It's hard to believe the camp 1960s television show "Batman" and the development of the atom bomb both have the same local connection.
Character actress Madge Blake was born as Madge Cummings in Kinsley on May 31, 1899.
Her mother, Alice Stone, was related to Milburn Stone who played "Doc" in the television series "Gunsmoke." Even though there was an actor in the family, her father Albert Cummings, a Methodist circuit riding minister, didn't approve of professional acting.
Despite her family's move to southern California when she was young, she did not take up acting until the age of 50.
Before her acting career, Madge married James Lincoln Blake. In addition to having a child, the two of them helped with the top secret construction of detonators for the atomic bomb during World War II in Utah.
The U.S. government later granted them a citation for their work on the A-bomb.
Madge's acting career began when she enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse. Though her acting career was short and many of the roles she played were minor un-credited character parts, her TV and movie list is extensive.
Famous actor Gene Kelly was so fond of her, she appeared in every one of his films beginning with "An American in Paris" in 1951.
She is best known as Larry Mondello's mother, Margaret, in "Leave it to Beaver;" as Grandpa Amos McCoy's (Walter Brennen) love interest on the "Real McCoys;" and as Robin's (AKA Dick Grayson's) Aunt Harriet Cooper in 96 episodes of "Batman."
Adam West, who played the starring role in "Batman," was so taken with her he stood up for her when the show's producers tried to fire her.
The next day, West found a cake from her in his dressing room.
The reasons Batman's producers created an Aunt for Robin were interesting. They felt Batman and Robin's non-caped personas, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, needed someone with which to interact while not in costume.
Furthermore, the producers were nervous about a single man and a boy being left un-chaperoned.
Madge Blake died on Feb. 19, 1969 at the age of 69 in Pasadena, Calif. She is buried at Forest Lawn, Grand View Memorial Park & Crematory Inc., Glendale, CA.
Though she left Kansas for the spotlight, Madge Blake is still the woman from Kinsley who is related to another famous Kansan, Milburn Stone.
Ironically, she never had a role in his show "Gunsmoke."