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Radio Spirits Newsletter August 2011

Charles Rector's Weblog; Oct. 4, 2011; By Charles Rector
Type: News


August 2011

This Month's Features


--The Great Gildersleeve: Character Counts!


--Probing the Shadow's History and Mysteries with Martin Grams Jr.


--Celebrate the 70th Anniversary of The Great Gildersleeve on When Radio Was


--Radio Stars on the Silver Screen--Upcoming Events


--Duffy's Tavern:
Where the Elite Meet
--Nero Wolfe:
Parties for Death


--Suspense--Burns & Allen--Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons--Candy Matson


--Play our new OTR and Nostalgia Trivia Game.


--Save 20% and Get Flat $4.95 Shipping on Your Entire Order for a limited time. See details.Featured ArticleTHE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE: CHARACTER COUNTS 
By Elizabeth McLeod
 The following article is presented in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the radio premiere of The Great Gildersleeve on August 31st.

There were two types of comedy competing for listener attention during the Golden Age of Radio -- vaudeville comedy and character comedy -- and most comedy performers on the air could be placed firmly into one camp or the other. A few performers straddled both -- Jack Benny comes immediately to mind -- but it was very rare for a radio character to move from one style to another. One who did, and with outstanding success, was Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve.

Harold PearyToday, The Great Gildersleeve is one of the most fondly remembered of radio's comedic figures -- an earnest, well-meaning fellow who often found himself the unfortunate victim of his own pomposity. As delineated by Harold Peary and Willard Waterman over the program's seventeen-year run, Gildy emerged as a figure of great depth. This was a testament not just to the actors who played the part, but also to the writers who gave him words, and to the supporting cast who gave him a believable, textured setting. 

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve hadn’t always been such a well-rounded personality. When he first appeared on the scene in the late 1930’s, he was merely one in a long parade of exaggerated comic types to emerge from the typewriter of the vaudeville-influenced former cartoonist Don Quinn.

Quinn, the creator of Fibber McGee and Molly, was known for his broadly-comic characters -- not the least of whom were Fibber and Molly themselves, who started out in the mid-thirties as caricatures familiar to anyone who'd ever seen a small-time husband-and-wife act cavorting on the stage. The broadness of the personalities wore away over time, however, leaving room for Quinn to surround them with an array of wildly exaggerated comic-strip-style supporting characters, portrayed by such veterans of Chicago radio as Bill Thompson, Hugh Studebaker...and Harold Peary.

Peary's natural voice -- rich, mellow, and musical -- lent itself best to a certain type of characterization. Although he had had some success on the air as a romantic leading man/crooner type before joining Quinn's troupe, his speaking voice seemed best suited to the portrayal of authority figures -- and given Fibber McGee's impudent abrasiveness, the more pompous the authority figure the better. Peary began playing these types during Marian Jordan's absence from the McGee program in 1938, when Fibber was in desperate need of a strong foil. By 1939, these random blowhards began to coalesce into a single personality. His first name might be Wilbur in one episode, or George in another, and his relationship to Fibber might be that of a banker, a doctor, a dentist, or an old classmate -- but the last name would always be the most pompous name Quinn could bring to mind: Gildersleeve.

By 1940, Gildersleeve became a Character as opposed to a mere "character." He gained the permanent name of "Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve", he became Fibber's friendly-enemy next-door, and he assumed a position in the community as the manager of the Gildersleeve Girdle Works. He became so popular with listeners that, in the summer of 1941, he gained his own program...

Read the the rest of this exclusive article on The Great Gildersleeve by clicking here.

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An Exclusive Radio Spirits Interview by Elizabeth McLeod

Escape: ClassicsWho Knows What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Men? Well, everybody knows the answer to that question. But who knows what mysteries lurk in the history of radio's greatest mystery-adventure character? That would be Martin Grams Jr., award-winning Old Time Radio researcher and author. Mr. Grams' books on a wide range of radio programs and personalities are no mystery to the discerning OTR enthusiast, and now he's turned his focus on The Shadow in an impressive new volume from OTR Publishing, The Shadow: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930-1954. Covering every aspect of the program's evolution, from its early pre-hero anthology format to the legendary adventures of Lamont Cranston, Martin's book is the most ambitious yet on the subject. Fellow broadcast historian Elizabeth McLeod recently had an in-depth conversation with Martin about the book and the in-depth research that backs it up...

Read this exclusive interview on The Shadow by clicking here.

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Air DateProgramEpisode TitleOriginal Air DateMon, 8/8/2011The Great GildersleeveGildy Organizes A Testimonial Dinner For Judge Hooker5/31/1942Mon, 8/22/2011The Great GildersleeveLeroy is Expelled - Part 19/16/1945Tues, 8/23/2011The Great GildersleeveLeroy is Expelled - Part 29/16/1945Mon, 8/29/2011The Great GildersleeveArrives In Summerfield (Premier)8/31/1941Mon, 8/29/2011Fibber McGee & MollyGildy Leaves For Summerfield - Part 19/30/1941Tues, 8/30/2011Fibber McGee & MollyGildy Leaves For Summerfield - Part 29/30/1941
If you miss a broadcast, you can listen to a free stream of the show the day after each broadcast. Just visit and click the "Listen Now" link under Listen to Our Free Radio Show. Past shows are available for one week after their broadcast date.

RecommendedRADIO STARS ON THE SILVER SCREEN Turner Classic Movies is scheduled to broadcast a number of movies this month that feature favorite classic radio performers. All times are Eastern. 

DateTimeMovie TitleStarringAugust 5th4:00 amThe Story of MankindRonald ColmanVincent Price, Groucho MarxAugust 6th6:00 amDu Barry Was a LadyRed Skelton, Lucille BallAugust 6th8:00 pmStage DoorEve Arden, Lucille Ball, Katherine HepburnAugust 8th8:00 pmThe Third ManOrson WellesAugust 9th2:00 amThe Lady From ShanghaiOrson WellesAugust 9th7:15 amSweet MusicRudy ValleeAugust 9th3:30 pmCollege CoachDick Powell, Pat O'BrienAugust 21st1:45 pmRoom For One MoreLurene Tuttle, Cary GrantAugust 22nd12:45 pmDaisy KenyonDana Andrews, Joan CrawfordAugust 22nd2:30 pmFlamingo RoadSydney Greenstreet, Joan CrawfordAugust 23rd2:45 pmWhistling in the DarkRed SkeltonEve ArdenAugust 23rd11:45 pmCasablancaHumphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter LorreAugust 24th12:00 pmColleenDick PowellAugust 25th11:30 pmThe KillersEdmund O'BrienWilliam ConradAugust 27th6:00 pmFallen AngelAlice FayeDana AndrewsAugust 28th6:15 pmTo Be or Not To BeJack BennyAugust 30th12:30 pmLovely To Look AtRed Skelton

UPCOMING EVENTS Capitolfest, August 12 – 14, Rome, NY - (Rarely-shown and newly-discovered films of the silent and early talkie era)
For more information visit 

Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, August 11 – 14, Rosemont, IL 
For more information visit 

Baltimore Comic Con, August 20 – 21, Baltimore, MD 
For more information visit 

Dragon*Con, September 2 – 5, Atlanta, GA - (Science fiction and fantasy convention) 
For more information visit 

SPX Small Press Expo, September 10 – 11, Bethesda, MD 
For more information visit 

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, September 22 – 24, Hunt Valley, MD - (TV, movies, radio and nostalgia) 
For more information visit 

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New Radio Spirits Releases – Available Now!
Duffy's Tavern
Duffy's Tavern:
Where the Elite Meet

Nero Wolfe: Parties for Death
Nero Wolfe: Parties for Death

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Upcoming Radio Spirits ReleasesComing In September

- Suspense 
- Burns & Allen 
- Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons
- Candy Matson 

* Please note all new release dates are subject to change.

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Trivia GameThink you know your old time radio and nostalgia trivia? Play our trivia game and find out! Click here to play an all-new 10 question trivia game!!

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Special Savings Offer20% OFF and FLAT $4.95 SHIPPING ON YOUR ENTIRE ORDER
placed now through Wednesday, August 10th.*

* Offer Details: To get 20% Off and $4.95 Flat Rate shipping on your order you must include Offer Code M08NC001 when placing your order. This special offer is good only through August 10th, 2011 at Midnight Eastern Time and cannot be combined with any other offer. Percentage savings shown in this email already include the promotional discount. Percentage savings are calculated on your order subtotal before tax and shipping charges. Flat rate shipping offer is good for standard shipping to the United States only. While supplies last. Offer not valid on past orders. This is a special web-only offer and YOUR ORDER MUST BE PLACED THROUGH OUR WEBSITE. Click here to begin shopping!

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