Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Scrounger’s Cheapjack Christmas Special!: The Bob Cummings Show


“Hold it! I think you’re gonna like this one…”

Just Enough Background: The Bob Cummings Show (1955-1959, syndicated as Love That Bob!) starred The Guy With His Name in The Title as Bob Collins, a professional photographer who specialized in gorgeous women…both in and out of the workplace. Ann B. Davis (and you should know good and well who that is) was his secretary Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz, who carried a torch for her boss. To ground the whole horndog aspect of Bob’s character—because, you know, 1950s—he also maintained a household with his widowed sister Margaret MacDonald (Rosemary DeCamp) and her son Chuck (Dwayne Hickman).

George Burns was the executive producer, but the real giveaway is the producer/head writer: Paul Henning, who moved on from here to The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction. Yes, it’s that type of show.

The Christmas Episode: “Grandpa's Christmas Visit” Original Broadcast: December 22, 1955.

Christmas? We gotcher Christmas right here, buddy. The show opens with Bob, Margaret, and Chuck posing for a holiday picture by the hearth.


And taking the picture, with a camera straight out of a Little Rascals movie, is Grandpa Josh Collins. And yes, it’s Bob Cummings again, in oldie makeup and with a voice that’s only a block down the road from Walter Brennan. And if you don’t know who Walter Brennan is, it’s just another sign that I’ve grown horribly, horribly old.


Not THAT old, though.

Anyway, Gramps is a traditionalist when it comes to his art, so he’s using good old-fashioned flash powder. He probably stole it from the Matthew Brady studio after the Battle of Gettysburg, because again, it’s that kind of show.


Actually, he seems to be loading that thing pretty heavily. My first clue was when Bob started getting nervous; my second was the massive explosion when Gramps squeezed the bulb.


Clue #3

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire Christmas content of this episode. The rest of the show is about how Grandpa is really a kid trapped in an old man’s body, with an eye for the ladies but without the relative restraint of his grandson. The plot is basically about trying to get the old fella to slow down and settle for a woman closer to his own age, but needless to say, things go awry.

Also, there are lots of scenes like this with Bob’s model/girlfriend Mary Beth (Gloria Marshall):


Gratuitous? You betcha. Christmassy? Well, it is (a-HEM) festive. And you thought anime invented fan service…

Our Holiday Lesson For Today: The only thing I came up with was “If you let grandpa steal your kid’s bike, he’ll come after the car next.” That did actually happen in the show, but unfortunately, it’s not exactly season-specific. I was going to come up with a second option, but then I started gazing longingly at Gloria Marshall again and...I'm sorry, what were we just talking about?

But Don’t Take My Word For It: The complete episode is available for viewing on Veoh.

Next: George Burns and Gracie Allen!

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