Beulah

ABC (ended 1952)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 4 : Ep 17

    Harry Builds a Den

    Aired 12/23/52

  • S 4 : Ep 16

    Beulah and the Jalopy

    Aired 12/16/52

  • S 4 : Ep 15

    It's All Done With Wires

    Aired 12/9/52

  • S 4 : Ep 14

    Let the Men Handle It

    Aired 12/2/52

  • S 4 : Ep 13

    They Also Serve

    Aired 11/25/52

  • Cast & Crew
  • Ethel Waters

    Beulah (1950-1952)

  • Hattie McDaniel

    Beulah (1952)

  • Louise Beavers

    Beulah (1952-1953)

  • William Post Jr.

    Harry Henderson (1950-1952)

  • David Bruce

    Harry Henderson (1952-1953)

  • show Description
  • Beulah (The Beulah Show) was an early situation comedy about an African-American housekeeper and cook who works for a family named the Hendersons. Begun on radio (CBS) in 1945, the TV version aired concurrently on ABC beginning in 1950.The show was marked with some controversy. Though denounced by many African-American groups, its sponsors were not boycotted like those of Amos 'n Andy. Beulah was also known for several cast changes. After Ethel Waters left the title role, Hattie McDaniel (from the radio version) and Louise Beavers stepped in (McDaniel departed because of illness) before Beavers settled in for good as the final television Beulah. Some sources state that the six McDaniel episodes only ran in syndication. Practically every character role changed once or twice over the life of the show.Despite the protests of stereotypes promoted in some of the program's writing, the character of Beulah herself was actually the wisest and most capable of the entire show - and the series remained the only one to star an African-American woman until Julia aired in 1968.moreless

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (8)

    • Beulah: I am not going to have my family eat cold cuts on a Saturday night!

    • Oriole: Mrs. Alice? What would you do if you had a very persistent ice man, and you just couldn't get rid of him? Mrs. Henderson: Buy a refrigerator.

    • Alice Henderson: Women prefer men with polished manners. Beulah: You just give me the man, I'll do my own polishing.

    • Oriole: No, no, I won't tell! I'll be dumb as an oyster. Bill: Oh, you got that already.

    • Beulah: Yeah, but sometimes women try to keep it a secret for as long as possible. Women are funny that way. Bill: Yeah, women are funny, alright.

    • Bill: (reclining) I'm inventing. Beulah: Inventing what? Bill: Perpetual motion. Beulah: So what's this, reverse-research?

    • Beulah: Well Mrs. Alice will be upset because she wanted Donnie to make a hit socially...and Mr. Harry will be upset because he just paid $41.50 for to buy Donnie a new suit...and I'll be upset 'cause I been spendin' all my spare time teaching Donnie to dance!

    • Mr. Henderson: The way everyone studies me around here, I feel like a cross between a case history and a trout. Beulah: We all study you, Mr. Harry. Mr. Henderson: Why? Beulah: Because in our own way, we love you...and 'cause you bring in the money to keep this family goin'.

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    Notes (17)

    • Though Beulah was aired as a television program by ABC, it originated as a CBS radio series in 1945. The radio character was usually voiced by White men (originally, Marlin Hurt) and was a semi-regular on the Fibber McGee and Molly show.

    • According to a review printed in The New York Times, "Beulah's Southern Cooking" may have been the premiere episode of the series rather than this installment (see Notes for Episode 18).

    • This is approximately the last episode to star "Bud" Harris as Bill. He was upset over the racial implications of the scripts and was no better at co-existing with Ethel Waters than most of the cast and crew.

    • A review in the New York Times from October 1950 suggests that this episode may have been the first aired in the series, the airdate here may indicate a rerun or a re-scheduled installment. Since the program was filmed, it is at least possible that it aired later than originally scheduled. This date is also the approximate time that Percy Harris became so upset over the writing of his character that he left the program.

    • This is probably the first episode to feature Dooley Wilson starring as Bill Jackson (replacing Percy "Bud" Harris, who was very upset by the stereotypes of laziness written into the role). Since the actor was new to the series, the opening credits for the remainder of Season 1 were written as "and Introducing Dooley Wilson as Bill."

    • This is the last episode of what is usually listed as the first "season" of the series. Apparently, these were shown in reruns for almost a year. New episodes (with a new cast) were filmed and began airing in April of 1952, according to most sources.

    • After many weeks of reruns, the series returns with this episode late in year two. The entire cast is almost completely replaced with new actors. Some sources consider the episodes before Hattie McDaniel's stint as Beulah as the "second" season though it is probable that all the Louise Beavers episodes shown in 1952 were filmed in sequence.

    • Some sources give the title of this episode as "Beulah's Horse Gives a Wild Ride."

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    Trivia (8)

    • As in the radio program, this episode emphasizes the fact that Beulah's legendary cooking skills are without compare.

    • Bill is roped into sitting for the daughter of the Henderson's dinner guests after both Beulah and Donnie are unavailable that evening.

    • In a wild scheme, Bill considers moving to New York City and opening a restaurant.

    • Apparently, Bill has seriously improved his skill as a fighter (see Season 1, "Bill's Fight Fix").

    • Beulah and Oriole get their advice on marital relations from a 25 cent copy of the fictional "True Tales of Passion and Purity" magazine.

    • Instead of the usual one misunderstanding, two events lead Beulah to the wrong conclusion in this installment. Donnie charges a baby carriage to his mother's account (he wants the wheels for a wooden race car he's building) at the same time as Alice conceals an order for a new portable backyard barbeque from Harry.

    • While Donnie's dancing is not approved by Madame Matilda, he has plenty of his own fans of "modern dancing" at Bill's Fix-It Shop.

    • This episode reveals that the Hendersons' regular gardener, Tony, comes once a week and does watering, weeding, and mowing.

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