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Pert Kelton

Pert Kelton

Show Count: 32
Series Count: 2
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Born: October 14, 1907
Old Time Radio, Great Falls, Montana, U.S.
Died: October 30, 1968, Ridgewood, New Jersey, U.S.
An American vaudeville, movie, radio and television actress. She was the first actress who played Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and was a prominent comedic supporting film actress in the 1930s. She performed in a dozen Broadway productions between 1925 and 1968.

Kelton was a young comedienne in A-list movies during the 1930s, often as the leading lady's wisecracking friend. She had a memorable turn in 1933 as dance hall singer "Trixie" in The Bowery alongside Wallace Beery, George Raft, Jackie Cooper and Fay Wray. Directed by Raoul Walsh, the film depicts Steve Brodie, the first man to supposedly jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and live to brag about it. Kelton sings to a rowdily appreciative crowd in an energetic dive, using a curious New York accent to good comedic effect, with Beery and Raft arguing over her attentions afterward.

As the witty young Minnie in Gregory LaCava's pre-Code comedy Bed of Roses (1933), she plays a bawdy prostitute (along with Constance Bennett) fond of getting admiring men helplessly drunk before robbing them, at least until getting caught and tossed back into jail. Kelton has all the best lines, surprisingly wicked and amusing observations that would never be allowed in an American film after the Hollywood Production Code was adopted. The movie remains realistic in terms of the interactions of the characters and features an early turn by Joel McCrea as the leading man, a small boat skipper who pulls Bennett from the river after she dives to escape capture. She played Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man.

Ironically, given her later blacklisting, Kelton's last movie for years was called Whispering Enemies (1939). Her next screen appearance was on television in The Honeymooners and other sketches on the Gleason show. Kelton's abrupt departure due to the blacklist was explained away as a result of "heart problems".

Radio

During the 1940s, she was a familiar radio voice on such programs as Easy Aces, It's Always Albert, The Stu Erwin Show and the 1941 soap opera We Are Always Young. In 1949, she did the voices of five different characters on radio's The Milton Berle Show. She was also a regular cast member of The Henry Morgan Show. In the early 1950s, she played the tart maid in the Monty Woolley vehicle, The Magnificent Montague.

Television

Kelton was the original Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners comedy sketches on the DuMont Television Network's Cavalcade of Stars. These sketches formed the eventual basis for the 1955 CBS sitcom The Honeymooners. Jackie Gleason starred as her husband Ralph Kramden, and Art Carney as their upstairs neighbor Ed Norton. Elaine Stritch played Trixie, the burlesque dancer wife of Norton, for one sketch before being replaced by Joyce Randolph.

Kelton appeared in the original sketches, generally running about 10 to 20 minutes, shorter than the later one-season half-hour series and 1960s hour-long musical versions.

In the 1960s, Kelton was invited back to Gleason's CBS show to play Alice's mother in an episode of the hour-long musical version of The Honeymooners (also known as The Color Honeymooners), with Sheila MacRae as a fetching young Alice. By this time, the original age discrepancies were reversed, with Ralph married to a much younger Alice than himself.

In 1963 Kelton appeared on The Twilight Zone, playing the overbearing mother of Robert Duvall in the episode "Miniature."

In her last years, she was strongly identified with Spic and Span because of her TV commercials for that product.

Broadway

Kelton made her Broadway debut at age 17 in Jerome Kern's Sunny. She played "Magnolia" and sang a song of the same name.

Years later, she was twice nominated for Tony Awards: in 1960, as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical) for Frank Loesser's Greenwillow and as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for Spofford (1967–68). However, her most memorable Broadway appearance was as the impatient Mrs. Paroo (the mother of Marian Paroo) in Meredith Willson's The Music Man(1957), which she reprised in the 1962 film adaptation, the role for which she is probably best remembered.

Hotel

Pert Kelton was part owner of the Warner Kelton Hotel, built in the late 1920s, at 6326 Lexington Avenue, Los Angeles. The hotel catered to actors and musicians such as Cary Grant, Orry Kelly, and Rodgers and Hart. It had a small outdoor theatre at its rear, along with a wishing well that may have inspired the song "There's a Small Hotel," from the musical "On Your Toes" (1936). It also housed a speakeasy in the basement. A sign above the hotel entrance reads "Joyously Enter Here".

Death

On October 30, 1968, Kelton died of heart disease at age 61.

Source: Wikipedia

Milton Berle ShowMilton Berle Show
Show Count: 2
Broadcast History: 3 March 1943 to 15 June 1949
Cast: Arthur Q. Bryan, Milton Berle, Charles Irving, Ed Begley, Mary Shipp, Arnold Stang, Pert Kelton, Jack Albertson, Kay Armen, Al Kelly
Director: Cy Howard
Producer: Cy Howard
Broadcast: February 9, 1951
Added: Mar 04 2017
Broadcast: August 11, 1951
Added: Jul 23 2017
Broadcast: December 8, 1950
Added: Jan 14 2017
Broadcast: May 12, 1951
Added: May 07 2017
Broadcast: May 19, 1951
Added: May 14 2017
Broadcast: 4th January 1965
Added: Jan 27 2011
Broadcast: December 22, 1950
Added: Dec 22 2017
Broadcast: June 23, 1951
Added: Jun 25 2017
Broadcast: March 18, 1951
Added: Mar 25 2017
Broadcast: June 16, 1951
Added: Jun 18 2017
Broadcast: August 4, 1951
Added: Jul 16 2017
Broadcast: April 6, 1951
Added: Apr 01 2017
Broadcast: March 9, 1951
Added: Mar 18 2017
Broadcast: July 28, 1951
Added: Jul 09 2017
Broadcast: June 30, 1951
Added: Jul 02 2017
Broadcast: January 19, 1951
Added: Feb 12 2017
Broadcast: February 23, 1951
Added: Mar 11 2017
Broadcast: January 5, 1951
Added: Jan 29 2017
Broadcast: January 12, 1951
Added: Feb 05 2017
Broadcast: December 15, 1950
Added: Jan 22 2017
Broadcast: April 13, 1951
Added: Apr 08 2017
Broadcast: June 2, 1951
Added: May 28 2017
Broadcast: January 26, 1951
Added: Feb 19 2017
Broadcast: April 20, 1951
Added: Apr 15 2017
Broadcast: February 2, 1951
Added: Feb 26 2017
Broadcast: May 4, 1951
Added: Apr 30 2017
Broadcast: November 10, 1950
Added: Jan 07 2017
Broadcast: April 27, 1951
Added: Apr 22 2017