When she was six years old, she announced to her whole family that she was going to be a "movie star"- just like Mae Murray, a silent screen star she had a crush on. Within ten years, she did become a movie star and oh, what a movie star! While her movies were normally not "anything to write home about", she was; her "star quality" transcended the most mundane of roles. Even now, when you watch one of her over 100 movies, you are seeing genuine star power; someone you cannot take your eyes off of from the moment her image appears until it totally disappears from the camera's eye. After 25 years of being a top Hollywood star and after garnering the highest accolade an actress can receive, namely the Oscar for her adept performance in the "The Farmer's Daughter" released in 1947, she set her sights on the up and coming new medium, television; she wanted to come into everyone's living room, just like Kate Smith was already doing. Well, not quite like Kate Smith, she had an inimitable style all her own.
By 1953, television was taking the nation by storm; average families were now able to afford one of those little black boxes in their very own living rooms. In those fabulous, innocent 1950's, we all sang opera with Roberta Peters and Beverly Sills, rode horses and rounded up "bad guys" with Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger, "leaped tall buildings in a single bound" with George Reeves, otherwise known as Superman, laughed at the antics of Lucy, Uncle Miltie, and Mr. Benny, marveled at the "logic" of Gracie Allen, and caught Dinah shore's kiss at the end of her show; but the one who took our breath away as she opened her door and twirled right into our lives and a permanent place in our hearts was none other than Miss Loretta Young.
After two long years of preparation and in the same year she starred in her last "big screen" movie in 1953, the beautiful "movie star" entered our living rooms; thereafter, she became known as the "first lady" of television, earning three Emmys and numerous other awards in the nine seasons she reigned as queen of the ratings.
The first show of Miss Young's first series, which was originally titled Letter To Loretta and appropriately renamed The Loretta Young Show with the February 7, 1954 episode, premiered on September 20, 1953. There were 256 episodes. Of these, Miss Young starred in 162 (94 had guest stars) and hosted 240 teleplays. (This does not include the "new" introductions and closings of repeat shows.) Guest hosts/hostesses introduced sixteen "new" episodes and one repeat episode in the1955-56 season when Miss Young was ill. The last telecast of this first series aired on September 10, 1961.
After a year's respite, Miss Young returned to the small screen in a new series named The [New] Loretta Young Show; it premiered on September 24,1962. The series ran for one season, the last telecast aired on March 18, 1963. There were 26 telecasts, Miss Young starred as Christine Massey in all 26 and introduced all 26 in an even more spectacular way than in her first series.
Those of us, who were lucky enough to grow up watching the Loretta Young Show, also grew up loving Miss Loretta Young; she became a permanent, or so we thought, fixture of our lives. We will never forget her signature entrance that became her trademark, or her beautiful voice and lithe figure or her fabulously bony face and large eyes or well-honed acting ability in all those various roles. But the best part is remembering our favorite episodes and how much we enjoyed watching them and how uplifting the themes of her shows were and how she brought a little sunshine and class into our lives. Thank you, Miss Loretta Young, for opening that door and sharing your talent with the world; you definitely made a difference in ours.