Old Time Radio: Fibber McGee and Molly

Fibber McGee and Molly was one of the most popular shows in old time radio.

Fibber McGee and Molly was first broadcast in 1935 and became one of the most popular shows in old time radio history. Most of the programs took place at their home on  79 Wistful Vista but they did leave the home for shopping trips and other occasions.

The thing that I first noticed about the show is that they would have a stream of visitors coming to their house during the thirty minute show.  It was never very long from the doorbell ringing for one visitor until another visitor was ringing the bell. It was uncanny how announcer  Harlow Wilcox would come to their house about halfway into each show and started rambling on about how great a product Johnson Wax was. Instead of having a commercial break they weaved his spiels for Johnson Wax seamlessly into the shows.

The show is most famous for the closet that emptied from time to time when the door was opened making a cacaphony of loud noises until the last item hit the floor.

Marian Jordan’s playing Teeny was one of my favorite parts of the show. I particularly liked the Christmas program which they repeated many years of Teeny bringing her friends over to do their rendition of The Night Before Christmas.

Harold Peary who played Throckmorton Gildersleeve on Fibber McGee and Molly before going to star in The Great Gildersleeve.
Harold Peary who played Throckmorton Gildersleeve on Fibber McGee and Molly before going to star in The Great Gildersleeve.

Harold Perry did so well playing Fibber McGee’s friend Throckmorton Gildersleeve that he wound up having his own show named The Great Gildersleeve. He and Fibber didn’t get along too well but it made for great comedy. My favorite parts were when the two would try to find out what the other was giving them for Christmas so they would know how much to spend on the other.  Peary and Jim Jordan who portrayed Fibber made for a great comedy team but they were too good to have on the same show for very long so Peary eventually left to start his own show.

A show that stands out is when the crowd sings a patriotic song at the end of the first show after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 of 1941. Don Quinn did a great job of writing for the show and was a big part of the success of the show.

After listening to many Fibber McGee and Molly shows I still don’t know what Fibber did for a living. Not many people make a living staying at home and answering the door bell constantly and cracking jokes but somehow Fibber always found a way to pay the bills.

You can listen to 442 Fibber McGee and Molly shows at this site which will need to copied and pasted in a browser since link isn’t working :

http://www.otr.net/?p=fibb

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