Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fibber McGee and Molly Part 2

I've written about them before but I had a great chance discovery in a thrift shop in Illinois. For a whopping 79 cents I acquired their Christmas program. I had forgotten who the original sponsor was until I played the LP.

The program opens:
"The Johnson Wax program with Fibber McGee and Molly!  The makers of Johnson’s Wax and Johnson’s Self-Polishing Glo-Coat presents Fibber McGee and Molly, written by Don Quinn."
It usually ends with a longer Johnson wax spot something like this:
"If you own a piano, you certainly want to keep it in beautiful condition. Here’s a way to do it. Polish your piano with Johnson’s Creme Wax, the amazing polish that cleans so quickly, dries so quickly, polishes so quickly, that using it is practically as easy as dusting. A couple of minutes -- that’s all the time it takes to do the job. Because Johnson Creme Wax not only cleans in a moment, it dries in a moment. And it polishes in a moment to a hard satin smooth finish with no sticky oil left to catch dust. Tomorrow ask for Johnson’s Creme Wax, the fastest wax polish you can buy."

Johnson's Wax didn't' stick with them quite all the way to the end. They pulled out after May of 1950. Pet Milk picked up the series and stuck with them for two years, and then Reynolds Wrap , who stuck with them to the bitter end. The the last 30-minute broadcast was on June 30, 1953. they tried to move to TV starting October of that year, with 15 minute daily bits but that tanked. They also tried to do a series of 5 minute segments on NBC's Monitor weekend service in the late '50s. We are lucky today that Johnson wax held onto the recordings as they are all we have today. I've never found a good catalog of the label, so I can only guess based on the out-dated bio that it was released between 1961 and 1988.

The LP was pressed by Mark 56 records and the cover uses the Johnson Wax Glo-coat brand. Mark 56 also released radio serials from Buck Rogers, Dick Tracey, Don Winslow, Gasoline Alley, Joe Palooka, Jungle Jim, Little Orphan Annie, Nick Carter Master Detective, Mandrake the Magician, Red Ryder, Sad Sack, the Shadow, Superman, Terry and the Pirates, and a whole series by the Mercury Theater.

Almost all of these releases were produced by George Garabedian. George is a mysterious character, his label based in Anaheim. He was also a musician who did strange parodies, and joke albums including the very obscure George Garabedian Players which was sort of a satire on Herb Alpert. You can sample that horror here.