Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Barbara (Eden)!

Happy Birthday wishes go out today for one of my favorites Genies (she's my only favorite Genie), and actresses, Ms. Barbara Eden!
My gosh, Barbara has had such a successful and busy career it's hard to find a place to start. Maybe the beginning would be good.
She was born Barbara Jean Morehead in Tucson, AZ. Her parents divorced when she was just 3, and she and her mom moved to San Francisco, CA, that bastion of evil liberalism, where her mom got married again. They were still living in the midst of the Great Depression, during the late 1930s (the Depression did not end until the advent of World War II), which greatly affected the family. Barbara's mother used to entertain her children by singing them songs, which Barbara took up, and took acting classes as she thought that might improve her singing. She graduated High School, and was elected Miss San Francisco in 1951.
Then she got busy! She made appearances on television shows like; The Johnny Carson Show, Highway Patrol, I love Lucy (where she has stated she had to literally hide from Desi Arnaz in order to escape his amorous advances), Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Bachelor Father, Father Knows Best, The Andy Griffith Show, The Virginian, etc., etc., etc., and those are just the shows I'm familiar with.
Hollywood discovered her when a film director came to a play she appeared in with James Drury (who played the title character in the television show, The Virginian, mentioned above. He is one of the few actors I can remember who owed my father money (through my dad's liquor store) on a continues basis), and asked her to come to 20th Century Fox (way before Rupert Murdoch).
Alright, I'm going to stop here because Ms. Eden has been in so many films and TV shows I'll go crazier than I already am trying to list some. Let me say this, I first saw her (or her pretty legs actually) as she descended a ladder (stairs are called ladders in the navy, I don't know why. In this instance however, she was really descending a ladder... feet first) in the submarine Seaview, in the 1961 film, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," which also is one of the few films I saw with my dad (and mom, and sister. We went to a drive in. For my case managers, lovely Erin and Paul, drive ins were at one time outside movie theaters where you could sit in your car and watch a movie). I didn't know it at the time, and the studio sure wouldn't have publicized the fact that in that film she was acting alongside her husband, the successful actor, Michael Ansara (Barbara has been married three times, and had one son, Matthew Ansara, who unfortunately died in 2001, at the age of 36), who is still around, recently doing voice acting.
She was also in the only Elvis Presley movie I ever actually liked, 1960s "Flaming Star."
Of course, and I think she is okay with this, she is best known for her role on the 1965 to 1970 television show, "I Dream of Jeannie." That was her name on the show, Jeannie (and she was a Genie... get it?). She starred opposite Larry Hagman, and was at first turned down for the part as she was a blonde. But Sidney Sheldon, the producer, gave her the part because he couldn't find the right brunette.
I used to watch that show all of the time, if not first run episodes, then later with re-runs. And I'll tell you, her performance certainly had an impact on this young man, and I spent a great deal of time dreaming of Jeannie, quite often while I was awake.
I don't know why.
She has been a musical guest star (still singing) in over 50 variety TV shows, including 21 Bob Hope Specials (I'm thinking he liked her), The Carol Burnett Show, The Jonathan Winters Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, This is Tom Jones, Tony Orlando and Dawn, and Donny and Marie.
Everybody knows Barbara, even today's youngsters! My case mangers Michelle and Marisella, both in their 20s, couldn't believe it was Barbara Eden in the movie "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," which happened to be playing in the lobby one day. I assured them it was, and comforted them the best I knew how.
Anyway, Barbara is still going strong and still working occasionally (she may be a conservative, as she appeared on "Hannity," just last year. But I'll forgive her for that. I'll forgive her for anything)., and all of us here at Joyce's Take are extremely honored to wish Barbara a very happy birthday. Happy Birthday Barbara!

No comments:

Post a Comment