Fibber McGee and Molly Great Gildersleeve Old Time Radio US War Bonds

Paying for a Total War: The War Bond Drives

WWII Patriotic Poster

One striking aspect of the Second World War, when viewed from a distance of three or four generations, is the universality of the conflict. The public at large seems more in touch with “American Idol” than the progress of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But during WWII it seems there was hardly a block that didn’t have at least one or two blue stars in the window (a family that had a son, or husband in the service would hand a small banner with a blue star for each service member, the blue being a prayer for a safe return, a gold star signifies the loss of a serviceman.) Everyone, it seemed, did their part for the war effort.

One aspect of this community effort to win the war was the War Bond Drives. The government needed money for the fight, and so it borrowed it from the American people.  Advertisements for the bonds ranged from subtle mentions on printed material to old time radio advertisements to large scale rallies featuring the top Hollywood film stars. In many communities there were kiosks, in areas that had significant foot traffic, staffed with pretty girls selling War Bonds.

Not only were there whole variety programs on the radio dedicated to soliciting War Bonds, but there were small dramas dedicated to the effort, such as These are Our Men. The terrific response Kate Smith’s marathon War Bond drives demonstrated not only fans loyalty to the star, but also allowed them to feel they were part of the War Effort.

Popular programming was part of the effort as well. Hardly an episode of Fibber McGee and Molly or The Great Gildersleeve passed without a War Bond appeal from the stars or the announcer, often both. Many episodes of Fibber McGee and Molly were dedicated to war bond drives or other Home Front war efforts.

Enjoy this bond selling episode from Guest Star Radio Theater starring Bob Hope & Bing Crosby from April 10, 1947:

Christmas Christmas Radio Shows Comedy Great Gildersleeve Old Time Radio

Great Gildersleeve Christmas

Just like at your house, Christmas in Summerfield is a special time. Of course sponsor Kraft Foods would insist that Gildy’s Christmas be extra special!

During the first season of The Great Gildersleeve the 15th episode would occur on Dec 7, 1941, the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. That year would also have the excitement of Gildy’s first Christmas in a new home. The years in Wistful Vista won’t be forgotten. As Gildersleeve is preparing to send Fibber a cheap present that he found in the discount bin, a large and mysterious package arrives from Wistful Vista marked “Do Not Open Until Christmas, signed Fibber McGee.” Now embarrassed by the small gift he was going to send, Gildy hurries to find a better gift for Fibber. Soon Judge Hooker hears about the new present and thinks it is for him. A series of “Gift Inflation” occurs with hilarity until Fibber‘s package is opened to reveal the old lawn mower Fibber had borrowed from Gildy months ago.

In 1945 Gildersleeve is determined that there will be a “Traditional Family Christmas” at home, but the kids have other ideas. Eventually Gildy has his sweet family Christmas, but not until there is a great deal of confusion and “Gift Inflation.” And we can’t forget adventures involving Mrs. Ransom and the mistletoe!  Walter Tetley also appears as the lovable Leroy.

Christmas Christmas Radio Shows Comedy Fibber McGee and Molly Great Gildersleeve Old Time Radio

Christmas in Wistful Vista: Part 2

Today we continue our trip down Christmas Radio Shows Nostaliga Lane with our favorite old time radio comedy, Fibber McGee and Molly: On Dec 24, 1940 there is confusion in the McGee household when they receive a package addressed to Gildy, an expensive radio/phonograph combo. Of course Fibber breaks the expensive gadget, and the McGee’s desperately try to replace it before Gildy finds out, only to discover that it is Gildersleeve’s present to them.

This episode is from Old Time Radio’s Fibber McGee’s Christmas Collection.

Christmas Christmas Radio Shows Comedy Fibber McGee and Molly Great Gildersleeve Old Time Radio

Christmas in Wistful Vista: Part 1

Any radio sitcom that lasts more than one season is likely going to do a Christmas Radio Shows. I think it may be an FCC rule. It is fun to think about, especially for pre-recorded TV Sitcoms that are probably shot the previous summer.

The Grand daddy of all radio sitcoms, Fibber McGee and Molly had many wonderful Christmas Radio Shows over their 24 year run. Many shows seem to be OK with just one nod to the holidays every season, but Fibber McGee and Molly had many years where they had a Christmas themed radio show most weeks in December. Whether this is because stars Jim and Marian Jordan were an actual couple raising kids who would have wanted more Christmas cheer, or if writer Don Quinn was just a big kid at heart is purely up for guess. Maybe Harlow Wilcox and the Johnson Wax company had a Santa Complex.

In the coming days we hope to feature some of our favorite Fibber McGee and Molly Christmas Radio Shows.

On Dec 10, 1940, Fibber McGee and Molly try to mail their Christmas packages, not only do they have to deal with long lines at the post office, but Fibber is talked into mailing Gildersleeve’s packages as well. Then they find out Fibber has stood them in the wrong line at the post office!

This episode is from Old Time Radio’s Fibber McGee’s Christmas Collection.