Show: Remembering When

Episode: 868-074 The Beulah Show

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Episode Description:

The Beulah Show is an American situation-comedy series that ran on CBS Radio from 1945 to 1954, and on ABC Television from 1950 to 1952. The show is notable for being the first sitcom to star an African American actress.

In 1950, Roland Reed Productions adapted the property into a TV situation comedy for ABC, and the Beulah TV show ran for three seasons, Tuesday nights at 7:30 ET from October 3, 1950 to December 23, 1952.

Most of the comedy in the series derived from the fact that Beulah, referred to as "the queen of the kitchen," has the ability to solve the problems that her employers cannot figure out. Other characters included Beulah's boyfriend Bill Jackson, a handyman who is constantly proposing marriage, and Oriole, a befuddled maid for the family next door.

Ethel Waters starred as Beulah for the first two years of the TV program before quitting the show in 1951. Hattie McDaniel, star of radio's Beulah, joined the cast around September of that year but only filmed six episodes of the second season before falling ill. She was quickly replaced by Louise Beavers in later 1951, who stayed with the show until its cancellation. Waters was seen in the role in the first season, from late 1950 until late 1951. The McDaniel episodes were shelved pending an improvement of her health, and so the second season began in April 1952 starting with the Beavers episodes. The six McDaniel episodes were tagged onto the end of the second season, starting July 1952 and running until August 1952. It was around this time that McDaniel learned that she had advanced breast cancer. Beavers returned in the role of Beulah for the third and final Beulah television series, which aired from September to December 1952.

Butterfly McQueen, (McDaniel's fellow cast member from Gone With the Wind, where they had also played servant roles) starred as Oriole for the first season. Ruby Dandridge (Dorothy's mother), Mrs. Kelso in Cabin in the Sky and the voice of Oriole on the radio version of Beulah, replaced McQueen when the entire television cast was overhauled upon the arrival of Hattie McDaniel. Percy "Bud" Harris originally portrayed Bill, but he walked out on the part during the first season, accusing the producers of forcing him to portray an "Uncle Tom" character. He was succeeded in the role by Casablanca pianist Dooley Wilson until Ernest Whitman followed radio co-stars McDaniel and Dandridge to TV in April 1952. The show was directed at various times by future sitcom veterans as Richard (L.) Bare and Abby Berlin.

Like the contemporaneous television program Amos 'n' Andy, Beulah came under attack from many critics, including the NAACP, which accused the show of supporting stereotypical depictions of black characters with Beulah viewed as a stereotypical "mammy" similar to Aunt Jemima.

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[HD File Downloads]: 0

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SD (Standard Definition) File

File Name of SD Episode: 868-074 The Beulah Show.mpg

Total SD Episode Video Runtime (hh:mm:ss): 00:27:38

File Size of SD Episode Video: 1,289,993,874 Bytes

Resolution of SD Episode Video: 720x480

Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 18:11

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