Betty White & Allen Ludden: A Seasoned Labor of Love

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The Master of game show hosts tries his hand at being a contestant – “Password” host Allen Ludden competes with his sound proofed wife Betty White in 1976 on the game show “Tattletales” 

Capricorn is the one sign of the Zodiac where Life works in reverse. Those born beneath the last of the Earth signs tend to pay their dues throughout the first half of their usually long lived lives, most especially during childhood all the way through the period of years they’d usually  rather forget, their teens, right up until their mid-twenties.

For the majority of Capricorn children, childhood simply doesn’t exist. On the surface, these Goat “kids” may appear to be 10 years old but don’t let that fool you – beneath the child proof facade of the Cappie kid lies the worrying soul of a 45 year old adult.

Why their childhood years are so un-kid like, even when they actually ARE kids is due to the Universe thrusting adult responsibilities upon the tiny shoulders of the Capricorn tyke very early on; such as playing the role of parent to their actual parent or even more common, having to work at an appallingly early age. Despite being a kid, the typical Goat child tends to be very serious with no time to play or frolic about due to their young adult selves being pre-occupied with adult sized worries.

Moving further along through time, high school for many a Capricorn is anything BUT the “time of their lives” that they should cherish and remember forever.  In fact, during their high school years, the young Capricorn hasn’t even yet begun to live.

With their planetary ruler, Saturn, physically overseeing the bones and skin, high school is a time best forgotten by most Goat Kids. Most feel like space aliens in their own bodies given their bone structures having barely begun to take shape, along with their skin becoming a raging war zone, with many an Earth signed teen battling the ravages of severe acne.

Following graduation, Life for the college bound Capricorn usually doesn’t fare much better. Where most collegiate kids spend their non-class time working on partying or perfecting their skills at beer pong, the typical Goat Guy or Girl usually works some form of job and must invest their time between completing their work schedule along with the workloads of study piled upon them by their college courses.

It’s when the rest of the Zodiac is rendered stupefied with shock at the prospect of having to face their first crises as astrological adults, do those born beneath the sign of the Mystic Mountain Goat finally come into their own. The ages of 28-31 for those NOT born beneath the sign of Capricorn is a time period remembered for its challenges, hardships, restrictions, major Life changes, and yes, even pain. These are the years when anyone not born beneath the last of the Earth signs becomes an astrological adult by being rigorously tested by the Universe.

The ages between 28-31 is the time period when Capricorn’s planetary task master, Saturn, otherwise known as “The Lord of Karma”, returns to the same place in the sky as it was positioned at the time of one’s birth. This challenging chunk of time is astrologically known as “The Saturn Return”. The ringed planet which rules over the sign of the Mystic Mountain Goat also oversees those sobering aspects of Life which force us to be adults by virtue of the karmic slogan “No Pain, No Karmic Gain”.

Keeping in mind the Lord of Karma physically oversees the bones, skin, and teeth, the Saturn Return coincides with a particular kind of trial of the physical kind for a vast majority of the population – removal of one’s Wisdom Teeth.

Where most young adults buckle from the intense weight of the karmic burdens they face during the Saturn Return is when the Capricorn finally awakens and begins to thrive. Having dealt with adult pressures and responsibilities since their non-existent childhood,  by the time they’ve reached the ages of 28 – 31 the typical Capricorn tends to already be well along their chosen goal of a career path.

Middle Age for many a Goat Guy and Girl is usually the best period of their long lived lives. Both Goat genders tend to look their attractive best at this time, having fully grown into their bone structures and looking more and more sexily distinguished with age with the addition of each passing year.

The sign that pays their dues in the first part of life tends to also have the longest of life spans. Being the last representative of the tangibly driven element of Earth, the typical Capricorn has a work ethic like no other.  So don’t even THINK a child of Saturn would ever  consider the dreaded “R” word, “retirement” or worse, be associated with anything having to do with the word “convalesce”. Those born beneath this karmicly reversed sign will work for as long as they can,  usually right until the day they are finally called Home to that most Mystic of Heavenly Mountains.

So now that the Cliff Noted version of the astrological life of the Capricorn has been relayed, it should be of no Saturnine surprise that the person with the longest career in Television history is herself, a child of Saturn – Betty White. Born January 17, 1922 the woman who worked in the entertainment industry from high school right through to her 9th decade assumed her romantic life was thoroughly over upon reaching the magic Capricorn age of 40.

And it was only just beginning.

Capricorn is the sign that learns the most from their mistakes and gains the most through the process of repetition. By the time Betty’s first two marriages had come and gone, the Capricorn comedienne had barely turned 27. With that Saturnine statistic in mind, it would be safe to karmicly assume that White’s first attempts at married life were never meant to be permanent, given they both occurred before that big moment in the game of Life when the Capricorn is finally called off the bench to become a major player between the ages of 28-31, mentioned earlier as one’s Saturn Return.

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The cast with a chemistry like no other from “The Golden Girls” – left to right, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Bea Arthur (seated).  Described as “one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time” by AdWeek, the hit comedy which focused on 4 older women living in Miami made headline news in early 2017  when Hulu.com purchased all 7 seasons which originally aired from 1985 – 1992  for their streaming services.

 

Few realize “The Golden Girls” character of Blanche DuBois was not written with Rue McClanahan in mind. The aged but always man-starved Southern Belle character was written for none other than Betty White. When offered the role, the Capricorn funny lady turned it down, stating she had already played the sexy one. This time around White wanted to play “the dumb one”, aka the dim-witted, naïve as she was upbeat character of Rose Nylund, which Betty performed to perfection for the entirety of the hit show’s 7 year run.

White’s reference of sexiness by the way was her portrayal of that domestic vixen of a Happy Homemaker with a smile that was deadly, Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show“. The character, whom the MTM writers created specifically “to look like an icky sweet Betty White type but also with the viciousness of a barracuda” was brought to life by Betty just as her sexy good looks were coming into their full bloom at the age of 42. What was intended to be a one show appearance ended up with White becoming a permanent member of the MTM cast by popular demand due to a certain Capricorn’s cold and formal nastiness always being said with a big beaming smile and delivered with impeccable comic timing.

betty-white-as-sue-ann-nivens-2Betty White as the heartless hostess with the mostest, Sue Ann Nivens from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” circa 1973

 

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Even Sue Ann Nivens couldn’t maintain her façade of disingenuous perkiness when her show “The Happy Homemaker” was cancelled. Betty White as Sue Ann desperately tries to stay in front of the camera as “Aunt Daisy” on a generic kids’ program only to be fired and told to leave the set by her bunny co-hosts.

 

White had not the slightest inkling how far from being romantically washed up she actually was when in 1961 Fate had Betty cross paths with a handsomely bookish Libran with Clark Kent glasses named Allen Ludden.  Despite the Libran losing his wife to cancer the previous year leaving him to solitarily raise his 3 teen-aged children on his own, Ludden couldn’t resist being immediately smitten with the mannerly but frosty Ms. White when the two met on the set of the game show he hosted, “Password”. The savvy game show host with the even savvier skills of Libran conversation, whom one TV producer admitted to not being able to “write lines nearly as good as the ones he (Ludden) keeps coming up with spontaneously” later admitted to being head over heels in Libran Love upon first laying eyes on the Capricorn cougar.

allen-ludden-hosting-passwordAs the host of the hit game show “Password” from 1961 to 1980, the charming Mr. Ludden had his pick of the top contemporary TV stars to appear on his show as guests, such as the picture above from 1978.  From left to right: Carol Burnett from her self entitled show, Elizabeth Montgomery from “Bewitched”, Allen Ludden (standing), Merv Griffin from his self entitled show, and Marcia Wallace from “The Bob Newhart Show”.

 

Over the course of the following year after their initial meeting, Ludden proceeded to try every Libran courting charm from the Romantic Playbook to win Betty’s heart, but to no avail. The Venus ruled host went so far as to ask for White’s hand in marriage, TWICE, but was turned down each time by the cut and very romantically dry daughter of Saturn.

Here it must be mentioned of the 12 signs, Libra and Capricorn are each other’s biggest challenge to relate with naturally due to each sign’s placement on the Zodiac Wheel being positioned from each other at the harshest astrological angle possible of 60 degrees, better known as “The Square”. When two signs square each other, a consistently high probability exists for either sign to oh so easily rub the other the wrong way – quite often because either or both signs are simply being their natural selves.

Two Capricorn themes of intense frustration for the Libra are their unsentimental lack of romance, along with the Goat’s need to relentlessly WORK. To emphasize how vastly different these two celebrities astrologically were, by the time Allen made his 3rd and final attempt to propose, the Libra was at the end of his rope but proceeded  to romantically play things savvily smart none the less.

Realizing his romantic overtures were falling on Capricorn deaf ears, the Libra geniusly switched tactics by appealing to the Capricorn’s sense of status. The charming Mr. Ludden finally snagged his Capricorn romantic prey upon sending his naturally unromantic Goat Girl a stuffed Easter Bunny accompanied by two frightfully expensive gold and sapphire earrings along with a note which clearly indicated how worn out he was from all the romantic WORK which read:

“Now come on, will you marry me?”

Your Author found a similar echoing of this disparity of romantic sentiment between Betty and Allen when the Libra Capricorn couple was interviewed by People Magazine in 1976. While the Libra wistfully tells the interviewer how it was romantic Love at first sight when his eyes initially beheld Betty, the Capricorn counters in with:

“Allen falls in love very easily. He says, ‘Hello, will you marry me?’

People will say we’re in Libra Capricorn…..ummm love?

Romeo & Juliet, Betty White and Allen Ludden were not. More like a Libra Capricorn couple who had each previously been around the marital block and were seasoned enough to work at something seriously substantial upon crossing paths during their Glory Years of Middle Age. The Libra Capricorn duo became one of Hollywood’s most recognizably endearing of married couples with their union lasting to the day when Allen succumbed to stomach cancer in 1981 with Betty devotedly at his side.

Decades later, as the woman who achieved the longest career in television and still continues to work well into her 9th decade was asked to look back, Betty White insists the years spent with her Libran love were far and above the best among the many which comprise the long lived life of this Capricorn icon of comedy.

While still in her 80’s, Betty was asked on “The Larry King Show” if she would ever consider re-marrying again.  Her response summed things up quite nicely:

“Once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”

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Betty White & Allen Ludden, circa 1980

Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc.  is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.

Brad Kronen’s guide on Astrology and Relationships “Love in the Stars” for purchase on amazon.com

 

 

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