Shirley Booth, Don DeFore, Whitney Blake. The lovable Shirley Booth stars as Mr. George Baxter's live-in, no-nonsense housekeeper providing ardent wisdom for her attorney boss, his lovely wife Dorothy and son Harold in this fun-for-all domestic sitcom. Includes all 35 debut-season episodes on 4 DVDs. 1961/b&w/15 hrs., 10 min/NR/fullscreen.
Hooray for Hazel
! Shirley Booth stars as the irrepressible housekeeper Hazel in the endearing family TV series that ran from 1961 to 1966. A brilliant character actress, Booth wisecracks her way through Hazel's life, solving the problems of her employers, the often-befuddled Baxter family, as well as of the community (busting a shoplifting ring, finding homes for stray dogs, exposing a group of financial swindlers). All this Hazel does with her cheerful working-class enthusiasm, without getting so much as a stray wrinkle in her crisply pressed maid uniform (complete with little head thingy). When she gets into her own scrapes, she shrugs them off with Brooklynese cracks like, "Looks like I'm in the soup again!" The show is a perfect snapshot of early 1960s America, complete with frozen-in-time décor (did everyone
have that same print of the little-girl ballet dancer framed in their living room?) and a lovely leisurely pace. Hazel
can make an entire episode out of one single premise, as when Mr. Baxter decides that an unlisted phone number might cut down on the number of crank phone calls. And who wouldn't be nostalgic for a time when middle-class households had a working dad, a mostly-stay-at-home mom, perfectly behaved kids--and live-in housekeepers? Part of the appeal of Hazel, though, is that it's clear her life is much broader than her occupation. She knows everyone in town, from the balloon guy at the local park to the most powerful judge on the bench--all of which eventually comes in handy. And did we mention she's a cham-peen league bowler? Booth won two well-deserved Emmys for her portrayal of Hazel. The boxed set includes all 35 25-minute episodes, and you won't want to miss a one. I'm talking to youse! --A.T. Hurley