The Great Radio Sitcoms
By Jim Cox
Noted author and scholar, Jim Cox has contributed another first-rate volume to the body of literature on Old-Time Radio.
This book, The Great Radio Sitcoms, focuses on 20 of network radio’s most durable situation comedies or Sitcoms.
The volume provides comprehensive discussions of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Aldrich Family, The Amos ’n’ Andy Show, Archie Andrews, Baby Snooks, Beulah, Blondie, Duffy’s Tavern, Father Knows Best, Fibber McGee & Molly, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Great Gildersleeve, The Jack Benny Program, The Life of Riley, Life with Luigi, Meet Millie, My Favorite Husband, My Friend Irma, Our Miss Brooks, and The Phil Harris–Alice Faye Show.
If you enjoy factual content, there is plenty.
The in-depth coverage of each series starts with extensive information on creators, origins, producers, directors, writers, casts, sponsors, ratings, music personnel and theme music, sound effects artists, dates and times on the air, and available archival materials.
As many of this series also had runs in motion pictures and on television, discussions of their histories in those media also receive extensive treatment.
Each chapter includes discussions on the series' comedic style and impacts on other series, entertaining anecdotes, typical plot lines, and character relationships and development, interspersed with a liberal portion of Radio history.
There are nearly 100 detailed biographical sketches of series creators, actors, directors, writers, and announcers.
Also provided are the opening lines or typical conversations from several of the series.
In addition, Jim has provided a pair of very valuable and informative Appendices.
The first Appendix is "A Directory of Network Radio Sitcoms."
This Appendix lists basic information on 170 programs of the genre and includes years broadcast, network affiliation(s), primary cast members, and if any, motion picture and/or television incarnations and syndication information.
The second significant Appendix is "Additional Radio Sitcoms," lists 13 additional series.
In addition to the standard series information (dates and times of broadcast, network affiliation(s), primary and supporting cast members, announcers, sponsors, and if any, television incarnations and syndication information), there are short, but informative, descriptive overviews of each series.
The included series are: The Bickersons, A Date with Judy, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day, Easy Aces, Ethel and Albert, The Halls of Ivy, Junior Miss, Lum and Abner, Maisie, Meet Corliss Archer, My Little Margie, That Brewster Boy, and Vic and Sade.
The Great Radio Sitcoms manages to amalgamate a large quantity of facts, biographical information, and anecdotes with astute observations into a highly informative, readable, and enjoyable book.
No small feat in deed!
Jim's book really captures the liveliness of the radio sitcom genre in such a way that the reader feels like the shows are still on the air.
The Great Radio Sitcoms
By Jim Cox
photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
296pp. hardcover (7 x 10) 2007
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
Jefferson, NC 28640
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