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Fibber McGee and Molly

Fibber McGee and Molly was a long-running comedy program on United States radio which played a major role in determining the form of what is now called old-time radio, and also a major role in defining American culture of the mid-1930s through the 1950s.

The famous stars of the show were Jim Jordan and Marian Jordan, real-life husband and wife Vaudevillians who tried several radio personae before settling on the characters with which they became permanently identified. The show put a cheerful face on despairing circumstances, and the couple's home at "79 Wistful Vista" (itself a famous phrase of the day) seemed to exist in a kind of neverland where money was never coming in, was always the target of schemes, and yet no one ever really went wanting -- not the truth, but not that far from the truth for many Americans of the day. The Jordans were experts at transforming the ethnic humor of Vaudeville into more rounded comic characters, no doubt due in part to the affection felt for the famous supporting cast members who voiced these roles (Bill Thompson, Harold Peary, Gale Gordon, Marlin Hurt, and others). Fibber McGee and Molly gave rise to Peary's Great Gildersleeve[?], arguably the first "situation comedy." Today, the show is best-remembered for a series of catch phrases and situations whose origin may be opaque to many: "Fibber McGee's closet" (referring to the stuffed-full hall closet that would frequently be opened to clamorous results); "Tain't funny, McGee"; "That ain't the way I heerd it"; "Heavenly days" -- listening to these programs today, it is remarkable how much of American speech can be traced to performers now forgotten by most.


Jim and Marian Jordan, aka Fibber McGee and Molly



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