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Det Jim McLeod

Classic Stars Who Guested On Sitcoms

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I have recently been watching episodes of the 1970s Beatrice Arthur show "Maude". 2 of the biggest stars of all time were a guest on her show: John Wayne and Henry Fonda.

The Duke appears on an episode, playing himself. He is visiting Maude's household (and promoting his current movie "Brannigan"), liberal Maude is looking to argue politics with famous right winger Wayne. However she gets so starstruck meeting him she only asks him to dance.

In the Henry Fonda episode, Maude invites him to her home claiming it is for a charity performance of his one man show. She really wants him to be a presidential candidate, because she says "I have always been fond of Fonda" (she thinks this is a great slogan.) Fonda thinks it's a joke, saying "Jimmy Stewart put you up to this, didn't he?". 

What are your favorite classic star sitcom guest roles?

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Most of my favorites would come from "I Love Lucy" and its 1955 Lucy and Ricky in Hollywood episodes. I have a particular fondness for William Holden's guest appearance.

 

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Wayne showed up (as himself) in two sitcoms with Lucille Ball, the first from I Love Lucy where she steals his cement footprints. Then he appeared on The Lucy Show, where Lucy watches him do a scene and she ends up wrecking it. Both are very funny episodes. Of course, I Love Lucy featured so many stars playing themselves: William Holden, Cornel Wilde, Eve Arden, Charles Boyer, Richard Widmark, Bob Hope, Orson Welles, Harpo Marx ... I am probably missing some. 

I liked when Lew Ayres showed up on an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary accepts a date with him, then learns he is Murray's father.

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The Adventures of Hiram Holliday - Season 1, Episode 11 "Dancing Mouse"

Go to the 5:20 mark...

 

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I figured I Love Lucy would get the lion's share of attention in this thread.

So I am going to pick some examples that are more outside the box:

Anne Baxter as a love interest for Fred MacMurray in an episode of My Three Sons. They previously costarred in SMOKY (1946).

Shelley Winters in an episode of Here's Lucy, Ball's third sitcom which I think is much more realistic than her previous two sitcoms.

Zsa Zsa Gabor in an episode of Mr. Ed. Mae West also guest-starred on this classic sitcom.

Screen Shot 2019-06-08 at 10.19.07 AM.jpg

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30 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

Wayne showed up (as himself) in two sitcoms with Lucille Ball, the first from I Love Lucy where she steals his cement footprints. Then he appeared on The Lucy Show, where Lucy watches him do a scene and she ends up wrecking it. Both are very funny episodes. Of course, I Love Lucy featured so many stars playing themselves: William Holden, Cornel Wilde, Eve Arden, Charles Boyer, Richard Widmark, Bob Hope, Orson Welles, Harpo Marx ... I am probably missing some. 

I liked when Lew Ayres showed up on an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary accepts a date with him, then learns he is Murray's father.

I can well remember John Wayne on "The Beverly Hillbillies" too.

But the funniest episode with a movie star playing herself in " The Beverly Hillbillies " was Miss Gloria Swanson. The Clampetts thought that she was poor because she was selling her bathtub and other effects at auction. I can't remember how they all ended up in a  silent movie with Gloria Swanson,  but it was hilarious!

And I have the DVDs to "Mister Ed". Two movie stars who really stood out were

Mae West and Zsa Zsa Gabor who, believe it or not, both fell in love with Mr. Ed.

Speaking of Zsa Zsa Gabor she also had a friendship with Ernie on "My Three Sons". He wandered off and ended up in her house believe it or not and they became friends.

All these movie stars appeared as themselves. And these unbelievable meetings have to be topped off with a meeting between Lena Horne and Fred Sanford on "Sanford and Son".

It seems like her car stopped for some reason she had to knock on the door and ask for help.

 I can say both they don't have sitcoms like these anymore and and they certainly don't have movie stars like these anymore.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

 I can say both they don't have sitcoms like these anymore and I, and they certainly don't have movie stars like these anymore.

I wouldn't go that far. In many ways, television sitcoms are better than ever. My favorite recent classic celebrity guest spot was Barbra Streisand's "appearance" on a January 2016 episode of "Modern Family."

She made an off-camera cameo -- all you could hear was her voice. She chatted briefly via a gate speakerphone outside her residence with actor Ray Liotta (as himself), the Dunphy kids (Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter and Nolan Gould) and their Uncle Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). But she declined to sing "Happy Birthday" to Mitchell.

 

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2 hours ago, jakeem said:

Most of my favorites would come from "I Love Lucy" and its 1955 Lucy and Ricky in Hollywood episodes. I have a particular fondness for William Holden's guest appearance.

 

hey, a recording of the colorized special on CBS.

:)

Lucille ball was a master of reaction.

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4 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

What are your favorite classic star sitcom guest roles?

The "Honeymooners" episode where Ralph Kramden tried to start a tenant protest against the building's "stingy" landlord--Good luck:

d38baf47ed5ea59fc3a56c65095cf255--jack-b

(Also, not a sitcom, but Danny Kaye's variety show once had a huge, opulent opening production number, where we see a royal Egyptian procession of slaves, dancers, guards and litter-bearers, and as the bearers bring the royal carriage into a closeup, they pull back the curtains and we see Cleopatra kissing Caesar, played by...Jack Benny:  "Now, wouldn't this have been a perfect opening for Danny Kaye?"  The procession moves on, as we see Danny is the poor litter-bearer struggling on the back end.)  

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One of my favorite examples of this was always the episode of the Jack Benny Program where Jack, incognito (sort of), worms his way onto (a recreated for the Benny show) Groucho's (well, he WAS a "movie star" back in the '30s and '40s, ya know) You Bet Your Life program, as a contestant...

hqdefault.jpg

(...the absolutely perfect ending to the episode being that in order to win the big money, Jack must answer the question posed to him by Groucho of, "Jack Benny always claims he's 39 years old, but in which year was Jack Benny actually born?"...Jack of course is torn between answering the question truthfully and thus giving away his real age or forgoing winning the big bucks by not answering it)

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3 hours ago, Dargo said:

(...the absolutely perfect ending to the episode being that in order to win the big money, Jack must answer the question posed to him by Groucho of, "Jack Benny always claims he's 39 years old, but in which year was Jack Benny actually born?"...Jack of course is torn between answering the question truthfully and thus giving away his real age or forgoing winning the big bucks by not answering it)

Sounds like a variation of Benny's classic radio bit in which he's surprised by a would-be robber with a gun:

The gunman: "Your money or your life."

(Long pause).

The gunman: "Well?" 

Benny: "I'm thinking it over."

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Adventures of Hiram Holliday - Season 1, Episode 11 "Dancing Mouse"

Go to the 5:20 mark...

 

Yes, Tor was great in this. I believe I reviewed this episode in the Tor Johnson thread.

He also appeared in an episode of Bonanza.

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Speaking of the Honeymooners Ralph Kramden claimed to know Jackie Gleason, so in that episode Jackie, Audrey and Art played themselves and their characters.

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I just love spotting a classic film star in reruns of old TV sitcoms. It's even weirder when I know a sitcom's episode well from reruns, and THEN realize who the guest star is!

Like when watching an old chestnut Andy Griffith episode and realizing the "Lady Speeder" was the great Jean Hagen! 

andybarneywomanspeeder.jpg

When people mention Tom Hanks, I often recall his appearance on Family Ties as the alcoholic uncle. I remember it because in desperation he drank their vanilla. 

familytiessayuncle106.jpg

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Dang!  I watch a LOT of MeTV and ANTENNA TV and see this sort of thing regularly, but DAMN if any example comes to mind right now!  :angry:

But though not all THAT "classic"(in one sense) I do recall THIS-----

:D  That both KATHLEEN FREEMAN and DONNA DOUGLAS are in this clip is icing on the cake!  ;)

Sepiatone

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Ginger Rogers appeared as herself in an episode of Here's Lucy.  Lucy ends up sitting next to Ginger at a Ginger Rogers film festival.  Lucy ends up offending her and Ginger leaves in a huff, but also leaves her purse.  Her appearance on the show culminates with Ginger, Lucy, and Lucie Arnaz dancing the Charleston.

Lucille Ball appears as herself in another episode of Here's Lucy.  Lucy Carter enters a Lucille Ball look-alike contest.

Johnny Carson appears as himself in an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  You don't exactly see Johnny Carson, but his voice is heard.  Mary throws a party, telling everyone that a special guest is appearing.  Of course, since it's one of Mary's parties and something terrible always happens, the power goes out.

Nanette Fabray plays Mary Richards' mother in a couple episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
 

The Golden Girls had a lot of classic film stars: 

Don Ameche- plays Rose's long lost father

Cesar Romero- plays a date of Sophia's

David Wayne- plays Blanche's father, Big Daddy

Bob Hope- appears as himself in an episode

Debbie Reynolds- plays a potential new roommate of the girls' 

Geraldine Fitzgerald- appears in two different episodes, in one appearance she plays an elderly woman whom Rose befriends at a train station; and in another episode, she plays a friend of Sophia's who wants to commit suicide.
 

The Brady Bunch features Vincent Price playing Professor Whitehead in the second and third parts of the Hawaii episodes. 

 

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Johnny Carson in an episode of Cheers. Cliff, Norm, and Cliff's Mom go to a taping of the show. It is Mom who Johnny calls out of the audience to sit and talk with him. She tells him to get dressed in the morning after he retires.

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 Yvonne De Carlo whom starred in many classic films...

dhc4y1znmtl11.jpg

 

...also starred in the TV sitcom "The Munsters"

yvonne-decarlo-02.jpg?w=840

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3 hours ago, hamradio said:

 Yvonne De Carlo whom starred in many classic films...

...also starred in the TV sitcom "The Munsters"

 

The title of the thread is CLASSIC STARS WHO GUESTED ON SITCOMS. You can't guest on a sitcom if you're one of the stars. :ph34r:

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55 minutes ago, jakeem said:

The title of the thread is CLASSIC STARS WHO GUESTED ON SITCOMS. You can't guest on a sitcom if you're one of the stars. :ph34r:

Ham knew that;   he just found any reason to post that picture of De Carlo.    AND I'm glad he did!

 

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Wonder how many of these guest star shots were to revive a waning career or to promote an upcoming one.  Now they go on TV to sell God awful products.

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9 minutes ago, TheCid said:

Wonder how many of these guest star shots were to revive a waning career or to promote an upcoming one.  Now they go on TV to sell God awful products.

Hopefully they appeared because they were asked and they wanted the work (instead of they had-to-work to pay bills).      E.g.  Barbara Stanwyck and Ida Lupino have been guest stars on Charlie's Angels.

 

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