In 1939, when Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve first came to the attention of radio audiences, he was but a neighbor and one of the frequent visitors to the folks at 79 Wistful Vista on the popular Fibber McGee and Molly program. His verbal sparring with Fibber came to be a much anticipated and enjoyed segment of the program.
Then in 1941, Gildersleeve moved to the town of Summerfield to take on a more serious role as the guardian of his orphaned niece and nephew. His bumbling efforts, his penchant for wooing various ladies, and his interactions with pals in the Jolly Boys club, made The Great Gildersleeve one of radio’s most listened-to weekly programs.
Harold Peary brought “Gildy” to life on the McGee program and filled the role until mid-1950. Willard Waterman then took over, with a voice so similar to Peary’s that few listeners noticed the change. The two stars, supported by a talented team of writers and a cast of seasoned radio performers, kept listeners tuned in for 16 years.
Old-time radio enthusiast Dan McGuire recalls the careers of Harold Peary, Willard Waterman, and the featured players who made The Great Gildersleeve a listeners’ favorite and one of radio’s most long-running programs.