Jeff Kallman's excellent The Easy Ace: A Journal of Classic Radio
is a wonderful place to spend hours on end, rediscovering the Golden Age of Radio
as it's meant to be discovered and celebrated. Article after article
is filled with a wonderful new vignette about Golden Age Radio History.
---The Digital Deli Online.

[I]n his matchless on-this-day approach to chronicling “yesteryear,”
he easily aces out a less organized mind like mine,
which promptly lapsed into a more idiosyncratic mode of relating the past.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

You're a Siiiick Maaa-aa-aannn, McGee: The Way It Was, 28 March

1944: "TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM---AND SO FEW PEOPLE KNOW HIM"---Before he moved to Summerfield, to serve second as the town water commissioner and first as the estate executor and guardian for his orphaned niece and nephew, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve was an old-time radio hit as the sparring next-door blowhard buddy of alliterative, self-deluded blowhard Fibber McGee.

Now, paying a visit while waiting for a train change during a Wistful Vista layover, Gildersleeve and spunky nephew Leroy get their own surprises when they decide to surprise the McGees at home.

They only begin when Gildersleeve and Leroy are greeted by Beulah instead of a McGee. They only continue when, for once in its life, the infamous Closet is opened by someone too young to be suffocated under the clattering bric-a-brac ("Is that the one you was tellin' me about, Unc?")---including the Brownie camera Gildy loaned McGee several years earlier to photograph President Calvin Coolidge during a visit.

And they don't even begin to climax when the traveling Gildersleeves (well, a Gildersleeve and a Forrester) learn exactly what kept them from greeting Gildy's old "little chum" at home, even as Gildy enjoys seeing some other old friends and sparring partners and Leroy enjoys a living glimpse into his uncle's past, on tonight's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.)

Cast---Gildersleeve: Harold Peary (who created the role on the McGee show in the first place, before role and actor became popular enough to play on their own show for a decade). Leroy Forrester: Walter Tetley. Beulah: Marlin Hurt. Dr. Gamble: Arthur Q. Bryan. Alice Darling: Shirley Mitchell (who plays Gildersleeve love interest Leila Ransom on The Great Gildersleeve). Harlow Wilcox: Himself.

Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men.

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY TONIGHT . . . WITHOUT FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY---So said Harold Peary at the broadcast's conclusion: co-star Jim Jordan (McGee) was recovering from an attack of pneumonia, and wife Marian Jordan (Molly) stayed absent with him until his health returned. (The Jordans were back in action a week later, as things turned out.)

Jordan's illness gave Peary a grand chance to return a favour---just over a year earlier, the McGees visited Gildersleeve's Summerfield, in a memorable episode in which Gildy wanted none but himself to tell McGee he was engaged. A wish that stayed true for only as long as it took McGee to walk to Peavey's drugstore to replace his toothbrush.


1943: CARLOS McCARTHY RETURNS---He's back from his "international jaunt," and perhaps Dale (Evans) can bring him back to his actual or alleged senses, with a little help from Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, on tonight's edition of The Charlie McCarthy Show. (NBC.) Additional cast: Edgar Bergen. Music: Ray Noble Orchestra, the Sportsmen.

1948: SHIPMENT OF MUTE FATE---Launched from a sleepy Venezuelan harbour, a cruise ship is compelled to carry a dangerous piece of cargo---a lethal snake whose presence causes shipboard complications for the museum staffer (Harry Bartell) who was charged with capturing one, and the captain (Barry Kroeger) who agrees to keep the crate in his cabin, on tonight's edition of Escape. (CBS.) Writers: Les Crutchfield and John Dunkel, adapting a story by Martin Storm.


1890---Paul Whiteman (bandleader: Kraft Music Hall, The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show), Denver.
1892---Philip Loeb (actor: The Goldbergs), Philadelphia.
1907---Jon Dodson (singer, with the King's Men: Fibber McGee & Molly), Richland, Missouri.
1912---Frank Lovejoy (actor: Night Beat, Mr. and Mrs. North), The Bronx.
1913---Lucille Fletcher (dramatist: Columbia Workshop, Suspense, The Inner Sanctum Mysteries), New York City.
1925---Jerry Walter (actor: Island Adventure), Illinois.


Blogger Andrew Godfrey said...

Your description of the old time radio shows are the best I have ever read and also very informative. For instance I had never known a Fibber McGee and Molly show had neither Fibber or Molly in an episode until I read it at the Easy Ace Journal. Knew Molly had missed some shows over the years but was surprised neither was in the episode you mentioned. Keep up the great job you are doing with the journal!!

4:03 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

Thanks so much, Andrew! I notice, though, that when you download the show file itself, it comes up sometimes showing as its title "Fibber Has Pneumonia," which may be a case of an overenthusiastic collector putting at least one cart before one horse: the following week's show decided to mention Fibber himself recovering from pneumonia, but not this one, as listeners will detect swiftly enough toward the conclusion!

4:23 PM  

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