For old school cinema buffs who revel in the stern antics of such character actresses as Fern Emmett and Margaret Hamilton, the divine Lucy Lee Flippin, nicely, offers up a contemporary answer to her predecessors’ judgmental, high-strung activities. Best known as Alonzo’s strait-laced schoolmarm sister in Little House on the Prairie, Flippin is highly recognizable to students of ‘70s and ‘80s television and film.
Her roles in such films as Summer School, Flashdance and Earth Girls Are Easy, often in administrative or secretarial roles, gained her widespread recognition. But much like Emmett, who played cameo bits in many of the Universal horror features, Flippin also appeared in such projects as zombie-comedy Surf II and the Chuck Norris slasher Hero and the Terror in blink & you’ll miss her performances.
Significantly, unlike Emmett and Hamilton who were stuck performing characters without an ounce of sexuality, Flippin got to indulge in earthier aspects with her characterizations. As the slightly vengeful Natasha Jones on The Munsters Today, she gave full essence to the lustful nature of the part, ending that experience as part of a May-December pairing the likes of which Miss Gulch never would have seen. Nancy, her arched eyed hotel worker on a popular episode of The Golden Girls, also rang with the heart of a manipulative grifter, a criminality that the citizens portrayed by her cinematic forebears never would have approached.
Even more impactively, Helen, the desperate character she essayed on the second season of (the original) Charmed would have caused Martha Steele, Babe in Arms’ show business folk disapproving miser, smartly played by Hamilton, much alarm. There Flippen essayed a woman willing to murder and conjure skin shredding demons, all for the hoped for pleasure of eternal youth.
Certainly, the distinctive actions of roles like that emphatically earn Flippin a place in the Unsung Horror Hall Of Fame.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!