Family Situary Comedy
Sally Benson born in St. Louis, but moved with her family to live in New York city at an early age. She had studied dance at the Horace Mann School and began working at 17, but at 19 was married and had a daughter. The marriage didn't work out, and the couple later divorced.
She began writing weekly interview articles and movie reviews for the New York Morning Telegraph, and had 99 stories published in the New Yorker between 1929 and 1941 (some under the pseudonym Esther Evarts). Most of her stories were semi-autobiographical, and a number were collected and published by Random House as Junior Miss. The stories were successfully adapted into a play which ran on Broadway from 1941 to 43. In the play the sassy teenage daughter, Judy Graves, loves to play romantic matchmaker, assisted by her friend, "the odd child from the apartment downstairs", Fuffy Adams. The family is thrown into turmoil when Father is fired after Judy fixes her uncle up with the boss's daughter.
The play was adapted into a movie in 1945, starring Peggy Ann Garner as Judy and Barbara Whiting as Fuffy. They would reprise their roles for the Screen Guild Theaterradio adaptaion. However when the movie was adapted into its own weekly sitcom, Barbara Whiting had the role of Judy.
The real star of the weekly sitcom Junior Miss is the role of Father played by Gale Gordon. Following the familiar formula of family sitcoms, the long suffering and patient father is forever baffled by the fact that his kids seem to be smarter than he is. This same formula was used from the Aldrich Family to My Son Jeep to The Great Gildersleeve. Gale Gordon manages to keep Judy Graves' dad from looking like too much of a simpleton, however.
Junior Miss also ran as a sitcom on the radio network before the movie came out, from March through August 1942. In this version Judy Graves was played by none other than Shirley Temple!