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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.


Stars: various
Sponsors: Chevrolet, Cue Magazine, Sloan's Liniment, Waterman Pens, Tide Detergent,  Post cereals, Wrigley's Gum, Sustaining (none)
Networks: CBS, NBC
Aired: 1935-1957
Type of Show: Police Drama
NB: Although no longer for sale in the U.S., you can still buy Sloan's 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 1936.

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
Aired: 1932-1950
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 in 1964.

The Goldbergs

Star: Gertrude Berg (also writer, producer, and research consultant)
Sponsors: Pepsodent Toothpaste, Colgate Toothpaste, Oxydol Detergent, General Foods
Network: NBC (Blue), NBC (Red), CBS
Aired: 1929-1950
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 years.

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)
Aired: 1941-1957
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.

The Green Hornet

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; The Firebird by I. Stravinsky
Aired: 1936-1952
Type of Show: Superhero Crime Drama
NB: One of the most enduring characters created for radio, the Green Hornet character was Britt Reed, who was a nephew of John Reed, the Lone 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 Filipino ancestry.  Only on radio!

  William Conrad


Stars: William Conrad, Parley Baer, Georgia Ellis, Howard McNear, others
Sponsors: Chesterfield cigarettes, L&M cigarettes, Post cereals, others
Network: CBS
Aired: 1952-1961
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