Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 19: Fibber McGee Paints the Tree White (1945)

Many of us have our Christmas trees up and decorated by this time of year - but there are still so many questions to ask.  Should you have a theme?  Should you have a real one or an artificial?  Do you need a special one for the kids?  Should you paint it white?  Paint it white?  Well that was enough of a thing back in 1945 that it was featured as the theme during a holiday Fibber McGee and Molly program.  If you have Sirius XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). It is particularly good this week with all Christmas themed programs.  Or you can see my previous OTR Christmas entries (or drop to the bottom of this message).

This is the second time we visited 79 Wistful Vista this season (Mailing Packages with Fibber McGee and Molly (1940)).  That address is the home of Fibber McGee and Molly.  This radio situation comedy was one of the longest running shows on the air, starting back in 1935 and continuing as its own 30 minute show through 1956 before spending two or so years as a brief segment over NBC on their Monitor Program.  There are so many different episodes to choose from from this great series that showcase Christmas and all the activities that are part of the holidays.  I have already featured this episode twice before (and likely once again this year) Looking for a Christmas Tree with Fibber McGee & Molly (1943) & Fibber McGee and Molly's Phonograph (1940).

Christmas Trees
Kinda White Christmas Trees - Saline, Michigan - January 2007

On December 18, 1945 over the NBC Network, the Fibber McGee and Molly show featured some last minute Christmas Tree trimming at the their house at 79 Wistful Vista.  Fibber decides that he is tired of a boring old drab green tree and wants something fancy, special and modern!  But maybe it has more to do with his feelings about Nature - which are captured brilliantly by announcer Harlow Wilcox in the opening:

There are certain people who simply won't admit that nature does anything right. They are the kind who gild cattails, paint "Whose little tootsie are you?" on the shells of baby turtles, and clip poodle dogs to look like anaemic lions. Here's one of those people now ... as we meet.........


After finding out that it costs a whopping $10 to paint his Christmas tree white, Fibber McGee decides that he would be well served to do it himself.  And as you might imagine - it goes as well as can be expected.  The very first thing you should consider when decorating your tree is that you have the right location...and the right tree.  But there is a silver lining to the mess he finds himself in.  It is, after all, a season of sharing.  The show also features Teeny and The King's Men singing "The Night Before Christmas."  Joining Jim and Marian Jordan are Announcer Harlow Wilcox, Billy Mills and His Orchestra, Shirley Mitchell, Arthur Q. Bryan, and Bea Benaderet.  The script was written by Don Quinn and Phil Leslie.

As a fan of the Bard, I did enjoy this middle commercial from the program:

Harlow Wilcox: (Dramatically) Is it not monstrous that this player here, seeing a lady forced to menial task -- and seeing such drudgery, would then dispense a thing called Johnson's Glo-Coat? Forsooth a goodly fluid, which spread upon the scullery linoleum, would thus eliminate the scrub. No rub! No buff! Just pour it on and in one third the time it takes for the hour glass to turn...it dries!

Fibber: If Shakespeare ain't in the public domain, this two-bit Orson Welles is gonna be sued for nine million bucks!

Harlow Wilcox: Ah, yes! It dries so mirror-like, it gleams. That porridge spilled, wiped off.

Leaves not a single spot. The labor saved, the hours gained, the beauty seen. Tis Glo-Coat, beloved by Chatelaine and serving wench alike. Your nearest dealer will...

Molly: Wait a minute, Mr. Wilcox. Is that in Hamlet?

Harlow Wilcox: (Himself again) My dear girl, it's in every hamlet, every village, every town, city and metropolis. Everyplace where a housewife takes pride in the appearance of her kitchen. And if I don't get back to the office in the next ten minutes, I'll find myself back in Chatauqua. So long, kids!

I hope you enjoy this wonderful visit to the 79 Wistful Vista and that your own tree decorations go more smoothly!

          Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2017) & Other Links

          25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2016) 

          25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

          25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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