Boomer TV Trivia: The Snoop Sisters
Q1. What television star appeared as a regular on The Snoop Sisters in 1974, before becoming a popular game show host?
Q2. What was the inspiration for The Snoop Sisters monthly movies on NBC (1973-1974)?
The Snoop Sisters monthly NBC television movie series starring Helen Hayes (Ernesta Snoop) and Mildred Natwick (Gwendolyn Snoop Nicholson) as elderly sisters that solve mysteries, ran from December 1973-March 1974. The Snoop Sister monthly movies and this series were popular with baby boomer audiences.
Actress Helen Hayes was a septuagenarian senior citizen and Mildred Natwick was in her senior years as well (both already veterans of stage and screen), when The Snoop Sisters aired, and both were nominated for an Emmy Award for their work on the series.
The first The Snoop Sisters movie starring Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick aired in December 1972 on NBC. This movie was later retitled to The Female Instinct and served as the NBC pilot for the series. The regular rotation of The Snoop Sisters movies in the NBC monthly movie series didn’t begin until a year later, on December 1973; and the last movie in the series aired in March 1974. All told, NBC only made 5 of The Snoop Sisters movies.
Tony, Emmy & Academy Award-winning actress Helen Hayes – star of stage, television and movies – had retired from the stage in 1971 because of asthma by the time she co-starred in The Snoop Sisters.
Prior to that, Hayes had enjoyed a 70-year acting career beginning on stage when she was just 5 years old, followed by her first credited movie role in the silent movie The Weavers of Life (1917) as a teenager.
From left, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou, Mary Philips, and Helen Hayes in the movie A Farewell to Arms (1932). (A Farewell to Arms 1932 Movie in Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons)
When The Snoop Sisters ended, Helen Hayes continued to act in movies (her last movie Candleshoe, was in 1977) and on television, ending her acting career starring as Miss Marple in the made-for-television movie Murder with Mirrors (1985).
Playing a likeable and “snoopy” older woman solving mysteries was child’s play for this 85-year-old octogenarian senior citizen. Helen Hayes was married once, to writer Charles MacArthur (The Front Page) from 1928 until his death in 1956. The couple had 2 children, daughter Mary who died at age 19 from polio, and their adopted son, actor James MacArthur (Danno on Hawaii Five-O). Helen Hayes died in 1993 at age 92, a nonagenarian senior citizen who lived a very long, very full and productive life.
(Helen Hayes 1972 Photo: Unknown / University of Michigan Yearbook | Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)
(Mildred Natwick in The Trouble With Harry 1955 movie trailer screenshot: Public Domain)
Tony and Academy Award-nominated actress Mildred Natwick‘s life and career was almost as impressive as Helen Hayes’. By the time Natwick died from cancer in 1994 at age 89, she was an octogenarian senior citizen with a lengthy acting career, starting on stage in 1932 with Carry Nation and ending with Bedroom Farce (1979). Right Photo: Mildred Natwick in Barefoot in the Park – stinkylulu.blogspot.com
Mildred Natwick got a later start in the movies, with her first credited role on film coming in The Long Voyage Home (1940). She never married and had no children, but she acted steadily in the movies, on stage and television until her final movie role in the movie Dangerous Liaisons (1988) at age 83. Mildred Natwick died from cancer in 1994, an octogenarian senior citizen with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie on her mantle, for her work in The Snoop Sisters.
(Mildred Natwick 1947 Photo: 20th Century Fox | Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)
Both Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick were long-time residents of New York and off-screen friends. They were both supporters of the Riverside Shakespeare Company in New York City and were the first members of this company’s Board of Advisors when it was formed in 1981.
A1. Bert Convy played Lt. Steve Ostrowski during the 1974 season of The Snoop Sisters. Bert Convy was only 57 yeas old when he died in 1991 of a brain tumour.
A2. Prior to the 1972 The Snoop Sisters NBC movie, both Mildred Natwick and Helen Hayes had appeared in a 1971 ABC TV movie Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate about two elderly amateur sleuths. Although the character names were different and it was on a different network, this movie may have inspired the subsequent The Snoop Sisters movies on NBC.
Baby boomer Anita Hamilton lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her family and 3 mini-dachshund minions. She’s a lifelong voracious reader who enjoys researching and has extensive experience in sales, marketing and copy writing. Senior City was inspired when she had difficulty finding local housing, products and services online for her elderly parents.