TV Cream

Films: L is for...

Life With The Lyons/The Lyons In Paris

Starring real life husband and wife team Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels, and their children Richard and Barbara Lyon, this is probably the first fimled sitcom, although it’s technically a film of a hit radio situation comedy, the television series coming after the films. Ben Lyon was an American actor who had been appearing in numerous films including Hell’s Angels (1930), loony billionaire Howard Hughes’ panegyric to pilots. Lyon starred in another radio-based film, Hi Gang! (1941) which had little to do with the show other than featuring one of its stalwarts, British comic Vic Oliver, married at the time to Sarah Churchill, daughter Winston. Lyon joined the RAF and the family moved to Britain, striking their biggest success there, radio series Life With The Lyons, as massively popular as only wartime radio series could be. It probably seemed natural to spin the venture off into film, especially since television was still the province of half a dozen families living so close to the studios that they could have heard the announcers by leaning out of their living room windows. The show did make it to television in 1955. It turned out that the radio, television and film versions all had one thing in common: they weren’t funny. The films themselves are based on the same premise as their predecessors; family get involved in scrapes, dad gets a bit frustrated, wife tells him to calm down, kids laugh at him, everybody cuddles. A thick seam of boundless hilarity indeed.

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