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This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.

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Author's Response
Clair Schulz responds to the August 2013 Radio Recall Review by Jeff Whipple of:
Fibber McGee and Molly: On the Air 1935-1959
by Clair Schulz, ©2013

(From Radio Recall, October 2013)

The review by Jeff Whipple of the revised and enlarged edition of Fibber McGee and Molly: On the Air 1935-1959 in the August issue does not give an accurate account of the intent of the author or the contents of the book.

As stated early in the introduction, the book is designed primarily to be used by people as they listen to the recordings to enhance their enjoyment of the shows. Each entry provides a list of cast members and the roles they played in that episode, a one-sentence summary of the plot, musical selections, running gags, and comments on notable occurrences.

It appears that Mr. Whipple concentrated on the appendices rather than the introduction and entries because he asks, "While the appendices are great, are they alone worth the price of the book?" Because he repeatedly the words synopses and summaries, and never once mentions the unique information in the comments section, anyone not familiar with the book would believe its text is merely a list of entries recounting what happens in each episode.

Even if Mr. Whipple's ideal OTR fans owned all the shows but not this resource, would they instinctively know while listening to, say, the October 1, 1946 episode that it was the first one with a new theme song and that it was the first episode in which Sea Benaderet played the character Elsie Merkle and that it was the first episode to mention the name of Fifi Tremaine (sweetheart of both LaTrivia and Gamble) and that the rare occurrence of the band number and the vocal selection coming from the same musical was because Annie Get Your Gun was the hottest show on Broadway at the time?

Mr. Whipple poses the question "Who is the intended reader?" Here is the answer: people willing to pay a small price (about the same as the cost of cable TV or Internet service for one month) to own the most thorough and readable reference work on the series written by a dedicated researcher who has filled over 500 pages with insights which can be found nowhere else.

There seems to be little room for books in Mr. Whipple's brave new world, hence his yearning for a database where scripts of radio programs are readily available and searchable by phrase. How would merely skimming digitized pages and listening to the audio of episodes provide end users with a global perspective on the entire series, enable them to relate the action to the tenor of the times, and develop an appreciation for the artistry of the actors and writers?

In his misrepresentation of the content and purpose of this book and in his closing statements focusing on how radio shows will be viewed "about a hundred years from now," Mr. Whipple seems more concerned with projecting his view of the future than with providing a discerning evaluation of a current work which honors a broadcasting triumph of the past.