The daughter of a retired sea captain and his much-younger wife, actress Norma Varden was born in 1898 and raised in turn-of-the-century London. A piano prodigy, she studied in Paris and appeared in concert in England during her teenage years. Acting, however, became her career of choice, studying at the Guildhall School of Music. She took her very first stage bow in a production of Peter Pan. In the adult role of Mrs. Darling, she was actually younger than the actors playing her children. In years to come, Norma would play a number of mature, lady-like roles that were much older than she was.
Character actress Norma Varden in 1953 was a 24-year veteran of stage, screen, and radio. She had appeared with Lucy in the 1950 motion picture "Fancy Pants," and had memorable roles in such classic films as "Casablanca," "Random Harvest," "National Velvet" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train." At the time of her appearance, Ms. Varden had just completed a role in 20th Century-Fox's latest Technicolor musical, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," starring Marilyn Monroe. Today, fans of classic television remember Ms. Varden primarily for her four-year stint as Harriet Johnson, the eccentric neighbor on Shirley Booth's .This episode was the first and only time that the lyrics to the "I Love Lucy" theme were used in the show.
Peter Finch, playing "John Wiley," narrates the opening, introducing his wife-to-be Ruth (Elizabeth Taylor) and her fussy customer (Norma Varden), in Paramount's Elephant Walk, 1954, also starring Dana Andrews.