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Ann B. Davis: a tribute

As you’ve probably heard, actress Ann B. Davis fell and conked her head last Sunday and died. She was 88. Nobody had her in this Dead Pool, but I would like to give her a sweasel.com shout-out anyway.

Davis had a rare screen gift: a cheerful sexlessness. And, indeed, most of the obits note that the actress was never romantically linked with anyone in her whole life.

She had a twin. Nobody revealed whether the twin got any.

Davis found religion in 1976, joining an evangelical Anglican church that she stuck with to the end. Evangelican Anglicans sounds a little contradictory to me, but I’m used to the Anglish Anglicans, who are pretty anglicable.

Davis never entirely retired from acting. Also, in 1994, she put her name to Alice’s Brady Bunch Cookbook which includes recipes for “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia Muffins” and “Groovy Old-Fashioned Pancakes.”

Kirkus reviews sniffs, “Cookies made with instant oatmeal and Snickers bars are way too sweet, and St. Paddy’s Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread has the texture of sawdust and a dog-biscuit taste only Tiger could love. A final chapter gives recipes from the cast members themselves, including Eve Plumb’s lamely joking instructions for making boiled water out of ice. Even intense nostalgia cannot justify this book.”

Incidentally, the publisher of that inestimable volume also offer Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook, but Granny’s Beverly Hillbillies Cookbook and Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook are totally by somebody else. Don’t even get me started on the I Love Lucy Cookbook!

Good weekend, all!


Comment from Anonymous
Time: June 6, 2014, 10:43 pm

I always wondered why The Brady’s could afford a maid but not more than 3 bedrooms, (I guess it’s 4 if you count Alice’s quarters.

I mean, hell, I grew up in a 4 bedroom house and I had to scrub the terlits.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 6, 2014, 11:39 pm

Alice must’ve had her own room, yes? I seem to recall her schlumping around the house in her bathrobe in an episode or two.

If you haven’t seen the remake movies from the Nineties(?), they’re better than you might expect.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: June 6, 2014, 11:49 pm

“Long grain rice, ready in 5 minutes!” …that’s what I remember the most about her…she seemed nice.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: June 6, 2014, 11:57 pm

She did seem nice, which is why it pains me to observe that that photo makes it look like she has chest hair.

Comment from MikeW
Time: June 7, 2014, 12:06 am

I thought Alice had a restaurant. (Ba dump)

Didn’t everybody have someone to *do* for them back then? If you widen out to Maids and Butlers, there’s also:
Mr. French from Family Affair.
Uncle Charlie on My Three Sons.
Rosie on The Jetsons.
Florence on The Jeffersons.
Lurch on the Addams Family
Tony on Who’s The Boss.
Florida on Maude.
Hazel on Hazel.
Alfred on Batman.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 7, 2014, 12:13 am

Bet Mary Ann’s cookbook included brownies! 😉

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: June 7, 2014, 2:05 am

Ginger’s snapping clam special.
Ginger’s hairy roast beef.
Ginger’s luscious coconuts.
Ginger’s red-hot taco.
& so forth.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 7, 2014, 10:48 am

I think that’s just age spots on her chest, Paula, but she had some really impressive gorilla neck hair. It got blurred out when I blurred the background. Which is why she looks like she’s glowing.

Comment from Oceania
Time: June 8, 2014, 1:22 am

A more interesting story


Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: June 8, 2014, 2:46 am

Hail and farewell to Anne B. Davis – I can never see or hear her name, or see her image, without picturing her as the Girl-Friday foil to a lecherous, constantly-on-the-make professional photographer played by Bob Cummings in a TV sit-com from back in the late-50’s/early-60’s (I cannot recall the name of the show, other than it included the name “Bob”…)

I was never much of a “Brady Bunch” watcher – I do recollect that wondering why, if Mr. Brady was such an apparently-successful architect (he was supporting a pretty big “blended” household, complete with a live-in housekeeper, there, y’know?), he couldn’t come up with a better house for raising all those kids…

Ms. Davis was an always cheerful supporting character, no matter the role, with, as you say, a rare screen gift.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: June 8, 2014, 3:46 am

Great…I have the theme from Family Affair in my head now, arrgh!

Comment from Harry
Time: June 8, 2014, 4:33 am

J.S. Bridges–I dimly remember back when I was still riding around on dinosaurs there was a series called “Love That Bob!” that fits your description.

Comment from Mike James
Time: June 9, 2014, 2:17 am

Sexless? You’re going to hate me for this, but Alice had a dark side:

Alice In Chains

Comment from biztecka
Time: June 9, 2014, 12:41 pm

I regret choosing her in the Dead Pool several rounds ago, and condolences to you Sweasel. I know she was a kindred spirit of sorts.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: June 9, 2014, 2:21 pm

Didn’t everybody have someone to *do* for them back then?…

Everybody on TV lives in a richer world than actually exists (at least, than exists around here).

I understand that TV stage-sets have to be wider to allow actors to move around, but has anyone else ever tried calculating the square-footage of some of those TV-land apartments and houses? No, only me? Well, I have, and they are !?%^*#!! huge!

I recall seeing an article that said that one of the factors in the collapse of the Berlin Wall was East Germans watching West German TV and naively thinking that everybody lived like that….single mothers on TV all have big apartments and new cars….and the burghers all had housekeepers.

As for Ann Davis, although I never, once, watched the Brady Bunch, like the rest of America I knew who she was (perhaps the only one of the Brady’s I would recognize in a line-up), and I know that she was a calm, nice person who obviously wasn’t just ‘acting’ that way, but genuinely was nice.

Comment from Mr. Dave
Time: June 9, 2014, 3:16 pm

Also, RIP Rik Mayall.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: June 9, 2014, 4:09 pm

MikeW, I’d think that Brian Keith’s character was *very* well-to-do, as were George and “Weezy” Jefferson and Bruce Wayne — and probably the Addams bunch too. But the others were supposed to be middle- to upper-middle class, right? Maybe middle class families actually had some disposable income left after taxes in the Sixties.

Darrin & Samantha, and Rob & Laura, didn’t seem to need any domestic help, though.

As for the Jetsons’ Rosie the robot maid, well, I think she was like a company car, she came with George’s job, and was still under warranty.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: June 9, 2014, 4:12 pm

And as for Ann B. Davis, yes, there was a TV series that was in daytime network reruns in the very early Sixties, when I saw it: Bob Cummings in “The Bob Cummings Show,” aka “Love That Bob.” Miss Davis played a regular character on that, and I remember recognizing her when “Brady Bunch” started.

Comment from Lipstick
Time: June 10, 2014, 10:23 am

Alice’s room was off the kitchen. There was a door just to the left of those super-duper double ovens. (I remember thinking that was so cool – to have TWO ovens.)

Anyway, in more than one episode Alice emerges from that door during a midnight crisis of the kids or something.

I know this because I was an avid viewer. It was Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, then some show called Love American Style. The latter show had all sorts of jokes, references and nuances that us kids just couldn’t quite catch. Innocence is its own defense. But the adults, who had joined us by that point, were laughing, so we halfheartedly laughed along, but mostly we put the not understanding down to it being past our bedtimes.

RIP Alice/Ann B. Davis

Comment from Lipstick
Time: June 10, 2014, 11:48 am

I remember Al the Butcher always bringing Alice the “choice cuts”. Yet still, she rebuffed him. “Why didn’t you just send the delivery boy around?”

Poor, poor Al.

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