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  Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes, Volume 9 - 10 hours [Audio CDs] #RA172



 
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Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes
Volume 9



Marian and Jim Jordan, photographed in 1950At the end of World War II, radio seemed to be an unstoppable force. For nearly two decades, it had been America's first choice for mass entertainment - and most advertisers first choice when deciding where to spend their money on commercials. However, by the the fall of 1949, things were changing rapidly. Television, formerly a curiosity housed mostly in bars, taverns, and displayed with great wonderment at world's fairs, was now making serious dents in radio's massive weekly audience. Though TV had long been fodder for many a radio comedian's jokes, the ratings of radio's most popular comedy programs were no joking matter; their decline was rapid and, to even the most popular shows, often deadly as once-avid listeners enthusiastically turned to television for their regular doses of laughter and merriment.

Jim and Marian Jordan, better known as "Fibber McGee and Molly", were a show business rarity. Unlike many of their radio star counterparts, most of whom were making elaborate plans for their TV debuts, the Jordan's had sized up the situation and determined that, unlike radio, television had nothing to offer them. By the turn of the decade, both performers were in their early 50s - Jim, born in 1896, was 53 and Marian, born in 1898, was 51. Though undeniably spry for their ages, after fifteen years as Wistful Vista's favorite couple, they had no particular desire to invest the time, energy, and endless work it would take to bring the McGee household to television. There was little question that, had they chosen otherwise, they probably could have done so successfully - after all, they had already played the parts in four Hollywood films and a variety of short subjects. But that was years before, when both were still in their 40s. and both were now content to either remain in radio or simply retire in comfort. At the urging of their long-time sponsor, Johnson's Wax, the Jordan's did reluctantly agree to film a pilot for a proposed video version of "Fibber McGee and Molly", but the couple was dissatisfied with the result. Though the floor polish merchants from Racine, Wisconsin would decide to drop their sponsorship of "Fibber McGee and Molly" at the end of the 1949-50 season, they bore no ill will or bad feelings toward the Jordan's; they, like many a sponsor, were just determined to move their substantial advertising cash into the burgeoning new video marketplace.

Pet Milk assumed sponsorship of "Fibber McGee and Molly" from 1950-52, followed by Reynolds Aluminum for the 1952-53 season, but radio's overall ratings continued to droop. Under normal circumstances, Fibber and Molly would have been opening their script for that week's broadcast only to find a pink slip, but the National Broadcasting Company wasn't ready to let their long-time stars walk away -- especially since, in 1948, the network had paid big money to buy the show, lock, stock, and barrel, from Jim, Marian, and series' co-creator Don Quinn. So, in the fall of 1953, "The Fibber McGee and Molly Show" was revamped into a five-day-a-week, quarter-hour program that would play on the radio network twice each weekday: once in the daytime and once in the evening.

From October 5, 1953 to March 23, 1956 - a total of 577 fifteen-minute broadcasts - Fibber and Molly McGee continued to generate mirth from their famous address at 79 Wistful Vista. Due to varying sponsorship, the budget for the daily series was considerably smaller than had been allotted to the half-hour weekly programs and, unlike the live evening show, the daily show was prerecorded without the presence of a studio audience. (This economy particularly suited Marian Jordan, whose varying health had been an issue since the late 1930s.) Money saving also dictated the departure of many of the performers associated with the long-running comedy program: Gale Gordon, who had played both Mayor LaTrivia and weather man "Foggy" Williams, bandleader Billy Mills, and singing group The King's Men were all absent from the new series. Even announcer Harlow "Waxy" Wilcox was given his walking papers, replaced by John Wald -- though Wald's previous experience on Fibber and Molly's famed spin-off "The Great Gildersleeve" did make him the ideal man for the job. Bill Thompson (as the Old Timer and Wallace Wimple) and Arthur Q. Bryan (as Doc Gamble) still remained from the earlier days and, fortunately, the series was able to make good use of the many talented denizens of "Radio Row": Virginia Gregg, Parley Baer, Joseph Kearns, Herb Vigran, and Mary Jane Croft can be heard on many of the programs. (To add a little character variety, the creative minds behind the fifteen-minute shows did give the McGee's a pair of new neighbors: Les and Sally Nelson, as played by Robert Easton and Mary Lou Harrington.)

Don Quinn, the creator and creative wordsmith of "Fibber McGee and Molly", had departed from the show as well; he gradually phased himself out during the 1949-50 season while developing his other radio sitcom hit, "The Halls of Ivy", and turned over the writing duties to his longtime partner Phil Leslie. By 1953, Leslie was the head writer, and he in turn hired reliable scribes like Ralph Goodman, Leonard Levinson, and Joel Kane to assist him in scripting duties; Max Hutto assumed the director's chair.

Thanks to the talents and professionalism of the writers and performers involved, the show retained a consistent level of quality; unlike many a contemporary radio series that both tightened its belt and overstayed its welcome, "Fibber McGee and Molly" was never allowed to dwindle into tossed-off "What the heck, no one's listening anyway" mediocrity. Though constrained by a tight budget and a dwindling radio audience, the new "Fibber McGee and Molly Show" did manage to attract a decent level of popularity; being aired twice daily, the show retained a small but loyal evening audience and gained an entirely new one when it aired during the soap opera-dominated daytime schedule. It even managed to attract an interesting array of sponsors hawking everything from Tums Antacid Tablets to Carter's Little Liver Pills - though, as the years went by, the commercial announcements gradually gave way to plugs for other NBC programs and the recording artists of RCA Victor - a parent company of NBC.

In it's quarter-hour version, McGee and company continued to charm and entertain listeners for nearly three years - a impressive feat in a society that was quickly forgetting how much they had once appreciated radio. In this, the ninth volume of a new series of collections transferred from the long-lost original NBC Reference Recordings, Radio Archives invites you to listen to forty full-length programs that have not been heard since they originally aired well 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 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.


Chef McGee
Wednesday, May 18, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Running the Malt Shop
Thursday, May 19, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

All You Can Eat for a Dollar
Sunday, May 22, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Streamliner Belt
Monday, May 23, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Elusive Bee
Tuesday, May 24, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Bee Swarm Invades
Wednesday, May 25, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Bee Man
Thursday, May 26, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Fun Night at the Elks Club
Sunday, May 29, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee is Caught at the Cleaners
Monday, May 30, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Brings Molly the Wrong Dress
Tuesday, May 31, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Lost Kid
Wednesday, June 1, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee and Wimple Visit a New Barber
Thursday, June 2, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Makes Some Ice Cream
Sunday, June 5, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Works Out His Activity Guide
Monday, June 6, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee's Mentality
Tuesday, June 7, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Frugal McGee is Stuck Downtown
Wednesday, June 8, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Nightclubbing It
Thursday, June 9, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Chipmunk
Sunday, June 12, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Forgets a Special Day
Monday, June 13, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Finds a Stock Certificate
Tuesday, June 14, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Knocking Door Mystery
Wednesday, June 15, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Woodpecker
Thursday, June 16, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Counseling the Old Timer
Sunday, June 19, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Pawns Molly's Coat
Monday, June 20, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Hit and Run
Tuesday, June 21, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The Autographed Baseball
Wednesday, June 22, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Bustles in the Kitchen
Thursday, June 23, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

The McGee Gas Saver
Monday, September 26, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Gives a Gift to the Elks
Tuesday, September 27, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Fixes the Bathroom Shade
Wednesday, September 28, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee is Charitable to Lester
Thursday, September 29, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Tries to Tell a Joke
Friday, September 30, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Makes a Suggestion to Molly's Club
Monday, October 3, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Penetrating the Fortress
Tuesday, October 4, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Preparing For Mister Shi
Wednesday, October 5, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Doc and McGee Mess Up the Chowder
Thursday, October 6, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Molly Buys a Bookend
Friday, October 7, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

Mr. and Mrs. Average Citizen
Wednesday, October 12, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Tries to Write a Dunning Letter
Thursday, October 13, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

McGee Delivers Papers
Friday, October 14, 1955 - 15:00 - NBC

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