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.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Enter Gildersleeve: The Way It Was, 25 July

1905---Old-time radio's first bona-fide spinoff star, arguably, is born in San Leandro, California.

Harold Peary will make Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve first as the pompous (and married, so he often alluded) next-door nemesis of hapless Fibber McGee, then as the clumsily doting (and bachelor) uncle of an orphaned niece and nephew on The Great Gildersleeve.

While no one will ever seem to figure out just what does become of the alleged Mrs. Gildersleeve between Wistful Vista and Summerfield, what becomes of Peary's magic carpet ride is the biggest mistake of his career: Thinking The Great Gildersleeve would jump from NBC with him, when he succumbs to the legendary CBS talent raid of 1948-50, but hardly bargaining that sponsor Kraft will prefer to remain with NBC having the ownership of the show (a piece of which Peary had hoped to obtain, fruitlessly) to back it up.

Peary will create another comedy, The Harold Peary Show (often called Honest Harold, mistaking the fictitious show his new character hosted for the show itself), that lasts a single year on CBS because of an unmistakeable problem: Peary's singular, booming voice just couldn't shake the Gildersleeve image.

He will go on to a distinguished second career as a voice actor, but he will never again enjoy the major stardom that was his during the Gildersleeve years.


2005: GOODBYE TO A GOOD GUY---Joe O'Brien, the morning drive host amid the original WMCA "Good Guys" lineup of disc jockeys, is killed in an automobile accident.

Already a New York radio veteran (and once half of the Gallagher and O'Brien morning team), O'Brien became one of the linch pins of the new lineup---the idea is credited to Ruth Meyer, WMCA's production/program manager, who formed the original lineup, though they wouldn't be called the Good Guys for another three years---in 1960, one of a team that included Harry Harrison, Jack Spector, Don Davis, and Jim Harriot.

They were joined by Dandy Dan Daniel and Ed (The Big Bad) Baer in 1961 and, by 1965, the Good Guys included Dean Anthony, B. Mitchel Reed, Gary Stevens, Johnny Dark, Herb Oscar Anderson, Don Davis, and, occasionally, WABC veteran Scott Muni.

O'Brien held down the morning drive slot (6-10 a.m.) as the Good Guys became famous in New York for their team style, even down to matching clothes and hair styles and their frequent remote appearances. O'Brien became popular for his ability to reach any age group with wit, friendliness, and thorough credibility.

O'Brien left WMCA in 1969, when the station tried a brief and ultimately disastrous format shift that was abandoned swiftly enough in favour of a return to the Good Guys style.

He took WNBC's morning drive show for a time before moving to WHN for fill-in work and, in due course, signing on with Peekskill (New York) WHUD to become its morning drive personality, a slot he held for fourteen years until his retirement in 1986, though he continued doing a weekly Sunday morning show until his death.


1935: HIGH SOCIETY---THE FIRST FAMILIES OF PINE RIDGE---A New York voice teacher visiting Squire (Norris Goff, who also plays Abner) has been teaching Pine Ridge the finer things in life, but shifty Squire's enthusiasm---in hand with his insistence on hesitating to start the silver mine dig without first selling stock---is beginning to make Lum (Chester Lauck, who also plays Grandpap) just a little uneasy, on today's edition of Lum & Abner. (NBC.)

Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff, Jay Sommers.

1958: THE TROUBLE WITH HOUSEWORK---It isn't necessarily anything that much out of the ordinary trouble, notwithstanding that "trouble" and "ordinary" don't necessarily unite for this couple (Peg Lynch, Alan Bunce) in this household, on today's edition of The Couple Next Door. (CBS.)

Aunt Effie: Margaret Hamilton. Writer: Peg Lynch.


1894---Walter Brennan (actor: You Can't Take It With You; Law West of the Pecos), Swampscott, Massachussetts.
1899---Ralph Dumke (actor: We, the Abbotts; Quality Twins), South Bend, Indiana.
1900---Al Pearce (comedian: Here Comes Elmer; The Al Pearce Show), San Francisco.
1901---Lila Lee (actress: The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour), Union Hill, New Jersey.
1906---Johnny Hodges (saxophonist, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra: The Esquire Jazz Concert; numerous radio remotes), Cambridge, Massachussetts.
1907---Jack Gilford (actor: The CBS Radio Mystery Theater), New York City.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home