Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gales of Laughter

Gale Gordon with Lucy.
Happy birthday to that consummate character actor of radio and television, Gale Gordon, born February 20, 1906 in New York City as Charles Thomas Aldrich, Jr. Best-known for his long association with Lucille Ball, which encompassed regular roles on radio's My Favorite Husband and three of her TV series -- The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life with Lucy, he also enjoyed great success supporting Eve Arden's title character as school principal Osgood Conklin on both the TV and radio versions of Our Miss Brooks.

In a 1973 interview with journalist Don Freeman, Gordon said, "To me, acting is a job, a nice way of making a living, something I've managed to do now with some measure of success for a total of 50 long years. But I would no more think of 'acting' in front of friends than a plumber would thread a pipe on a social visit to a friend's home. When I'm finished acting, I leave Gale Gordon at the studio and I immediately become Charles Aldrich, Jr., which is still my legal name."

Always in demand to play the kind of boss no one wanted to have (unless you were producing a comedy show), Gordon said, "Although I have always played bossy types, going back to my radio days as Mayor LaTrivia in Fibber McGee and Molly, I am probably the least bossy man in the world. But for the money they pay me, I'm only too delighted to play the bossy, sputtering blow-hard..." And did anyone do it better?

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