The Halls of Ivy

The Halls of Ivy

Ronald Colman

Born: February 9, 1891; Richmond, Surrey, England, United Kingdom

Died: May 19, 1958; Santa Barbara, California of a lung infection

Benita Hume

Born: October 14, 1906; London, England

Died: November 1, 1967; Egerton, England of bone cancer

THE HALLS OF IVY

NBC, 1950-1952

"The Halls of Ivy" was an NBC radio sitcom that ran from 1950-1952. It was created by Fibber McGee & Molly co-creator/writer Don Quinn before being adapted into a CBS television comedy (1954-55). It was produced by ITC Entertainment and Television Programs of America. British husband and wife actors Ronald Colman and Benita Hume starred in both versions of the show.

Quinn developed the show after he had decided to leave Fibber McGee & Molly in the hands of his protege Phil Leslie. The Halls of Ivy's audition program featured radio veteran Gale Gordon (then co-starring in Our Miss Brooks) and Edna Best in the roles that ultimately went to the Colmans, who demonstrated a flair for radio comedy during their late 1940s recurring roles on The Jack Benny Program.

The Halls of Ivy featured Colman as William Todhunter Hall, the president of small, Midwestern Ivy College, and his wife Victoria, a former British musical comedy star who sometimes felt the tug of her former profession, and followed their interactions with students, friends, and college trustees. Others in the cast included Herbert Butterfield as testy board chairman Clarence Wellman; Willard Waterman (then starring as Harold Peary's successor as The Great Gildersleeve) as board member John Merriweather; and Bea Benaderet, Elizabeth Patterson, and Gloria Gordon as the Halls' maids. Alan Reed (television's Fred Flintstone) appeared periodically as the stuffy English teacher, Professor Heaslip.

The series ran 109 half-hour radio episodes from January 6, 1950, to June 25, 1952, with Quinn, Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee writing many of the scripts and giving free if even more sophisticated play to Quinn's knack for language play, inverted cliches and swift puns (including the show's title and lead characters), a knack he'd shown for years writing Fibber McGee & Molly. Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee continued as a writing team; their best-known play is Inherit the Wind. Cameron Blake, Walter Brown Newman, Robert Sinclair, and Milton and Barbara Merlin became writers for the program as well.