Re: Dennis Day's mother

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Posted ByGerry O. on December 14, 2003 at 00:06:27:

In Reply to: Dennis Day's mother posted byLL on December 13, 2003 at 13:37:41:

: So in listening to the shows in order, I've come to the start of the 1939-1940 season which introduces Dennis Day...and his mother. That well-known "breathless" sort of delivery hasn't been developed yet (not unlike Phil's first appearances, where he's quite subdued)...partially because he has so few lines behind Verna Felton, playing his mother.
: I've certainly heard the character previously, but she shows up just about every week in these shows.

: Most of the characters on the Benny show have their faults, but you love them anyway. Jack for a lot of reasons, Dennis is silly, Phil's a boozer, Mary is sarcastic, Mr. Billingsley and the "door guy" are crazy, but you like hearing them.

: However after a couple weeks of Mrs. Day's unbelievably strident, haughty, shrewish, and dictatorial style, I'm about ready to kill her. Does this character have any redeeming qualities? Sure, she makes a good Halloween dinner for the gang and wants to play Post Office, but that has the concern of her poisoning Jack's food hanging over it, and things go "back to normal" in a couple weeks.

: Just curious as to others' perspective on this character.

: --LL

During Dennis' first few weeks on the Benny show, Verna Felton as "Mrs. Day" WAS a terrible battleaxe....and I'm sure that more than one listener thought, "Oh NO....I HOPE that this new kid's mother doesn't show up EVERY week!".

I've noticed that in Verna's later "Mrs. Day" appearances (during the late 1940's and early 50's), she wasn't QUITE so overbearing and obnoxious.
She still worried about Dennis, and she still disliked Jack...just as any mother would hate the boss who was exploiting and underpaying her son....however, her wisecracks to Jack in later shows were more of the sarcastic variety, and less of the "Keep quiet or I'll pound your toupeed head in!" type of comments.

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