Monday, July 9, 2018

'Mooners Monday: Audrey Meadows steps out

Audrey doesn't just step out of Bensonhurst this week, she steps out of the 1950s! Thanks to a free trial period of Starz last week, I enjoyed Ms. Meadows in The Nancy Palmer Story, the season 4 finale of Wagon Train.

The episode premiered March 7, 1961, on NBC. it wasn't even 5 full years after the Classic 30 Honeymooners season, but Audrey already looks a little more seasoned. I guess life on the frontier is even harder than life in that dingy flat on Chauncey Street on a bus driver's salary. However, the plot of this episode relies on Meadows' "innocent" and "sweet" face--the words are from the teleplay, I'm not mocking their use by putting them in quotes--to drive the action.

At the beginning, she regales the chillun of the train with some stories and even captivates the adults. Her natural way with the kids and her pleasant, unassuming demeanor makes her a comforting presence for the wagoneers. It's interesting because to me, Audrey always has a bit of an edge to her, and in fact, post-'Mooners she got edgier and edgier, to the point where she kind of scared me on Too Close for Comfort.


However, she's married to Jack Cassidy, who wants to rob a bank. He figures no one will suspect her, and so when everyone else heads off to a night of celebration, they volunteer to babysit, and, whammo, there's his chance to go steal some cash.

I hope that revealing Jack Cassidy plays a scoundrel is not a spoiler for anyone. I will say, though, that this scheme doesn't end that well for neither Jack nor Audrey.

Meadows gets a lot of spotlight moments in this episode, and well she should considering she's Nancy Palmer--it's HER story! I recommend this for any Honeymooners fan who wants to see Audrey Meadows stretch and play a completely different character.

Meadows and Cassidy make a great team, too. Check out this classic Audrey reaction in one early scene they share:


Holley Snaith said...

Thank you for spotlighting this episode. Audrey Meadows fought after "The Honeymooners" to get roles outside of the "kitchen" and she finally made it. She loved doing dramas and the year before this she did a drama called "The Grand Tour" and also an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." I agree in the first episode of "Too Close for Comfort" her character was a bit rough, she told the writers she wanted the character softened because she did not want to be hated. She was a very versatile actress, singer, and dancer. This was a moving episode of "Wagon Train."

Rick Brooks said...

Thank *you* for the comment! I have not seen that episode of "Hitch"--in fact, I haven't seen many of that series' later-season episodes--and have to track it down. Looks like "The Grand Tour" is much harder to find!

She and Cassidy make a great duo in this episode of "Wagon Train," and she does not look out of place in the Western setting.