The Great Gildersleeve Movie Collection [DVD]

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Gildersleeve's Ghost
The last and least of RKO Radio's B-series based on radio's "Great Gildersleeve", Gildersleeve's Ghost is a standard "scare" comedy redeemed by some enthusiastic performances. The barely relevant title comes from the fact that the film opens in a graveyard, where two spectral ancestors of Springfield water commissioner Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) discuss his chances in the upcoming mayoral election. The rest of the film takes place in a spooky old mansion, where mad scientists Wells (Frank Reicher) and Lennox (Joseph Vitale) are experimenting with an invisibility formula. Their unwilling subject is vivacious blonde Terry Vance (Marion Martin), whose ability to appear and disappear at will causes a lot of embarrassment for poor old Gildersleeve. The film doesn't miss a trick: there's even an extended bit involving a gorilla. Very basic stuff, Gildersleeve's Ghost admittedly delivers plenty of laughs. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Great Gildersleeve
This was the first of five profitable RKO Radio quickies based on the popular radio series The Great Gildersleeve. Harold Peary, a normally slender actor who went through an arduous fattening-up process before shooting started, repeats his radio role as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, pompous water commissioner of the town of Springfield. While trying to wend his way through the complicated political system in his tiny metropolis, "Gildy" endeavors to escape the various matrimonial traps set by wealthy spinster Mary Field. He also must find a way to maintain custody of his niece Margie (Nancy Gates) and nephew LeRoy (Freddie Mercer). Other characters carried over from the radio version of The Great Gildersleeve include Gildy's friendly enemy Judge Hooker (Charles Arnt) and cheerful houskeeper Birdie (Lillian Randolph)-but where's Peavy the druggist? ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Gildersleeve on Broadway
Gildersleeve on Broadway was the third in a series of RKO B-pictures inspired by the radio sitcom The Great Gildersleeve. Harold Peary once more stars as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, water commissioner and resident blowhard of the town of Springfield. In this one, Gildy accompanies his pharamacist friend Peavey (Richard LeGrand) at a druggist's convention in New York. Here he becomes romantically involved with wealthy widow Mrs. Chandler (Billie Burke) and brassy gold-digger Francine Gray (Claire Carleton). He also spends his time dodging the arrows of a nut named Homer (Hobart Cavanaugh), who thinks he's cupid. Things get sillier and sillier before the film's slapstick setpiece, which finds Gildy teetering on the edge of a skyscraper. Midget actor Walter Tetley, who played Gildersleeve's nephew Leroy on radio, shows up in a bit role as a bellboy in Gildersleeve on Broadway. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Seven Days Leave
Victor Mature and Lucille Ball top the star-studded cast of RKO Radio's Seven Days Leave. Mature plays Johnny Grey, an eternally smiling GI who suddenly falls heir to $100,000. There's just one catch: Johnny must marry heiress Terry (Ball), whom he's never met, within a seven-day period. Once this familiar premise has been set up, the film segues into an unending parade of supporting comedians and specialty performers, including Harold Peary (in his traditional "Great Gildersleeve" radio persona), Ralph Edwards (shown hosting his popular airwaves quizzer Truth or Consequences), announcer Charles Victor (likewise emceeing his Court of Missing Heirs radio program), singers Ginny Simms and Marcy McGuire, south-of-the-border entertainer Mapy Cortes, and bandleaders Freddy Martin and Les Brown. Also on tap are a brace of future TV favorites, Peter Lynd Hayes and Arnold Stang. The choreography is by director-to-be Charles Walters, making his Hollywood debut. Seven Days Leave should not be confused with the 1944 RKO Radio "B" Seven Days Ashore. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Gildersleeve's Bad Day
In this comedy, Gildersleeve is assigned to be a contentious jury foreman who refuses, despite the opinions of all the other jurors, to believe that the gangster being tried is really guilty. He seems oblivious to the wealth of evidence around him. His redemption comes when the gangsters catch him and make him drive the getaway car. To stop them, he crashes into a tree and they are captured. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Harold Peary - Gildersleeve/Randolph/Jonathan
  • Marion Martin
    Marion Martin - Terry Vance
  • Amelita Ward
    Amelita Ward - Marie
  • Image coming soon
    Freddie Mercer - Leroy
  • Image coming soon
    Margie Stewart - Margie

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