Honestly, Celeste!

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Honestly, Celeste!
Honestly Celeste 1954.JPG
Scott McKay and Celeste Holm.
Format Sitcom
Written by

Norman Lear

Larry Gelbart
Starring Celeste Holm
Scott McKay
Mike Kellin
Geoffrey Lumb
Mary Finney
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format Black and white
Original run October 10, 1954 – December 5, 1954

Honestly, Celeste! is an eight-episode 1954 CBS situation comedy starring Celeste Holm as Celeste Anders, a 37-year-old college journalism professor from Minnesota who accepts a reporter’s position on the staff of the fictitious New York Express newspaper.[1]

Synopsis[edit]

In the series premiere, Celeste arrives at Grand Central Station in New York City, where she meets the recently released convict, Marty, as well as the staff members of the New York Express. In later episodes, Celeste finds an apartment in Greenwich Village, writes a feature story on modern art, and becomes concerned about an underprivileged family.[2]

Cast[edit]

Holm’s co-stars were Scott McKay (1915–1987) as Bob Wallace, the son of the newspaper editor; Mike Kellin (1922–1983) as Marty Gordon, an ex-convict cab driver trying to become rehabilitated (Kellin had appeared in the preceding season on the NBC sitcom Bonino in the role of Rusty), Geoffrey Lumb (1905–1990), as Mr. Wallace, the editor, and Mary Finney (last acting role: 1962) as Mr. Wallace’s secretary. Among the guest stars was Ross Martin, later a co-star of CBS’s Mr. Lucky and The Wild Wild West[3]

Production[edit]

The show was highly publicized [4] but soon plunged into ratings failure. Young Norman Lear, later a major television producer, and Larry Gelbart, who subsequently developed M*A*S*H for CBS television, joined the writing staff of Honestly, Celeste! but could not change the ratings. Jerry Fielding was the music director.[2]

Honestly, Celeste! aired at 9:30 p.m. Sunday after the premiere season of Ronald Reagan's anthology series, General Electric Theater, and before the first season of Robert Young’s sitcom, Father Knows Best. Its principal competition was the alternating NBC series, The Philco Television Playhouse and Goodyear Television Playhouse[5]

Cancellation[edit]

The program ran for only eight episodes from October 10 to December 5, 1954 before being canceled because of low ratings.[4] In the United States at the time, it was uncommon for a show to end this quickly, with the exception of summer series.

In 1970, Holm again appeared as a journalist in a second short-lived sitcom, Nancy (NBC), in which she played the press secretary of the First Lady of the United States.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, 1946-Present, New York: Ballantine Press, 1992, pp. 407-408
  2. ^ a b "Honestly, Celeste!". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Honestly, Celeste!, November 28, 1954". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Tucker, David C. (January 17, 2007). The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms. McFarland & Company. p. 184. ISBN 0-7864-2900-3. 
  5. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, appendix