One of our favorite TV sitcoms when I was a kid was The Mothers in Law starring the wondrous Eve Arden (Our Miss Brooks, The Strongest Man in the World, Grease) and the wondrous Kaye Ballard (Freaky Friday, The Muppet Show, Alice in Wonderland). The entire two-year run in finally on DVD and it's  now on amazon, probably for a limited time.

Desi Arnaz produced the series, which was very much an I Love Lucy with kids and grandkids just as Laverne & Shirley was an I Love Lucy with single ladies. It's broad and brassy comedy in front of a live audience, served up to perfection by the skilled cast, whicj includes Herbert Rudley, Roger C. "Harry Mudd" Carmel (replaced by Richard "Mel Cooley" Deacon and Deborah Walley (Summer Magic, Beach Blanket Bingo).

I have a particular soft spot for the legendary Ms. Ballard, having grown up and fully memorized Columbia Records' "Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Peanuts album she recorded with longtime creative partner Arthur Siegel. (If you've heard this album, you might chuckle at the reference above to "LIT-tle tiny points.") It was the very first time the Peanuts characters were performed (directly from comic strips) and it inspired the musical, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, five years later.

The music on this 1962 album, which has not yet been released on CD, was created by Fred Karlin (sadly, Mr. Siegel's songs were not used by renowned jazz producer John Hammond). Karlin, an Oscar winner, put together a very odd orchestra of real toys, a concept much imitated afterward. The tune on the first cut was used for a cat food commercial in 1972.

Kaye Ballard talks at length about this album, The Mothers in Law and her amazing career in one of the most entertaining audio versions of an autobiography I have ever heard, My Life in My Own Words, with My Own Mouth.

It can only be purchased here on her website and is well worth having. This is one very resilient and highly talented lady.

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