|Aboard the S.S. Ocean Queen: Gale Storm and Jimmy Fairfax.|
Monday, September 29, 2014
An Easier Way To See the World
Playing the entertainment director on a cruise ship traveling far and wide should be a good chance for an actress to see the world. In the 1950s, however, the leading lady of The Gale Storm Show found that the world came to her instead of the other way around.
Nowadays, an audience might expect to see genuine location footage of those exotic locations to which Susanna Pomeroy and the S.S. Ocean Queen traveled. But for purposes of Storm's 1956-60 sitcom, the effect was created almost entirely on studio soundstages. In a widely syndicated article that appeared under Gale's byline in 1959, she wrote, "I'm getting the greatest vicarious geography lesson of all times. The sets those studio workers build are as close to the authentic thing as you'll find. I feel I've tiptoed through the Taj Mahal and scaled the Alps, without ever having to leave home. We got to do a highland fling in a Scottish castle and a Bali dance in a tropical paradise." The illusion was good enough to keep viewers entertained for four seasons in prime time, and years of reruns afterwards. You can read more about Gale's career as the star of two long-running sitcoms (this one and its predecessor, My Little Margie), in my book The Women Who Made Television Funny.