Thursday, April 18, 2019


Georgia Engel passed away last Friday, the sweet innocence of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ as Georgette Franklin Baxter.  I can say freely that she stole my heart when she joined the series, even with my worship of Mayr herself. 

So today I’d like to take a look at a theory of relateeveety which would connect all seven of her major TV characters.

It would be a mythic number.
Melissa Steadman

Georgette Franklin, later to become Georgette Baxter once she married the anchorman Ted Baxter, will be the role for which Ms. Engel will be most remembered.  And amazingly, it was her very first TV role!

Here is the list in descending order of her seven major TV roles, both as regulars and as recurring:
The Mary Tyler Moore Show  
Georgette Franklin Baxter

The Betty White Show  
Mitzi Maloney

Goodtime Girls 
Loretta Smoot

Jennifer Slept Here  
Susan Elliot

Shirley Burleigh

Everybody Loves Raymond 
Pat MacDougall

Hot in Cleveland 

I’m not going to put that much pressure on Georgette’s mother to claim that she gave birth to all but Loretta.  If she did, however, it’s no wonder we never saw her in an episode of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ – she was probably dead, especially if they were septuplets!

No, I’m sure they were all of separate parentage, although some of them could be sisters.  Since we knew the most about Georgette, I think she was an only child and sadly I believe both her parents were dead.  As I don’t think they had been named, at least I don’t think they were, I’m going to make the claim – for now, that her mother was the former Loretta Smoot  from ‘Goodtime Girls’. 

I place the birth dates for the “present day” characters played by Ms. Engel to be in the same birth year as hers – 1948, but perhaps of different birth months.  Therefore, Loretta Smoot met and married a man named Franklin and they then had Georgette as their only child. 

I also then surmise that Franklin’s first name was George and his daughter was named after him.

Taking that particular branch of the family further, George Franklin may have been the uncle to the two Sam Franklins we know about – the butcher of  ‘The Brady Bunch’ (Boy, that sounds so wrong!) and the other being the painter seen in an episode of ‘Columbo’ whose work was seen in yet another episode of that great cop drama.

So tying in Georgette with Loretta as her Mom, that leaves us with five other Georgia Engel characters to deal with.  I think all of them were “identical cousins” to Georgette.  And by “identical cousins”, I mean both Toobworld interpretations of the phrase – the origin of the phrase referred to actual cousins whose fathers were identical twins.  But a darker interpretation could be that somebody in their family tree had cheated on their spouse with somebody with close genetic ties to Loretta Smoot Franklin.

But let’s just go with the flow, that the remaining five characters were all first cousins to Georgette and that one or the other of their parents were siblings to Loretta Smoot Franklin.

Mainly because their names were so similar, I’m going to claim that Mitzi Maloney of Hollywood, who was a friend of actress Joyce Whitman, and Elka Ostrovsky’s friend in Cleveland, Mamie, were sisters.  I don’t know if Mamie’s last name was ever mentioned, and I don’t know if she had ever been married, but for now let’s hypothesize that her maiden name could have been Maloney.

As for the other three – Susan, Shirley, and Pat – I’m going to swing for the fences and make the claim that they were triplets.  We don’t have to worry about the surnmes – all three of those are their married names.  Ta Da!  Their original last names could have been Smoot and they could then be Loretta’s nieces.

I usually have to make the decision that a TV character should be considered as having died around the same time as the actor who played the role.  So with most of those “Georgia Women”, their date of death has recently happened or will be happening soon.  (Loretta Smoot Franklin was born in 1910 and more than likely died before 1973.)

But for now, I’d like to maintain the illusion that Georgette Baxter herself is still alive, playing grandmother to the children of her son David and her daughter Mary Lou.  (I once posited that Colleen Haskell from the first season of ‘Survivor’ could have been Mary Lou grown up.  She had the right look and temperament, and was the right age for the role.  She also gained acting experience even if it was in the Rob Schneider movie “The Animal”.  I see no reason to discard this wish-craft.  Of course, David would still be played by Robbie Rist.)

So there’s my theory of relateeveety for all of the characters played by Georgia Engel.  I ran behind in putting it together and it’s shockingly short on graphics, but I will add them in later today.  Sorry about that, Chief.


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