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  Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes, Volume 7 - 10 hours [Audio CDs] #RA100



 
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Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes
Volume 7



"Dad rat the dad ratted..."

Marian and Jim Jordan as "Fibber McGee and Molly"During the heyday of vaudeville, the town of Peoria, Illinois obtained a reputation as a bad show town; performers often joked about "laying eggs" there and a popular expression - "Will it play in Peoria?" - soon came into being. But during the Golden Age of Radio, one performing couple capitalized on their Peoria connections. As the stars of the phenomenally popular "Fibber McGee & Molly," Jim and Marian Jordan would often reminisce about their salad days in that Midwestern town - and it could even be argued that their fictional hamlet, Wistful Vista, was inspired by it as well.

Jim Jordan was born in 1896 on a farm located five miles west of Peoria, and when future wife Marian Driscoll arrived in this world two years later, her coal miner's family had set up stakes about three miles from the Jordan's farm. Jim and Marian were childhood sweethearts, both having serious aspirations to be musical performers, but despite their talent - Jim sang, with Marian accompanying him on piano - the "big-time" proved to be an elusive goal. Jim would often have to turn to various jobs to supplement their meager performers' income and, with the arrival of daughter Kathryn and son James, Jr., he would be required to travel far from his little family to secure work in his chosen field - a field that reaped very little financial benefit for the burgeoning Jordan clan.

In 1925, radio was still in its infancy, but it provided valuable performing experience for entertainers who were fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor...and were willing to work for the small salaries it paid. Had it not been for the fledgling medium, Jim and Marian might have continued on in obscurity as strictly small-town vaudevillians...but, while visiting in Chicago, Jim had made a $10.00 wager with his brother that he and Marian could do a much better job of singing than the performers he heard at a small-time radio station. This provided the impetus for the couple to audition for WIBO...and be hired for the princely sum of $10.00 a week. Two years later, they moved to WENR, a larger station, which helped them expand their horizons beyond music and into both comedic and dramatic acting. Much of their WENR work, in fact, provided a blueprint for their later success as Fibber McGee & Molly: Jim, for example, introduced an elderly tall-tale telling codger named Luke on the station's "Luke and Mirandi" farm program -- a character that would later develop into Wistful Vista's beloved bumbler Fibber McGee. (Marian played Mirandi, an early prototype of Fibber and Molly's Mrs. Wearybottom.) The couple also appeared on a domestic comedy serial entitled "The Smith Family," in which Marian's characterization of an Irish wife was later adopted for Molly McGee. In addition, "The Smith Family" featured a running gag in which a living room couch was bedeviled by a loose spring - a comedic touch that would later be the inspiration for McGee's famed hall closet. While at WENR, the Jordan's also made the acquaintance of cartoonist-illustrator Don Quinn - a man who would play a large role in their future fortunes.

In 1931, the Jordan's moved to Chicago's WMAQ, the high-powered station owned and operated by NBC. Now making $200.00 a week, the couple were the stars of "Smackout," a five-a-week comedy skit program written by Don Quinn in which Jim's Luke character was resurrected in the guise of a grizzled grocery store proprietor who was always "smack out" of everything. For her part, Marian created a pesky child named "Teeny," who took delicious delight in unraveling Luke's homespun yarns. Henrietta Johnson, wife of advertising executive John J. Lewis, was an ardent fan of the program and soon convinced her husband that the Jordan's would be ideal choices for a show that the Johnson Wax Company was eager to put on the air. With the contribution of some scripts by Quinn, Lewis auditioned Jim and Marian and the couple was hired -- with a raise to $250.00 a week.

"Fibber McGee & Molly" premiered on April 16, 1935 and, as Jim later observed, he and Marian were fortunate to have signed a twenty-six week contract: "If we had been on for thirteen weeks I'm sure we would have been off by the end of thirteen weeks." Though the show's ratings were anemic at the start - it didn't help that the couple were competing against the popular "Lux Radio Theatre" on CBS - they slowly developed a following. A move to a more favorable time slot on Tuesday nights a few years later proved even more beneficial and, by the 1940s, Jim and Marian were "must-listen radio" -- the stars of one of four comedy shows that were in constant competition for radio's top spot (the others being those of Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Bergen & McCarthy).

Old-time radio fans are well aware that many programs from the Golden Age simply did not survive the ravages of time and neglect. But "Fibber McGee & Molly" was one of the luckier shows thanks to an angel at the S.C. Johnson Company, whose devotion to the program gave them the foresight to hang on to most of the original transcription discs. (Fibber and Molly's runs for Pet Milk and Reynolds Aluminum have also been largely preserved as well.) For many years, it was thought that the Jordan's' 1953-56 weekday quarter-hour shows for NBC had gone missing...but in this, the seventh in a series of collections transferred from the long-lost original NBC Reference Recordings, 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 the mid-1950s. 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.


McGee Donates a Portrait to Teeny's School
Wednesday, January 26, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee's Old CO Visits
Thursday, January 27, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Misses a Quiz Show Question
Sunday, January 30, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Mystery of the Missing Garbage Can, Part 1
Monday, January 31, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Mystery of the Missing Garbage Can, Part 2
Tuesday, February 1, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Mystery is Solved
Wednesday, February 2, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Impersonates Doc to Get License Plates
Thursday, February 3, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee is Worried About Making a Speech
Sunday, February 6, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee's Speech is Interrupted
Monday, February 7, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Gets a New Chair on Trial
Tuesday, February 8, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The McGee's 20th Anniversary
Wednesday, February 9, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Molly Gives McGee's Sweater Away
Thursday, February 10, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Disposing of the Old Phonograph Records
Sunday, February 13, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Molly Shops for a Hat
Monday, February 14, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Arranges to Paint a House
Tuesday, February 15, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The House Gets Painted, But...
Wednesday, February 16, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee is a Radio Show Guest
Thursday, February 17, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee is Appointed to the Library Committee
Sunday, February 20, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Rehearses Teeny for a School Play
Monday, February 21, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Waffle-Weave Shirt
Tuesday, February 22, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Molly Finds a Valentine Card in McGee's Coat
Wednesday, February 23, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Big Library Move
Thursday, February 24, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Buys a Lighter
Sunday, February 27, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Big Trial
Monday, February 28, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Evidence
Tuesday, March 1, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Witnesses and Arguments
Wednesday, March 2, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Decision
Thursday, March 3, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Has to Break a $10 Bill
Sunday, March 6, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee, the People Watcher
Monday, March 7, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Finds an Old Stock Certificate
Tuesday, March 8, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Wins in a Raffle
Wednesday, March 9, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Car Issue is Settled
Thursday, March 10, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee is Appointed Elks Committee Head
Sunday, March 13, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Deposit is Ready. But Not Counted
Monday, March 14, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Bringing the Cents to the Bank
Tuesday, March 15, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Molly Gets the Wrong Gift
Wednesday, March 16, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Dalmatian
Thursday, March 17, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Stage is Full
Sunday, March 20, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee is Jinxed
Monday, March 21, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Buys a New Hat
Tuesday, March 22, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC


Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 | Total Reviews: 1 Write a review

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You Folks Do a Terrific Job! September 18, 2009
Reviewer: John Payne  
I am pleased to support such a terrific organization. I really enjoy listening to all of the old programs--especially the documentaries. I listen to your CD's on my long drives to and from work. They make the experience more enjoyable. Time goes by more rapidly. You folks do a terrific job!

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