Tag Archives: Words at War

22 September: Der Fuehrer could not have him

Helion's memoir made a sober radio drama.

Helion’s memoir made a sober radio drama.

Vichy France signed its 1940 armistice with Hitler’s Reich with stipulations that included, formally, French armed forces in German-occupied territory to be moved to unoccupied territory and discharged. The provision proved a dupe to the French soldiers, allowing them to allow the Nazis to surround and herd them into camps, where they only thought they were awaiting their discharges.

Good luck with that.

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14 November: Waxing wartime

Fibber & Molly up to their necks in Johnson's wax products. (Photo: S.C. Johnson.)

Fibber & Molly up to their necks in Johnson’s wax products. (Photo: S.C. Johnson.)

Fibber McGee & Molly has been remarkably effective in putting over wartime issue stories other comedies often stumble to deliver, largely because the first couple of 79 Wistful Vista and their master writer Don Quinn avoid lapses into blatant propaganda. And, with the full consent and support of their sponsor.

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23 September: Wistful Vista the hard way

Fibber McGee & Molly:
Anything to Get Out of Scrubbing the Back Porch
(NBC, 1935)

 

The Jordans: They didn't just turn up at Wistful Vista overnight . . . (Photo: NBC)

The Jordans: They didn’t just turn up at Wistful Vista overnight . . . (Photo: NBC)

By now scattered, clumsy-minded, but bighearted Fibber McGee and his salt-of-the-earth, sweetly acid, patiently loving wife, Molly, have settled at 79 Wistful Vista. It’s probably easy to forget what old-time radio’s crown couple (if they’re not, they’re at least among the top three finalists) did before they got here.

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16 September: Nibbling the hand that can’t feed you

The Milton Berle Show: Salute to Radio (NBC, 1947)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood. (Photo: NBC.)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood or his brain. (Photo: NBC.)

It seems perversely appropriate that the nation’s Uncle Miltie-to-be delivers a good-natured satire of radio a year before he becomes Mr. Television. For all his radio years, Milton Berle will probably be the luckiest man alive to land his Texaco Star Theater television job and legend—because he’s actually known as old-time radio’s biggest prolonged failure.

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12 September: A dubious re-elopement

Fibber McGee & Molly: 15th Anniversary (Elopement) (NBC, 1939)

Fibber McGee & Molly, on the air. Seen far right: announcer Harlow Wilcox. Seen center on podium: bandleader Billy Mills. (Photo: NBC.)

Fibber McGee & Molly, on the air. Seen far right: announcer Harlow Wilcox. Seen center on podium: bandleader Billy Mills. (Photo: NBC.)

Jim and Marian Jordan have actually been married 21 years today. That the childhood sweethearts were married at all probably testifies to their perseverance more than anything else, considering Marian Driscoll’s parents were far less than enthused about a) their daughter’s dreams of a life in the theater; and, b) her romancing by a farm kid with the same wild-eyed dreams.

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