Playhouse 90 (1956–1961)
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The Hostess with the Mostes' 

The story of Perle Mesta, who became, first, a renowned society hostess, and then an ambassadress.


Paul Nickell


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley Booth ... Perle Mesta
Hedda Hopper ... Maizie Weldon / Herself
Perle Mesta Perle Mesta ... Herself
Shepperd Strudwick ... Charley Potter
Robert Lowery ... George Mesta
Frank Milan Frank Milan ... Philip Caldwell
Joan Wetmore ... Emily
Louise Beavers ... Mattie Mae
Peter J. Votrian ... Mac
Evelyn Rudie ... Young Perle Mesta
Fred Essler Fred Essler ... Professor Frolich
Emily Lawrence Emily Lawrence ... Reverend Mother
Karen Lenay Karen Lenay ... Countess Bellefonte
Carol Veazie Carol Veazie ... Mrs. Kreeger
Howard Wendell Howard Wendell ... Senator Kreeger


Mrs. Mesta's biography, from her lonely childhood in the oil patch, to her term as Truman's ambassador to Luxembourg. Along the way, we see her marriage to Steel magnate George Mesta, her accident-prone first party in Washington, and an incident where she tries to help a boy refugee from East Berlin. Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

21 March 1957 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the close of the program, Hedda Hopper shows off several of the recently presented Emmy awards Playhouse 90 has won, including the one for the first season's show "Requiem For a Heavyweight". By WesternOne. See more »


References Playhouse 90: Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

The story behind "Call Me Madam"
28 May 2018 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

Call Me Madam is one of my favorite old movies, but I had no idea it was based off a real woman's life! Pearl Mesta started life in Oklahoma, and when her father struck oil, her future was well ensured. However, while the musical references her background, the main plot and character of the woman are vastly different that what really happened. In the musical, Ethel Merman portrays an absolute idiot. In The Hostess with the Mostest, a television biopic of the Pearl Mesta, Shirley Booth takes over and tells her real story.

A fast learner who relies on natural intelligence and spontaneous problem-solving, Pearl travels to New York to pursue her dream of being an opera singer. While she doesn't make it, she does fall in love with her neighbor, Robert Lowrey. As a housewife, she has other goals: to become a wonderful hostess and for her guests to be incredibly happy at her parties. Once in Washington, she hobnobs with senators, President Truman, and gossip columnists-Hedda Hopper plays one!

If you've never seen Call Me Madam, this story probably won't appeal to you. But if you have, and you're interested in what the real Pearl was like, you can give this a watch. Shirley is always a likable heroine, and believe it or not, she looks really pretty in this movie! Her gowns are very flattering, making me wonder if it was her money her guests were interested in, or her other assets.

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