Nell Carter


While appearing on a radio show earlier today to promote “The Rocket That Fell to Earth,” I was confronted with a question that caught me off guard: Why do you have a picture of Nell Carter on your website?

Prepared to talk all things Roger Clemens, my brain froze: Why did I have a picture of Nell Carter on my website? And then I remembered the answer.

I have a picture of Nell Carter on my website because Nell Carter, dead or alive, kicks ass. When I was but a wee boy on the tough streets of Mahopac, N.Y., she brought hope into my otherwise sad, dreary life. Once a week, I could turn on the television and hear Nell’s marvelous voice via the “Gimme a Break” theme song. (This version is even better) That alone would lift me out of the Mahopac projects and into a world of love and joy. Toss in those ragamuffin Lawrence boys and, well, I was in heaven. (Was Nell Harper a good actress? I would argue yes, but the fact that her character on “Gimme a Break” was also named Nell leads me to believe they had questions about her ability).

I would love to make my Top 10 Nell Carter Moments List, but, well, I’ve only got one: In a very special episode of “Gimme a Break,” Nell and the gang head to Tennessee for the World’s Fair (or it might have been New Orleans for Mardi Gras). Against all odds, everyone deserts the tents and various exhibits to join Nell—who played a nanny—as she leads them in a boisterous rendition of “When The Saints Go Marching In.”

Ah, Nell …

PS: What ever became of Telma Hopkins? I liked her.