Susan Johnson in The Millionaire

This show actually ran for six seasons on CBS, from 1955 to 1960. Every week some unsuspecting guest star would receive "one million dollars, tax paid!", from JOHN BERESFORD TIPTON: a "billionaire" whose face was never seen in the entire run of the series, and seemed to select his beneficiaries based on the unpredictability of how the money would affect their lives.

In Sherry's episode "The Susan Johnson Story" she plays a high school girl with an older boyfriend that just can't quite get the words "I love you" out of his mouth. Susan thinks he's got a swell singing voice, and that he ought to give up his job pumping gas and take a shot at a singing career. She's a bit pouty here, because Ken (played by John Ashley) just won't tell her what every girl needs to hear.

Since he can't say it, he'll sing it. John Ashley actually does have a pretty good voice, here, and he went on to play a young crooner several times in his career. One time he was even romancing Elly May Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies! After a fairly extensive career in beach movies, John became a tv producer. Perhaps his most successful series was "The A-Team" with George Peppard and Mr. T . However, the most persistent legend about John was that in the movie "Mad Doctor of Blood Island", his love scene with Angelique Pettyjohn was NOT simulated! Since Angelique later progressed to x-rated films, perhaps John was the opening salvo in her "second career".

Talking about the big senior prom coming up with her friend Betty (Sheila James). Didn't Sheila play Maynard Krebs' (Bob Denver, aka "Gilligan") tomboy "girlfriend" in Dobie Gillis?

What a shock! Billionaire Tipton's representative comes to the soda shop and delivers Susan's million-dollar check. She knows right away that she will share the money with her mom, but that she is going to spend whatever it takes of her half to get Ken his shot at a singing career. She pays a talent agent to come to the High School Hop where Ken is performing for the teenagers. The agent thinks Ken might actually make it, but he's going to need a demo record, pictures, travel expenses, etc.. Susan will do anything to help her love, and tells the agent to go ahead with whatever he needs.

The agent also tells her that in order to become a teen idol, Ken will have to stay "eligible" in the eyes of his female fans, so the young couple will have to postpone their marriage plans. Susan figures, "well, I don't graduate until June, anyway, so I suppose we can wait a while longer".

Ken Clarkson goes off with the talent agent, changes his name to Casey Clark, and becomes a BIG star. He is SO busy he doesn't have time to write a letter, or call his faithful love, Susan. She assumes he can have his pick of a thousand girls, and that he's forgotton about her, She's about to cry her eyes out to her mom, here, but mom (Ann Doran) tells her that she should give Ken more credit than that.

Good old Ken misses her terribly, and ducks out of his hotel to come home to Susan. He has told his manager that he'll just have to make it in the music business as an IN-eligible teen idol, 'cause he's gonna marry his true love. They have a lovely reunion on the old front porch here, and Susan never spills the beans that she bought his career by paying the talent scout to come to the high school hop, but she assures him that even if his musical career flops, they are "going to make it, somehow!"

I've seen a lot of these "Millionaire" episodes, and this one is one of the best acted of them all. That is probably why it's one of the few that you can still obtain on tape today. At the age of eighteen, Sherry completely carried this episode. Still a teenager, her facial expressions were delightful, and she got to portray the gamut of emotions that a young girl in love goes through. Were gorgeous young women that could act so dime-a-dozen in 1960, or WHY didn't Sherry become as big as Elizabeth Taylor?

previous page
Powered by MSN TV
next page