Home Television Comedy Mama Rosa

Mama Rosa

1 9 5 0 (USA)

This early ABC sitcom originally began life in 1948 as a local Los Angeles show on KFI-TV.

Matronly Mama Rosa (Anna Demetrio) ran a boarding house, mostly for “theatrical types” in Hollywood. She was the voice of reason amidst a lot of insanity going on around her.

Helping out at the boarding house was Mama’s daughter Nina (Beverly Garland) who worked as a stenographer for an insurance company run by the unseen Mr Dennis Campbell.

Among the boarders, Roberto Novello (Jack Bernardi) was an actor who had trouble finding steady work in the movie industry; Frenchman Nicoli (Vito Scotti) was a violinist, but also did gardening for Mama to help pay his rent. He often got things backwards – the word “bookworm” became “wormbook” and “okay” was “kayo.”

Another of the boarders, Italian immigrant Crispino (John Romano), spoke almost no English in early episodes, but his proficiency with the English language grew exponentially during the show’s brief network run.

Crispino removed his pince-nez glasses every time he spoke.

The most colourful character of the bunch, known only as “Shakespeare” (Frank Pucci), was a prankster and amateur inventor who latched onto many different “get rich quick schemes” with little success.

Episodes were broadcast live but without a studio audience. The sponsor was Sun Vista Pinto Beans in Chili Sauce.

Mama Rosa
Anna Demetrio
Beverly Garland
Roberto Novello
Jack Bernardi
Vito Scotti
John Romano
Frank Pucci