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  Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes, Volume 2 - 10 hours [Audio CDs] #RA055



 
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10 hours - Audio CD Set


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Fibber McGee and Molly: The Lost Episodes
Volume 2



"Tain't funny, McGee..."

After arriving at Chicago's WMAQ in 1931, Jim and Marian Jordan starred in "Smackout", written by Don Quinn - a comedy show which would later inspire many of the characters and situations for "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. After arriving at Chicago's WMAQ in 1931, Jim and Marian Jordan starred in "Smackout," written by Don Quinn - a comedy show which would later inspire many of the characters and situations for "Fibber McGee and Molly." 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.

By 1951, when this photo was taken, the Jordan's were among the top comedy teams in radio and "Fibber McGee and Molly" had been a Tuesday night tradition for over a decade.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.

By 1951, when this photo was taken, the Jordan's were among the top comedy teams in radio and "Fibber McGee and Molly" had been a Tuesday night tradition for over a decade."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 second of 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 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.


"Raffles" McGee
Tuesday, April 13, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Panic Button
Wednesday, April 14, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Carter's Little Liver Pills

In My Merry Oldsmobile
Thursday, April 15, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

He's a Good Egg
Friday, April 16, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Honest Injun
Monday, April 19, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Gettum Up, Scout
Tuesday, April 20, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Backs to Nature
Wednesday, April 21, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant

Circulation is Up
Thursday, April 22, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Printer's Devil
Friday, April 23, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

It Suits You
Monday, April 26, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

I Got Stung
Tuesday, April 27, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Tennis Racket
Wednesday, April 28, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Carter's Little Liver Pills

Woodsman, Spare That Tree
Thursday, April 29, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Bad News Comes in Trees
Friday, April 30, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Beyond Repair
Monday, May 3, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Plymouth

In His Hiccups
Tuesday, May 4, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Brother Orchid
Wednesday, May 5, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant and Plymouth

Don't Touch That Dial
Thursday, May 6, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

It's Not the Coffee, It's the Bunk
Friday, May 7, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Plymouth

You and Your Education
Monday, May 10, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Plymouth

Fur-eign Co-Respondent
Thursday, May 13, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Goin' Courtin'
Friday, May 14, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Plymouth

The Trial of Fibber McGee
Monday, May 17, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Quick as a Flash
Tuesday, May 18, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Chime on My Hands
Wednesday, May 19, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant

Dog Dazed
Thursday, May 20, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Number, Please
Friday, May 21, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Experiment in Error
Monday, May 24, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Plymouth

The Substance of Fire
Tuesday, May 25, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Holding Things Together
Wednesday, May 26, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Carter's Little Liver Pills and Plymouth

Glued to the Phone
Thursday, May 27, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustained

Command Performance
Friday, May 28, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Plymouth

Joke and Dagger
Monday, May 31, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

I Spy With My Little Eye
Tuesday, June 1, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Knots to You
Wednesday, June 2, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Arrid Deodorant

Plenty of Money and You
Thursday, June 3, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Down to the Wire
Friday, June 4, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Tuckered Out
Monday, June 7, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sustaining

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Tuesday, June 8, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Tums

Wash and Weary
Wednesday, June 9, 1954 - 15:00 - NBC, sponsored by Carter's Little Liver Pills
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Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 | Total Reviews: 1 Write a review

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Can't Wait to Get All Twelve Volumes September 18, 2009
Reviewer: Scott Livingston  
Loved the first 2 "Fibber McGee and Molly" sets of the newly discovered 15-minute shows. Can't wait to get all 12 volumes.

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