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The Great Gildersleeve Old Time
The Great Gildersleeve (1941-1957), initially written by Leonard L. Levinson, was arguably the first spin-off program in broadcast history. Built around a character who had been a staple on the classic radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest success in the 1940s. Actor Harold Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in a quartet of feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.
On Fibber McGee and Molly, Peary's Gildersleeve was a pompous windbag who became a consistent McGee nemesis ("You're a haa-aa-aa-aard man, McGee!" became a Gildersleeve catch phrase). But he also became a popular enough windbag that Kraft Foods looking primarily to promote its Parkay margarine spread sponsored a new series with Peary's Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (the character was given several conflicting first names on Fibber McGee and Molly, and on one episode of that show revealed his middle name as Philharmonic) as the central, slightly softened, and slightly befuddled focus of a lively new family.
Premiering on NBC on August 31, 1941, The Great Gildersleeve moved the title character from the McGee's Wistful Vista to Summerfield, where Gildersleeve now oversaw his late sister's estate and took on the rearing of his orphaned niece and nephew, Marjorie (originally played by Lurene Tuttle and followed by Louise Erickson and Mary Lee Robb) and Leroy Forester (Walter Tetley). In a striking forerunner to such later television hits as Bachelor Father and Family Affair, both of which are centered on well-to-do uncles taking in their deceased siblings' children, Gildersleeve was a bachelor raising two children while, at first, administering a girdle manufacturing company ("If you want a better corset, of course it's a Gildersleeve") and then for the bulk of the show's run, serving as Summerfield's water commissioner, between time with the ladies and nights with the boys. Indeed, The Great Gildersleeve may have been the first broadcast show to be centered on a single parent balancing child-rearing, work, and a social life, done with taste and genuine wit, often at the expense of Gildersleeve's now slightly understated pomposity.
The key to the show was Peary, one of the most gifted voice actors of his generation (and several others), whose booming voice and facility with moans, groans, laughs, shudders, and inflection was as close to body language and facial suggestion as a voice could get. Peary was so effective, and Gildersleeve became so familiar a character, that he was referenced and satirised periodically in other comedies and in a few cartoons.
This collection of The Great Gildersleeve Greats includes 512 different shows and appearances for a total of 254+ hours of listening enjoyment.
This product is a DVD collection of Old Time Radio mp3s. It is
designed to be played on your computer DVD drive with standard mp3
software - like Windows media player or its equivalent on Macintosh
computers. The mp3 files on the DVDs can be copied onto CDs for
play in your car stereo, home entertainment center, etc so you can
take your favorite shows with you anywhere you go.
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