Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bobby Buntrock: The tragic death of Hazel's Harold


   


Were he still alive, Bobby Buntrock would be be 62 year old.  He died tragically, however, over 40 years ago, at the age of 21,  The child actor, who played Harold Baxter on the popular 1960s Hazel comedy series, lost his life in an automobile accident on a bridge in Keystone, South Dakota on April 7, 1974.  According to the World Heritage Encyclopedia, the bridge had been severely damaged two years previously in the South Dakota Flood of 1972.  There was a large hole in the middle of the bridge with at least 3.1 to 4.6 metres (10 to 15 feet) of water in the hole from the creek. Unfortunately, there were no warning signs or barricades to call attention to the danger.  Bobby was en route to visit a friend when his car slid of the side of the road and flipped over into the water.

The accident was reported and divers arrived at the scene.  They eventually reached the car and discovered Bobby's body.  The young man had tried to escape, but he had been unable to pry the door open far enough due to the mud and the sheer force of the water. His death was horribly heartbreaking and could have been prevented.

Robert W, "Bobby" Buntrock was born in Denver, Colorado on August 4, 1952, the son of Robert Edward Buntrock, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, and his wife Maxine. Bobby had a younger sister named Stella. When he was three years old, the family moved to Whittier, California where neighbours urged Bobby's parents to get their son into acting. and encouraged them to send photographs of the child to the studios.  The neighbours were so persistent, according to an October 14, 1961 item in the Lewiston Evening Journal, that they sent a photographer to have Bobby's picture taken specifically for that purpose.

When the photos were received, the Buntrocks agreed, under pressure, to submit them to an agent, Marcella Bell, who auditioned young Bobby and signed him on as client..  He made made his acting debut n 1959, appearing with Hollywood great Bette Davis on NBC's Wagon Train.  In the episode, "The Ella Lindstrom Story" (Season 2, Episode 18, Air Date (February 4, 1959). he played Bo Lindstom, one of Ella's (Davis) children.

In 1960 Bobby appeared as Buddy on an episode of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse called "Dr. Kate."  In 1961, he had cameo roles on two of the biggest hit comedies on American television, Mr. Ed and The Donna Reed Show.  In an early episode of Mr. Ed, "Kiddy Park," he played a small boy in the park where Ed, the talking horse, was giving pony rides.  (Season 1, Episode 4, Air Date: January 26, 1961).  On The Donna Reed Show, Bobby played a crying child in an episode entitled "Mary's Little Lamb" (Season 3, Episode 38, Air Date: June 8, 1961).  In the episode, Mary Stone (Shelly Faberes) is permitted to open the house to a baby-sitting service while her mother is out of town.

In  1961, Bobby was cast as eight-year-old Harold Baxter on the sitcom Hazel, starring Oscar-winner Shirley Booth (In 1953, she won an Academy award for her role in Come Back, Little Sheba).  The series, based on Ted Key's cartoon in the Saturday Evening Post about a busybody maid, became a huge hit with viewers.  Don Defore and Whitney Blake played Hazel's employers, George and Dorothy Baxter, and Bobby played their blond-haired son.

The first five seasons of the show (1961-1965) were broadcast on NBC.  After the fourth season, both DeFore and Blake left the series.  When the show moved to CBS for its fifth and final season, it was completely revamped.  George and Dorothy were transferred to Saudi Arabia on business for a lengthy period and Hazel and Harold moved in with George's bother, real estate agent Steve Baxter (Ray Fulmer) and his wife, Barbara (Lynn Borden).  Their daughter Susie, Harold's younger cousin, was played by child actress Julia Benjamin.

Below is a photo (circa 1965) of Bobby with Shirley Booth and Julia Benjamin.




While starring in Hazel, Bobby Buntrock made appearances on other television series.  In 1963 he took on the role of Andrew in an episode of the popular TV Western The Virginian ("Brother Thaddeus," Season 2, Episode 7, Air Date: (October 30, 1963).  That same year, he played a character named Scout Hendricks in an episode of the crime series Burke's Law entitled "Who Killed Eleanora Davis?" (Season 1, Episode 13, Air Date: December 20,1963).  In 1965 he portrayed Peter, a Cub Scout, on the Inger Stevens comedy, The Farmer's Daughter in an episode entitled "Ja, Ja, a Thousand Times Ja" (Season 2, Episode 32, Air Date (May 7, 1965).

After Hazel went off the air in 1966, the teenage Bobby, made two more guest appearances on The Virginian and then retired from acting.  The Virginian episodes, which aired in 1967, are "Doctor Pat" (Season 5, Episode 23, Air Date: March 1, 1967) and "The Masquerade" (Season 6, Episode 6, Air Date: October 18, 1967).


WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REST OF THE CAST OF HAZEL?

Shirley Booth (Hazel),retired from acting in 1974.  The Brooklyn-born actress died on October 16, 1992 at her home in North Chatham, Massachusetts after suffering from health problems such as blindness and a broken hip.  Shirley was 94 years old at the time of her passing.

Don DeFore, who played Hazel's employer, attorney George Baxter, died of a cardiac arrest on December 22, 1993 in Santa Monica, California.  He was 80 years old.  Prior to his role as George Baxer, Don played Erskin "Thorny" Thornberry, the Nelson family's neighbour on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Whitney Blake, who portrayed Dorothy Baxter, died of cancer of the esophagus on September 28, 2002.  She passed away in Edgartown, Massachusetts at the age of 76. Whitney was the mother of actress Meredith Baxter of Family Ties fame (Coincidentally, Blake's first husband was named Tom Baxter).

Hazel (Booth) with Mr. and Mrs. Baxter (DeFore and Blake)


Julia Benjamin (Susie Baxter) will turn 58 years old on February 21, 2015 and is retired from acting.  After Hazel was cancelled by CBS in 1966, Julia was only able to land a few guest-starring roles on television.

Ray Fulmer (Steve Baxter) celebrates his 82nd birthday today.  After Hazel left the air, Ray played the role of Lee Gantry on the CBS daytime soap The Guiding Light.  He later portrayed Martin Nell Dillard on another soap, Somerset, a spin-off of Another World.

Lynn Borden (Barbara Baxter) is now 77 years old   She has made guest appearances on such television series as My Three Sons (1967), The F.B.I.(1968), Family Affair (1967) (1968 - twice), Get Smart (1967) (1969),  The Mod Squad (1969), McMiillan & Wife (1975), Petrocelli (1976). Starsky and Hutch (1977), Fantasy Island (1978), The Fall Guy (1982) and CSI: NY (2006). In most recent years, Lynn has worked in television commercials and on stage.

Lynn Borden (right) with Shirley Booth and Ray Fulmer


END NOTES

* Bobby Buntock's sister Stella appeared in some television commercials as a child.

* When Bobby starred in Hazel, he was required by law to have a tutor on the set. When the show was on hiatus, he attended Lake Marie Public School in Whittier, California.

* A false story has been circulating that Bobby Buntrock's mother died a year before her son in a car accident at the same bridge in South Dakota where he perished.  However, Maxine Buntrock died on June 20, 1972 of cardiac arrest at the family home.

* Bobby's father, Robert Edward Buntrock, remarried in 1979.  He wed a widow named Margaret R. (Champion) McClure.who became stepmother to Bobby's sister Stella (Buntrock) Watson.  Robert, who was born on September 3, 1915, passed away on March 21, 1996.  Margaret, originally from Keystone, South Dakota, died on March 14, 2011 at the age of 92 in Rapid City, South Dakota.

* According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Bobby was a member of the National Guard in Rapid City, South Dakota.

* Below is a photo of Bobby Buntrock's grave.  He is buried at Keystone Cemetery, Keystone, Pennington Country, South Dakota, U.S.A.





EDITOR'S NOTE (March 2, 2016):  This photo has been identified as Bobby Buntrock on the "Find a Grave" website and on Pininterest.  It is the only photo I have seen of him as an adult.







EDITOR'S NOTE (March 10, 2016):  The photo above photo has been misidentified as Bobby Buntrock on the "Find a Grave" website and on "Pininterest."  It is, in fact, Bobby Driscoll, an American child actor who became drug-addicted and died a sad death in 1968 at the age of 31.  Here is a picture of Bobby Driscoll as a child.

Bobby Drisccoll

It is easy to understand the confusion as both actors had the same first name and both died young. Driscoll had darker hair.  Note: I have yet to see an adult photo of Bobby Buntrock.



- Joanne

67 comments:

  1. I found your article to be very informative about the career of Bobby Buntrock. It was better than that which IMDb has posted. It is unfortunate that more information about Bobby's military service wasn't available. As a veteran and a fan, I salute him and wish that there was an acknowledgement of his service on his grave site. Thank you for sharing your post.

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    1. Randall, that was very nice what you wrote. Thank you for your service. You are greatly appreciated and respected. Thank you again!

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    2. This was everthing, you'd hope to learn...Two thumbs up!! Thanks :-)

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    3. I had the pleasure of completing Basic Training at Ft. Ord, CA. I remember how many of the drill instructors used to pick on him and called him Hollywood. We used to protect him from this abuse by speaking out. Bobby enjoyed hanging out with our Mexican-American group. I was very saddened when I heard of his tragic death. May you rext in peace Bobby. B53 was our unit. We reported for duty on December21, 1970 and graduated two months later.

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  2. I became a huge Hazel fan only as of 2014. Love the first few seasons with the George Baxters in residence. Great interplay among the actors, and you could believe they really cared about each other. Sorry to learn the circumstances of Bobby Buntrock's death. Glad also to know what happened with the rest of the cast. Thanks for the info.

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  3. Lynn Borden passed away in May, 2015.

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    1. Yes Lynn Borden passed away, but the actual date of her death was March 3, 2015. She was 77.

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  4. I just wrote a reply but Im not sure it went through. I loved watching Hazel when I was little and my family were all still living and still close to each other. Im 51 now and watching Hazel makes me feel warm but sad at the same time. What happened to Bobby's sister Stella.? I can't find anything on her. Is she still living?.

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    1. Thank you for writing. Stella is mentioned in the 2011 obituary of her and Bobby's stepmother, Margaret. Other than that, I haven't been able to find anything on her. Perhaps she wants to maintain her privacy. If so, I have to respect that. However, if she wishes to share some thoughts or memories about her brother, she's welcome to email me and share them with TV Banter readers. I have tried to find a picture of Bobby at an older age, but there doesn't seem to be one available, so it appears the family wants to keep a low profile.

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    2. So very sad about all of the cast. Hazel was a great show and my family and I still watch it every day. I love Shirley Booth and all of her work. They just don't make sitcoms like that anymore--Good clean fun!

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    4. There is one photo that has been identified as Bobby as an adult. See editor's note above.

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  5. Why did Don Defoe and Whitney Blake both leave Hazel at the same time?

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  6. Don Defoe and and Whitney Blake did not quit Hazel. They left because their contract options were not picked up when the show moved from NBC to CBS. It was most likely a cost cutting measure by the network.

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    1. According to articles about Shirley Booth, who actually owned Hazel, along with her husband, there was animosity between her, DeFore and Blake...many different sources state that they felt upstaged by Bobby Buntrock. Sad, if that was true...It was a wonderful show, and like others, I still watch it on AntennaTV.

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    2. I don't know anything regarding animosity between cast members, but one small correction. Shirley Booth's second husband died in 1951 and she never remarried. The rights to the show Hazel were owned by Booth alone.

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    3. Shirley Booth married twice. She married her first husband, comedian Ed Gardner, in 1929 and they divorced in 1942. She wed William Hogg Baker, Jr. in 1943. He died in 1951, well before Hazel came to television. Shirley never remarried after the death of her second husband.

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  7. Bobby Buntrock starred in the series Circus Boy. How could you leave
    Major role out?

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    1. It was Micky Dolenz who was the child star in Circus Boy. I know some details are difficult to acquire because people just wasn't into trivia like they are today. Also, just as a side note, I fon't recall Bobby Buntrock as having appeared on Circus Boy. I know he appeared on Mr. Ed.

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  8. It was Micky Dolenz of the Monkees who starred in the adventure series Circus Boy from 1956 to 1958. As a child actor, Dolenz used the name "Mickey Braddock." I think you may have confused "Braddock" with "Buntrock."

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  9. Thank You, Joanne Madden, for taking the time & interest for Your collective researching. And post information about Bobby Buntrock and the cast members from "Hazel".. (Watched it as a child and watching reruns now, lol.) .. The old sitcoms were the best... I do have a question - What did Bobby Buntrock do for a career after retiring from acting before his premature demise?

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    1. After Bobby retired from acting in 1967 until the time of his death in 1974, very little has been written about his life. It seems he lived in South Dakota during those years because he was a member of the National Guard in Keystone, S.D. and his accident occurred on a bridge there. However, I have not been able to find any photographs of him during those years. He led a very private life and I think his family wants those years to remain private. His premature death must have been extremely painful. If anyone knows differently, please inform me.

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  10. I am watching Hazel as I'm posting this comment!! Remember watching it as a child & now as adult thanks to a tv station called "Antenna Tv", which shows classic programs.Although there was a lack of diversity on a lot of the shows, I did enjoy viewing them! Curious about what happened to the cast, so I Googled for info & clicked on this site.Tragic what happened to Mr.Buntrock & didn't know he died at such an early age.

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    1. I am watching Hazel right now as I am writing this post. This show is when he was living with his uncle and aunt. I liked the show when it was with his parents, I don't care for these later shows much at all. I was thinking about Bobby Buntrock as I was watching and decided to google his name....I was so surprised and sad to learn he passed away at such a young age and in such a tragic way. RIP to all of the Hazel cast.

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    2. I agree the original Hazels were the best. The ones they tried to use later to keep the show going were shallow and lacked enthusiasm. I gave up watching all together on Antenna TV

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  11. I too am watching Hazel again after all those years. I decided to Google Bobby Buntrock to see what happened to him. So sad,he died so young and tragically!! I love Google, I can find out everything about anyone from my childhood TV watching. It all makes me sad.

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    1. I to am watching Hazel, they just don't make shows like that anymore, Hazel had so many family values, Not like all the junk they put on tv today. May God bless all the cast of Hazel, and all who watches it.One of the greatest TV series of all times.

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  12. Wish I had housekeeper like Hazel .awesome lady.I watch this show since I was child .I'm 58 years old. enjoy this show.Who own the dog Smiely?I like that dog as well.

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  13. I watch Hazel in the mornings and was impressed with Bobby's acting ability at such a young age. He was a good looking kid ...i'm a bit surprised Disney didn't grab him for some movies.

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  14. I was in the Air Force and stationed at Ellsworth AFB 1972-1973 and was having some drinks at the Black Forest Inn on a date I don't remember. I asked the bartender do I know this guy because he looked familiar at a table with some other people having a good time. He said it was the little blond kid on the series Hazel. Then he told me I would have to leave because they were closing for a private party for Bobby on his 21st birthday and was getting his money from his acting career. Bobby heard the bartender and told them I could stay and celebrate with them. I thought that was a very generous thing to do, and we had a great time drinking and laughing. He will always have a spot in my heart and will be missed, he passed way too young. Rest in peace Bobby

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    1. Hi, I just read your Blog. You said that Bobby was CELEBRATING HIS 21TH BIRTHDAY and was receiving his earned money from his Acting Career. Do you mean the Bartender actually told you that? Well, he had two things to celebrate, didn't he? He could have his first Legal Drink. And he was probably getting a nice tidy sum of money from his Acting Career. Someone must have looked out for the money that he made because he didn't have very many Acting Jobs. And back then Actors didn't get the kind of money that Actors make today. If he had of lived he may have gone back into the Acting Profession later on. Of course we will never know.

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    2. Just to be clear, I, Joanne Madden, was not the one who wrote about seeing Bobby Buntrock in a bar celebrating his 21st birthday. It was a reader of my blog.

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  15. I am such a fan of the show: "HAZEL". Bobby Buntrock passed away exactly fifteen days before my oldest daughter was born. At that time I'm not sure if "Hazel" was in reruns. If it was, I don't recall seeing another episode until probaby 2011 on "ANTENNAE TV", on a Sunday Morning. Boy, was I excited. Now that I have purchased the entire series I can watch them anytime I want to. "Harold", Bobby, just never seemed to have gotten older or much taller during the entire run of the show. I read somewhere that Actress Whitney Blake, "Dorothy Baxter", did not know for ten years that Bobby was gone. I keep wondering how can that be possible when her husband, Allan Manings, wrote for Television, her daughter, Meredith Baxter, was Acting at that time, and she was still taking acting projects too. And I'm sure news like that would have gotten around "Hollywood". That's very odd to me. I'm sure the other Co-stars: Shirley Booth, "Hazel", and Don Defore, "George Baxter", knew. I would bet that it broke Shirley Booth's heart. She seemed to have enjoyed him so much on the show. As for DON Defore, I don't know how he reacted to Bobby's death. I can only assumed that it made him very sad and upset. After all he and Whitney, both, worked with Bobby for Four Seasons of "Hazel". I too, would like to see Bobby on a photo, as an adult. I knew the photos I had been seeing couldn't have been him, which turned out to be those of the Child Actor, Bobby Driscoll. I still have a hard time believing that "LITTLE HAROLD" is gone. The entire CAST FROM "HAZEL" are all together now. May all of them continue to REST IN PEACE WITH OUR LORD.

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  16. This is to Joanne Madden, I was not trying to say that it was YOU who was in the bar in the 1970's and met Bobby Buntrock, where he was celebrating his 21TH Birthday. I thought I was replying to the person who had written the blog. I guess I don't know how to blog. The next time I will comment without trying to reply to someone else's blog.

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  17. This is in response to an e*-mail that was sent to me. I had heard that "SHIRLEY BOOTH" did own "HAZEL" but how much is unclear. I also read somewhere that "DON DEFORE" OWNED A SEVEN PERCENT OF THE SHOW. Shirley did not start out as the owner of the show. And to the best of my knowledge "SHIRLEY BOOTH" was married twice. She divorced her first husband and her second husband died. So who whomever e*mailed me about she and her husband owning the show is incorrect. Her husband died long before "HAZEL" got started. And I don't think BOBBY BUNTROCK upstaged Don and Whitney at all. I hadn't heard any other fan commenting on that. Don usually had more lines than Bobby or Whitney. So I don't know how Bobby could have upstaged him. I could see how it could have happened with Whitney, being that sometimes he had more lines than she did. Or he seemed to. I have looked up and down the internet, backwards and forwards. I have found little information about "HAZEL" or the cast members. Through the years DON and WHITNEY must have been asked tons of questions about the show. I know that Whitney did a radio interview with "TOM SNYDER". However I have been unsuccessful in finding it anywhere so that I can listen to it. Years back interviews and fun trivia was not done and stored away like it is today. Why over the years no one bothered to interview the remaining cast members about the show is beyond me. Or maybe they did and I just haven't found them yet. I keep looking for someghing, anything that may be a better insight to "HAZE".

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  18. I am 59 and record and watch Hazel show. Enjoyed it as a child and still do! I mentioned to my mom yesterday who is 80 and she will be watching it now as she was not aware that it was on tv!! Thanks for the info. I also googled Bobby to see what happened with him... Sad. But what a wonderful story the person shared says a lot about his character! It's certainly the same thing Hazel would have done 😀

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  19. I was born in 1964 but was not aware of this show until the late 1960s and early 1970s when it was aired as repeats. Then I think it was on TV in the 1980s too but I never really watched it until 2012 on Antenna TV and it brought warmth to me as my grandma and dad were still alive. Now they are both gone and I feel kind of sad watching this show but it still chills me out. Love the latter episodes with Lynn Borden the most. This show reminds me of old grand aunts and uncles and a time in life where I felt no hate, anger or distress and had good people around me. So many people are gone it will be easy for me to leave this earth when my time comes. Definitely one of the best shows made in the past 55 years. It was really sad to read about Lynn Borden's death she died a month before my dad did. In 2015 I moved back to where I grew up and instead of feeling warmth it brought misery as the neighborhood changed for the worse. When good people are gone the places of yesteryear bring nothing to the soul but torment.

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  20. I, too, "re-found" Hazel on Antennae TV. I love this show! I don't quite remember it as a kid, but it is such a comfort to see a show like this. Wish my family had been like theirs. Many episodes are on YouTube, so I watch them when I want to binge on Hazel. Great writing; very sentimental.

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  21. I think when I first saw "Hazel", it was in its last season. I think I first recall seeing "Lynn Borden" and "Ray Fulmer" before I saw "Whitney Blake" and "Don Defore". But I was so young and many shows that I saw back then we're in parts, bits, and pieces. The only two sitcoms that I can really remember watching more of were "Leave It To Beaver" and "Bewitched". We didn't have much in the way of a decent Television, so I missed quite a bit if all of those "Old Shows". At this time I'm surprised that "Youtube" are allowing "Hazel" episodes to air. The copyright must be up or there isn't anyone around who cares much. Last year I had begun watching "Dennis, The Menace" on "Youtube" and when I recently tried to watch some more episodes, they had all been snatched or deleted. So now I'm in the process of buying them. I ordered the first season yesterday. I think too, that it is just a shame that we, the fans, don't have more info about "Bobby Buntrock". There aren't photos of him beyond when he was on The "Virginian". We all know that he left Acting and lived a relatively private life. He probably simply decided to finish school and go into the "Service". And then he probably intended to go on with his life from that point, continuing on in the private sector. Only his family would know what he may have wanted to do. But they've been private up to this point. It is rather odd that "Bobby" was never photographed after he left Acting. Some Actors are "Hounded" more after they leave the spotlight than when they were in it. I too wish that my family had been more like one of those TV families. Any of them before the 1970's would have been just fine.

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    1. Try to remember these were make-believe families for our entertainment. The actors real families most likely were just like yours.

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  22. I know that this forum is for "Bobby Buntrock", but recently I read that the Child Actor Paul Engle, who was on "HAZEL" for three episodes, who played "Don Blake", had past away this passed November 5, 2015. He was 67 Years Old, about four and a half years older than "Bobby". He was born on February 20, 1948. He and Whitney Blake, shared the same Birthdate. I was not able to find out the cause of Paul's death. He was almost four and a half years older than "Bobby". He was five years older than Judy Erwin, who played "Mavis Blake" on two episodes. And six years older than Kim Tyler, who played "Stevie Blake", on one episode only. Paul and Judy have one thing in common about having appeared on "HAZEL". Paul appeared on the episode: "Them New Neighbors Is Nice", without either of the other "Blake Children". And Judy appeared on the episode: "Top Secret", without any of the other "Blake Children". Paul also hold another area of notice on "HAZEL". HE and Child Actress Brenda Scott, who played "Linda Blake" on "HAZEL", both appeared on an episode without their Father, played by "John Newton" titled: "HAZEL'S'PAJAMA PARTY". Paul disappeared from Acting after he appeared on the episode: "Hazel, The Matchmaker". He finished High School and went on to College. Then he later went into Business with his father. I must say that I was rather surprised to learn that Paul had passed away. John Newton had had his Ninetieth Birthday just three days prior to Paul's death. Just as a side note, when looking up Actor John Newton, make sure that you ask for the "John Newton" who was on "HAZEL". Otherwise you may wind up with the "John Newton" who was born Forty Years Later, in 1965, and appeared on "Desparate Housewives". He was nearly four months old when "HAZEL" went off the air. I hardly think he could have been that "John Newton".

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  24. It just occurred to me that eventhough BOBBY BUNTROCK'S BIRTHDAY would have been nearly two weeks ago, he wasn't the only Main Cast Member on "HAZEL" whose Birthday would have been this month. DON DEFORE, "GEORGE", would have been ONE HUNDRED AND THREE YEARS OLD ON AUGUST 25, 2016. AND SHIRLEY BOOTH, "HAZEL", would have been ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD ON AUGUST 30, 2016. The CREATOR OF "HAZEL", TED KEY, was also an "AUGUST BABY", sharing the same BIRTHDATE AS DON DEFORE, EXCEPT HE WAS BORN A YEAR EARLIER, IN 1912. I don't believe in coincidence but it is odd that three out of the four MAIN CAST MEMBERS, ALL HAD A BIRTHDATE IN AUGUST. I don't think I have ever come across this sort of trivia before.

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    1. I just turned fifty on last Friday, September 16th! I don't remember Hazel as a child but have been enjoying the re-runs on antenna TV for the past few years. I really enjoyed this artical as it contained more information about the show and actors than any other site I have investigated! As many others have commented I would love to know what Bobby looked like before his untimely demise. Also I really found the information about how old the actors would be NOW (posted above) to be really interesting! You know I watch antenna TV almost exclusively i just find it to be good clean and humerous entertainment that you just can't find on current TV programming. Mabe I weird I don't know! The only thing that gets to me is when I think about the fact that almost all of the actors I'm watching are now dead! And that kind of depresses me! One last thing...I didn't realize that the women who played Mrs Baxter (sorry can't remember which one at the moment) was the mother of the mother on family ties! When you look at her face boy can you see the resemblance! Really interesting fact! Thank you to everyone for all the information!

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  25. I was just briefly going back through some of the comments on this forum. I finally took notice of "Anonymous" comment on May 7, 2016. The comment states that according to articles about Shirley Booth, there was some animosity between her, Don Defore, and Whitney Blake. Well, I must not have the right combination to those articles, because I haven't found them. And I did read that Shirley and DON use to communicate by phone over the years. It may be true that Whitney distanced herself from the other cast members. But "HAZEL" is what WHITNEY is/was most famous for. Though she was a Co-creator of the show: "ONE DAY AT A TIME", I didn't know that until maybe a couple of years ago. Two days ago I saw an episode of "MANNIX", titled: "COFFIN FOR A CLOWN". In it WHITNEY played the mom of a kidnapped son who was in line to inherit a huge amount of money. Her hair was longer, still blonde and sort of flipped on the ends. Sort of a glamorous looking mom. Not so toned down, like on "HAZEL". If there was trouble on "HAZEL" we'll probably never know about it. Who is still around who would have details like that and would be willing to divulge them, anyway? I noticed that there is an Author name David C. Tucker, who is famous for writing books about female, long gone celebrities, such as SHIRLEY BOOTH. I haven't read any of his books, but I'm not always so interested in gossipy rumors as I am fun trivia. I wonder how much did he write in his book about the show?! I should see if I could get a copy of his book about Shirley from the local Library. Maybe it might clear up some of those unanswered questions that everyone keep asking over and over. What I kerpbwondering is, if Shirley was truly in ill health when she left "HAZEL", how come she tried to make a comeback with a show in the 1970's called: "A Touch OF Grace"? I think she was probably tired of "HAZEL" and decided to get out of it. And since she owned part of the show, she wasn't ever going to want for money or ever have to work hard to earn it again during her lifetime. I still don't know how much of "HAZEL" she actually owned. Obviously a good percentage of it. Maybe it's revealed in David C. Tucker's book. I think I'll give my local Library a call today.

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  26. I watch Hazel every morning at 10 O'clock in the morning. I really enjoy the old shows. I too Google Bobby Buntrock and came across this blog.

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  27. Last week on Thursday, August 25th would have been DON Defore's Birthday. He would have been 103, being that he was Born on August 25,1913. Tomorrow would have been Shirley Booth's Birthday. She would have been 118 Years Old. She was Born on August 30, 1898. I could just picture George, Dorothy, and Harold throwing her a Surprise Birthday Party.

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    1. Wow 118. She would deserve a party

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  28. I love watching this show everyday on antenna tv Can u get the series?.

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  29. THIS IS TO ANONYMOUS: This series has been available for purchase for years, at least Season 1 has. It was released on August 1, 2006. The next 3 Seasons weren't released for over five and a half years later. The Second Season was released on February 21, 2012. Season 3 was released on May 15, 2012. Season 4, was released on December 11, 2012. Then the Fifth and FINAL SEASON was released on January 14, 2014. SONY had the rights for Season 1. The rest of the Seasons were/are Released through SHOUT FACTORY. I bought the entire series within nine months of buying Season 1. I was hesitant at first because so many series at the start of their release were/are halted after the first season. After I learned that Season 5 was going to be released in January of 2014, I then began my purchase of the series. I've enjoyed it very much.

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  30. As an afterthought to what I posted yesterday, it's come to my attention that practically any show that "SONY" originally had the "RIGHTS" to, only one or perhaps two seasons were or have been released. This morning I was going through some of my COLLECTIONS. Not only did "SONY" haves the "RIGHTS" to the first SEASON OF "HAZEL", but also later shows that I enjoyed, like "FANTASY ISLAND" and the first two SEASONS OF "HART TO HART". It wasn't until "SHOUT FACTORY" acquired further "RIGHTS", were anymore of these two shows released. Unfortunately "FANTASY ISLAND has not yet been released in its entirety. If "SHOUT FACTORY" hadn't of acquired the RIGHTS for "FATHER KNOWS BEST" it may not be available to its fans. Now if only they would acquire the "RIGHTS" to the TWO MOVIES: "FATHER KNOWS BEST REUNION" and "FATHER KNOWS BEST: HOME FOR CHRISTMAS". And I'm still hoping for SEASONS 6-8 of "THE DONNA REED SHOW" to be released soon. "THE REED ESTATE", I understand, is trying to get the remaining SEASONS released. HERE'S TO HOPING FOR IT TO HAPPEN SOON.

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  31. Just recently have been able to get Hazel & a few other "Golden Oldies" in my area, due to partial airing of Antenna TV. These are the best of memories for me and became a way of escape from reality of a traumatic childhood. These shows are my memories and the only warmth a young girl had in her life. It saddens me to read of their loss, let alone at such a young age. I understand the need for them to covet precious privacy, we all know what over exposure creates. I loved both Baxter families. What beautiful LADIES & hardworking decent men. Those were the days! Thank you for giving a hurting child a way to escape.

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  32. I am 60 years old, and enjoyed Hazel as a child. Now that its back on Antenna TV, I watch it daily. I love all the old shows Antenna TV plays. The shows take me back to a better time, when people showed respect, and had good values. I just happened across this site while trying to find out why Hazel switched families. When I was a child I always thought George Baxter and his wife were going to return. So sad to hear of Bobbys early untimely death.

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  33. To Nancy, it was Actress "WHITNEY BLAKE" who was the Mother of Actress "MEREDITH BAXTER" who played the Mother on "Family Ties". Chances are you have already looked up and found this information. I don't recall MEREDITH before "Family Ties". Nor do I recall having seen WHITNEY on anything before having seen her on "HAZEL". I read that she Co-Hosted a Talk Show that featured such topics as Books, Home Tips and Fashions. She even produced a movie called: "RENO KIDS". I think that she was smart to have tried other avenues.

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  34. No matter what "SHIRLEY BOOTH" had done career wise, she will always be remembered as "HAZEL" to her fans. Shirley lived over Twenty-Six Years after "HAZEL" went out of production. She must have been asked tons of questions through the years about the show. If I could have asked her anything, I would have asked her "Why didn't they return George and Dorothy"? To leave Hazel and Harold without an ending does "feel like abandonment". Bobby Buntrock was ready for High School when Hazel ended. I think Don Defore looked for work in New York. And Whitney continue with other roles on Television.

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  35. I'm going to say this and then I'm going to leave this subject alone. Forums like this are created to discuss shows, characters, to ask questions and to inform. I don't think anyone with an ounce of sanity would takes any of this seriously. Of course it's all make believe. And Actors are just ordinary people. Nothing is worse than comparing ones self to others. And no two families are alike either. I've long gotten over the fact that "CAMELOT" was/is not a real place. And my family is never going to be like "THE BRADY BUNCH".

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    1. Earline Taylor, that was just nasty!! I think it's nice that someone came here & felt safe enough to share that she had a difficult childhood and that HAZEL helped her through. After your comments, people may not feel as comfortable. This is not YOUR forum, and you don't make the rules about what should be discussed. Get over yourself!!

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    2. Carol Martin, what are you talking about? I have never insulted anybody on this forum. I have never acted as if this is my forum. You need to read what I said again. And then it is you who can get over yourself. Or are you upset because I had something more intelligent to say than you did. Don't bother to respond because I'm not responding to this forum again.

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  36. Just wanted to add that I enjoy watching Hazel on DVD every afternoon after work! I am in South Africa. Ain't that peachy? ;-)

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  37. I do remember Bobby doing a commercial for Rockem Sockem robots in the mid-60s. Two players - each plays tries to knock the head off of the opposing player's robot - just like boxing. Mine is somewhere in my mother's attic.

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  38. I love Hazel,aint she a doozie?

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  39. Thanks for your post about Bobby Buntrock. Although he sadly died very tragically at such a young age, it was a relief to learn that he didn't meet the same sad fate that of many other child actors of the time, such as substance abuse.
    I watch Hazel every chance I get, it's such a wonderfully written family show, and always ends with a good life lesson. The chemistry between the actors is completely believable!
    Thankfully, it comes on every weekday at 11am, and I get to watch in my off days! I'm an LVN, and when it was revealed in one of the very first episode that Hazel had a Vocational Nursing License, I grew extremely attached to her!
    Not to mention my love of Shirley Booth as Mrs. Claus in The Year Without a Santa Claus ��

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  40. Here is an autographed photo and note I got from Don DeFore in 1997 where he talks about Bobby Buntrock:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-light/254121797

    And here is a letter I received from Shirley Booth mentioning Bobby:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-light/2399050626

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  41. Here's a link to the 'Rockem Sockem' robot commercial on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPEnig5DHAc

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  42. In 1972 I was dating Bobby Jo Buntrock. I was working in the scenic town of Keystone South Dakota, where he lived. He was working construction at the time and went by the name of Jo. We were headed to a dance in Hill City on the night of the big Black Hills flood. He was very level headed and we lived to tell the tale, despite flood waters that knocked our vehicle off the highway and having to cross swiftly moving, debris filled creeks, turned rivers, on foot. It was a scary time. The previous post about a celebration at the Black Forest Inn would have been for his 21st birthday. Back then, 21 was the legal age for drinking hard liquor and 18 was the age for beer and wine. It seems so odd that Bobby Jo survived the flood which killed hundreds of people only to perish in one of the same creeks less than 2 years later. I wish I had a picture of us back then. I have fond memories of you Bobby Jo.

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    1. what kind of vehicle was he in

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