Thursday, April 11, 2019


When I was but a fledgling suburban slob I used to get hooked on a variety of tee-vee reruns that I just hadda be front and center for whether it be GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, GOMER'S PILES or a variety of other fifties/sixties wonders that lingered on in the ether of rerun-land for a good fiftysome or so years. Even today I try to catch THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM or THE ROY ROGERS SHOW whenever I am in charge to controlling the television so thankfully this age-old habit is still firmly in place. And y'know what...with the advent of complete collections of television series available at times for mere pennies I can now watch reruns whenever I want to without having to work my eating and pooping time around whenever such shows will pop up outta the ether of satellite land! And no, I don't have any of that modern-day ability to save shows for when I want to watch 'em like Bill Shute does....sheesh, I'm trying to get the hang of getting as much life outta my own dying computer before it heads for the scrapyard to worry about such frivolities as that!

Anyway, I sure got hooked onto these FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY programs from the '45/'46 season the same way I did everything from ANDY GRIFFITH to I DREAM OF JEANNIE---it's that good an effort to cool down after a hard day at the salt mines to and even without the visuals you can sure create a whole lotta 'em in your brain just like Stan Freberg used to say. It might take a while to get used to, but once you just settle back and stare aimlessly into that same sorta bulb-lighted room that has the same glow to it that such rooms oozed for years and let the sounds digest in your Clarabellum, it's almost as if you're back during those just post-war days and the only thing you hadda worry about was the shortage of meat, medicine and paying the bills so you at least had some electricity to listen to next week's episode!

But these sitcom sagas are just as good as anything that you'll come across on the fifties/sixties rerun circuit. The real life hubby/wife team of Jim and Marian Jordan do swell as the low-class couple living in whatcha'd call a smaller 'n small town Amerigan burgh gettin' into more of those dumb and dumber situations that made shows like these so popular with the hoi polloi for a longer time'n any of us could imagine. Lotsa pre-patterned predict the outcome well in advance scripts here true, but it sure is fun wondrin' whether McGee's gonna accidently blow up the orphanage he's volunteerin' in, and then just when you think the coast is clear and nothin's gonna happen he does and kills everyone inside leadin' to a laff fest you're not gonna forget in quite some time!

Actually there's never anything along those lines in store on FIBBER McGEE (after all, this ain't my fantasy sitcom based on various kid-type hijinx loosely adapted from real life youthful atrocities that I've mused about in these pages before) but the humor certainly is there! I particularly like the reoccurring gag where Gale Gordon as Mayor LaTrivia gets into some really funny Abbot and Costello-styled Who's on First-styled back 'n forth with McGee and Molly getting even more flustered than Mr. Bluster himself in the process. Marian Jordan also doubles as "Sis", the little girl who always seems to be giving Fibber a whole load of grief tryin' to cadge stray pennies outta him. Bill Thompson doing his Droopy voice as Mr. Wimple's also a good segment, and even Elmer Fudd himself Arthur Q. Bryan pops up as Dr. Gamble who sounds rather non-Fudd-esque here and in fact kinda irritating, as is announcer Harlow Wilcox who's continually plugging various Johnson's Wax products to the pair but can never pronounce "linoleum" for some strange reason..

Yeah, Billy Mills and his Orchestra and the King's Men vocal group are a good excuse to go take a wee or raid the fridge, but as soon as they're outta the way boy are you gonna be in for a comedy treat that sure sounds great without all the jibberjabber moralizing that goes on these days (tho I do get kinda tired at all the World War II references to the point where I once again end up rooting for the Japanese). But yeah, I dare fact DAST dare ya to pick up an entire season of FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY and not get totally immersed in the thing to the point where you, like I, will keep using such catchphrases as "taint funny McGee" and have Don Fellman retort "my grandmother always used to say that" as if I was some old stuck way inna past fuddyduddy type to bring that 'un up inna first place! Well, come to think of it ain't I perhaps the LAST fuddyduddy on this planet? I kinda hope not, but I am continuing on a proud tradition that probably won't die out until """""I""""" do!

CLOSING NOTE: after writing all this dribble how could I've forgotten to mention the infamous "hall closet" running gag which, interestingly enough, was a big influence on future dyke composer Pauline Oliveros!

1 comment:

JD King said...

She composed dykes? Sheesh.