The Aldrich Family

aldrich lg.jpgWhen Rudy Vallee saw the play, he asked Goldsmith to adapt it into some sketches for his radio program, and this was followed in 1938 by a 39-week run of a sketch comedy series on The Kate Smith Hour with Stone continuing in the role of Henry. Kate Smith's director, Bob Welsh, is credited with the creation of the "Hen-reeeeeeeeeeeee! Hen-ree Al-drich!" opening, which eventually became one of the most famous signature sounds in radio.

After finding an audience with Kate Smith's listeners, The Aldrich Family was launched in its own series as a summer replacement program for Jack Benny in NBC's Sunday night lineup, July 2, 1939, and it stayed there until October 1, 1939, when it moved to Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., sponsored by General Foods's popular gelatin dessert Jell-O, which also sponsored Jack Benny at the time. The Aldriches ran in that slot from October 10, 1939 until May 28, 1940, moving to Thursdays, from July 4, 1940 until July 20, 1944. After a brief hiatus, the show moved to CBS, running on Fridays from September 1, 1944 until August 30, 1946 with sponsors Grape Nuts and Jell-O before moving back to NBC from September 5, 1946 to June 28, 1951 on Thursdays and, then, as a Sustaining program in its final run of September 21, 1952 to April 19, 1953 on Sundays.

The show was a top-ten ratings hit within two years of its birth (in 1941, the show carried a 33.4 Crossley rating, landing it solidly alongside Jack Benny and Bob Hope). Earning $3000 a week, Goldsmith was the highest paid writer in radio, and his show became a prototype for the teen-oriented situation comedies that followed on radio and television.

Stone kept the lead role until 1942, when he entered the Army for World War II. Norman Tokar succeeded Stone as Henry for two seasons. Best known for his later work directing the television hit Leave It to Beaver — whose approach of telling its stories from the vantage point of a child may have been inspired by the similar implication in many Aldrich episodes — Tokar also helped write many of the Aldrich episodes. On The Aldrich Family, Tokar was followed by Dickie Jones (1943-44) and Raymond Ives (1944-45), before Stone returned to his signature role. Bobby Ellis became the last Henry Aldrich in 1952.

Episode Number Episode Title Aired Datesort descending
Homer Expects a Horse from Agnes
14 Henry's Blind Date Tuesday, October 3, 1939
15 Henry's Engagement Tuesday, October 10, 1939
16 Girl Trouble (aka Date Mix-Up) Tuesday, October 17, 1939
19 Coupon Craze Tuesday, November 7, 1939
25 Christmas Show Tuesday, December 19, 1939
34 Pigeon Coops Tuesday, February 20, 1940
35 Carrier Pigeons Tuesday, February 27, 1940
43 Coupon Craze Tuesday, April 23, 1940
44 Model Airplane Tuesday, April 30, 1940
45 Mothers Day Tuesday, May 7, 1940
47 School Picnic Tuesday, May 21, 1940
48 Cross Country Race Tuesday, May 28, 1940
60 The Generous Gentleman Movie Thursday, September 5, 1940
61 Lost Watch Thursday, September 12, 1940
68 Halloween Prank Backfires aka Halloween Thursday, October 31, 1940
80 The Pen Pal Thursday, January 23, 1941
116 Henry Forgets To Mail Letter Thursday, October 23, 1941
129 Girlfriend Thursday, January 22, 1942
130 Henry's Secret Admirer Thursday, January 29, 1942
139 April Fools Joke Runs Amok Thursday, April 2, 1942
Henry's Missing Left Rubber Sunday, April 5, 1942
149 Homer Invites Himself To Dinner Thursday, June 11, 1942
150 Selling Christmas Cards Thursday, June 18, 1942
154 Lead Role Thursday, August 13, 1942
206 Everyone Sleeps Over Tuesday, September 7, 1943
222 Movie Star Thursday, January 27, 1944
227 Homer's Piano Recital Thursday, March 2, 1944
228 Warmest Day in March Thursday, March 9, 1944
260 The Bicycle Friday, November 24, 1944
267 Henry Sends Candy To Two Girls Friday, January 12, 1945
430 Painting The Garage Thursday, June 24, 1948
432 Henry Rents Out Mary's Room Thursday, October 7, 1948
433 The Great Wiener Roast Thursday, October 14, 1948
436 Henry Buys A Hat Thursday, November 4, 1948
437 Broken Toy Thursday, November 11, 1948
438 Grab Bag at Springer's Hardware Thursday, November 18, 1948
441 Grouse For Dinner Thursday, December 9, 1948
444 New Years Eve Party Thursday, December 30, 1948
446 French Notes Mixup Thursday, January 13, 1949
Looking For Tuxedos For School Formal Thursday, January 27, 1949
449 Shoveling Snow Thursday, February 3, 1949
Geometry Homework Thursday, February 10, 1949
451 Mrs Aldrich's Antique Chairs Thursday, February 17, 1949
459 Henry The Shortstop Thursday, April 14, 1949
484 The Great Sled Race Thursday, January 26, 1950
509 Contest To Win Money For Motor Scooter Thursday, September 14, 1950
540 Henry Alters The School Paper Thursday, April 19, 1951
550 Everyone Expects a Surprise Party Thursday, June 28, 1951
551 Paid in Corn Sunday, September 21, 1952

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