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.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Returning the Favour; or, You're a Siiiiiiiii-iiiiiiiiiiick Man, McGee: The Way It Was, 28 March

Before moving 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 self-deluded, alliterate blowhard Fibber McGee.

Now, paying a visit while waiting for a train change during a Wistful Vista layover, Gildersleeve (Harold Peary, who'd created and made spinoffable the role in the first place) and spunky nephew Leroy (Walter Tetley) get their own surprises when they decide to surprise the McGees at home.

Said surprises merely begin when Gildy and Leroy are greeted by Beulah (Marlin Hurt) instead of either 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.

Dr. Gamble: Arthur Q. Bryan. Alice Darling: Shirley Mitchell (who plays Gildersleeve love interest Leila Ransom on The Great Gildersleeve). Himself: Harlow Wilcox (announcer). Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY TONIGHT . . . WITHOUT FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY---So says Harold Peary at the broadcast's conclusion: co-star Jim Jordan (McGee) was recovering from an attack of pneumonia, and wife Marian Jordan (Molly/Teeny) 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 Great Gildersleeve in which Gildy wanted none but himself to tell McGee he was engaged, a wish staying true for only so long as it took McGee to walk into Peavey's (Richard LeGrand) drugstore to replace his toothbrush.


THE CHARLIE McCARTHY SHOW: CARLOS McCARTHY RETURNS (NBC, 1943)---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. With Edgar Bergen. Music: Ray Noble Orchestra, the Sportsmen. Writers: Possibly Carrol Carroll, Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher, or Roland MacLane.

ESCAPE: SHIPMENT OF MUTE FATE (CBS, 1948)---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. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Les Crutchfield and John Dunkel, from 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.


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