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Host: Allan Newsome
Running time: 0:11:58
I have been looking around the Internet for podcasts to listen to and I found The Great Gildersleeve Replay. Said to be both the first spin-off program, and one of the first situation comedies, The Great Gildersleeve was a spin-off from Fibber McGee and Molly. The radio show ran for 16 years (1941-1957) on NBC Radio.
What does any of this have to do with The Andy Griffith Show? Well, I was listening recently and noticed two names that were used on The Great Gildersleeve that will draw the attention of Mayberry fans. The Great Glidersleeve is set in the town of Summerfield and Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve is the main character. I had noticed that one of the supporting characters is Floyd Munson and that he is the barber in Summerfield. They even call him “Floyd the barber” but while I notice the name and smiled it wasn’t until I heard the episode titled “Sleigh Ride” (Feb 6, 1944) that I really took notice. It turns out Floyd’s brother is mentioned and his name is Otis.
I started digging to try and see if this show might have been where Andy and the writers of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) came up with the names Floyd the barber and Otis. I spoke with Jim Clark and Ken Beck recently and neither had heard about Gildersleeve being a source for the names. I checked the writers to see if there were any in common between the Gildersleeve and TAGS but could find none.
I did find that the person who played Floyd on Gildersleeve was Arthur Q. Bryan. Mr. Bryan, it turns out, was the voice of Elmer Fudd on the Warner Brothers cartoons. When Mr. Bryan passed away onNovember 18, 1959, Hal Smith (Mayberry’s Otis)assumed the voice of Elmer Fudd in later Looney Tunes productions.
I can’t say for sure what the tie in between the towns of Summerfield and Mayberry might be but there seems to be enought there to make it worth continuing to dig.
Don’t forget to leave comments or ask questions on the iMayberry.com/podcasts website or using the contact information given in the podcast. We’d love to have you be a part of our next feedback episode.
- The Great Gildersleeve – Wikipedia story with background on The Great Gildersleeve.
- Arthur Q. Bryan – Voiced “Floyd the Barber” on The Great Gildersleeve. Wikipedia has a very nice write-up.
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Just want to add a few thoughts to what I left on your voice mail. We are in the middle of a heavy snowstorm tonight here in Wisconsin so your Podcast tonight was really a special treat. As I said on the phone The Great Gildersleeves is my favorite Old Time Radio Program. But with all the times I listened I never gave much thought to the similarities to Mayberry, but after hearing your comments they became so obvious. Your clip tonight too about the sleighride brought back some very wonderful memories of my high school days. In the fall and winter we would quite often go on hayrides. One of the kids who lived on a farm would load a hay wagon with bales of hay and hook it up to the tractor and away we would go. We spent the night sitting on the hay with a pretty girl next to us ( well sometimes a pretty one sat next to me) and we would sing and have the time of our lives. Afterwards there was usually a bonfire followed by hot chocolate and hot dogs. What I wouldn’t do to be able to relive one of those days. But thanks to you and the digest and now your Podcasts many of us can relive some very special times by your triggering some often forgotten hidden memories.
Allan, I really enjoyed the podcast, even though the link to Mayberry was indirect. But you did a good job of pointing out the similarities, and it will be interesting to see if anyone has insight as to whether Mayberry’s Floyd Lawson may have been inspired by Gildersleeve’s Floyd Munson.
You are apparently new to Old Time Radio. Even though these radio programs were from my parents’ era and not my own, I have been an OTR fan for many years. I have several episodes of “The Great Gildersleeve,” as well as many of its parent show, “Fibber McGee and Molly.” The ’30’s, ’40’s, and (to a lesser degree) ’50’s provided a lot of good, wholesome entertainment through these radio programs which allowed the listener to act out the scenes in his own imagination. Comedies tend to be my favorites and, besides the aforementioned, I especially like “Burns and Allen,” “Amos and Andy,” “The Easy Aces,” “The Aldrich Family,” Eve Arden’s “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Jack Benny Program,” and Lucille Ball’s “My Favorite Husband,” which spawned the hugely popular TV series “I Love Lucy.” In fact, I have transferred my love of OTR to my 10-year-old daughter, who listens to shows on her MP3 player. For a time, she played “Our Miss Brooks” and “My Favorite Husband” shows so often that our whole family could quote lines from them! She is now on an “Archie Andrews” kick.
Like “The Andy Griffith Show” of TV, many of these OTR shows were good, clean family entertainment, well written and well acted. Though some were especially noted for puns and one-liners (“Fibber McGee and Molly” comes to mind), most were situation comedies and utilized recurring characters that added much to the show’s appeal, like TAGS.
Hope you enjoy exploring more of the world of Old Time Radio, Allan!
Very interesting. Loved all those old WB cartoons , never knew that Hal Smith was also a voice for Elmer Fudd! I have a fb friend in Colorado, Chuck Jones, who is a nephew to Chuck Jones the animator for many of the WB cartoons. He was named after his uncle. This is very interesting story you did on this podcast, a very familiar sounding tie in. I had never heard of this old radio show, but I bet my Dad would have remembered it, they were the radio generation!
On to # 62
Look at this video, go to Time 14:58
That’s GREAT!!! Thank you for pointing that out! –Allan