even found a letter that Connie wrote when she was only 7 years old:

Dear Sandy Claws: 
I don't want you to bring me very much toys at all 'cause then you would not have enough for all the other little children. Please Sandy, just bring me a slate with some chalk and a eraser and some crayons and a ruler on account cause when I grow up I want be a English teacher. 
Signed Connie Brooks, age 7.
Just hope this letter does not get mixed up with the ones Mrs. Davis is collecting!

Here are some links to programs relating to the Our Miss Brooks:

      25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

      25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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