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The Second Mrs Burton

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:36 pm
by Lou
On the Air: Jan. 7, 1946-June 29, 1956, CBS, 2 p.m. ET; July 2, 1956-Jan. 2, 1959, CBS, 2:15 p.m.; Jan. 5, 1959-Nov. 25, 1960, CBS, 1:45 p.m.

Terry Burton: Sharon Douglas, Claire Niesen, Patsy Campbell, Teri Keane ... Stan Burton: Dwight Weist ... Mother Burton: Charme Allen, Ethel Owen, Evelyn Varden ... Marcia Burton Archer: Arline Blackburn, Alice Frost ... Lew Archer: Larry Haines

Announcers: Harry Clark, Hugh James, Warren Sweeney

Theme Song: Original composition

Epigraph: The story of a modern marriage.

Premise: The premise behind the catchy title of this little family-oriented drama was that the second Mrs. Burton was the first one's daughter-in-law! Clever, right? Actually, only partially right. The protagonist here was Terry Burton, whose husband, Stan, had been married earlier, to a woman named Marian. Marian was quite prominent in the story line at the series' inception. But over time she was virtually written out to the point that some memories about her faded. Stan's mom ("Mother Burton"), however, took a more active role in the plot, becoming the stereotypical, overbearing boor that gives mothers-in-law a bad name. This Mrs. Burton was meddling, wealthy and lacking in modesty about her good deeds, yet likable in a strained sort of way. To her credit, easygoing Terry rolled with the punches, humoring the aging widow and turning what could have been trying situations into warm, good-natured experiences. Stan, meanwhile, was habitually agitated with his mother and showed it. This serial had the peculiar aspect of occupying a trio of authors who -- when it was their turn to write -- took the show in contrasting directions, each placing an idelible stamp upon it. Listeners who missed some episodes during scripting changes may have wondered what happened to the drama they had been hearing. The serial also had the arguable glory of being the very last one to be broadcast on network radio -- definitely the worst of times.

Trivia question: Can you name 3 other "family" serials (in addition to Burton) that explored character more than traditional elements of plot and melodrama? In these serials there were few difficulties over which the principals had little control. External forces were simply seldom overbearing. What are their names?

Re: The Second Mrs Burton

Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 8:40 pm
by Abigail Johnston
FYI. My mother, Johanna Johnston, took over as scriptwriter for The Second Mrs. Burton in July 1960 and wrote the episode that aired on 25 November 1960. This gives her a unique distinction -- she wrote the script for the last soap aired on radio.
She also wrote David Harum, as did my father, in the 1930s-40s. (I do have fairly accurate date, if anybody is interested.)
A suggestion: add scriptwriters to the info presented.

Abigail Johnston (I'm new to this BBS)

Re: The Second Mrs Burton

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:38 am
by piqueroi
Back to your trivia question: seems to me both One Man's Family and The Woman in My House avoided the external melodrama which normally raged on soaps. Would you call The Couple Next Door a soap? It was more comedic, in the Lum 'n' Abner vein. I thought of The Goldbergs, but the few surviving episodes I've heard are melodramatic rather than family oriented. Pepper Young's Family must also be excluded because in 1952 Peggy was threatened and held hostage by an escaped lunatic and Pepper himself in the last couple of years was uncovering spies. LOL. The furthest guess I could make is Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories as, unlike normal soaps, each situation was introduced then solved (with different protagonists) on a weekly basis.