Monday, September 1, 2008

Lovely Reta...

Seen here in two familiar incarnations, the redoubtable character lady Reta Shaw.

She must be one of relatively few performers to have appeared in no less than three of that unique genre of the 60s, the Supernatural Sitcom, playing a total of five characters (two each in "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie", with a continuing role as - what else? - the housekeeper in "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir").

One can even add to her occultish associations by noting her role in 1966's The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, in which she rejoiced in the character name of "Mrs. Halcyon Maxwell" (it's a picture that features two other "Bewitched" regulars; were there only something like 50 actors in all of Hollywood in those days?).

First, "Bewitched" - here, I believe, as the relatively obscure Aunt Bertha, as opposed to the more familiar (and formidable) Aunt Hagatha.

Based on the IMDb, it's a surprisingly rich résumé, with everything from a recreation of her Broadway role in the film of The Pajama Game to "The Tab Hunter Show" to stints with Lucy, Danny Thomas, and Dick Van Dyke.

In her guest-shot on "The Monkees", she played a character named "Mrs. Badderly" (one assumes, from the usual subtlety of that program, a villainess).

What an easy segue that makes into this still from perhaps her most prominent movie role, in which she was joined by the equally divine Hermione Baddeley; together, they formed the disapproving ranks of Servants Against Mary Poppins:

I would employ them in a minute; that Banks house was immaculate.

They are, of course, inevitably won over the in the end by the irresistible cheer of Miss Andrews and drawn into singing and dancing. I prefer them earlier on, myself. Capering, somehow, didn't suit either terribly well.

Miss Shaw remained, it seems, a maiden lady throughout her 70 years. Make of that what you will.

(stills pulled with glee, respectively, from gv416's photostream and from the treasure trove that is Hilly Blue's Flickrland)

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