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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE ALASKA, c. 1920s

Queen Bea: 1963

Queen Bea: 1963

From Los Angeles circa 1963 we bring you sitcom matriarch Bea Benaderet, whose last big role was Kate in "Petticoat Junction." 4x5 acetate negative from the Publicity Department archive. View full size.

 

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Blanche

They needed about 4 different actors to play her husband Harry over the years but Bea Benaderet was always Blanche Morton in every episode of The Burns & Allen TV show. Watched 4 or 5 of them over the holiday break. She was good in every one. Not easy playing befuddled but caring in nearly 300 episodes with Gracie Allen I'm sure.

Betty Rubble

I was in my sitcom-loving pre-teen years at the time that Bea Benaderet was fighting cancer. I remember, on Petticoat Junction, how she was in only a few of the episodes, despite being the star. I believe TV Guide had an article explaining that she had to miss episodes because of her illness. I've always had great respect for the fact that she kept working, as much as she could, and I was very sad when she passed away.

I also remember her as the original voice of Betty Rubble, on The Flintstones. The Flintstones wasn't just a Saturday morning cartoon back then. It was a prime time evening show!

And I as a less wee lad

Watched the Flintstones and Petticoat Junction. ;-)

Betty Rubble's voice still (something descriptive here) is, I would say, exceptionally distinctive. Oh yeah!

Right up there with Jackie Gleason's "Pow right to the moon ...". And she's a looker.

Cousin Pearl

Her character Pearl Bodine on the Beverly Hillbillies was referred to as Cousin Pearl by Elly May. Elly's cousin Jethro Bodine called her maw.

Also a busy voice during the Golden Age of Radio

And long before TV, a versatile voice actress on Jack Benny, Fibber McGee & Molly, and Hal Peary's The Great Gildersleeve, where she portrayed Gildy's occasional love interest Eve Goodwin. Internet Archive has a fine collection of all these programs.

Prehistoric Bea!

All I can recall of Ms. Benaderet is her voice. Yes, I watched "The Flintstones" when I was a wee lad, and she was the voice of Betty Rubble.

Picking through the rubble of her career

Bea Benaderet played the neighbor to both Gracie and Wilma, the Granny of Tweety, and the Aunt to Jethro. Although those roles were in different time periods, considerably different formats, and vastly different settings. Benaderet was a marvel of professionalism and often the last bastion of common sense on the screen whether in one of the multitudes of Paul Henning madcap vehicles or voicing a cartoon character. She also had to deal with Uncle Joe every week and he was running kind of slow (sloth and stupidity) and she kept her stamina despite several changes of actresses portraying her daughters during Petticoat Junction's run. She died too young and left memories still beautiful.

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