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Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes, Volume 4 - 10 hours [Download] #RA569
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Fibber McGee and Molly, The Lost Episodes
"They tell me at the drugstore that you studied with Swift & Company...did your post-graduate work with Armour’s, and you interned at the packing house..."
It’s a scene all-too-familiar to animation fans: a lush cartoon forest that does little to camouflage a figure, shotgun in hand, stealthily making his way through the dense brush as dawn begins to break. Suddenly aware that he’s being watched, the hunter turns to the camera, places a finger to his lips, and declares with smug satisfaction:
"Be vew-wy quiet…I’m hunting wabbits."
Cartoon devotees will instantly recognize this figure as Elmer J. Fudd, mansion-and-yacht owner and ineffectual adversary to animation legend Bugs Bunny. Serious cartoon devotees know that for nearly twenty years, Fudd’s trademark speech impediment was supplied by one of the greatest (if unsung) character actors in show business: Arthur Q. Bryan. His credits encompass the world of cartoons, movies, television, records, etc...but, of the many pies in which he had a finger, its radio that perhaps showcased his talents best.
Born May 8, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York, Arthur Q. Bryan had the fortuitous timing to come of age at the same time as the medium of radio. His ambition was to become a tenor singer, but instead he found ready employment as an announcer, beginning at WEAF in 1923 (where he auditioned for the soon-to-be-legendary Milton Cross). As he moved around from station to station, his announcing talents were in much demand, though he refused to give up his dream of singing, and he gradually obtained work in and around New York for his burgeoning comedic qualities as well, working alongside luminaries like Jack "Vas You Dere, Sharlie?" Pearl. A California vacation in 1938 convinced Bryan to put down permanent stakes in the Golden State and he soon secured work at KFWB, where he became one of the regulars on a show called "The Grouch Club," written by legendary radio scribe Nat Hiken. Future "Today Show" host Jack Lescoulie was the host and co-creator, and the Warner Brothers Studios took such a liking to the program that they produced a series of six one-reel comedies in conjunction with the series, allowing Bryan to gain his first experience in front of the camera.
KFWB shared space with the Leon Schlesinger animation studio and Schlesinger’s directors often hired much of the talent (in particular Lescoulie, who did a fabulous Jack Benny imitation) for their Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Director Tex Avery loved Bryan’s "little man" characterization on "Grouch Club" so much that he adopted it - and Bryan’s voice - for the character of Egghead in shorts like "Dangerous Dan McFoo" (1939) and "The Hardship of Miles Standish" (1940). (Egghead, who was originally patterned on the voice and mannerisms of radio comedian Joe Penner, proved to be just as obnoxious as his namesake and was redesigned with Arthur’s persona in mind.) Over the next few years, Egghead was retooled into Elmer Fudd, who achieved cartoon immortality opposite Bugs Bunny in Avery’s "A Wild Hare" (1940).
Bryan soon made the jump from local to network radio, appearing on programs like "The Texaco Star Theater," "The Burns and Allen Show," "Blondie." and "Band Wagon" (with Dick Powell). It was on "Band Wagon" that he introduced a Fudd-like character named Waymond W. Wadcliffe, who soon began to make appearances on other programs as well. Arthur worked alongside a plethora of old-time radio’s most glittering talents: Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Al Pearce, and Charlotte Greenwood, just to name a few. He branched out into roles on such varied series as "Red Ryder," "The Lux Radio Theater," "Favorite Story," and "Richard Diamond, Private Detective," where he replaced Ed Begley as Diamond’s friendly cop-nemesis Lt. Walt Levinson. He even achieved what every second banana aspires to: a starring role as the title character on "Major Hoople," a 1942-43 radio sitcom based on the comic strip "Our Boarding House" -- which, interesting enough, co-starred his fellow cartoon-voice actor, Mel Blanc, as the ever-complaining Tiffany Twiggs.
But for scores of old-time radio fans, Arthur Q, Bryan will always be best remembered as Dr. George Gamble on "Fibber McGee & Molly." First introduced on an April 6, 1943 broadcast, the Gamble character was brought onto the show to provide Fibber with a suitable nemesis in the mold of Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, who had long since been spun-off onto his own sitcom, and Mayor LaTrivia, who disappeared from the program after actor Gale Gordon entered the Coast Guard. "McGee" creator Don Quinn cast Bryan in the part of Gamble as a suggestion from his new writing partner Phil Leslie, who had scripted Bryan’s "Major Hoople" series. Doc Gamble was far less bombastic than Gildy or LaTriv, making him the perfect foil for Fibber, but his joviality and quick-wittedness allowed him to get the better of McGee on many occasions. Despite their constant barrage of insults - Fibber referred to the medico as "bone-bender" and "Fatso" while Doc countered with "Marblehead" and "Wobblejaw" - the two men really were the best of friends. (As Gamble himself once observed on a January 6, 1948 broadcast, "Yes, ours is a very warm friendship...on a hot day you can smell it for 50 miles...") At the same time Bryan was emoting as Gamble, he did double duty on "The Great Gildersleeve" as well, voicing fellow "Jolly Boy" Floyd Munson, an acerbic barber whose advice to the Great Man was often best unheeded. (Don Quinn later cast Arthur as Professor Warren on his post-Fibber & Molly sitcom, "The Halls of Ivy.")
Bryan continued to work on "Gildersleeve" and "Fibber" well into the 1950s; he was with Jim and Marian Jordan to the very end when their program was canceled on March 23, 1956. By that time, he began to branch out into television, often appearing on shows like "I Love Lucy," "Our Miss Brooks," and "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet," in addition to theatre work and, yes, continuing to pronounce L’s and R’s as W’s as Elmer Fudd. Bryan never really received the recognition that Mel Blanc did in the field of cartoon voices — though, admittedly, the fact that Mel Blanc signed an exclusive contract with Warner Brothers might have had a lot to do with that. But it’s a testament to Bryan’s talents that, with his passing on November 30, 1959, not even Blanc could duplicate Bryan’s Fudd...nor could the other actors hired to do so. Old-time radio fans, of course, know and revere Arthur Q. Bryan’s work; all they have to hear is Doc Gamble’s familiar admonishment "Take off your shirt, McGee!" and they know hilarity is not far behind.
You’ll have the chance to find this out for yourself in this fourth volume of a new series of collections transferred from the long-lost original NBC Reference Recordings of the series. Radio Archives invites you to listen to forty more full-length programs that, for the most part, have not been heard since they originally aired over fifty years ago. An additional bonus is their sparkling audio quality; thanks to the innovations of the digital age, these classic shows can now be heard at a level of clear and crisp high fidelity that far exceeds what was available to the average listener in 1954. The result is shows that sound - and are - just as bright, fresh, and entertaining as they were when first heard, a real tribute to the time, talent, and devotion to quality that went into their production.
Monday, August 9, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
Tuesday, August 10, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums
What’s in the Box?
Wednesday, August 11, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant
His Papers are in Order
Thursday, August 12, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by L & M Cigarettes
Don’t Count Your Geigers Before They’re Hatched
Friday, August 13, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
Dig That Uranium
Monday, August 16, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
A Bit Sheepish
Tuesday, August 17, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums
In Days of Ore
Wednesday, August 18, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Carter’s Little Liver Pills
To Bee or Not to Bee
Monday, August 23, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
You Say It’s Your Birthday
Tuesday, August 24, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums
A Change is Gonna Come
Wednesday, August 25, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant
Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall
Thursday, August 26, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by L & M Cigarettes
I Auto Be More Careful
Friday, August 27, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
A Day of Rest
Sunday, August 29, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining
Big Bass Man
Monday, August 30, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
On an Island with You
Tuesday, August 31, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums
Wednesday, September 1, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Carter’s Little Liver Pills
Thursday, September 2, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by L & M Cigarettes and RCA Victor
Boast to Boast
Sunday, September 5, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining
Monday, September 6, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
To Err is Human...To Forgive, Feline
Tuesday, September 7, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums
Wednesday, September 8, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant and RCA Victor
The Shirt Off His Back
Thursday, September 9, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by L & M Cigarettes and RCA Victor
Never End a Sentence with a Premonition
Sunday, September 12, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
The Joke’s on Me
Monday, September 13, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
Point of Disorder
Tuesday, September 14, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums and RCA Victor
...And Not a Drop to Drink
Wednesday, September 15, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor and Carter’s Little Liver Pills
Many Happy Returns
Thursday, September 16, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by L & M Cigarettes and RCA Victor
Your Three Minutes are Up
Sunday, September 19, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Murine and RCA Victor
Gone With the Windfall
Monday, September 20, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by RCA Victor
One Froggy Evening
Tuesday, September 21, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums and RCA Victor
Wednesday, September 22, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant and RCA Victor
A Leg Up in Business
Thursday, September 23, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by L & M Cigarettes, RCA Victor and Murine
Feed ‘Em and Weep
Sunday, September 26, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Prudential Insurance, Murine, and Jell-O
Monday, September 27, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Prudential Insurance, RCA Victor, and Jell-O
Tuesday, September 28, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Prudential Insurance, Tums, and Jell-O
A Prince of a Regent
Wednesday, September 29, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Prudential Insurance, Carter’s Little Liver Pills, and Jell-O
Advice and Content
Thursday, September 30, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Prudential Insurance and Jell-O
Where Do We Eat?
Sunday, October 3, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Prudential Insurance and Better Farming Magazine
Monday, October 4, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Prudential Insurance and Murine
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