Sunday, 15 January 2017

Tralfaz Sunday Theatre — Charlie's Haunt

Edgar Bergen had gone full circle by 1957. He started out in nightclubs in the early '30s, became a smash on radio, segued into television with the quiz show "Do You Trust Your Wife?" and when he left the show in '57, he went back into nightclub work.

He also shot a half-hour commercial for Bell Telephone produced by Jerry Fairbanks Productions.* Charlie's Haunt seems to have been designed to show in schools to teach kids about safety. "Charlie," as you might expect, is Bergen's main dummy, Charlie McCarthy.

While Bergen stars in this, star at the beginning is Jack Benny's announcer, Don Wilson, who we first see on the phone talking to Rochester (we don't hear or see Eddie Anderson in this industrial film). He doesn't seem to know where he is but that doesn't stop him from chatting with some stranger (played by Owen Howlin, who made The Blob the next year) who weaves together stories that gets across the film's message.

Also seen at the start of this film, unless I'm mistaken, is a young Sheila Kuehl. There are a bunch of uncredited actors in this. The director is Robert Florey, who had moved into television after a long career in the movies, silent and sound.

Watch Charlie's Haunt below.

* The internet seems to think this film was made in 1950. However it is listed under "Recent Films" for Fairbanks in the Feb. 20, 1958 edition of Business Screen magazine, and Fairbanks' papers at UCLA have it in the box of scripts by Leo S. Rosencrans dated July 1, 1957-Feb. 1958.


  1. The "Focus" bumper was MOST IMPRESSIVE!
    Robert Foulk is "Joel Crehan".

  2. Yes, that was Sheila James {Kneuhl} at the beginning of the film. Incidentally, Jerry Fairbanks also filmed Edgar's two Coca-Cola specials for CBS during the 1950-'51 season.......