Friday, March 30, 2012
Going Back to Summerfield with the Great Gildersleeve
When I was first introduced to the Great Gildersleeve so many years ago, I loved the show immediately. A local station in Seattle was playing old time radio shows late at night and the station would occasionally broadcast an episode of the series. There were also those crazy appearances Gildersleeve would make on the Fibber McGee and Molly program (another series the radio station ran even more frequently.) The specific programs I heard were hilarious and I became an instant fan. Then something happened. Many years later I became tired of the show or the character . . . or something. I no longer cared for the program. Admittedly, I wasn't even really listening anymore. I would turn on the program and it always seemed to be in the middle of Gildersleeve singing with the Jolly Boys -- again! My interest in listening to the programs had faded. Whenever it came on the air I would do something else. It's kind of a shame because now that it's ten years later I have to wonder to myself, what was I thinking? This is a great radio series! Having given the show a good listen again I have discovered that the writing is good and the characters are well developed. For this listener anyways, the town of Summerfield has a strong resemblance to Mayberry (the town featured in the Andy Griffith TV series a few years later). I found both towns very charming and places that I would actually visit if they were actually towns that existed. Gildersleeve was the water commissioner in the town of Summerfield but when we first got to know him he was a resident of Wistful Vista and a regular character on the Fibber McGee and Molly program. "Wistful Vista! Coming to Wistful Vista! the conductor announces as the train arrives in the small but very well known town.