Our Miss Brooks

brooks lg.jpgOur Miss Brooks was a hit on radio from the outset; within eight months of its launch as a regular series, the show landed several honors, including four for Eve Arden, who won polls in four individual publications of the time. Arden had actually been the third choice to play the title role. Harry Ackerman, at the time CBS's West Coast director of programming, wanted Shirley Booth for the part, but as he told historian Gerald Nachman many years later, he realized Booth was too focused on the underpaid downside of public school teaching at the time to have fun with the role.

Lucille Ball was believed to have been the next choice, but she was already committed to My Favorite Husband and didn't audition. Then CBS chairman Bill Paley, who was friendly with Arden, persuaded her to audition for the part. With a slightly rewritten audition script--Osgood Conklin, for example, was originally written as a school board president but was now written as the incoming new Madison principal--Arden agreed to give the newly-revamped show a try.

Produced by Larry Berns and written by director Al Lewis, Our Miss Brooks premiered on CBS July 19, 1948. According to radio critic John Crosby, her lines were very "feline" in dialogue scenes with principal Conklin and would-be boyfriend Boynton, with sharp, witty comebacks. The interplay between the cast--blustery Conklin, nebbishy Denton, accommodating Harriet, absentminded Mrs. Davis, clueless Boynton, scheming Miss Enright--also received positive reviews.

Arden won a radio listeners' poll by Radio Mirror magazine as the top ranking comedienne of 1948-49, receiving her award at the end of an Our Miss Brooks broadcast that March. "I'm certainly going to try in the coming months to merit the honor you've bestowed upon me, because I understand that if I win this two years in a row, I get to keep Mr. Boynton," she joked. But she was also a hit with the critics; a winter 1949 poll of newspaper and magazine radio editors taken by Motion Picture Daily named her the year's best radio comedienne.
For its entire radio life, the show was sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive-Peet, promoting Palmolive soap, Lustre Creme shampoo and Toni hair care products. The radio series continued until 1957, a year after its television life ended.

Episode Number Episode Title Aired Datesort descending
75 Cure That Habit Sunday, January 15, 1933
3 Mother's Day Tuesday, May 18, 1948
7 Weekend At Crystal Lake Sunday, September 19, 1948
12 The Surprise Party (aka-Putting The Touch On Miss Brooks) Sunday, October 24, 1948
13 Clay City Football Game (aka-Going To The Clayton High Football Game) Sunday, October 31, 1948
16 The Model School Teacher Sunday, November 21, 1948
22 Old Clothes for Party Sunday, January 2, 1949
23 The Heating System: Lack of Coal at Madison High Sunday, January 9, 1949
25 Head of the English Department Sunday, January 23, 1949
26 Custodian of Student Funds Sunday, January 30, 1949
27 Missing Electric Heater Sunday, February 6, 1949
29 The Frog Sunday, February 20, 1949
31 The Hair Do Sunday, March 6, 1949
36 Mr Conklin's Wake-Up Plan Sunday, April 10, 1949
43 Arguments, Arguments! Sunday, May 29, 1949
66 Elephant Mascot Sunday, November 13, 1949
100 Radio Bombay (Walter's Radio) Tuesday, August 8, 1950
233 Foreign Teachers Sunday, January 24, 1954
283 An American Tragedy Sunday, April 3, 1955
322 Annual Winter Outing (Mr. Conklin Loses His Hearing) Sunday, January 1, 1956