In 1939 one of the most popular radio comedies on NBC was the Fibber McGee and Molly show, and one of the returning ‘characters’ on that program was Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve. Gildersleeve was a pompous butt, and very full of himself, and became a favorite of the Fibber McGee and Molly program. In 1941, Kraft Foods wanted to promote a new margarine that it named ‘Parkay,’ and wanted to sponsor a national radio program to attract listeners to their commercials. They decided to take the Gildersleeve character from the Fibber McGee and Molly program and give him a family of his own, and a show of his own, all to promote Parkay Margarine. Thus The Great Gildersleeve became the first media ‘spin-off’ program. They moved Gildersleeve to Summerfield, where he took over his late brother’s home and the rearing of his two kids, Marjorie and Leroy. He had a cook named Birdie, and was a lifelong bachelor. The show spawned four full length motion pictures between 1942 and 1944, and this short lived television show in 1955.
The Great Gildersleeve Volume One
Gildy Goes Broke, Pratice What you Preach, Gildy Goes Diving, Gildy Stews about a Cook
B&W, 1955, 120 minutes