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Lifelong Memories

Leonard Maltin By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin November 19, 2009 at 12:51AM

Lifelong Memories
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The August 11th ceremony to launch the U.S. Postal Service’s “TV’s Earliest Memories” stamps was well-attended by Hollywood veterans and fans alike. (see my Journal entry above) I confess, I lose all journalistic professionalism when I see someone like David Nelson. After all, my generation grew up with his entire family. In fact, Ozzie and Harriet’s names have become synonymous with the period in which they flourished. It also seems to me that as the years go on he looks more and more like his late father Ozzie. He’s posing here with two of his brother Ricky’s children, Tracy and Sam. It’s nice to see them all participating in a program like this that perpetuates the memory of their real-life family.


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Carl Reiner and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honcho
John Schaffner present a blowup of the new postage stamps

commemorating twenty unforgettable TV shows.

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One of the highlights of the day for me was meeting Lucinda Smith, whose father Bernie Smith was the primary writer of Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life (although he was always credited as director, to deflect any suspicion that Groucho wasn’t ad-libbing all of his dialogue). Lucinda brought along the original duck that bore the famous Secret Word every week. His name, incidentally, is Julius...just like Groucho.

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Jayne Meadows Allen fractured her hip ten days before the event, but no power on earth was going to keep her from participating in the morning activities. Her son Bill wheeled her onstage at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, where she spoke about her beloved husband Steve Allen (whose original Tonight Show is honored on the pane of 20 stamps). Here she poses with the delightful Barbara Hale and Tim Talman, the son of William Talman, representing Perry Mason—which has been mentioned in the news recently because the show inspired new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.


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Representing You Bet Your Life were Groucho Marx’s son Arthur
and daughter Melinda. Melinda’s daughter Jade is standing at her side,
and her grandson Julius is in front.


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I always enjoy seeing Leonard Stern, veteran comedy writer, director, and producer—not to mention co-founder of the publishing firm Price-Stern-Sloan (the folks who brought us Mad Libs, just for starters).

Leonard’s credits date back to the Abbott and Costello radio show in the 1940s and extend to 2008 when he made a cameo appearance in Get Smart, to acknowledge the fact that he was executive producer of the original Don Adams TV series. He also served as a writer on The Honeymooners, which is featured on one of the new postage stamps.


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My friend Dawn Moore has been lobbying for a Lone Ranger stamp for many years, to honor her late father Clayton, who played—and embodied—the indelible character. She finally got her wish, and poses here with a blowup of the stamp.

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Dawn invited a handful of friends to join her at the ceremony, including a good friend of hers (and her dad’s), wonderful Ann Rutherford. The woman who will always be remembered as Scarlett O’Hara’s sister Careen in Gone With The Wind is as vibrant and active as ever.
God bless her!


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This article is related to: Journal, The Lone Ranger, Television, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson