Sit down, close your eyes and let your mind form the images as you relive the golden age of radio programs. Each week we'll feature a different and exciting program in MP3 format. Just click on the radio image below to be transported back in time.

This Week

 

Fibber McGee & Molly

 

Fibber Reads His Horoscope

March 16, 1943

 

This show is one of the cornerstones of the old time radio experience. It spans several decades in time, but remains timeless. It is a great achievement in American entertainment, but holds a relatively overlooked place in American popular culture, and quickly failed on TV (59-60) without the Jordans. For the lucky ones who heard it on radio, Fibber McGee and Molly keeps a place near and dear to the heart.

Jim and Marian Jordan were Fibber McGee and Molly. Well trained by vaudeville and with some radio under their belts, their show about a typical couple in a typical town came on the radio in the mid-1930s. Fibber Mc Gee was a man of many words, and they were nearly always funny. He was superior at one-upsmanship and exasperating exaggeration, and depending on which verbal sparring partner was at hand, fully capable of making a fool of himself in the most uncertain terms. Locals who indulged Fibber included the Mayor LaTrivia (Gale Gordon), by name, whose short fuse was easily ignited by the verbal sparks of Fibber.

Then there was their fine neighbor, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) who was so popular on the show that they developed a plot line and spun off another great old time radio show (The Great Gildersleeve). Wallace Wimple was the gentle soul who loved birds, and his big old "Sweetieface". The multi-voiced Bill Thompson played Wimple (from whence wimp?), the "Old Timer," Nick the restaurateur, and a reprobate names Horatio K. Boomer. Arthur Q. Bryan (the voice of Elmer Fudd) was Doc Gamble. Dear Molly maintained a very normal, happy and often genuinely amused outlook as things developed around her. Isabel Randolph was the socially-minded Mr. Abigail Uppington, who remained unused to such commotion, although beneath her dignity was where she really longed to be.

Harlow Wilcox was both the show's announcer and a regular character who somehow would weave his Johnson's Wax commercials into the plot, so as to avoid a commercial break. Don Wilson did the same "stealth" commercials for Jack Benny with equally comic effect. The King's Men was the featured vocal quartet on the show from 1940 - 1953. Besides The Great Gildersleeve, another spin-off series was Beulah.

Writer Don Quinn worked with the Jordans right from vaudeville through their rise to popularity, and helped them create their warm and wonderful world. Phil Leslie took over the co-writing chores in the mid-40s. Speaking of chores, Fibber's still muttering, "gotta clean out that closet one of these days…"


  Huntington Beach News


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