Lloyd Nolan and Carole Landis star in this vintage baseball romantic comedy, also featuring a future legend of the early TV era.
by Rich Watson
This post is part of what’s known as a blogathon. That’s when a bunch of bloggers gather to write about a given topic. This one is called “The What a Character Blogathon,” devoted to supporting actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood. In my previous blog I took part in it for years, and 2021 marks its tenth anniversary. At the end I’ll tell you where you can read more entries in this event.
In 1951, William Frawley was sixty-four, a veteran of not only a hundred-plus movies, but vaudeville as well. Rumor had it, though, he was an alcoholic and difficult to work with. It seemed he was approaching the end of his career in entertainment.
Then he heard about an opportunity in the new medium of television: a sitcom about a ditzy housewife and her musician husband. The show was looking for a duo to play their neighbors, an older married couple. Frawley, eager to land the role of the husband in the older couple, called the lead actors and co-creators of the new program: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
They gave him a chance. Despite initial resistance from the network, CBS, Frawley, paired with Vivian Vance, was an anchor of what would become I Love Lucy, one of television’s greatest programs. Years later, Arnaz would testify that Frawley always came to work on time and was a total professional.
Lucy was the highlight of a long career for Frawley, the former court reporter from Iowa who toured the vaudeville circuit with his brother Paul, singing and writing, before moving to Broadway and eventually, Hollywood.