Gale force: Old-time radio listening, 8 January

If you want to forge a case that Gale Gordon is old-time radio’s premiere slow-burning, pomposity-powered blowhard, you’d have a difficult time finding more solid evidence than the following three entries.

You’d also have a difficult time finding better evidence that, somewhere within the runups to the explosions, there is one of the greatest supporting actors network radio has known.

Fibber McGee & Molly: Fibber Wants to Win a Bean Counting Contest (NBC, 1946)

Kremer’s Drug Store is holding the contest, the proprietor’s mother-in-law won last year’s contest, and McGee (Jim Jordan) thinks he can win it scientifically with his own similar bowl and bean counting at home—never mind who might think he’s full of beans.

The classic confrontation: McGee versus La Trivia (Gale Gordon) as regards pi vs. pie.

Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. Mrs: Carstairs: Bea Benaderet. Doc: Arthur Q. Bryan. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

Our Miss Brooks: Board of Education Day (CBS, 1950)

A self-serving school paper editorial written by Conklin (Gordon), a suddenly-useful cannon, a cut-and-paste mixup between Conklin’s original editorial and dimwitted sports star Stretch Snodgrass’s (Leonard Smith) half-witted biology paper, and an unexpected (but very temporary) spell of deafness, equal one of the blustery principal’s most explosively memorable among his and Madison High’s horrible days.

Connie: Eve Arden. Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Walter: Richard Crenna. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Announcer: Bob LaMond. Music: Wilbur Hatch. Writer/director: Al Lewis.

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show: Red Paint on the Poodle (NBC, 1950)

Concurrent to his memorable turn as blowhard Conklin, Gordon had a recurring role as sponsor representative Scott here—and he’ll have plenty of reason to burn numerous shades of red, none too slowly tonight. That’s because Phil (Harris) and Remley (Elliott Lewis) have a none-too-minor accident while the Harrises house-sit the Scotts’ pampered poodle.

Herself: Alice Faye. Willie: Robert North. Little Alice: Jeanine Roos. Phyllis: Anne Whitfield. Announcer: Bill Forman. Music: Walter Scharf , Phil Harris Orchestra. Director: Paul Phillips. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.

FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .

Comedy

The Jack Carson Show: Movie Magazine Interview (CBS, 1947)—Jack (Carson) is almost as surprised to get the interview request as he is to discover (Arthur) Treacher takes a liking to “hillbilly music.” Tugwell: Dave Willock. Miss Ryan: Irene Ryan. Announcer: Del Sharbutt. Music: Freddy Martin. Director: Larry Berns. Writer: Leonard L. Levinson.

Crime Drama

The Whistler: Return to Riondo (CBS, 1950)—A still Mexican midday is a backdrop for the return of a vengeance-seeking miner, his former girl friend, and her new man. Cast and writers: Unidentified. Music: Wilbur Hatch. (Whistling: Dorothy Roberts.) Director: Probably George W. Allen.

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