Saturday, February 11, 2006


There are so many historical personages who have televersions in Toobworld that are seen so often - JFK and Jackie O, Abe Lincoln, Jesus, Hitler, Marilyn Monroe.... They appear so often, you'd think every other TV movie was about them!

But there are plenty of people in History who deserve their moment on the stage of the "Glass Furnace". And every so often I'll give one of them their moment in the spotlight.

And to kick it off, King Gustaf VI of Sweden.

In one of the earliest episodes of 'Green Acres', the mother of Oliver Douglas was bemoaning her son's hair-brained idea to move to Hooterville to become a farmer. She especially felt bad for her daughter-in-law, Lisa - the Hungarian ex-patriate was reduced to making her bed from outside the window, and yet there once was a time when she had been presented to the King of Sweden.

I see no reason why the Toobworld Timeline should not jibe with the Real World when it comes to the Swedish monarchy, so it had to be Gustaf VI Adolf who met Lisa Douglas.

Gustaf VI Adolf (Oskar Fredrik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf) (November 11, 1882 – September 15, 1973) was King of Sweden from 1950 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Gustaf V and his wife Victoria of Baden.

At birth he was created Duke of Skåne. On October 29, 1950, he succeeded his father on the throne. In 1950, Prince Gustaf Adolf became king at age 67 upon the death of his father, King Gustaf V.

During Gustaf's reign, work was underway on a new constitution — eventually taking effect in 1975 after Gustaf's death — to replace the 1809 constitution and produce reforms consistent with the times. Among the reforms sought by some Swedes was the replacement of the monarchy or at least some moderation of the old constitution's provision that "The King alone shall govern the realm."

Gustaf Adolf's personal qualities made him popular among the Swedish people. In turn, this popularity led to strong public opinion in favor of the retention of the monarchy.

Gustaf Adolf's expertise and interest in a wide range of fields (architecture and botany being but two) made him respected, as did his informal and modest nature and his purposeful avoidance of pomp.

The affection and respect for which the Swedish people felt for Gustaf VI Adolf led to the retention of the monarchy as a symbol of continuity. But the monarchy was made subordinate to a democratic state: many of the powers of the Swedish monarchy died with King Gustaf Adolf in 1973. Additional powers of the monarch were removed when Sweden's constitutional reform became complete in 1975.

Gustaf VI Adolf was a devoted archaeologist, and was admitted to the British Academy for his work in botany in 1958. Gustaf participated in archaeological expeditions in China, Greece, and China, and founded the Swedish Institute in Rome.

Gustaf died in 1973 at age 90 after a deterioration in his health that culminated in inflammation of the lungs. He was succeeded on the throne by his 27-year-old grandson Carl XVI Gustaf, son of the late Prince Gustaf Adolf. In a break with tradition, Gustaf VI was not buried in Riddarholmskyrkan in Stockholm, but in the royal burial grounds in Haga.
[edited from the Wikipedia entry]

I'm thinking that Lisa Douglas was presented to the King of Sweden around 1960. By then, her husband Oliver must have been a respected partner in his law firm who had many dealings with influential clients on the international scene. I could see "Oleevarrh" moving among the powerful elite in social events, and since I think he would have been a liberal democrat, I'm guessing he might have been invited to the Kennedy White House at some point for a state dinner.

It might have been at that state dinner where Lisa Douglas was presented to King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden.

And even though he was the monarch of the realm, I have no doubt that Gustaf VI was thoroughly enchanted by her many charms.

(Okay, who snickered "Both of them"?)

This has been a good example of David Bianculli's theory of tele-literacy: TV can be a teaching tool if you don't just let it wash over you.


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