The Great Gildersleeve

gleesleeve lg.jpgThe Great Gildersleeve is a radio situation comedy broadcast from 1941 to 1957. Initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson,[2] it was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. Built around Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve, a character who had been a staple on the radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly, first introduced on October 3, 1939, episode 216. The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest success in the 1940s. Actor Harold Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in four feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.

On Fibber McGee and Molly, Peary's Gildersleeve was a pompous windbag who became a consistent McGee nemesis. "You're a haa-aa-aa-aard man, McGee!" became a Gildersleeve catchphrase. The character was given several conflicting first names on Fibber McGee and Molly, and his middle name was revealed as Philharmonic at the end of the episode "Gildersleeve's Diary" on October 22, 1940.

He soon became so popular that Kraft Foods—in order to promote its Parkay margarine—sponsored a new series with Peary's Gildersleeve as the central, slightly softened and befuddled focus of a new family.

Episode Number Episode Title Aired Datesort descending
17 Christmas Gift fo Fibber McGee Saturday, December 20, 1941
228 Leroy Wants a Motor Scooter Tuesday, December 17, 1946
233 Dancing School Wednesday, January 22, 1947
234 Marjorie's Hotrod Boyfriend Wednesday, January 29, 1947
235 Magazine Salesman Wednesday, February 5, 1947
236 Old School Friend Visits Gildy Wednesday, February 12, 1947
237 Bessie's Cousin Substitutes for Her Wednesday, February 19, 1947
238 Getting Rid of Bessie Wednesday, February 26, 1947