Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thelma Harper: 10 Famous TV Moms: Costume Ideas

Thelma Harper is a mother and grandmother. Vicki Lawrence began playing the character of Mama in the Family sketches on The Carol Burnett show in the early 1970s. After that show went off the air, Mama's Family emerged as a spin-off.

Thelma is a widow with three children, Vinton, Ellen and Eunice. Buzz and Bubba are her grandsons. They live in Raytown, in the Southern US. At different times, she'll have different groups of her kids and grandkids living with her. She's had odd jobs including working in a travel agency and at the grocery store. She was even mayor of Raytown for a short time.

She may be a lady of a certain age, but she is the matriarch of that family, she has an abrasive wit and will put anyone in his or her place. It's a family show, pun intended.

Maybe you're thinking of an old lady costume, but taking it to the next step and portraying a wisecracking grandmother from a 1980s television series will get you more attention and you'll have a lot more fun.

You can choose a granny costume (left) with an old lady wig.

Instead pick and choose the pieces you want to wear to become as much the character of Thelma you want. She was known for wearing a flowered dress, a strand of pearls and having a shawl or sweater in a coordinating color. Thelma might carry a purse of a substantial size (always on trend) and she may have a small flowered hat.

Choose the Spring Flourish Aloha MuuMuu House Dress a Hawaiian shirt or a more contemporary sundress to update Thelma a little. She'd always wanted to go to Hawaii. She appeared on the game show, Jeopardy and while she didn't win the game, the consolation prize was a trip to Hawaii. She also appeared on Hollywood Squares.

In October of 2009, she appeared on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Getting 9 out of 10 questions correct, she won $8,000 for charity.

They say that Vicki Lawrence wore padding under her Mama dress. The Adult Fat Suit has received five star customer ratings from customers. Couldn't Santa have Mrs. Claus use this later for the holidays costumes? You'll find full and partial fat suits for men and women. Definitely use it again.

The Mixed Grey Old Lady Wig is curly like Thelma's hair and has good marks from customers.

We gathered up some of our old costumes and donated them to a local theater company. Not sure how many of them they've used but between that and participating in Costume Swaps, there are several nice ways to pass on costumes you'll no longer use.

Choose a colorful Woman's Shawl for when you're Mama. You'll be able to use it later, too. Nothing Old Lady about these.

Ken Berry played her son, Vinton and Dorothy Lyman was his wife, Naomi. Thelma's daughter Ellen was played by Betty White. Her ornery daugher, Eunice was played by Carol Burnett. Harvey Korman played Eunice's husband, Ed Higgins. Korman directed many of the earlier episodes. When Eunice was irritated, instead of "Mama," she'd refer to her mother as, "Old Woman!"

Many of these characters had distinctive looks and they would make for a fun set of group costumes. This is thanks in part to the excellent costuming and writing of the characters from The Carol Burnett Show.

Get Mama's Family on DVD unedited, no watermarks or commercial breaks.

You may be able to catch Mama live and in person on a comedy tour. Be on the lookout. In the past she has toured with Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two-Woman Show.

Lawrence had a hit song in 1973 with The Night the Lights went out in Georgia.

What other TV Moms will be on the list
of 10 Costume-worthy Mamas? 
Who do you think belongs on the list?

Cher, Samantha Stephens & Endora, Cersei Lannister, Lily Munster, Julia Baker and now Thelma Harper. 
Three more to go.

The Moms and Dads are in no particular order

Previously there was 
The Famous TV Dads Costume Ideas list

** The 10 Famous TV Dads Costume Ideas Series began with Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show.

Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show
Gomez Addams
George Jetson
Teutul Sr. from American Chopper
Ricky Ricardo in I Love Lucy
Herman Munster
Ben Cartwright from Bonanza
Homer Simpson
King Friday the 13th from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
Bruce Jenner were the 10 Famous TV Dads.

Information is from various sources
When significant updates are added to pages, there will be a message with the date of last update.

You can get the book, Mama for President: Good Lord, Why Not? at the top of the page perfect for this election season. Read it on your Kindle, read it on the plane: Mama for President: Kindle eReader edition.

Image of Mama used under Creative Commons from rstinnett (Flickr)
Image of Mama's Family from Amazon

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