Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! I’ve been listening to a lot of old time radio sitcoms lately, and like last May, I just want to highlight a few episodes (essentially, all the ones that I enjoyed) and share them with you in today’s post.
01. The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny (03/14/37)
The infamous Jack Benny and Fred Allen feud, which was officially launched in January of ’37, culminates in this episode, live from New York, in which the two radio comedians come face to face for a fist fight! Best for longtime fans of the series who’ve experienced the wonderful build up, this episode nevertheless packs a strong comedic punch!
02. The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny (11/13/38)
One of my favorite supporting players on Benny’s show is the delightful (future star of his own show) Phil Harris, who in the ’38-’39 season is particularly competitive with Jack Benny — especially over the ladies. The gags about Barbara Whitney, their mutual girl friend is a hoot (even though the episode sort of derails in the second half).
03. The Hinds Honey And Almond Cream Program [Starring Burns & Allen] (03/06/40)
Gracie Allen’s run for presidency (she was running on the Surprise Party ticket) is this series’ best known storyline. This installment is the second episode of the arc, and in addition to a recap of all the shows in which Gracie had guested this past week, she treats us to her very catchy campaign song for the first time. Wonderfully funny!
04. The Swan Soap Show With George Burns And Gracie Allen (11/23/43)
Loretta Young, a soon-to-be spotlighted star on Film Fridays, guests in this episode, in which she plans to sue Gracie for libel, after the daffy comedienne writes an article about Loretta Young’s secret lover! This episode is a laugh-a-minute and great for fans of the wonderfully talented actress.
05. The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny (01/05/47)
Another show built around guest stars, this episode features that glamorous Hollywood power couple, Bogie and Bacall (who does a great plug for Lucky Strike). Although Jack’s early years have an appealing looseness, you’ll notice how much sharper the Lucky Strike programs are in comparison.
06. Maxwell House Coffee Time [Starring Burns & Allen] (12/11/47)
The addition of Meredith Willson to the cast marks what I consider to be the golden era of Burns and Allen’s radio shows. This is another wildly funny episode, helmed by writer Paul Henning (best known for The Beverly Hillbillies), which gives great stuff to its regular cast of characters. One of my personal favorites!
07. My Favorite Husband (04/01/49)
This series has been featured several times on this site. As you probably know, this is the show that inspired I Love Lucy and from which many episodes were adapted. This script was never translated for television, although it’s highly entertaining, as Liz’s practical joke of planting a lipstick stained hanky in George’s coat backfires! Highly recommended.
08. The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show (05/21/50)
Admittedly, I haven’t listened to a lot of these shows, but I’m always impressed with how laugh-out-loud funny the writers, led by Dick Chevillat (of Green Acres), made the scripts. A wonderfully cast series that boasts always delightful musical numbers, this episode has Phil and Alice going to get their drivers’ licenses. Hilarity, naturally, ensues!
Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!