1 9 5 3 – 1 9 5 7 (USA)
1000+ x 15 minute episodes
Valiant Lady was an in-name-only adaptation of the NBC radio serial, which ran from 1938-46 and 1951-52.
TV’s “valiant lady” was Middlebury resident Helen Emerson (played initially by Nancy Coleman and then by Flora Campbell), who was mother to 19-year-old Mickey (James Kirkwood Jr.), 17-year-old Diane (played successively by Anne Pearson, Delores Sutton, Sue Randall and Leila Martin), and 9-year-old Kim (Lydia Reed, then Bonnie Sawyer).
Early in the CBS television series, trouble struck her husband Frank (Jerome Cowan), who had a failing heart but overworked himself at business nonetheless to provide for his family. He died within a few months, plunging his family into numerous traumas.
Helen became attracted to pilot Chris Kendall (Lawrence Weber), who, unfortunately, was married, albeit separated. Despite that, even family friend Margot Finchley (Katherine Anderson) thought he was the man for Helen. Helen stayed with him as he divorced Linda (Frances Helm) but endured much adversity in the ensuing custody battle for Chris and Linda’s son David (Johnny Coleman).
While her relationship with Chris proved not to be, Helen found true love with Governor Lawrence Walker (John Graham) and married him in February 1957.
Her relationship with her kids was more problematic. Her chief problem child was Diane, who whined about wanting to go to Briarmount, an expensive college.
She ditched her college plans in 1954, though, and eloped with Hal Soames (Earl Hammond), a previously married man, then became infatuated with Joey Gordon (Martin Balsam), who saved the Emerson clan when they were held hostage by a crazed ex-lover of Helen’s in 1955.
Mickey was almost as bothersome for Helen. He had an up-and-down relationship with Bonnie Withers (Joan Lorring and Shirley Egleston), who ran away to Bloomfield to escape him. He also fought with Elliott Norris (Terry O’Sullivan) before becoming engaged to Roberta Wilcox (Betty Oakes).
Youngest child Kim did not mature fast enough to get her cut of the action her brother and sister had on this show.
Valiant Lady aired live from New York.
(1) Nancy Coleman
(2) Flora Campbell
James Kirkwood Jr.
Diane Emerson Soames
(1) Anne Pearson
(2) Delores Sutton
(3) Sue Randall
(4) Leila Martin
(1) Lydia Reed
(2) Bonnie Sawyer
(1) Joan Lorring
(2) Shirley Egleston
Governor Lawrence Walker