Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nose-talgia Summer! It's a June Lockhart Kind of Day Today!

Now that we're a few days officially into summer, The Flaming Nose TV Blog announces our summer initiative!  We're going to concentrate on a Nose-talgia summer, with looks back at the people and shows that we love and we're betting you do, too.  If we can celebrate some birthdays along the way, so much the better, and we're starting out with just that.

A Happy 89th Birthday today to the lovely and talented actress June Lockhart, a charming lady who started out as a child actress -- her father was veteran Hollywood character actor Gene Lockhart -- and went on to become one of television's favorite leading ladies.  Whether your tastes leaned more to situation comedy, family adventure or exciting futuristic science fiction tales, June Lockhart was your go-to gal.

Many of us grew up watching June playing the mother of young Jon Provost on Lassie from 1958 - 64. The CBS show was a long-running favorite featuring an evolving cast over the years (a 1954 start), with the beloved collie dog Lassie the one recurring element .  Lockhart's kind and understanding portrayal of Ruth Martin (opposite the equally understanding Hugh Reilly) was a highlight of the series.  The sophisticated movie and Broadway actress had no trouble donning a farmer's wife's apron to bring a loving, down-to-earth and intelligent character to life.  She definitely was one of TV's favorite mothers during the years she starred on Lassie.  Here's the opening title sequence to the show:

June Lockhart's next venture guaranteed her place in the annals of Pop Culture forever:  she placed pioneer spacewoman Maureen Robinson on producer Irwin Allen's imaginative family science fiction adventure series Lost in Space from 1965 - 1968 on CBS and in reruns ever since.

Playing opposite the dashing Guy Williams as her husband John, with child stars Angela Cartwright and Billy Mumy as her younger children and Marta Kristen as her ultra-fetching older daughter whose boyfriend was a fellow space traveler played by Mark Goddard, Lockhart managed to keep calm and carry on even when faced with the nefarious deeds of the dastardly stowaway Dr. Smith played by everybody's favorite Jonathan Harris. June as Maureen Robinson brought the same kind of kind intelligence and competence to the role as she had in Lassie, and her participation in this often over-the-top but always humane and sometimes downright sublime series is a highlight of her career.  First up is the original theme song to the show (set to a visual of show stills) and then the more popular and frankly more exciting theme from the 3rd and last season of the show.

Her last major series recurring role was in CBS' long-running (1963 -1970) rural comedy Petticoat Junction playing Dr. Janet Craig, a strong female figure in the series replacing actress Bea Benedaret who passed away in 1968.  Lockhart would be with the show for the series' final two seasons.

June Lockhart continues to work in Hollywood and is also a frequent guest at conventions where she shares her unique and witty tales of life as one of TV's busiest working actresses.  Check out YouTube for a plethora of clips featuring this charming leading lady!

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