Those Websters

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The versatile Fran Allison was heard as a family cousin on Those Websters. Fran Allison.jpg
The versatile Fran Allison was heard as a family cousin on Those Websters.

Those Websters was a radio situation comedy series starring Willard Waterman and Constance Crowder as George and Jane Webster. The program was launched in New York and then moved to Chicago for a short spell before finishing its run from Hollywood.

Willard Waterman American actor

Willard Lewis Waterman was a character actor in films, TV and on radio, remembered best for replacing Harold Peary as the title character of The Great Gildersleeve at the height of that show's popularity.


The series replaced That Brewster Boy (1941–45), which starred a teenaged Dick York. Several Brewster cast members continued on with Those Websters, and the two situation comedies were quite similar. The transition is evident in the near-anagram: Brewster=Webster. In a 1991 interview with John Douglas, Dick York explained how That Brewster Boy morphed into Those Websters:

Dick York actor

Richard Allen York was an American radio, stage, film and television actor. He is best remembered for his role as the first Darrin Stephens on the ABC fantasy sitcom Bewitched. His best known motion picture role was as teacher Bertram Cates in the film Inherit the Wind (1960).

Pauline Hopkins and Owen Vincent were the writer and director of That Brewster Boy. They were sending bundles to the Communists to help fight the Nazis, so naturally they were branded as Communists. The advertising agency came around, hired everyone from under them, and they were going to change the name of the show and get rid of Pauline and Owen. Well, I was fresh out of the slum. It was the first time I ever had any money, but I went to Pauline and Owen and told them straight out that I didn't know what it was all about, but that I was with them. I wouldn't sign with the agency. Of course, I was taken off the show. [1]

Those riotous Websters were heard Friday evenings at 9:30pm on CBS from March 9, 1945 to February 22, 1946 with Quaker Oats as the sponsor. On March 3, 1946, the series moved to Mutual where it aired Sundays at 6pm until August 22, 1948.

CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.

Cast and characters

The Webster family lived at 46 River Road in the Chicago suburb of Spring City where George Webster often attended the lodgehall meetings of the Sons of the Mustangs of the Moonlight Mesas. Attempting to prove that "families are fun," those hapless Websters continually encountered confusion, and plans usually went astray during their chaotic misadventures.

Jean Verhagen (later billed as Jean Hagen) played Betty Webster. [2] The children were Liz Webster (Joan Alt) and Billy Webster (Arthur Young, Gil Stratton Jr.), with Bill Idelson as Billy's friend Emil, Jerry Spellman (as Jeep) and Jane Webb (as Belinda Boyd). Fran Allison was heard as a family cousin, and the cast also included Clarence Hartzell, Parley Baer and Eddie Firestone Jr. (1921-2007). [3] Charles Irving announced the program, scripted by Priscilla Kent, Albert G. Miller and Frank and Doris Hursley. Frank Worth led the orchestra.

Jean Hagen American actress

Jean Hagen was an American actress best known for her role as Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain (1952), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Hagen was also nominated three times for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Margaret Williams (1953–56) on the television series Make Room For Daddy.

Bill Idelson American actor

Bill Idelson was an actor, writer, director and producer widely known for his teenage role as Rush Gook on the radio comedy Vic and Sade and his recurring television role as Herman Glimscher on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s.

Fran Allison American television and radio comedian, personality and singer

Frances Helen Allison was an American television and radio comedian, personality and singer. She is best known for her starring role on the weekday NBC-TV puppet show Kukla, Fran and Ollie, which ran from 1947–57, occasionally returning to the air until the mid-1980s. The trio also hosted The CBS Children's Film Festival, introducing international children's films, from 1967-77.

Two years after this series came to an end, Waterman replaced Harold Peary as the title character in The Great Gildersleeve in 1950.

Harold Peary American actor

Harold (Hal) Peary was an American actor, comedian and singer in radio, films, television, and animation remembered best as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a supporting character on radio's Fibber McGee and Molly that moved to its own radio hit, The Great Gildersleeve, the first known spinoff hit in American broadcasting history.

<i>The Great Gildersleeve</i> American radio comedy series

The Great Gildersleeve was a radio situation comedy broadcast in the US from August 31, 1941 to 1958. Initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson, it was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. The series was built around Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a regular character from the radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly. The character was introduced in the October 3, 1939 episode of that series. Actor Harold Peary had played a similarly named character, Dr. Gildersleeve, on earlier episodes. The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest popularity in the 1940s. Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in four feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.

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  1. Easy Ace: Those Websters
  2. "'Those Websters,' American Family Heard Fridays at 9:30 P.M. on WHP". Harrisburg Telegraph. March 3, 1945. p. 15. Retrieved June 5, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  3. "The Brewsters". The Fresno Bee The Republican. August 31, 1941. p. 10. Retrieved March 28, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg