Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cheerio Meredith

Now there's a name for a Bit Actress...Cheerio Meredith (1890 - 1964). Cheerio started acting on the stage, but moved into film in 1944. Her career on the screen lasted 20 more years.

Of her 51 titles on IMDb, only ten were motion pictures, the rest of her work on the screen was in television, which she did well. Her first two movies, A Fig Leaf for Eve (1944) and The Fat Man (1951) were forgettable films where she had small roles. But in 1955 she became a regular on "The Ames Brothers Show" and that would have been enough to start a TV career. You will recognize her because she was almost always the 'old lady,' the 'landlady,' or aunt something.

Cheerio had appearances on many of the early shows in the 1950s. She was on "Studio 57," "Father Knows Best," "The Millionaire," and even had a guest spot on "The Johnny Carson Show" in 1955, long before he reinvented "The Tonight Show" in 1962.

She continued working through the late 1950s in -
"The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"
"The Adventures of Jim Bowie"
"The Gale Storm Show"
"December Bride"
"77 Sunset Strip"
"The Jack Benny Program"
"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"

Plus, she appeared in a small role in Gidget (1959) as the nosy woman.

And into the 1960s in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" and "Pete and Gladys." Finally, another regular spot on "One Happy Family" that only lasted one happy season. She also had a recurring role as Emma (either Emma Brand or Emma Watson) on "The Andy Griffith Show."

In 1962 she plays an old maid in a toothpaste commercial in The Three Stooges in Orbit. Sorry, but after  Moe Howard (1897 - 1975) hit 65 years old, the Three Stooges went downhill fast. Larry Fine (1902 - 1975) was also 60 years old, and we won't talk about Joe DiRita (1909 - 1993).

More wonderful TV guests spots for Cheerio in the mid 1960s -
"The Donna Reed Show"
"Hawaiian Eye"
"McHale's Navy"
"Petticoat Junction"
"Burke's Law"
"The Dick Van Dyke Show"

In fact, she was on both of my all time favorite television shows with Andy Griffith (b. 1926) and Dick Van Dyke (b. 1925). It doesn't get any better than that.

The final film for Cheerio Meredith was Sex and the Single Girl in 1964. Look for her near the end of the film, in the chase scene. She is seated next to Burt Mustin (1884 - 1977) in an antique car. Cheerio died the same day Sex and the Single Girl was released, December 25, 1964.