August 24, 2012 (Friday)
Do you recognize the names, Jim Jordan and his wife, Marian Driscoll, of Peoria, Illinois? No? Maybe you know them by their stage names, "Fibber McGee and Molly." Their long trek in the entertainment industry began in 1918 in Vaudeville and ended in radio in 1959. They never took their show to television. It was always radio, and for many years, the highest rated program on the air. We conclude our week's view of comedians by taking a brief look at these creators of catch phrases that endure to this day.
Remember Fibber's, "Operator, give me number 32Oooh, is that you, Myrt? How's every little thing, Myrt?" How about, "You're a hard man, McGee," spoken by Gildersleeve? Or Marian's "Little Girl" and her "I betcha?" And the Old Timer's, "That ain't the way I heared it." Who could forget the sounds of the closet crashes and McGee's predictable remark, "I gotta get that closet cleaned out one of these days?" Also Beulah's "Love that man!" These phrases and other made their way into films, cartoons, and daily conversations. Some endure to this very day. Ever hear or say, "'Taint funny, McGee?"
Memories of the characters introduced on the program are embedded in the minds of those who heard them on the radio: Fibber, Molly, Gildersleeve, The Old Timer, Teeny (the little girl), Mayor LaTrivia, Foggy Williams (the weatherman), Wallace Wimple (henpecked husband), and "Myrt," the unseen and unheard telephone operator? And many others.
The McGee's took the nation with them on a journey through the Depression, World War II and the post-war days. People loved them and identified with them. And laughed, and laughed and laughed with them. Those were the days.