Elvia Allman (September 19, 1904 – March 6, 1992) was a character
actress and voice over performer in Hollywood films and television
programs for over 50 years. She is best remembered for her
semi-regular roles on
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction
and for being the voice of Walt Disney's Clarabelle Cow. Her mark in
TV history is also ensured by her memorable performance as the stern,
no-nonsense boss in the classic
I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy candy factory episode "Job
1 Early years
2.2 Acting career
5 External links
Allman was born September 19, 1904, in Enochville, North Carolina.
Allman began her radio career in early 1926 at KHJ in Los Angeles
(another source says 1930) as a program arranger and children's
story reader, and later as a singer. The
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times of the day
praised her abilities as a dialectician. It was there she met her
first husband, musician Wesley B. Tourtellotte, in 1930. They divorced
within several years. New York beckoned in 1933, where she did a
15-minute network program of songs. On Oct. 30, 1933, the Times
announced she was moving to KNX on a 15-minute program to be heard
Tuesday and Thursday evenings. What was supposed to be a long-term
contract ended March 3, 1935.
Allman's first big network radio successes were on the Blue Monday
Jamboree (where she portrayed beauty expert Auntie MacCasser, high
society matron Octavia Smith-Whiffen, and home economist Pansy
Pennypincher), and on The Komedy Kingdom (as "Elvia, The Queen of
Mirth").She made her debut on
The Pepsodent Show starring
Bob Hope on
September 27, 1938, as man-chasing Cobina, a parody of society
debutante Cobina Wright. She portrayed the role in motion pictures and
even spoofed it in the
Merrie Melodies cartoon Goofy Groceries.
In the mid-1930s, Allman appeared in cartoons for producer Leon
Schlesinger, released through
Warner Bros. She can be heard in the
Porky Pig cartoon
I Haven't Got a Hat in 1935. She may have
originated the character of
Clarabelle Cow prior to this, but there
are no records indicating which specific cartoons in which she voiced
Clarabelle, who was featured in 28 Disney cartoons from 1928 to 1942.
In 1937 Allman voiced the title role in the cartoon Little Red Walking
Hood, a spoof of Little Red Riding Hood. Allman married sports
C. C. Pyle
C. C. Pyle on July 3, 1937 and was with him when he died on
February 3, 1939.
Allman also played Tootsie Sagwell on The George Burns and Gracie
Allen Show during the early 1940s. She was Gracie's best friend who
was constantly chasing show announcer
Bill Goodwin in particular but
seemed to be open to any man who'd have her.
Allman made her film debut as an actress in 1940's The Road to
Singapore in an unbilled bit (as were the majority of Allman's motion
picture appearances in the '40s) as a homely woman who pursues Bob
Hope. Another memorable bit was as one of the several psychotics
Abbott & Costello run into when trying to find the Susquehanna Hat
Co. (on Bagel St.) in "In Society" (1944). She worked most
successfully during this period as a radio comedian playing assorted
guest parts, typically as a shrewish woman. One of her more steady
radio gigs was on the Blondie radio series in the part of Cora
Dithers, the domineering wife of Dagwood Bumstead's boss.
Allman became a familiar face to television viewers in the 1950s with
numerous guest appearances on many programs of the era, usually
situation comedies. She made multiple appearances on I Married Joan,
December Bride, The Bob Cummings Show, and The Abbott and Costello
Show, and three appearances on I Love Lucy.
In 1957, she reprised her role of Cora Dithers in a short-lived TV
adaption of Blondie. She also appeared on seven episodes of the TV
series The Jack Benny Program, having worked often with Benny on his
radio program in the 1940s and 1950s.
Her visibility on television increased in the 1960s with guest shots
on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hazel, The Addams Family, The Munsters, Mr
Ed, Bewitched, The Lucy Show, The Doris Day Show, The Andy Griffith
Show, and as witness Julia Slovak in the fifth season, 1961 Perry
Mason episode, "The Case of the Brazen Bequest". Allman's greatest
fame came with her semi-regular roles on Petticoat Junction, as local
busybody Selma Plout (14 appearances, 1965–1970) and a
near-duplicate character, Elverna Bradshaw on The Beverly Hillbillies
(13 appearances, one in 1963, the rest 1968-1970). The 1960s proved to
be her most prolific era with 58 appearances on various television
series as well as five motion pictures including Breakfast at
Tiffany's and The Nutty Professor.
She appeared as Oscar Madison's mother in one episode of the TV series
The Odd Couple in which she and Oscar are treated to an erotic belly
dance at a Greek restaurant. Allman's career slowed considerably after
1972, and her only television work that decade was the 1977 television
film Halloween with the New Addams Family. Her career revived a bit in
the 1980s with eleven television appearances, including two
appearances on Murder She Wrote. Allman also worked as a real estate
agent in addition to her acting in the 1970s and 1980s. In her
Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore credits Allman with finding her house.
Allman's final work appropriately brought her full circle, reviving
the voice of
Clarabelle Cow for the first time in over 50 years in the
Mickey Mouse cartoon feature version of
The Prince and the Pauper
The Prince and the Pauper in
Allman died in Santa Monica, California, March 6, 1992, from
pneumonia, aged 87. She was predeceased by her last husband, Jerome L.
Bayler, in 1978.
^ a b c DeLong, Thomas A. (1996).
Radio Stars: An Illustrated
Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960.
McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 10.
^ "Los Angeles Times: Archives - ATTRACTIONS OF WEEK FORECAST".
Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1926-11-16. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
^ "RadioArchives.com". RadioArchives.com. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
^ Elliott, Jordan (Summer 2016). "O Brother, Where Art Thou".
Nostalgia Digest. 42 (3): 4–9.
Elvia Allman on IMDb
Elvia Allman at AllMovie
Elvia Allman at