My Little Margie was Margie Albright (Gale Storm), the 21-year-old daughter of Vern Albright (Charles Farrell), with whom she shared an apartment. Vern, a widower and member of an investment firm, has his hands full with his impressionable and often mad-cap daughter. Margie's co-horts in mayhem usually included her boyfriend Freddy and her oft-married neighbor Mrs. Odetts. The show was one of several domestic situation comedies that aired following the success of I Love Lucy; in fact, My Little Margie began as a summer replacement for I Love Lucy.
In a very unusual move, the show -- with the same leads -- also appeared at the same time with original episodes on CBS radio. It continued on CBS radio even after the television show moved from CBS to NBC in its third season.
Gale Storm (born Josephine Cottle, 1922-2009) was still a teenager when she landed a one-year contract with RKO. Her first role was in Tom Brown's School Days; she then did several low-budget pictures and sang in a number of shorts. She moved to Monogram Studios where she appeared in about three dozen pictures and became one of the studios biggest stars. This led to a number of television appearances and, in 1952, her role in My Little Margie. At the same time her recording career began. Her debut record, a cover of I Hear You Knockin', was a hit -- the first of many and led to a stage and nightclub career. For personal reasons, Storm stopped recording after only two years. Her star power led to another popular comedy series, The Gale Storm Show (also shown as Oh! Susannah) where she played a cruise director. That show also featured Zasu Pitts and Roy Roberts in supporting roles.
Charles Farrell (1901-1990) was a silent film star often linked on-screen with Janet Gaynor as his love interest. Both segued to talkies and Farrell had a popular movie career that began to slow down in the early Fifties, when he moved to television and My Little Margie. After that show, he appeared in the short-lived Charles Farrell Show, another sitcom, this time playing the owner of a small motel. He was also an important supporter of the city of Palm Springs and served as its mayor for seven years duing the 1950s.
Gertrude W. Hoffman (born Eliza Gertrude Wesselhoeft, 1871-1968) played Mrs. Odetts (my favorite character from the series). Although born in Germany, she was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and married Ralph Hoffman, an ornithologist and teacher of natural history. Her husband died in 1932 from a fall while on a scientific expedition. The following year she began a thirty-year career in films. A talented character actress she appeared in such films as Foreign Correspondent, The War of the Worlds, and Not As a Stranger. As Mrs. Odetts, she only appeared in twenty-five of the one hundred twenty-six of the show's episodes.
My Little Margie was created by Frank Fox, who had previously written for The Colgate Comedy Hour, and was produced by Roland Reed TV productions and was filmed at Hal Roach Studio. The series ran from June 16, 1952 to August 24, 1955.
From September 22, 1954, "Star of Khyber":
And the link below should take you to four of the twenty-three radio broadcasts known to still exist. Please note that the role of Mrs. Odetts was played by Vera Felton on the radio series.
My Little Margie also made it to the comic books. This llnk shows some of the covers:
As Charles Farrell stated at the end of every show, "Well, that's my little Margie."
For more of today's Overlooked Film, Television, and A/V, stop by My Little Todd Mason's great blog Sweet Freedom, where Todd will have an evergrowing list of links as well as his own insights,