Thursday, January 14, 2016

Look! It's Frank Aletter -- Again

Someone at CBS in the 1960s really liked actor Frank Aletter -- a lot. Born 90 years ago today, Aletter (1926-2009) never had a starring role in a hit sitcom -- but it wasn't for lack of trying. In Bringing Up Buddy (1960-61), he played a young man being "raised" by his two elderly aunts. When that one didn't catch on, he returned with The Cara Williams Show (1964-65), unfortunately another flop, and reportedly an extremely tense set on which to work. The third time wasn't the charm when he was cast as a time-traveling astronaut in Sherwood Schwartz's It's About Time, which didn't make it beyond the 1966-67 season.

Though his lead roles in sitcoms didn't pay off big for him, Aletter was still one of the busiest actors in TV for years afterward. A very incomplete checklist of shows in which he appeared would include Perry Mason, M*A*S*H, The Fugitive, The Mod Squad, Medical Center, Ironside ... seemingly every popular show of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1985, he was a guest star in the pilot episode of The Golden Girls, playing Harry, the man Blanche thought she wanted to marry, who despite his outwardly charming and elegant demeanor is memorably (and correctly) assessed by Sophia as "a scuzzball."

For more information on Aletter, and his role in It's About Time, check out my book Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television

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