Adams and Eve
As a film actress, Ida Lupino was known as the "Queen of the B's" and "the poor man's Bette Davis" because of the tough-dame parts she played.
She was much more than the studio's allowed. Lupino wanted creative control to shape her own film projects, this at a time when only a couple of women had ever directed a motion picture and few women were taken seriously at all in the business. She became only the second woman to be admitted to the Director's Guild.
Refusing to play the one-dimensional prostitutes, maids and torch singer roles the studios offered her, Lupino began writing, producing, directing and (sometimes) starring in films for her own production company beginning in 1948. Not Wanted, The Hitch-Hiker, Private Hell 36, Outrage - these noir films are highly-regarded today, with thematic underpinnings the Hollywood studios wouldn't touch - like unwed mothers and rape victims.
In 1951, Ida Lupino married her co-star (from 1949's Woman in Hiding) Howard Duff. The next year she embarked on a new career in the fledgeling television industry, first as an actress on dramatic anthology programs like Four Star Theater.
By the mid-fifties, Lupino was building a sterling reputation as one of the top TV directors around, on programs like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, Have Gun-Will Travel and others.
In 1957, Lupino gave up making movies and teamed with her husband Howard Duff to star in a novel sitcom, Mr. Adams and Eve, the everyday story of a movie star couple living in Beverly Hills. Lupino wanted the show to have a ring of truth to it, exagerated slightly for comic effect; the result was a hilarious and stylish sitcom, a wonderful send-up of Hollywood in the Fifties - that golden time when women were are dolled up even when there was no place to go.
On the show, 'Howard Adams' and his wife 'Eve Drake' are sheltered celebrities, scripts detailed their awkward attempts to relate to real life as they see it - dealing with manipulative agents, outlandish productions, unhinged directors and mad studio heads.
The supporting cast featured Hayden Rorke (I Dream Of Jeannie) as their manager, Alan Reed (voice of Fred Flintstone) as the blustery studio head and the wonderful Olive Carey as sassy live-in maid Elsie.
Olive Carey was superlative in her role as the sarcastic live-in housekeeper who ran the Drake household. In real life, Olive was had been married to original cowboy star Harry Carey (he passed away in 1947) and was the mother of Harry Carey, Jr (The 3 Godfathers, Spin & Marty).
Carey appeared in one other TV program as a regular, the 1960 syndicated series Lock-Up, but is known best for the remarkable characters she inhabited in seminal westerns like Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Searchers and The Alamo. Her roles were always small, but Olive Carey made an indelible mark on film.
Despite a brilliant cast, stylish art direction and clever scripts (many by Bewitched's Sol Saks), Mr. Adams and Eve made it through only two seasons on CBS. Maybe the show was too "inside" for fifties' audiences. Few TV shows before the 1970s were centered around the entertainment industry and the ones that were generally failed (ie: 1969's Bracken's World).
Just months after filming ended on Mr. Adams & Eve, Universal developed a pilot for a possible half-hour drama starring Lupino and Duff along with silent film actor Ramon Navarro. The Green Peacock was never produced.
Howard Duff went on to become a regular on a number of series, including three years leading the Felony Squad in the mid-sixties and one year stints on Flamingo Road, Knots Landing and Dallas. He and Lupino divorced in 1968, Howard Duff died in 1990.
After Mr. Adams & Eve, Ida Lupino continued directing unforgetable classic TV programs like Donna Reed Show, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Bewitched, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Honey West, Gilligan's Island and so many others.
As an actress she turned up on a wide variety of programs, including Alias Smith and Jones, Batman and The Wild, Wild West. She directed another motion picture in 1966, The Trouble with Angels.
In the 1970s Ida Lupino gave memorable performances on two episodes of Columbo (one with Johnny Cash), and starred in a number of motion pictures before retiring in 1978 at the age of 60. She died due to a stroke on August 3, 1995 at age 77.
Jeff Vilencia writes:
"It sure would be cool to see more Mr. Adams & Eve!
"One day I got a phone call from the office of Fredrick DeCorva (producer at the time of the Carson 'Tonight Show'). A few weeks earlier I sent him a VHS copy of 'Mr. Adams and Eve' (he produced the series). He wanted to thank me, and to talk about that show! He says the two season negatives are in legal problems in somebody's estate, which is why the show has not been seen for years in syndication. He also sent me an 8x10 autograph photo, which was cool.
"The other people who have a video copy of that film is the Museum of Broadcasting in NYC. I made them a video master in 1986, UCLA now has the original reel of film, which I gave them. One day DeCorva's office calls me, and asks if I would be so kind to phone the American Cinematheque, they were doing a special tribute to Ida Lupino.
"Cool, I call them, they want to use the episode along with the one Twilight Zone that Ida Lupino was in. They had contacted CBS and the network told them they couldn't locate a copy of Mr Adams & Eve, so I shipped them a copy!
"They have the tribute, and a week later the CBS legal department calls me, and they ask if I was the one who 'licensed' the show to them to use? Having worked in this stupid biz, I was keen on wordings, I said, 'No' I let them use my private copy. I don't own the rights to the show. There was no money etc - etc - etc! They asked how I got a copy of the show? I told them, back in the 1970's when I was in high school, I knew people who worked in television film exchange and the print was a discard. They asked me if I had the rest of the two seasons? I said no, just this one episode.
"As it turns out, they couldn't even find the 35mm film negatives to the series! I don't know to this day if they ever found them. Just like The Goldbergs shows, nobody knows what happened to the 35mm film negatives.
"So the history of Hollywood television seems to have gone the same way as the old movies in the 1920's - lost, thrown away, misplaced."
Ida Lupino and Howard Duff owned and produced this television classic Mr. Adams and Eve through their company Bridget Productions under Four Star.
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