Saturday, November 23, 2013

A "Margie" Memento

A 45-page script for My Little Margie.
Here's a fun little collectible I acquired in researching my book The Women Who Made Television Funny -- a crew member's copy of an original My Little Margie script. Dated January 14, 1953, it's for an episode called "The Homely Margie," first aired March 5, 1953 on CBS. In this script by Frank Fox and G. Carleton Brown, Margie poses as Cousin Carolyn from Philadelphia, with a "goony voice," to resolve one of those crises only Margie and Vern Albright could find themselves in. Page One lists not only the cast regulars who will appear (and the phone numbers of stars Gale Storm and Charles Farrell -- imagine that today!) but also the guest players needed for the episode -- Joe Sparks ("handsome, Southern, 25"), Bill Houseman ("homely"), and Mr. Michaels ("bewildered"), the latter amended by hand to "Miss Michaels."

This particular copy of the script belonged to crew member Hazel W. Hall, who enjoyed a long career as a script supervisor on shows like Perry Mason and The Andy Griffith Show. Maintaining continuity was the major function of her job, and conscientious Ms. Hall has scribbled notes all over the script, noting exactly how actors made their entrances, what costumes they wore, and other details. Without careful attention to these, it might be difficult for multiple takes of the same scene, from different angles, to be successfully pieced together in the editing room. For one scene, she writes, "Open on Vern, seated reading. Margie enters from dir[ection] of b'room [bedroom], Xes [crosses] to Vern & kisses him. Leans elbows in divan as Vern turns to her." When dialogue is changed during a take, Ms. Hall writes a stern reminder -- "Margie's line 'Nite, Dad' is changed to 'Goodnight Uncle Vern' in closer three. This line must be used! in corrected 3-shot."

Would you think it took this much careful work to make one lighthearted episode of My Little Margie?

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