However, it came to an end after 26 episodes because Irving Brecher and sponsor Pabst Brewing Company reached an impasse on extending the series for a full week season. The second TV series ran for six seasons, from January 2, , to May 23, This Life of Riley series with Bendix was a ratings hit, ranking at 16 in its first season, with four of its six seasons in the top 30, and ran for a total of episodes.
It then went into syndicated reruns. The latter portion of the fifth season, broadcast between April and June , was filmed and originally broadcast in color, although only black-and-white film prints of those episodes were syndicated. For the final season, filming reverted to black-and-white. In all of the show's incarnations, the comedic plotlines centered around Riley himself, a gullible and occasionally clumsy but big-hearted man, and the doings and undoings of his family. Bendix and Rosemary DeCamp reprised the roles in an hour-long radio adaptation of the feature film that was presented on Lux Radio Theater on May 8, William Bendix and Sterling Holloway , A comic book adaptation of the show was produced by Dell Comics in as part of their Four Color series of one-shots.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American radio situation comedy series of the s.
For other uses, see The Life of Riley disambiguation. This section includes a list of references , related reading or external links , but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please help to improve this section by introducing more precise citations. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: The Life of Riley film. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations.
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It was a much more corrosive vision of family life than was commonly featured on radio — but, times and styles were changing. A New Yorker by birth and by attitude, Brecher was known for a snappy, cynical sense of humor that fit in well with the brassy mood of wartime America. His first work in radio found him providing gags for Milton Berle, a comic who liked his laughs broad and fast, and when Brecher set to work on a series of his own, he continued in that manner — devising a comedy series for his friend Groucho that would stand as a caustic parody of the situation comedy formula.
BBC One - Life of Riley
Entitled The Flotsam Family , with Groucho as the wisecracking-but-overwhelmed patriarch of a typical American brood, an audition of the new series made the agency rounds in , but found no takers. Marx had proven decidedly unsuccessful in past radio ventures, and no sponsor was willing to take a chance on backing him as a sitcom dad. Within a few years of his arrival in Hollywood, Bendix had cornered the market on lovable-lug roles, headlining his own comedy series for Hal Roach and appearing as a supporting actor in film after wartime film, typically as a thick-necked GI from Canarsie who, as he took a fatal bullet to save the life of his best pal, wondered out loud how the Dodgers were doing.
Riley, a well-meaning blue-collar Average Joe Punchclock who always seemed to be one step behind the rest of his family. As developed by Brecher, the retitled The Life of Riley was carefully attuned to the mood of wartime America. Every sitcom dad needs a sitcom family, and Riley had the standard-issue Wife and Two Kids. His better half, Peg, was perfectly captured by veteran radio actress Paula Winslowe as an exasperated, often put-upon woman who was long accustomed to making the best of bad situations — but who, in the end, always understood that no matter how oafish or blundering her husband might be, he always had the best interests of his family at heart.
And that sincerity would cover a multitude of social gaucheries and exploded schemes.
Kids Babs and Junior were less-clearly delineated, being typical pop-culture teenagers of the moment, somewhat down-market cousins of the likes of Marjorie and Leroy on The Great Gildersleeve or other such characters, but they filled their role well as frequent motivators of the weekly plots, and little more was required of them.
It was Gillis who often came up with the schemes that landed Riley in the soup, and it was his flat, honking insouciance that invariably convinced Riley that everything was under control when it was anything but. Played by anyone but Brown, he might have grown stale fast.