Radio: Our Miss Brooks

Sitcom starring Eve Arden which ran on CBS radio (1948-57) and television (1952-56). The series concluded with a movie adaptation in 1956.

The title character is Connie Brooks, a benevolent, wisecracking English teacher at Madison High School who deals with her surrounding cast of characters including her overbearing principal Osgood Conklin, her cheerful but not-so-studious pupil Walter Denton, her landlady Mrs. Davis, and her desired love interest, biology teacher Philip Boynton.


This show provides examples of:
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Mr. Boynton
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: The Birthday Bag on television, The Surprise Party on the radio.
  • All Just a Dream: Magic Christmas Tree" and "Trying to Forget Mr. Boynton.
  • Ambulance Chaser: In the episode Hospital Capers. A lawyer (a literal ambulance chaser) gets Mr. Boynton to sign a contract hiring him a counsel; the contract features a hefty penalty if Mr. Boynton chooses to terminate his representation. When Miss Brooks visits the lawyer, he hands her ever larger magnifying glasses to read the contract's fine print. Lampshaded when the lawyer admits to Miss Brooks that he's been disbarred in several states.
  • Angrish: Mr. Conklin, on occasion.
  • Betty and Veronica: Miss Enright was another, more glamorous English teacher who competed with Miss Brooks for Boynton's affection.
  • Birthday Episode: Again, The Birthday Bag on T.V., The Surprise Party on the radio.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Mr. Conklin and Mrs. Davis. Mr. Conklin suffers this trope with a vengeance in Living Statues and Cure That Habit.
  • Book Dumb: Walter
  • Born in the Saddle: Tex Barton, a teenaged cowboy who makes a few radio appearances.
  • Catch Phrase: Walter's "Hiya, Miss Brooks!", Conklin's "...now GO" when trying to get rid of someone.
  • Character Title
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mrs. Davis. She sometimes forgets what she's saying in the middle of a sentence.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Dell adapted the movie into comic book form.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Davis.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Mrs. Davis is creative with her recipes.
  • Covert Group: Miss Brooks becomes involved in secret activity a few times through the course of the series. One of the most memorable was in Red River Valley, where Miss Brooks, Mr. Boynton and Walter Denton meet secretly to rehearse for a job with the hillbilly troupe led by Deacon Jones.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: A Snap magazine reporter "compliments" Miss Brooks' clothes: "That's a very nice suit...One can tell at a glance that it's worn you for years."
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Mr. Conklin loathes his daughter's boyfriend, Walter Denton. It isn't uncommon for him to kick Walter down his porch steps. Why? Walter is something of a nuisance to Mr. Conklin, as the episodes Cure that Habit, Wild Goose, Cafeteria Boycott and Space, Who Needs It? attest. However, there are other reasons as well. In Spare That Rod!, Mr. Conklin complained that the worst thing about Walter was his squeaky voice.
    Miss Brooks: I expect it's his age. His voice is probably changing.
    Mr. Conklin: Well, I wish it would hurry up. He sounds like a canary with a mouthful of rancid birdseed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Miss Brooks is one of the queens of this trope, as are many of Eve Arden's characters in other works.
  • Dean Bitterman: Mr. Conklin
  • Delayed Reaction: Mr. Conklin does this often for comedic effect.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Mr. Boynton tells terrible jokes, sometimes he has to do this to find the humor to begin with.
  • The Door Slams You: Miss Brooks does this to Mr. Conklin a few times, by accident of course. It usually results in Miss Brooks breaking Mr. Conklin's glasses.
  • Dream Sequence: Usually with Brooks dreaming about Boynton sweeping her off her feet or in some magical fairy tale, then the alarm clock ruins it all.
  • Drinking On Duty: On T.V., in the episode The Loaded Custodian, Miss Brooks and Mrs. Davis discuss how the previous custodian, Mr. Jensen, was fired for his drinking.
    • Actually averted the few times Mr. Jensen appears on the radio (i.e. Key to the School, School Safety Advisor), where his personality quirk is his insistence on interpreting common idioms literally.
  • Dumb Jock / Dumb Muscle: Stretch Snodgrass
  • Dunce Cap: Unsurprisingly, Stretch Snodgrass is forced to wear a dunce cap in The Mambo.
  • Easily Overheard Conversation: Happens from time to time. Usually, the eavesdropper misunderstands and hilarity ensues.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Walter has at least once said Mr. Boynton is "tall, dark, handsome..." as well as "Boy, is he good looking!"
  • Embarrassing First Name: Stretch Snodgrass' real name is "Fabian."
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Happens several times. From Miss Brooks' perspective, the events of The Wrong Mrs. Boynton and Mrs. Davis Reads Tea Leaves are particularly infamous!
  • Everything's Better with Cows: In Cow in Closet, Miss Brooks has to hide one from Mr. Conklin.
  • Fairy Tale Episode: Cinderella for a Day. A mysterious shoe salesman lends Miss Brooks a custom-made gold slipper until midnight. Miss Brooks is treated to several Cinderella-style presents, from the same mysterious donor, that allow her to attend the masquerade ball at the country club in style. It turns out the shoe salesman was a millionaire gambler who had placed a bet with a expert shoemaker that he could find a pair of feet that would perfectly fit the custom made slippers. The gifts were partly his reward to Miss Brooks, and partly for laughs.
  • Fill It With Flowers: In Poetry Mix-Up, Mr. Boynton advises Miss Brooks to request some flowers from the school nursery, in order to brighten up her dreary classroom.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: What Lawrence Nolan expects of his son Gary in the film.
  • Grand Finale: The Movie in 1956.
  • High School
  • Hint Dropping: Miss Brooks drops plenty of hints for Mr. Boynton. He rarely catches on, at least not until the movie.
  • Hollywood Law: In the episode Hospital Capers. A lawyer (a literal ambulance chaser) gets Mr. Boynton to sign a contract hiring him a counsel; the contract features a hefty penalty if Mr. Boynton chooses to terminate his representation. When Miss Brooks visits the lawyer, he hands her ever larger magnifying glasses to read the contract's fine print. Lampshaded when the lawyer admits to Miss Brooks that he's been disbarred in several states.
  • Hot Scientist: Biology teacher Philip Boynton.
  • Incoming Ham: Mr. Conklin.
  • Jingle: The show's sponsors had some pretty catchy ones:
    • "Brush your teeth with Colgate/Colgate dental cream/It cleans your breath (what a toothpaste)/While it cleans your teeth."
    • "Dream girl, dream girl/Beautiful Luster Cream girl/You owe your crowning glory to/A Luster Cream shampoo." (This one was set to the tune of "Toyland" from Babes in Toyland.)
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Our Miss Brooks was a winner in the Neilson's ratings during its 1952-1956 television run, however only the episodes Home Cooked Meal and The Big Jump have been released on legitimate DVD. Happily averted with the radio episodes (1948-1956), which have lapsed into public domain and are available online. Also averted with the movie, which is available from the Warner Brother's Archive Collection and occasionally airs on Turner Classic Movies.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Mrs. Davis.
  • Large Ham: Mr. Conklin
  • Last Name Basis: Brooks, Boynton, and Conklin always address each other formally, even outside of school.
  • Literal-Minded: Mr. Jensen, the school custodian, makes a few radio appearances. He insists on interpreting figures of speech and phrases literally. Thus, to Miss Brooks' consternation (i.e. School Safety Advisor) any attempt at conversation with him quickly turns into a chore.
  • Living Legend: Two, at least:
    • In The Big Game, there's former high school football star "Snakehips", whose high score in the big game won him a job as a vice-president.
    • In Safari O'Tool, there's Mrs. Davis's beau, a famous jungle explorer. He's a fraud.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Happens twice:
    • In Home Cooked Meal, Mr. Conklin is locked in the cafeteria freezer.
    • In Male Superiority, Mr. Conklin, Mr. Boynton, Miss Brooks and Walter Denton are trapped in a meat locker. Miss Brooks is the only one who doesn't panic.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Gary Nolan in the movie.
  • Long List: Usually when Mrs. Davis describes recipe ingredients.
  • Make an Example of Them: There's a reason Miss Brooks considers Mr. Conklin to be dictator of Madison High!
    Miss Brooks: Having expected a one way trip to Devilís Island, I thought the punishment Mr. Conklin meted out was comparatively just. However, it was just after 7:00 that evening when I got home.
  • Masquerade Ball: Not one, but two:
    • In The Festival, a masquerade festival is being held in a park near Madison High School.
    • The masquerade in Cinderella for a Day is a swankier event, a dance held at the local country club.
  • The Movie: in 1956
  • Nice Hat: Mr. Conklin's often seen wearing a fedora out of doors. Mr. Boynton and Mr. Stone also wear fedoras on occasion. Subverted in Bargain Hats for Mother's Day, when Mrs. Davis produces homemade women's hats that Miss Brooks finds hard to sell.
  • No Indoor Voice: Mr. Conklin
  • Oblivious to Love: Mr. Boynton
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Miss Brooks runs into an obstructive clerk in The Embezzled Dress. Mrs. Davis accidently uses school money to buy Miss Brooks a present from Sherry's Department Store. Miss Brooks tries to return the dress to Sherry's, a store that promises if the customer isn't satisfied the money will be ''cheerfully refunded''. After being given the third degree on the reason for the return, Miss Brooks is turned down because the dress was sold on sale.
  • Onion Tears: In the episode "Tears for Mr. Boynton," Mrs. Davis advises Miss Brooks that she has to appear more vulnerable to attract Mr. Boynton. Mrs. Davis hides onions in Miss Brooks' purse.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Walter Denton and Harriet Conklin. In the movie, Gary Nolan and Mr. Boynton as well.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Stretch (Fabian) Snodgrass, and his brother Bones (Winston).
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Mr. Conklin is very protective of his vehicle in Brooks' New Car and Taking the Rap for Mr. Boynton.
  • Projectile Toast: Mrs. Davis' toaster was a repeat offender.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Quoting Myself: Walter Denton uses fake quotes from time to time.
    Walter Denton: It's as the saying goes, "When love enters the heart, appetite flees the stomach."
    Miss Brooks: Who said that?
    Walter Denton: I don't know. I guess it's anonymous.
    Miss Brooks: It deserves to be.
  • Rant Inducing Slight: Several in the episode Friendship. Mrs. Davis tells Miss Brooks' fortune, and predicts that by day's end she will lose all her friends. Mrs. Davis' prediction comes true, briefly.
  • Reading Is Cool Aesop: As an English teacher, Miss Brooks is normally all in favour of reading. However, the trope is subverted in Bones, Son of Cyrano, where Mr. Boynton breaks a date with Miss Brooks to read the rest of Cyrano de Bergerac. Miss Brooks had advised Mr. Boynton to read it in the first place in the hope it would make him less Oblivious to Love!
  • Read the Fine Print: In the episode Hospital Capers. A lawyer (a literal ambulance chaser) gets Mr. Boynton to sign a contract hiring him a counsel; the contract features a hefty penalty if Mr. Boynton chooses to terminate his representation. When Miss Brooks visits the lawyer, he hands her ever larger magnifying glasses to read the contract's fine print. Lampshaded when the lawyer admits to Miss Brooks that he's been disbarred in several states.
  • Retool: In the fourth season of the TV series, Madison High was razed to make room for a freeway, Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin went to work for a private school, and Walter and Harriet disappeared from the show along with Mr. Boynton (although the latter would eventually return).
    • Canon Discontinuity was the result. The radio program continued at Madison High as per usual. The Movie also ignored the fourth season of the TV series.
  • Road Trip Plot: Game at Clay City.
  • Running Gag: many, including Mr. Conklin's huge sneezes and the 'glug' greeting of Boynton's pet frog McDougal. Miss Brooks' car was always in the shop (see Women Drivers for the reason of the week).
  • Safety In Indifference: In the episode Trying to Forget Mr. Boynton, Miss Brooks tries be indifferent and forget about love interest Mr. Boynton.
  • Series Goal: From day one, Miss Brooks wants to marry oblivious Mr. Boynton.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Walter, which makes him sound much more intelligent than he really is.
  • The Shrink: In the episode The School Board Psychologist. A dangerously incompetent psychologist tries to have Miss Brooks, Mr. Boynton and Mr. Conklin dismissed.
  • Single-Episode Handicap: In Marinated Hearing. Walter Denton sets off an old cannon from the Spanish-American War. Mr. Conklin's standing too close, and suffers from temporary deafness as a result.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Miss Brooks has Miss Enright, a fellow English teacher and rival for Mr. Boynton's affections.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Mr. Conklin has some whoppers. The TV version of the sneezes had powerful fans blow objects all over the set.
  • Sound to Screen Adaptation
  • Stealing The Credit: Mr. Conklin likes to steal the credit from Miss Brooks, on occasion. For example, there was his attempt to claim authorship of a speech written by Miss Brooks in Public Property on Parade.
  • Surprise Party: The Birthday Bag and The Surprise Party. Miss Brooks' friends plan a surprise party at the Conklin's house. Unfortunately, Miss Brooks turns up an hour too early . . . .
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Happened a few times:
    • Stretch Snodgrass was substituted with his brother Bones in several first and second season episodes of the TV Series. The actor who played Stretch, Leonard Smith, wasn't available.
    • Mrs. Winona Nestor was replaced by her sister, Mrs. Ruth Nestor, in the fourth season of the TV series. The actress playing Winona, Nana Bryant, left the show after only a couple of appearances.
    • The temporary replacement of Mrs. Davis, with her sister Angela, for a few episodes in the third season of the TV series and contemporaneous radio program. Jane Morgan, the actress who played Mrs. Davis, had suffered a stroke (fortunately, she made a quick and full recovery).
      • This counts as a subversion. The character of Angela had often been mentioned on the radio program, and was eventually portrayed by Jesselyn Fax on both radio and television. The two sisters appeared side-by-side in several episodes.
  • Tax Deductions: Happens to Miss Brooks in Easter Outfit. Miss Brooks finds the $50.00 she earned working at the board of education during spring break to be considerably eroded by tax deductions.
  • That's an Order: Mr. Conklin uses this phrase from time to time.
  • Truth-Telling Session: Miss Brooks and Boynton argue in the film.
  • Two-Teacher School: Brooks and Boynton; there was also Brooks' rival Miss Enright and occasional visits from other teachers.
  • Unable To Support A Wife: At the start of the film. Mr. Boynton's saving money and hoping for a promotion so he can propose to (and support) Miss Brooks.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Sometimes done for laughs in the introductory narration on the radio. This would always prompt a quick correction by deadpan snarker Miss Brooks.
  • Unwanted Glasses Plot: In The Dancer, Miss Brooks goes to an optometrist after Mr. Conklin accuses her of needing glasses. She borrows a pair of glasses to see their effect on Mr. Boynton. He compliments her on how mature she looks. So much for any chance of Miss Brooks wearing glasses!
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: Lawrence Nolan, in the film. He owns a luxurious motor yacht, The Paradise.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: Walter Denton says it in the episode Two Way Stretch. He walks into Mr. Conklin's office, after Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin discuss a plan to have someone imitate student athlete Stretch Snodgrass.
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: In the episode June Bride. Mr. Leblanc's proxy wedding gets cancelled. Mr. Boynton suggest they don't waste the arrangements, nor the judge. Does he finally propose to, and marry, Miss Brooks? No. It's a great opportunity for a square dance!
  • Wild Wilderness: Lake Oo Oo Me Me Tocoludi Gucci Moo Moo, in the episode of the same name.
  • With This Ring: The movie ends with Boynton finally proposing to Brooks.
  • Writing Lines: Happens at the end of Letter from the Education Board. Mr. Conklin has Walter, Stretch, Mr. Boynton and Miss Brooks stay after school writing "Our principal is the best principal that any school ever had."
  • Women Drivers: Miss Brooks' car is always broken down or damaged in some way, forcing her to take lifts in Walter's jalopy. She is portrayed as someone who doesn't pay the best attention on the road, sometimes barely missing pedestrians by swerving and hitting something on the side of the road.