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Harold PearyThrockmorton P. Gildersleeve

The P. stands for Philharmonic. Learn more about the Great Man himself!

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve was a character created by writer Don Quinn for NBC's Fibber McGee and Molly Show. Actor Harold Peary had been with the show from its beginning, playing a variety of doctors, waiters, and store clerks. His distinctive laugh and popular style inspired the creation of Gildersleeve as a foil for ‘Himself,' Fibber McGee. In the August 3, 1939 episode, Throckmorton Gildersleeve is introduced to Fibber and Molly as an autograph collector who hires McGee to get the signature of "Killer" Canova, a dangerous gangster. McGee and Gildersleeve were next door neighbors, and they reveled in making mischief together and at each other's expense. Gildersleeve's broad character and distinctive laugh were so popular with audiences that he was given his own show on Aug 31, 1941.

Fibber McGee and Molly Episode:
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When Gildersleeve moved from Wistful Vista to his new home in Summerfield, the change was more than just beginning of a program. Fibber McGee and Molly was mostly a variety show; it featured an extended comic sketch with mostly recurring characters and held together with musical numbers from the orchestra and vocalists. The Great Gildersleeve Show required a greater "suspension of disbelief" from the audience, being a self-contained drama. The show presented a small drama, featuring Gildersleeve as an uncle raising his orphaned niece and nephew and administering their estate. He is also forced to give up his presidency of the Gildersleeve Girdleworks ("If you want a better Corset, of course it's a Gildersleeve!") He eventually gains a new position as the Water Commissioner of Summerfield.

The Great Gildersleeve:
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Family life was both a trial and a treat for "The Great Man." Suddenly he is saddled with a bratty ten year old boy and a pretty, popular, and self willed nineteen year old young woman. Gildersleeve takes very seriously his responsibility to develop the young people in his charge into responsible citizens, while very aware of his own shortcomings. Given to more than a little pomposity, Gildy appreciates his cigars, good food, and more than a passing eye for pretty ladies. (Gildersleeve's distinctive laugh, which starts from an embarrassed high to a knowing low, was often described by Hal Peary as his "Dirty Laugh.") He was a musical man with a booming voice, a quick temper, and a touch of vanity, but an amazingly soft heart.

Great Gildersleeve