The Mothers-in-Law

Today is the birthday of Kay Ballard (born Catherine Balotta in 1925). She got her start singing with Spike Jones in the 1940s, was in several Broadway shows, and has had sundry parts in film and on television. But if you’re like me, you know her chiefly from her co-starring role on this short-lived tv series from 1967-69. The Mothers-In Law was a genius concept, if not a genius show (and it’s not one, I just went and rewatched part of an episode for the first time in four decades). The premise is that she and Eva Arden are the oil-and-water mothers-in-law of a couple of young newlyweds. Arden is old fashioned and uptight. Ballard is permissive and liberal. And both are interfering, sort of waging a war for influence by proxy, made all the more easy by the fact that they live next door to each other. I was too young to watch it when it first ran, but I do recall watching it very soon thereafter in reruns. The show was produced by Desi Arnez. Here’s a sample:


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