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Author: Jim Manago

Publisher: Bear Mountain Media

ISBN: 978-1593939120

His stance and facial expression were unique. He made us laugh keeping a straight face he is remembered for his roles in radio and television and he is Gale Gordon. Watching him on Our Miss Brooks from 1952-1958 he brought laughter to audiences at home. As Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace he was priceless but my favorite was Theodore J. Mooney on the Lucy Show.

The other night I put on Here’s Lucy and watched him and the great Lucille Ball as if they were still here performing and making us laugh. That show ran from 1968-1974. Author Jim Manago brings the life of Gale Gordon back into our homes allowing us to take the journey back in time to where it all began.

The many roles that he played especially as he was the first believe it or not to play Flash Gordon and then in the 1935 radio serial titled the Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon. But, when looking through this biography I turned to the last section to learn more about his role as the Honorary Mayor of Borrego Springs, California, or Mayor La Trivia.

In order to appreciate what the author added at the end of the book which is different skits and parts of these shows I decided to find some of the episodes and listen to them myself so that I could better relate them to readers. Listening to several Fibber McGee and Molly episodes and then to the one where Mayor La Trivia did not want to leave brought Gale Gordon back to life and laughter into my living room.

Each time they said goodbye to him he found another reason to remain, ask a question or return. It is hilarious. Gale Gordon was unique and no matter what role he played he became that person for the 15 minutes or half hour that he was on the air. No one else could play these roles, nor could anyone just stand there with his special look and not laugh but you would. Each episode that is shared in this book is unique unto itself yet his character never falters.

Born Charles Thomas Aldrich, Jr in 1906, to Charles Aldrich and Gloria Gordon in New York City. He was born with a deformity the author shares. A cleft palate, which had to be corrected. Moving to London and having his palate fixed and then returning home to the U.S. to attend school.

One of the first roles was the Dancers and in 1926 his first singing job playing the Ukulele on the radio. His roles soared after that he did supporting roles on Tarzan and Gangbusters. But, he was truly noted for his role as Mayor La Trivia on the Fibber McGee and Molly show, which I did find several episodes of and listened to in order to get a real sense of the show and his role.

Listening to Fibber McGee and the show about the barometer was hilarious and listening to the show where Mayor La Trivia refused to leave brought the role and Gale Gordon back to life. He played this role for 12 years and I am going to listen to more episodes. Our Miss Brooks was an all time favorite of many viewers and his role as Principal Osgood Conklin was priceless.

People would stop him on the street and ask him why he was so mean to Ms. Brooks. Lucy even wanted him in the role of Fred Mertz. He had a sharp personality and although he was one of the highest price actors on radio and received 150 a week for his role on Fibber McGee and Molly when asked what he wanted to play Mr. Conklin CBS did not comply until they realized the other candidates for the role could not hold a candle to Gale Gordon.

He married Virginia Curley in 1937 and he bought a huge farm in 1948. Imagine learning that he was a farmer. He had a long career on radio and played many dramatic roles. He played opposite Mary Pickford on her show titled Mary Pickford and Company and also stared in a show called Dear John.

But, salaries were not high and he worked more than one show at a time. He was Inspector Lestrade on the Basil Rathbone show or version of Sherlock Holmes. His deep voice resonated and he was often type cast. But, listening to Fibber McGee and Molly some of the skits reminded me of Gracie and George Burns.

Mayor La Trivia was his main character on that show and he often pretended to get flustered and mess hp his lines. Working on this show he was also cast on Our Miss Brooks. Mr. Conklin was original and you either loved him or despised him but not both. He was straightforward and definitely quite blunt at times. .

He worked with Lucy on My Favorite Husband and after radio The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy.

He made his mark and left a legacy that is unbeatable. Playing Mr. Mooney, Lucy’s banker who tried to keep cool but found it hard. Imagine getting locked in vault with Lucy. Watching some of the repeats brought it all back. The final tribute is in the appendix where the author shares his film and television credits, his nominations, resources and index.

Gale Gordon’s voice might have been silenced when he passed away but it is reborn, heard and remembered each time we watch the old movies, play the episodes on Youtube and remember that he was not just an actor but a farmer, author and beloved husband.