Life With Elizabeth: Aired from 1952-1955. I absolutely LOVE this show! I've been a fan of Betty White all my life, but wasn't really aware of this show until mid-2006 when I bought a few episodes on DVD. I was surprised of the outstanding quality of acting, writing, and editing in this little-known series from early television. The show within itself is an endearing concept and I'm really surprised no show has copied it or borrowed ideas from it since.
are aware of early television, you know that most shows were
more gimmicky than good. Acting wasn't always a requirement and
they were usually pretty current for the time, which soon outdated them
and today makes them almost unwatchable. On top of all that, the
camera work and editing was usually pretty choppy. "Life With
Elizabeth" is NOT one of these shows. In fact, LWE is timeless in
the way it was done. It could be aired on cable today, and have a
large fan base. What they did in these shows over fifty years ago
holds just as true today and will hold just as true fifty years from
comprised of comedy skits that took a funny look at things
that happen everyday in marriages. The little things, the big
things, stuff that happens all the time. As such, there were no
real "stories." It's just Elizabeth and Alvin most of the time,
and they do funny things as husband and wife. That's it. No
kids. Kids would've complicated things and taken away from the
so much that the show material is really funny or innovative;
it's the delivery that is dead-on. Betty White and Del Moore
worked so well together that they could've been husband and wife.
They really were acting. A show like this required talent, not
just bodies, and "Life With Elizabeth" had a lot of talent in its
cast. Most actors of the day (and even fewer today) could not
pull this off. In that respect, everyone concerned with this
show's production should be proud.
Betty White-- is wonderful as Elizabeth!
But of course, anyone who has ever been a fan of hers shouldn't have
expected any less. She's got a little girl kind of charm, but is
definitely a woman in looks and attitude. She has timing and
funny mannerisms. The character of Elizabeth herself is typically
nice, but can be a real pain in the butt. But when she's
difficult, she's cute at it. That's hard for any actress to pull
off with much success, but Betty does it. Most actresses can't be
cute mean, but just mean mean. And when you're acting, things
like this are important.
Del Moore-- is a cool actor! He
should've become a much bigger name than he did, but he has an
impressive resume of acting work. Although this series is a Betty
White vehicle, Del Moore is just as essential if not more than his
counterpart. Alvin the husband is meant to be a "second banana"
kind of character, but he is so important that he is occasionally "top
banana" of the comedy sketches. Without a great actor to play the
husband, Betty wouldn't be as funny. We've all seen TV shows
where we can't stand one of the spouses. And isn't that
distracting? In this show, we like both of them. And they
are both very likeable together. Alvin is the nice guy, but
easily frustrated. Sometimes he suffers mentally from Betty's
doings, but she never physically hurts him. And he never gets
violent or becomes unbearable.
kind of office worker. This is made unclear, purposely I
believe, to make him more identifiable with audiences. His
workplace is not important to the skits, unlike most sitcoms ever made.
Jack Narz-- is a wonderful announcer! I
don't usually pay much attention to show announcers. They are
typically meant to be stage dressing. Most of the time they are
uncredited on screen. Mr. Narz should have been given a screen
credit. He is not just the announcer; he also plays
narrator. Narz has a good sounding voice and great
delivery. And he looks happy. Jack often talks to Elizabeth
and occasionally Alvin off-screen. When he introduces a sketch
(aka "incident") we're to assume that he somehow knows the married
couple. Jack sets up the little skits. In a lot of ways,
he's more important to "Life With Elizabeth" than the great Don Wilson
was to "The Jack Benny Program."
This is a show where dialogue is important. There are sight gags aplenty, but don't expect lavish productions (this is, after all, TV) or anything that would exceed the budget or technology of an early television show.
is divided into three comedy sketches referred to as Incident
#1, Incident #2, and Incident #3.
Narz sets up every skit (incident).
a woman's hands playing the harp, which is a cool visual.
Then it goes to the title screen. Betty White's head appears from
the silhouette in the oval frame. She winks at you.
Announcer Jack Narz tells us what the show is and that it's "Featuring
INCIDENT #1 AND
two skits will have just Elizabeth and Alvin; usually in the
skit will have an extra character played a wonderful
actor/actress. This setting will many times be somewhere that is
not their home.
announces after the third skit that Betty White will come out
to say goodbye.
Betty White again as she comes through the
curtain. This is the only time we see these two on screen
comes out by herself at the end of every show to thank the
audience and to invite them to watch next week.
like the soft, happy theme music. Standard TV credit stuff.
This is where you'll find out who the guest star was. A real-life
small dog appears on the bottom of the screen during these end
credits. That's cute, too.
Many times, the skit will start with Jack talking to Elizabeth off-screen. She pantomimes her reactions, which is very cute. When Alvin comes on screen, she starts talking with him.
the end of a skit, Jack Narz will ask Elizabeth "Aren't
you ashamed of yourself?" Betty will either nod or shake her head.
"I shall leave you at this point," is a phrase commonly said by Elizabeth or Alvin.