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Louis and the Woman Across the Hall
In one of his earliest TV roles, in 1960, Louis Edmonds took a comedic turn as a hard-drinking playboy, acting with a star from Hollywood's Golden Age: Glenda Farrell. Louis was one of the featured players in the U.S. Steel Hour production of The Woman Across the Hall. It was broadcast live from New York on August 23.
As the TV movie begins, Edna (played by Farrell) pays a visit to her new neighbor, Stella, shortly after Stella moves in. Edna is slightly shocked to find Stella tossing back cocktails with Louis’ much younger character, Pete. With rolling eyes and tartly zinging lines, Louis added a humorous layer to the tense scene. Pete tries to convince the straight-laced Edna to join them in a drink, but Edna resists.
Edna and Stella establish an uneasy friendship, as the frumpy housewife grows increasingly envious of glamorous socialite. Eventually Stella's soldier son shows up and Edna takes him under her wing while his mother parties with Pete.
By the end of the show, when the parties come to an end, Pete abandons his girlfriend and she gives up her wanton ways and goes back to her husband.
The New York World-Telegram’s Harriet Van Horne called it a “touching little drama about recognizable people.” The “touching” element comes when Stella’s son is killed in a car accident, sending Edna to cry on Stella’s shoulder and find repentance. Stella was played by Ruth Ford; James Neumarker portrayed her doomed son.
The show aired live from 10 to 11 p.m. It was directed by Bruce Minnix and produced by George Kondolf for the Theatre Guild.
A couple of decades before starring in Woman Across the Hall, Glenda Farrell enjoyed a successful movie career, playing wisecracking dames in a slew of 1930s films including Little Cesar (starring Edward G. Robinson, 1930), and I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932). In 1933’s Mystery of the Wax Museum (starring King Kong’s original main squeeze, Fay Wray), she played a plucky newspaper reporter, and from 1936 to ’39, she starred in a series of movies as another journalist called Torchy Blane.
When “dame” parts began to dry up, she acted on stage and television, snagging an Emmy for a guest-starring role in Ben Casey in 1962. She played Elvis Presley’s mom in Kissin’ Cousins (1964, also starring future Batgirl Yvonne Craig), and played a doctor in Jerry Lewis’ Disorderly Orderly (1964). Farrell’s final film, Tiger By the Tail (1968) featured pop culture staples Charo and Alan Hale Jr. (Gilligan’s Island’s Skipper) plus Dark Shadows star Dennis Patrick. She died of lung cancer in 1971.
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