Our Miss Brooks (TV)

In 1951, I Love Lucy went on TV, not only becoming a smash hit but inventing the way most situation comedies would be filmed thereafter — in front of a live audience with multiple cameras. The show was produced by Desilu, a company owned by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, and they were quickly asked if their studio and methods could be employed for other shows. The first new one they took on was the TV adaptation of the radio show, Our Miss Brooks,. which was filmed on the same stage used for I Love Lucy on other days. The TV version of Our Miss Brooks went on the air October 3, 1952 so the above ticket is probably for one of the very first filmings, maybe even the first.

It was a period when many popular radio shows were being transferred to television but Our Miss Brooks was different from most. For one thing, it employed pretty much the same cast. Most programs recast because the radio actors didn’t always look the way they sounded…but Eve Arden, Gale Gordon, Richard Rockwell, Richard Crenna and all the rest were suitable for their roles. (Buying Crenna as a teenager was a bit of a stretch — he was 26 at the time — but they got away with it.) Also unusual was that the same producers and cast continued to do the show for radio every week for many years.

The TV show was a modest hit for its first three years. Audience enjoyed watching high school English teacher Connie Brooks (Arden) battle with the school’s principal, Osgood Conklin (Gordon) while she lusted after the handsome Biology teacher, Mr. Boynton (Rockwell). But when ratings dipped in 1955, the show underwent a revamp. Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin moved from Madison High to a private elementary school where they were surrounded by a new supporting cast. The change failed to boost tune-in and that was the last season. The show went off in 1956, the same year a feature film of Our Miss Brooks was released. It was set back in the high school and ended with Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton finally getting married, thereby ending the series, once and for all.