Jim and Marian Jordan around 1931 (judging from the RCA 4A condenser micrphone),
perhaps reading a script from "Smackout", their first big radio hit.
the broadcast: "Smackout" aired from March, 1931 until August,
1935. It began as a local WMAQ offering. The NBC network began carrying the program
in April, 1933.
Don Quinn developed and wrote the show along with the Jordans. Quinn later became
the lead writer for "Fibber McGee and Molly".
Marian and Jim Jordan were the show's only cast. But there were dozens of characters,
many of whom were merely referred to by name.
Marian and Jim played "Marian and Jim", the names by which the duo was
generally known on other WMAQ and WENR broadcasts. Their vocal duets (with Marian's
piano accompaniments) were a staple of the show, interspersed with low-key comedy
Featured characters were "Uncle Luke", the proprietor of a country store
and a teller of tall tales, and "Teeny" an incredulous little girl.
"Uncle Luke" became the inspiration for the "Fibber" character
on "Fibber McGee and Molly";
"Teeny" was moved unmodified to "FM&M".
Unlike "Fibber McGee and Molly", which had a large cast, an orchestra,
vocalists and a studio audience, "Smackout" was a small-scale production
featuring just the Jordans. The tone and intimacy of "Smackout" are
quite akin to the production values of "Vic and Sade" and "Lum
and Abner" (and perhaps even early television's "Kukla Fran and Ollie").
It certainly contrasts with the brassy, almost in-your-face character of the first
few years of "Fibber McGee and Molly".
"Smackout" appears to have been aired from Studio
C. Marian plays a harmonium on one of the fragments you can listen to; Studio
C was equipped with such an instrument.
these broadcasts: The only known surviving "Smackout" material
comes from 12-inch 78rpm aluminum disk recordings which Jim Jordan had in his
possession. They are believed to date from March 3rd, March 23rd and June 11th
of 1931. The quality of the recordings is spotty at best. But they are well worth
listening to, given the scarcity of surviving material from this period.
Download the broadcasts:
Jim and Marian sing "The Peanut Vendor". Teeny wonders why Uncle Luke
is painting rootbeer bottles (runs 3:48).
two: Uncle Luke asks Marian to play a hymn for him on the harmonium.
Marian and Jim sing "The Little Old Church in the Valley" (runs 4:08).
three: Marian and Jim sing "That Little Boy of Mine (runs 3:07).
four: Teeny asks Uncle Luke for a baseball so she can join the boys'
team. Marian and Jim sing (bit do not complete) "The King's Horses"
five: Uncle Luke tells Teeny a tall tale about a game he once pitched.
Marian and Jim sing "Oh, How I Miss You" (runs 4:07).
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