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Fiber McGee and Molly
|Fibber McGee and Molly was an American radio comedy series. A staple of the NBC Red Network for the show's entire run and one of the most popular and enduring radio series of its time, the prime time situation comedy or it's time.
There are people who would argue that Fibber McGee and Molly were the Golden Age of radio. This is partly because of the show's very long (1935-1959) and successful run. But more than just staying power, the show showcased terrific comic and musical talent. Throughout its run, the show was a reflection of its time in the American scene.
The stars of the program were real-life husband and wife team James "Jim" Jordan (16 November 1896 – 1 April 1988) and Marian Driscoll (15 April 1898 – 7 April 1961), who were natives of Peoria, Illinois.
Jordan was the seventh of eight children born to James Edward Jordan and Mary (née Tighe) Jordan, while Driscoll was the twelfth out of thirteen children born to Daniel P. and Anna (née Carroll) Driscoll. The son of a farmer, Jim wanted to be a singer; Marian, the daughter of a coal miner, wanted to be a music teacher. Both attended the same Catholic church, where they met at choir practice. Marian's parents had attempted to discourage her professional singing and acting aspirations. When she started seeing young Jim Jordan, the Driscolls were far from approving of Jim and his ideas. Jim's voice teacher gave him a recommendation for work as a professional in Chicago, and he followed it. He was able to have steady work but soon tired of the life on the road. In less than a year, Jim came back to Peoria and went to work for the Post Office. His occupation was now acceptable to Marian's parents, and they stopped objecting to the couple's marriage plans. The pair were married in Peoria on August 31, 1918.
The title characters were created and portrayed by Jim and Marian Jordan, a real-life husband and wife team that had been working in radio since the 1920s.
Fibber McGee and Molly, which followed up the Jordans' previous radio sitcom Smackout, followed the adventures of a working-class couple, the habitual storyteller Fibber McGee and his sometimes terse but always loving wife Molly, living among their numerous neighbors and acquaintances in the community of Wistful Vista. As with most radio comedies of the era, Fibber McGee and Molly featured an announcer, house band and vocal quartet for interludes. At the peak of the show's success in the 1940s, it was adapted into a string of feature films; a 1959 attempt to adapt the series to television with a different cast and new writers was both a critical and commercial failure, which, coupled with Marian Jordan's death shortly thereafter, brought the series to an end.
Living in the fictional Midwestern city of Wistful Vista, Fibber was an American teller of tall tales and a braggart, usually to the exasperation of his long suffering wife Molly. Life in Wistful Vista followed a well developed formula, but was always fresh. Fibber's weekly schemes would be interrupted, inspired by, and often played upon the People of Wistful Vista, a set of regular players and characters that were as beloved as the stars of the program. The program used a series of running gags that would become part of the common language, many treasures can be found in the Closet at 79 Wistful Vista.
The show began as a comic reflection of Depression Era America, but as time went on and the shadows of war came over the nation, the show again caught the mood of the country. WWII was fought on the Home front on Wistful Vista as surely as anywhere else in America, but here they had the benefit of Fibber's somewhat addled perspective.
|James Edward Jordan (November 16, 1896 – April 1, 1988) was the American actor who played Fibber McGee in Fibber McGee and Molly and voiced the albatross Orville in Disney's The Rescuers (1977).
Jordan was born in 1896 on a farm near Peoria, Illinois. He attended St. John's Church in Peoria, and his family eventually sold the farm and moved into Peoria. It was at church choir practice that he met Marian Driscoll.
Jim Jordan went on the vaudeville circuit, both as a solo act and with his wife, Marian, at various times until 1924. They went entirely broke in 1923, having to be wired money by their parents to get back to Peoria from Lincoln, Illinois.:247
Marian Jordan died in April 1961.:252 Jim Jordan married Gretchen Stewart (1909-1998), the widow of radio comic Harry Stewart (Yogi Yorgesson) in 1962; they remained married for the rest of his life, and he remained in semi-retirement.:252
In 1988, he died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles from a blood clot in his brain, caused by a fall at his home. He is buried next to Marian Jordan in the Saint Ann section of Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, and is next to the plot of Sharon Tate.
Marian Irene Driscoll Jordan (April 15, 1898 – April 7, 1961) was an American actress and radio personality. She was most remembered for portraying the role of Molly McGee, the patient, common sense, honey-natured wife of Fibber McGee.
Jordan was born Marian Irene Driscoll on April 15, 1898 in Peoria, Illinois. She was the twelfth of thirteen children born unto parents Daniel P. Driscoll, (January 10, 1858 – March 25, 1916) and Anna Driscoll (née Carroll), (February 28, 1858 – April 28, 1928). Driscoll's paternal great-grandfather, Michael Driscoll, Sr. (1793–1849), immigrated with his wife and children from his hometown of Baltimore, County Cork, Ireland in 1836 to the Boston area and then to Bureau County, Illinois in 1848.
As a teenager and young adult, Driscoll gave music lessons and sang in choir at the church which she attended.
Jim and Marian, earned very little income. Marian settled on becoming a piano teacher and Jim became a mailman.
The two wed on August 31, 1918. They had two children together; a son and a daughter. The two would endure a long career in show business together.
The two Jim contracted a case of influenza during the 1918 flu pandemic but survived. After the war ended, Jim stayed in Europe to do Vaudeville performances for wounded soldiers.