The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.

Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: Mary Kay Stearns (The Lucy of '40s TV) dies at 93

Written By: ChrisBodilyTM on 01/10/19 at 5:59 pm

Mary Kay Stearns, who with her husband, Johnny, starred in “Mary Kay and Johnny,” a very early television sitcom that set the stage for better-known marital fare like “I Love Lucy,” died on Nov. 17 in Newport Beach, Calif. She was 93.

Ms. Stearns was a theater actress in 1947 when an agent suggested that she audition for a job on a New York garment maker’s primitive TV show.
“What it consisted of is Mary Kay, looking 14 years old, wearing junior dresses and modeling them and telling about the belt and this and that,” Johnny Stearns recalled in an oral history for the Archive of American Television in 1999. When someone asked him what he thought of the program, Mr. Stearns responded that he didn’t think it was much of a program at all and suggested that the garment maker instead sponsor a show that the Stearnses would create about a fictional couple not unlike them.

What resulted was “Mary Kay and Johnny,” which was broadcast live without an audience beginning on the DuMont Network that November. It later moved to NBC, then to CBS, then back to NBC before ending in 1950.

And if you think Lucy was the first pregnant sitcom star/character, think again. And eat your heart out, Lucy -- the baby actually was Christopher Stearns, born in December of 1948, the youngest person to ever appear on television.

In contrast to some early TV shows, episodes of “Mary Kay and Johnny” do not live on via YouTube, though pieces of it may survive in archives. It is, however, widely said to have been the first show in television history in which a couple shared a bed, something that became taboo for years once TV became more widespread.

Nice little bit of television history. A life well lived. RIP.

Check for new replies or respond here...