Radio Programs beginning with "G"
"Good night, Gracie."
Have they attacked the studio? Actually, this is a performance
of the Gangbusters show. Look at the genuine expression of
fear in one woman's face.
Sponsors: Chevrolet, Cue Magazine, Sloan's Liniment, Waterman
Pens, Tide Detergent, Post cereals, Wrigley's Gum, Sustaining (none)
Networks: CBS, NBC
Type of Show: Police Drama
NB: Although no longer for sale in the U.S., you can still buy
Liniment throughout Asia. ("Gangbusters" was the only show sponsored
by Sloan's.) The "real life police officer" who narrated each week
was a different actor, not a law enforcement officer (you hear the term,
"by proxy," used). The FBI began to get involved with this show in
George Burns and Gracie Allen on radio and TV
The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (known by the sponsor's
name from September 1936)
Stars: George Burns, Gracie Allen (Mrs. George Burns), Bill Goodwin
Sponsors: Robert Burns cigars, White Owl cigars, Campbell's
Soup, Grape Nuts, Chesterfield cigarettes, Hinds cosmetics, Swan's powder,
Maxwell House coffee, Carnation evaporated milk, Amm-L-Dent toothpaste
Networks: CBS, NBC
Type of Show: Situation Comedy
NB: If you've never heard this program, forget all you know
about George Burns: Gracie was the funny one! She died of cancer
Star: Gertrude Berg (also writer, producer, and research consultant)
Sponsors: Pepsodent Toothpaste, Colgate Toothpaste, Oxydol Detergent,
Network: NBC (Blue), NBC (Red), CBS
Type of Show: Soap Opera (Ethnic Comedy)
NB: The first comedy soap opera of any genre! Successfully
made the transformation to television. That victory was dampened
when cast member Philip Loeb was targeted by the House on Un-American Activities
Committee in 1952, marked as a Communist. He was let go from the
show and committed suicide after not finding acting jobs for a couple of
If you didn't know what time The Great Gildersleeve
came on, all you had to do was go to the refrigerator and check the lid
of the Kraft Miracle Whip® jar.
The two Gildersleeves.
It's said that Willard Waterman lacked Hal Peary's distinctive laugh.
The Great Gildersleeve
Star: Harold Peary, then Willard Waterman
Sponsor: Kraft, others (from 9/54)
Network: NBC (Red)
Type of Show: Situation Comedy
NB: A spin-off from Fibber McGee & Molly. Throckmorton
P. Gildersleeve, a recent widower, owned a women's underwear factory near
the home of the McGees. The tragic death of a couple of "Gildy's"
relatives forced his guardianship over his niece and nephew, also forcing
him to move town. It is considered one of the best comedies of any
genre. When Hal Peary quit the show in 1950, his replacement was
an almost identical copy of him in both appearance, voice, and talent.
Willard Waterman would later star as Gildy in a short-lived, unmemorable
TV series. People would find out that great radio programs don't
always make such great TV shows because the imagination's all gone!
One of the voices you hear on the radio show, the actor who portrayed Leroy,
Gildy's nephew, is that of Walter Tetley (1915-75), an adult actor.
Because of a congenital condition in which his voice didn't change,
he was able to do lots of voice work as small boys. He was Julius
on the Phil Harris/Alice Faye Show. His last major voice acting
credit was Sherman, the boy owned by Mr. Peobody (the dog) in Rocky
and Bullwinkle cartoons in the early 1960s.
Stars: Al Hodge (1936-43), A. Donovan Faust (1943), Robert Hall
(1943-46), Jack McCarthy (1946-52)
Sponsor: sustaining (no sponsors), General Mills, Orange Crush
[only had a sponsor in parts of 1948 and 1952]
Networks: Mutual, NBC (Blue), ABC
Theme Music: "The Flight of the Bumblebee" by N. Rimsky-Korsakov
Additional Theme Music: Francesca da Rimini by P. Tchaikovsky;
Firebird by I. Stravinsky
Type of Show: Superhero Crime Drama
NB: One of the most enduring characters created for radio, the
Hornet character was Britt Reed, who was a nephew of John Reed, the
Ranger. Unlike his uncle, the Green Hornet was not respected
by law enforcers, who kept trying to arrest him. Like the Lone
Ranger, this program was chocked full of well known symphonic music.
An interesting thing happened on this show after
December 7, 1941.
Kato, who had been of Japanese ancestry now had
ancestry. Only on radio!
Stars: William Conrad, Parley Baer, Georgia Ellis, Howard McNear,
Sponsors: Chesterfield cigarettes, L&M cigarettes, Post
Type of Show: Western
NB: Although similar to the TV show, which spun off from the
radio series, there were actually very few similarities in the two Gunsmokes!
Because of his immense girth, William Conrad could have never been a Matt
Dillon for the cameras. (Did you also know that Bill Conrad, which
is how he was billed in the credits, was the announcer/narrator for Rocky
and Bullwinkle cartoons in the early 1960s?) Howard McNear would
end his career as Floyd the Barber on the CBS-TV's Andy Griffith Show.
He would suffer a severe stroke, after which he still worked, taking off
a year for recuperation, until he died from the stroke shortly after the
Andy show went off the air. [I always remembered
this as being one of the last regular series which CBS took off the air
in 1962. No. Gunsmoke went of the air in the middle
of June 1961!]
Updated November 23, 2001
CHOOSE THE FIRST LETTER OF A RADIO PROGRAM