Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Beulah Show Volume 1|
Actors: Hattie McDaniel, Louise Beavers, Jane Frazee
Genres: Westerns, Television
Four lost episodes of this early TV sitcom featuring Beaulah, a black domestic, who finds common sense answers to family problems.
HISTORIC TELEVISION SERIES WITH HATTIE MCDANIEL
"Tee" | LA | 10/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE BEULAH SHOW (also known simply as BEULAH) is a light sitcom from television's first years best known for being the first program to star an African American actress. The syndicated series ran three seasons, 1950-1953. Based on the late 40's radio sitcom starring Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel of GONE WITH THE WIND fame, the television series' first two years starred Ethel Waters as Beulah, a big-hearted housekeeper for a young white family (presumably the producers chose Waters because she was a bigger star at the time than McDaniel). Miss Waters was reportedly unhappy with the mediocre scripts and left the show after the second season which led to an overhaul of the program and a completely new cast.
The wonderful Hattie was finally cast as the video Beulah but tragically she was only able to complete eight episodes, dying later that year of breast cancer. The role of Beulah was then taken over by Hattie's longtime contemporary in movies, Louise Beavers (the rest of the new cast remained). Reportedly there were a couple of final episodes that season (the series' last) in which Lillian Randolph played the role (possibly due to Beaver's signing to play a featured role on the network sitcom MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY).
The series, apparently now in public domain, has long been unseen except for a vhs tape or two issued by minor companies. At long last, a budget DVD version has been released of four episodes, two starring Hattie McDaniel and two with Louise Beavers.
BEULAH GOES GARDENING has Hattie has the put-upon maid who ends up having to do the gardening when Mr. Henderson, in a penny-pinching move, decides to no longer employ a gardener and have the family do it instead, only thing is the "family" always has something else to do and it only means more work for Beulah. In THE WALTZ, little Donny Henderson is floundering in dance class, so Hattie and her longtime beau Bill decide to give him lessons, only the boogie woogie they teach him isn't quite the style he is supposed to learn. THE NEW ARRIVAL has a baby carriage arriving at the Henderson home leading Louise Beavers to believe the Mrs. is expecting and the bogus secret spreads like wildfire. SECOND WEDDING has Louise convinced her employers' marriage is on the rocks after reading a magazine article on the warning signs for marriages in trouble.
Both actresses do quite well with the slender, unpolished material. I have always preferred Hattie McDaniel, one of the very best character actresses ever in film, over the quite talented Louise Beavers who is a gentler, less comic actress. It's touching and sad to see Hattie in her final role, not quite the spitfire of her classic movie performances but still a lovable endearing personality. Louise is equally good as Beulah and her two episodes actually are a little better written.
Print quality for these programs is no better than good minus to acceptable (the Beavers episodes appear to be copies of videos rather than film prints and are only fair) but this material is very rare and you are not likely to see better prints anytime soon (indeed only about seven episodes of the show are still known to be around but surely there are more somewhere since the program was rerun for several years and the 1950's aren't that long ago).
1940's "B" leads David Bruce and Jane Frazee play Beulah's employers, the Hendersons, child actor Stuffy Singer is their son Donny. Beulah's elusive beau is played by Ernest Whitman (who had a bit part in GONE WITH THE WIND as the black carpetbagger), her dizzy best friend Oriole is played by Ruby Dandridge (Dorothy's mom).
THE BEULAH SHOW is a trailblazer in that it's black and white supporting performers are on an equal status and share approximately the same amount of screen time. And it's wonderful to see both Hattie McDaniel and Louise Beavers front and center in a program given the starring billing they richly deserved."
Edward Rasen Jr. | Maui | 07/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Black female in the lead role of a television sitcom and I am not talking about the year 2000 but rather 1950. Ethel Waters was the first Beulah, followed by Hattie McDaniel and then Louise Beavers. All were excellent.
The characters are great, the scripts wonderful and the stereotypes classic. If you love television sitcoms then you have to watch these rare episodes. The condition of the four episodes ranges from 8 out of 10 to 6.5 out of 10 with Beulah Goes Gardening, the first episode the best quality. The last two I rate at 6.5 and have slight distortion and vibration. They look like they were recorded off TV to VHS and then transferred to DVD.
It would be great if more episodes were released with a host explaining background and history of the three female lead actresses. Due to picture quality, I gave this a four-star rating. I would not pay $7.98 plus shipping but the disc is worth $3 plus shipping.
It would be great if CBS which owns Amos and Andy would restore the master prints and release that series. Their alleged concern about the program being racist is ludicrous."
What a Rare treat
Stephen Dickensheets | Philadelphia, Pa | 11/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a little guy when I first saw these, in re-run.
I learned much about people and relationships from this series.
Production quality is exceptional considering the age of the originals.
Great morality story lines."
The Beulah Show, Volume 1
PAK | IL. | 10/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like watching The Beula Show on DVD. Never heard about this DVD before. But thought it was good."