Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review - Honest Harold (The Harold Peary Show)

Imagine The Great Gildersleeve show.  Now imagine taking away all the characters on the show besides Gildy and replacing them with ones of inferior talent.  If you can successfully do both, you'll have a 'vision" of the 1950's radio program called, "Honest Harold."

The show is situated very much like The Great Gildersleeve.  This is certainly what Harold Peary envisioned in 1949 when he left NBC for CBS.  It's not like he was the only one doing this as many of his contemporaries were doing the same thing (Jack Benny, Amos and Andy, etc.)  He was sure he and his cast would rake in more revenue, would gain a bigger audience... but none of that happened  When he left NBC he assumed Kraft (the Gildersleeve sponsor) would jump on the bandwagon and take the successful Gildersleeve Show right along with him.  But Kraft was super faithful to NBC and Peary wound up at CBS without his sterling cast and without his show.

To make matters worse, William Waterman (a man who looked and sounded an awful lot like Harold Peary) stepped right in and replaced him on The Great Gildersleeve without skipping a beat.  Most people never knew the difference when he left the show!

Honest Harold was about Peary running a daytime radio show for women called, "Honest Harold: The Homemaker."  He would sing and give tips to the gals about housework.  He was a bachelor who lived with his mother.  Actually, this was probably a 100% innocent situation in 1950 but kind of queer when we reflect back on Honest Harold's "life."

Although this show boasted Peary, Parley Baer and Joseph Kearns, I dare say all 3 played their weakest parts of any show in recollection here.  Kearns is particularly weak in his role of Doc Yak-Yak, an annoying "Judge Hooker"-type character in a rip off of the Gildersleeve show.   Joining the cast is Peary's real life wife, Gloria Holliday playing one of his girlfriends.  Sorry, but she's no Shirley Mitchell or Bea Benaderet.

Honest Harold lasted just one lonesome, unimpressive season.  His partnership with mega-talent Walter Tetley was broken and Peary's show business career would continue it's stumble from here.

It's not a horrible show; but it's a far cry from The Great Gildersleeve.  2 Stars at best.

©Jimbo 2010/2011


  1. I hate to say this, but, again I agree. The Great Gildersleeve was superior to this show and the cast was so much better. I found this show boring and probably would have given it only one star. I think he was empty without Tetley. Boring. I never added this show to my cue.

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  3. Thanks again for the comment. I don't know if I would say that it's boring. It's just like The Great Gilsdesleeve goes to another network but everything is changed slightly - like a time warp.

    The Gildersleeve cast was just so good, from Hooker to Peavy to Birdie to Tetley to Marjorie to Lela. Not to mention Gale Gordon as the next door neighbor. All were very strong "characters" that leave an impression.

    Peary of course leaves an impression as well. The Gildersleeve show has such good characters on there that there is no way it can fail.

    On the other hand, Honest Harold is void of good characters, other than Harold himself. His mother is the same gal who played the landlady of Connie Brooks on Our Miss Brooks - and I can't stand her! The other characters seem like lowbrow ripoffs of Gildersleeve. There is even a boy (nephew I believe) who is a minature Walter Tetley, but younger and not near the same.

    Having said all of that, not a horrible show.


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