Sunday, September 23, 2007


Great comic actress Alice Ghostley passed away a few days ago at the age of 81. And although many times a Toobworld character will outlive their portrayer in the TV Universe, I think it only right that we should consider most of these women who were played by Ms. Ghostley to have passed on as well. At the very least, they should never be seen again in Television - save in archived flashbacks - because that would mean the roles would have to be recast. (Of course, this isn't really a problem as all of these shows, save for 'Passions', have been long gone from the airwaves......)
Matilda Matthews - Matilda technically had passed away long before Ms. Ghostley, predeceasing her by a couple of centuries. And yet every so often she would come back from the dead to visit an old friend, a witch named Tabitha Lenox in the town of Harmony. ('Passions')

(Actually, this is a picture of Ms. Ghostley in "The Addams Family Reunion", in which she played Grandmama. But as I couldn't find a picture of Matilda from her four appearances on the soap opera, I decided to go with something that would at least give the feel of witchery.)
Mrs. Nash - A resident of Big Town, she was the mother of police chemist Carter Nash and the sister of Big Town mayor Fred Finney. She was the only one who knew her son's secret: that he was also the crime-fighting superhero Captain Nice. In fact, she made his costume. ('Captain Nice')
Alice Cooper - Not to be confused with the rock star. When Sgt. Cooper retired from her career in the Army, her cousin Sam Jones asked her to come live with him and his son Mike in Mayberry, NC, and to be their housekeeper after Bee Taylor left. She found civilian life to be a difficult transition, but she decided to take up the harp in order to smooth out her rough edges. ('Mayberry RFD')
Edwina Moffitt - Nurse Moffitt, with her brother Dr. Paul Mercy, ran Capital General Hospital in Washington, DC, during the early 1970s. ('The New Temperature's Rising')

(Many people probably thought she really was Paul Lynde's sister as she and Lynde - who played Dr. Mercy - worked so often together since the early 1950s. Among their common credits in TV are 'Freedom Rings', "Best Of New Faces", 'Hollywood Squares', 'The Jonathan Winters Show', 'Love, American Style' - although they were in different segments - and "Twas The Night Before Christmas" holiday special.)
Bernice Clifton - Bernice was a friend of Perky Sugarbaker who was at a loss once Perky moved to Japan, so Perky's daughters Suzanne and Julia basically adopted her. ('Designing Women')For a full biographical profile on Bernice, visit here.
Esmerelda - It could be that Esmerelda, a witch of little skill who would turn invisible when flustered, was related to Matilda Matthews. Perhaps she was Matilda's daughter? At any rate, Esmerelda worked for Darrin and Samantha Stephens as their housekeeper in Westport, Ct. ('Bewitched')

It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Esmerelda had more of a secret life than she ever let on when in the employ of the Stevenses. She may have had her own family which would have included a young witch by the name of Sabrina as her great grand-daughter. At the very least, Esmerelda and Sabrina's Great-Granny must have been identical twins. ('Sabrina The Teenage Witch')
Irna Wallingsford - Irna was a resident of Evening Shade, Arkansas, where she ran against Dr. Harlan Elldridge for the position of mayor. However, both of them were more interested in waging mud-slinging campaigns against each other than they were in what they would do as mayor. ('Evening Shade')

(Another disclaimer: this is a picture of Ms. Ghostley as Mrs. Binns in an episode of 'Dharma & Greg', but it's from the same time period in which she was portraying Irna.)

I was a big fan of Alice Ghostley's style, her comic timing and delivery, and will miss seeing her on the Toob. As Red Skelton would say, "May God Bless".....

Toby OB

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