Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Recipes and Radio: Great Gildersleeve's Servicemen for Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving Old Time Radio)

My fourth entry of Recipes and Radio in honor of Thanksgiving.  First, the recipe for a great carrot side dish perfect for any wintertime meal.

Sauteed Carrots with Sage

I loved cooked carrots and this is my all-time favorite recipe.  It is very simple to make and it is a perfect complement to any big meal like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.  But it is easy enough to make any time of the year.  And be sure to use butter when making this - even though our show today is sponsored by Parkay Margerine! Follow this link for the recipe.

The Great Gildersleeve is not only a great radio comedy, it has two aspects that really makes it a series way ahead of their time.  First, it was a spin-off program, having had its main character originally on a different series.  In this instance, the main character of Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve was originally on the Fibber McGee and Molly show. According to the Wikipedia entry (please see the link below), the character was introduced on October 3, 1939 (my birthday - not year!).  The Great Gildersleeve debuted on the NBC Network on August 31, 1941.  Second, the actor to play Gildersleeve (or Gildy) was replaced after a contract dispute.  Harold Peary originated the role and played Gildy until a contract dispute moved him off the show.  He was replaced by Willard Waterman in September 1950. Harold Peary would star in the The Harold Peary Show, often known as Honest Harold.

The Great Gildersleeve is the story of Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve - played by Harold Peary.  Gildy is the self-important Water Commissioner in their town of Summerfield.  A bachelor who was constantly on the look for that someone special, he lived in a house with his niece, Marjorie (played by radio great Lurene Tuttle) and nephew, Leroy (played by child voice star Walter Tetley).  They are joined by Birdie (played by Lillian Randolph) as housekeeper and cook at the home.  She is one of the more prominent African-American voice actors from these days of radio programming.  One of Gildy's great nemeses is Judge Hooker, who plays a nearly constant foil for whatever they are trying to do.  I have gone hot and cold on Gildersleeve over the years, but the more I listen to these episodes, the more I like them.  I love hearing the Kraft ads (from the early years) and I am trying to listen to more of them.

With this long-running show, there are numerous Thanksgiving episodes to choose from.  I am selecting on from the few weeks before the United States entered World War II (after the attack at Pearl Harbor).  On November 16, 1941, Gildersleeve's show was called Servicemen for Thanksgiving and it touches upon the generosity that often embraces us during the holidays.  When it is discovered that the 32nd Regiment of the Army is going to be in Summerville for Thanksgiving, the 1000 servicemen needed a place for Thanksgiving.  It was suggested that each family could take in one soldier to give them a family to share for Thanksgiving.  Gildy wants to make sure that it is a great holiday for all these young men.  First, his niece Marjorie suggests adding a second turkey and inviting not one, but 8 soldiers!  Second, Gildersleeve gets on the radio to let everyone in town know how they can help.  And while its certainly a happy holiday for these soldiers, it is not exactly as Gildersleeve had imagined!  Joining Harold Peary in this episode was Earle Ross, Hans Conried, Lillian Randolph, Lurene Tuttle, and Walter Tetley.
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