The Old Time Radio Career Of Fibber Mcgee And Molly

Outline the career of Jim and Marian Jordan as Fibber McGee and Molly as a husband and wife comedy team.

Who were Fibber McGee and Molly?

Fibber McGee and Molly were in actuality Jim and Marian Jordan. They were from Peoria, Illinois and were actively involved in the vaudeville circuit. They gradually moved into radio and Fibber McGee and Molly appeared on radio April 16, 1935. The show ran through September 6, 1959. Fibber was a brash, loudmouth who always told stories with exaggerated details. When Fibber told a story the fish was always bigger, the trip always more treacherous and his suffering the greatest. He was always blustering about while his ever-loving, ever-suffering wife, Molly, was there to bring him back to reality. Molly kept the peace in a soft Irish brogue and a sense of humor to her husband's deeds.

What was the structure of the radio show?

The show was centered around the home of the McGee's at 79 Wistful Vista. It was in some midwestern town that was never named. Most of the drama occurred in the McGee's home, with fictitious neighbors and friends dropping in. Don Quinn, a former cartoonist, was the writer for the show for most of its years on the air. Phil Leslie co-wrote the show and then took over in the later years when Don Quinn left the show. The best running gag of the show was the hall closet. Whenever it was opened, objects would clatter and bang and fall all over the opener of the closet door.

The early years presented Harold Peary as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeves, a loud, blustering neighbor. Fibber and Gildersleeve would always trade insults but would always end up the best of friends. Peary went on to star in his own radio show, continuing his character, in the radio program, The Great Gildersleeves.

Bill Thompson was a character actor who presented several characters in the show. He played Horatio K. Boomer, a W. C. Fields imitation, Nick Depopoulous, a Greek restaurant owner and the old-timer, an elderly, but wise-cracking visitor. He also played Wallace Whimple, a spineless and diminutive husband who was constantly at the mercy of his stronger and more athletic wife.

Gayle Gordon, a long-time radio actor, played the part of Mayor LaTrivia. Fibber McGee and Molly would fluster the mayor to such an extent that he just sputtered in frustration.

Isabel Randolph played the part of Mrs. Abigail Uppington, a high society type who cavorted with the lower classes like the McGee's when she would visit. Fibber always had a good time ribbing her about the upper crust. Mrs. Uppington would reply with a suitable snooty comment for McGee.

Arthur Q. Bryan played the part of Doc Gamble who would pass by and trade insults with Fibber on a regular basis. Fibber always claimed Doc was a quack and Doc Gamble would declare he was surprised that McGee was alive for the aches and pains Fibber complained he had.

Lastly, Harlow Wilcox was the representative of the program's sponsor, Johnson's Wax. Harlow would always promote the products of Johnson's Wax as part of the dialogue. There were never any commercials this way as the products got mentioned throughout the radio program.

What was the impact of Fibber McGee and Molly?

The radio show of Fibber McGee and Molly is a classic of old time radio. It presented one of the great husband and wife comedy teams at their peak. The humor of 50 years ago on their show still brings laughs today and makes us wish we could stop by and visit the home of Fibber McGee and Molly.

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