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The Great Gildersleeve Still Makes For Rollicking Laughter

January 12, 2019

Spin offs were not invented when television came into its own.

One of the endearing characters on the radio show Fibber McGee and Molly (played by a married couple) was Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve.  The character was so all-consuming that actor Harold Peary was able to turn the show into a long-running radio production, with movies to follow.

But it is the radio show which interests me.  I grew up in a home where radio listening was the way to be informed and entertained.  We had no television until I was in the 6th grade.  It should not then be a surprise I worked for years as a young adult behind the microphone (WDOR AM/FM).   To this day the nostalgic radio waves of the past are truly akin to a warm blanket.

Last night, well after midnight, I was still wired from the process under way to purchase another piece of property.  I needed to find a way to unwind.  Such nights in the past has found me with The Aldrich Family, a popular radio teenage situation comedy.  But I was in the mood for something different.  While I had heard many episodes of The Great Gildersleeve over the years I had yet to laugh my way with the original episode. So I puffed two pillows on the bed, put in the earbuds, and started with Gildersleeve moving to Summerfield to oversee his late brother-in-law’s estate and raise his orphaned niece and nephew.

Gildersleeve runs a girdle making company, but the small boy misreads the name as a girder company, and the weighty foundation questions which follows makes for a truly humorous 30 minutes.

The seamless placements of commercials for Johnson products–as was often the case with radio shows–is just another reason to enjoy listening.  With two episodes of the show, along with James reaching over for my arm and wordlessly saying “are we done laughing for tonight”, I went to sleep.

I listen to old radio shows on my i-Pad and with an app search you too can be spending time the way millions of Americans did decades ago.  And laughing just as heartily!






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