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5 fast facts about 'Life with Elizabeth'

Image: Guild Films

Though Betty White may claim that nobody remembers Life with Elizabeth, it was one of the first entries on her almost 80 year career — and one of the first half-hour sitcoms to hit the air.

Luckily, just in case Life with Elizabeth has been forgotten, Decades will now air it regularly as part of our Lost TV programming! If this is your first experience with the pioneering sitcom, here are some quick facts that'll get you up to speed.

Discover more Lost TV each weekday at 2PM | 1C and 1AM | 12C on Decades.


It wasn’t canceled for lack of viewership.

Guild Films decided to cancel the show after 65 episodes because they thought having too many episodes would make the show less profitable in second-run syndication.

Image: Guild Films


White’s character was based on sketch comedy character.

Like Mary Katherine Gallagher in Superstar and Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar in Wayne’s World, the concept of Life With Elizabeth, most notably, the character Elizabeth, was based on a running sketch from Hollywood on Television, a live talk and sketch show starring Betty White, that aired from 1949 to 1953.

Image: KLAC


White was hesitant to make ‘Life With Elizabeth’ its own show.

"It won’t work," White told PBS, "The jokes won’t hold up that long. You can’t do a half hour. We do them like anecdotes that a husband and wife will tell in an evening… but if you stretch that into a half hour, it goes flat in the middle."

Image: Guild Films


The show was done live.

White told PBS that she would drive to work with the writer George Tibbles and the two of them would ad-lib the script they would be working on filming that week.

Image: Guild Films


It was really low-budget.

Part of Life with Elizabeth’s charm is the fact that it didn’t have many bells and whistles. In fact, the budget for each episode was only $1.95! While you might be thinking, "Oh, that’s not too bad when you take inflation into account," adjusted for inflation, that’s $17.81 in modern spending. YouTube series probably cost more than that!

Image: Guild Films

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