Love That Bob - a classic sit-com from the 1950s
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Love that Bob (AKA "The Bob Cummings Show")

TV Series: 1955-1959

Genre: Comedy

Black & White / 30 minutes

Directed by: Rodney Amateau

Written by: Paul Henning and Lawrence Menkin

Tagline: "Hold it! I think you're gonna like this picture!"

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Main Characters:

Robert Cummings as Bob Collins (1955-1959), the affable photographer who's loved by all, men and women alike, for his charisma, fortitude, and attractiveness.

Rosemary DeCamp plays Margaret MacDonald, Bob's sister.

Ann B. Davis plays Charmain "Schultzy" Schultz, Bob's secretary.

Dwayne Hickman as Chuck MacDonald (1955-1959)

King Donovan plays Harvey Helm (1955-1958), Bob's best friend.

Lisa Gaye plays Collette DuBois (1955-1959), Bob's sassy French model client/girlfriend.

Overview:

Before the "Brady Bunch" there was the "Bob Cummings Show" for which Anne B. Davis, starring as 'Schultzy'. Bob's loyal and apt secretary, would win 2 Emmys. A hilarious comedic series that would, like its contemporary "Our Miss Brooks", push the envelope on sexuality (if not more so), "Love That Bob" featured Bob Cummings as the wily, young WWII vet/current bachelor Bob Collins who, post war, takes up the profession of photography so that he can wet his appetite via photographing beautiful models for a living. Living with his sister, Margaret; a war-widowed , straight-laced woman, and her son, Chuck, Bob does his best to dance in and out and around his wily affairs behind the watchful eye of his filial relations.

Yes, Bob Collins is a flippant, indifferent, albeit charismatic and charming, one might say overly charming, Caucasian Rico Suave who shamelessly dotes on, manipulates, swoons, and encourages the many beautiful woman with whom he is 'professionally' associated. But, as the saying goes, "all work and no play makes Bob a dull boy", and the young bachelor simply can't have that. Making the most of his professional career, Bob uses his job title of 'model photographer' to his personal advantage by justifying his tenuously indecent up-close-and-personal techniques, his nightly carousing at local bars and cantinas, his frequent trips and expenditures on exotic affairs, and his often complicated love life; all done in the name of business of course.

Often clinging to his arm was the beautiful French femme Collette DuBois. But just as soon as Bob schmoozes his way into Collette's heart so too does he generally have to pacify some other bombshell's lust, such as the gorgeous Miss Sweden, Ingrid. Playing 'double-date' all too-often, Bob is left to fashion his rhetorical wit and sweet talk his way out of one catastrophe to the next as he feigns fidelity with each female, all ignorant, yet skeptical, of his fickleness. From the classic 'fro mage face' tiff between Collette and Ingrid, to Bob's accidentally learning German rather than Swedish, to his ignorant commentary about "shiny noses", Bob repeatedly makes hilarious the sleazy situation of simultaneously wining and dining two women. Though it should be noted that his character is not that of a misogynistic pig who subjugates women into oppressive roles or sets out to use and abuse them. Bob Collins is simply a young man with a lot of love to give and who, coincidentally, has a lot of women willing to take of it.

For Chuck, Bob's nephew, Bob is the ultimate cool guy, the regular Joe of the town, and, in idolizing his uncle's comfortable status with women and money, he recurrently attempts to get involved in the business, including a daring attempt to date the Frenchy Collette. Meanwhile, Bob's conservative, yet not without a sense of humor sister, Margaret, watches idly by as Bob careens himself, and occasionally her son, into and out of disaster with the affairs of lust and money.

In fact the foreseen conclusion of each episode, the inevitability of disaster, is a powerful comedic convention for the series. As one critique notes: "Part of the charm of the Cummings series was in its predictability of situation and the way the characters played off of each other" ). This synergistic affect is observable in the episode where Chuck, now a coming of age college student randomly stops in at Uncle Bob's photo studio where, at once smitten with the slew of gorgeous models gallivanting around set in less than conservative garb, remarks; "Ah, ah, Uncle Bob, I feel guilty using your money to go to college. I think it is time I learned a trade. Like, ah, photography." Of Course the wise and witty 'Uncle' Bob would simply enjoy rebutting, "No, Chuck, you need to get an education so that you don't end up a tradesman like your uncle.". Of course the irony here is that Bob loves his job just as much as Chuck covets it.

Also frequently contributing to much of the comedy in the series was the impressive Ann B. Davis still green in her days. With her patient temperament, blunt and almost too-logical opinions, yet devout loyalty to her boss, 'Schultzy' would often unveil the truth about a predicament or somehow be the pivotal person involved in foretelling the outcome of the show. Also, she was often the scapegoat of Bob's sensitive temper, just as when, after a successful year, he gives her a $10 tip and tells her to blow it all only to balk at her when she returns to the shop with some change which, ironically, wasn't enough for the once rich, suddenly broke, Bob Collins.

"Love that Bob" was a convention breaking series that invented and promoted the debonair lifestyle of 'the bachelor'. Bob Cummings, as Bob Collins, was everything that a twenty or thirty-something man of the times would want to be: fun, fanciful, accomplished, patriotic, suave, charismatic, charming, loveable, funny,... and the list goes on... For viewers who aren't as taken with the drier or more subtle humor of the Classics, "Love That Bob" is a Classic Comedy that, thanks to its modernism and groundbreaking characterization, transitions gracefully into the present day where it offers much to wet the appetite of even the most impatient and finicky viewers. In short, "Love That Bob" is flat out funny. With characters like Bob Collins, 'Schultzy', Chuck, and of course Bob's beloved friend Harvey, "Love that Bob" gives audiences a great perspective of changing times, playful characters, and an iconic stock type that would soon find be a profound influence on many latter TV series including the Johnny Carson Show, among others.

Awards:

Won 2 Emmys and received another 6 nominations:

1959- Won-Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Ann B. Davis)

1958-Won- Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actress in a Dramatic of Comedy Series (Ann B. Davis)

1957-Nominated-Best Supporting Performance by an Actress (Ann B. Davis)

1956-Nominated-Best Comedy Series/ Best Actor-Continuing Performance (Bob Cummings)/ Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Anne B. Davis)/ Best Director-Film Series (Rodney Amateau)/ Best Producer-Film Series (Paul Henning)

Minor Characters and Credited Cast:

Nancy Kulp as Pamela Livingstone (1955-1959)
Lyle Talbot as Paul Fonda (1955-1959)
Diane Jergens as Francine Williams (1955-1956)
Mary Lawrence as Ruth Helm (1955-1957)
Gloria Marshall as Shirley Swanson (1956-1959)
Carol Hanning as Olive Sturgess (1956-1957)
Ingrid Goude as Herself (Miss Sweden 1956), (1957-1958)
Tammy Marihugh as Tammy Johnson (1959)

Special Appearances by Regular Guests such as:

Lola Albright as Kay Michaels
Sylvia Lewis as Natasha/Sylvia
George Burns as George Burns
Herbert Rudley as Dr. Chandler

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