Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mr. Roberts' Birthday

As Captain Huxley on The Gale Storm Show.
Even if you don't know his name, you'll likely know the face of actor Roy Roberts, born March 19, 1906. One of TV's busiest character actors, he was often cast as stuffy bankers or businessmen; his roles included bank president Mr. Cheever on The Lucy Show, Frank Stephens, Darrin's dad, on Bewitched, banker John Cushing on The Beverly Hillbillies, and, from 1956 to 1960, Captain Huxley on The Gale Storm Show: Oh, Susanna!

Though he mostly let his work speak for itself, Roberts offered a few comments to journalist Stan Maays in 1967, while working with Gale Gordon on The Lucy Show. Of his facility for being the straight man in comedy, he explained, "It's important to play up key words. Gale and I, old hams that we are, get together and go over the script. We see a spot and say, 'Let's give this a shot here.' It's fun for us because on the Lucy show you have to play half to the audience and half to the cameras."

Roberts was a busy actor well into the 1970s, until a heart attack cut his career short at the age of 69. As long as classic TV comedies are viewed and appreciated, though, at least a discerning few will stop and notice what a touch of professionalism and skill he brings to the roles he played so well.

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