Life With Elizabeth

(ended 1955)




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Life With Elizabeth

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This was the first primetime starring vehicle for Betty While, a fixture on Los Angeles television since the late 1940s. The premise for this series came from her early local TV experiences on KTLA. Betty was co-host of disc jockey Al Jarvis' daily 5-hour live television program. The two were drafted by the station to host a weekly primetime talent program. On that show, the two began ad-libbing short sketches as a young married couple named Elizabeth and Alvin. As their impromptu sketches became more popular, they expanded in length. George Tibbles, White's accompanist, became involved and eventually began writing material for the "couple". After Jarvis had left the station for bigger things, KTLA station manager Don Fedderson (a future successful producer) approached White about turning the Elizabeth and Alvin bits into a half-hour sitcom. It was originally telecast locally on Saturday nights and produced by Feddeerson, White, and writer Tibbles. Jack Narz was the on-screen announcer who did spots and provided continuity for the three ten minute vignettes which dealt with the little adventures of a young married couple. Del Moore took over the role of Alvin. The president of Guild Films, Reuben Kaufman, had just gotten into syndication with his extremely popular filmed "Liberace" series. Looking for his next program, Kaufman caught a live edition of "Life with Elizabeth" on KTLA and approached White and her partners about doing the program on film for national distribution. Local stations, hungry for programming, jumped at the series when it debuted in the fall of 1953. The program was filmed without an audience in the one-camera movie style, which led White to once comment that is was like doing comedy in a mortuary. The edited film was then shown to a live audience and their laughter recorded. With 65 episodes "in the can", the series ceased production in 1955, not because of bad ratings, but because syndicators at the time believed shows needed to end while they were popular so their reruns would still be in demand.moreless
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