Just in case you missed the first time . . .
- 6 June: D-Day On the Air—73 Years Later
- 31 December: Here’s to the New Year
- 24 December: ‘Tis the night before Christmas
- 20 December: From Macy’s to Dickens on the plains
- 12 December: Eden rocked
- 9 December: The aftermath, continued . . .
- 8 December: Immediate aftermath
- 7 December: The date still lives in infamy
- 5 December: The mean widdle man-kid
- 21 November: Freed fall
We’re building a history here . . .
Tag Archives: Phil Leslie
They were as homey in person as they sounded.
—Harold Peary, their former cast member, about Jim and Marian Jordan, a.k.a. Fibber McGee & Molly.
Fibber McGee & Molly‘s “lasting charm, however,” Gerald Nachman has written of them (in Raised on Radio), “was in the unspoken but enduring affection Fibber and Molly seemed to feel toward each other despite his stubborn fulminations and her skeptical Irish nature . . . Molly forgave McGee his every illusion and self-delusion, waiting for ‘Himself’ to calm down and admit what a jerk he’d been. Surpassing all the other husband-and-wife comedy teams, perhaps including even George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly were radio’s most identifiably loving couple.”
When rummaging through the archive of this journal, a correspondent wrote me cheerfully enough to say: “Too much Fibber McGee & Molly.” Which struck me as being along the line of a blues lover’s collection bearing “too much” Muddy Waters or B.B. King; or, a jazz lover’s collection bearing “too much” Duke Ellington or Miles Davis.
Everybody‘s a critic.
It takes Elmer Fudd not just to step into a World War II breach on Fibber McGee & Molly seventy years ago tonight, but to instigate one of old-time radio’s most memorable in-show rivalries. All because two key cast members were leaving to go to war.
Gale Gordon as Mayor La Trivia has proven invaluable in replacing spun-off Harold Peary’s Gildersleeve as the pompous among Fibber McGee’s deflationists, though La Trivia, almost invariably, would end an encounter in a choked-blustery fuddle. And Bill Thompson, arguably the cast’s most valuable player, has held down three characters of near-equal value, if not near-equal popularity: the tall-tale-dragger Old Timer, the locquacious and half-indecipherable Nick Depopolous, and the smarmy Horatio K. Boomer.
Few if any old-time radio comedies were quite as accommodating in supporting the World War II effort as Fibber McGee & Molly, and with the full and uncompromised support of their longtime sponsor. That support didn’t begin or end with the show’s legendary D-Day broadcast, in which Jim and Marian Jordan, ever the McGees, turned over the entire half hour—which aired on the same day D-Day launched—to patriotically themed music, with only occasional interjections from the couple and one break-in from NBC News.
There are those who believe the only thing better than one dinner date with the First Couple of 79 Wistful Vista is two such dinner dates—provided that you keep Fibber McGee as far from the kitchen as you keep a Dodger fan from a Giant fan, that is . . .