My Little Margie premiered on CBS as the summer replacement for I Love Lucy on June 16, 1952, under the sponsorship of Philip Morris cigarettes (when the series moved to NBC for its third season in the fall of 1953, Scott Paper Company became its sponsor).
In an unusual move, the series—with the same leads—aired original episodes on CBS Radio, concurrently with the TV broadcasts, from December 1952 through August 1955. Only 23 radio broadcasts are known to exist in recorded form.
Set in New York City, the series stars Gale Storm as 21-year-old Margie Albright and former silent film star Charles Farrell as her widowed father, 50-year-old Vern Albright. They share an apartment at the Carlton Arms Hotel. Vern Albright is the vice-president of the investment firm of Honeywell and Todd, where his bosses are George Honeywell (Clarence Kolb) and Todd (George Meader). Roberta Townsend (Hillary Brooke) is Vern’s girlfriend, and Margie’s boyfriend is Freddy Wilson (Don Hayden). Mrs. Odetts (played by Gertrude Hoffmann on TV, Verna Felton on radio) is the Albrights’ next-door neighbor and Margie’s sidekick in madcap capers reminiscent of Lucy and Ethel in I Love Lucy. When Margie realizes she has blundered or gotten into trouble, she makes an odd trilling sound. Michael Richards of Seinfeld cites this as the inspiration for the occasional odd vocal utterances of his character on the program.
Other cast members include Willie Best, who plays the elevator operator, Dian Fauntelle, and silent film star Zasu Pitts. Scottish actor Andy Clyde, prior to The Real McCoys, appears in the 1954 episode, “Margie and the Bagpipes.”
My Little Margie finished at #29 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1954-1955 television season and, even more impressively, at #6 in Nielsen’s radio estimates for the 1954-55 season. Despite this success, the series was canceled in 1955. Gale Storm went on to star in The Gale Storm Show which ran for 143 episodes from 1956-1960. Zasu Pitts joined Gale Storm in this series too, originally entitled Oh! Susanna.
Watch “(1952) My Little Margie The Missing Link”