In looking for more information about the apparently awful play “Maid in the Ozarks,” I found a copy of a playbill on eBay, which contained photos of young Jack Nicholson, who played the role of Thad Calhoun. The production company was Jackie Productions, Inc., of which I know nothing.
“Maid in the Ozarks” apparently was staged in Los Angeles in 1941, and Robert Mitchum was in it for a while. It was a big hit around the country, and the Chicago production eventually moved to Broadway in 1946, where the public loved it and the critics hated it. The play traveled around the country with the Broadway lead Burman Bodel. At some point in the 1950s, Jack Nicholson took a crack at it. I’ve posted a couple of photos of Jack Nicholson from the playbill here.
What a delightful piece of ephemera!
My grandfather was Burman Bodel, we have all sorts of playbills also there are photos (even more online now) so we might be able to give you some information. Right now I am trying to find out if anyone ever took video footage of it anywhere.
Jessica, thanks for writing. Where in Missouri was Burman Bodel from?
He was born in Skidmore, Nodaway, Missouri and then moved to Yuma Colorado.
Hi Harry, just an update we actually have a small bit of video of part of the play (not with Jack Nicholson in it, just my Grandfather and another actress) and some of the music for the time when Jack Nicholson was in it (they were separate parts but my dad edited them together.)
I’d love to see the video.
This is a video clip of a section of the play Burman edited it himself I believe (he often did this kind of thing) it can be hard to follow the words he inserted as the film is actually silent, the soundtrack is actually from the Maid in the Ozarks as well, it is actually from the time when Jack Nicholson was in the play, its done by the Ozark Mountaineers. Burman actually was the one who staged and redid the play as a musical. My father combined the sound clip with the video clip.
My mother is 96 years old, and played the part of Daisy Bell in this play in Downtown Los Angeles in about 1940. Her stage name was Lee Hayes. She said Robert Mitchum, an unknown actor, came in and substituted one night, and he did such a great job, he replaced the other lead. Mom would be glad to talk further about her experience in this play by telephone, and she’s still very sharp. She replies to emails, too. Email me to get her contact information.