(Above: Betty White and the cast of ‘Hot in Cleveland.’ Source: GetTV)
Betty White, whose TV career launched with the 1949 sketch show Hollywood on Television, will celebrate her 98th birthday on Friday, January 17.
Her portfolio is too vast to list here, but there are two tributes worth noting – on The Film Detective and GetTV – that bookend her remarkable seven-decade career.
Classics streamer The Film Detective offers more than a dozen episodes of Life with Elizabeth (1953-1955), about the predicaments of a young married couple, Elizabeth (White) and Alvin (Del Moore). White’s first sitcom ran for 38 episodes over two seasons in syndication.
As a bonus, The Film Detective offers one episode, “Santa’s Helper,” from a second White comedy – Date with the Angels (1957-1958). The series, which ran for 33 episodes over two seasons on ABC, starred White as Vickie Angel, who is newly married to an insurance salesman, Gus Angel (Bill Williams). The show’s premise involves the Angels entangling neighbors and friends in various jams. In “Santa’s Helper,” Vickie gets Mr. Finley, Sr (Burt Mustin) a job as a department store Santa, but he dispenses more toys than he’s supposed to.
You can find more Date with the Angels episodes, such as the one below, on YouTube.
The Film Detective is available to stream for free, with ads, at thefilmdetective.tv and other platforms.
You can then fast-forward 60 years with over-the-air channel GetTV’s Hot in Cleveland marathon week, starting Monday, January 13. Betty-centric episodes will run in the show’s regular 6 to 8 pm ET weeknight timeslot. The marathon will conclude on Friday, the 17th – White’s birthday – with a four-hour block of episodes.
Hot in Cleveland, which ran six seasons (2010-2015) and 128 episodes on TV Land, features an eclectic group of female roommates including White, One Day at a Time’s Valerie Bertinelli, Frasier’s Jane Leeves, and Wendie Malick.
GetTV’s tribute will continue on Saturday, January 18, at 10 pm, with an episode of The Sonny and Cher Show (1976-1977) guest-starring White and Ed McMahon.
You can get GetTV by hooking an antenna up to your TV set and finding your local station at “Get the Channel.” GetTV is also available on cable in many markets.
White’s showbiz career might have started in the age of radio, but her appeal spans the generations. She famously snagged an SNL guest-hosting gig in 2010 due to a grassroots campaign on a relatively new thing called Facebook. In her opening monologue, White joked: “When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host Saturday Night Live, I didn’t know what Facebook was. And now that I do know what it is, I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time.”
Happy Birthday, Betty!
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