Ethel and Albert was one of many popular radio shows of the 1940's that had a second life on television in the 1950's. The format was extremely simple and down to Earth following the middle-aged Ethel and Albert Arbuckle (Peg Lynch, Alan Bunce), through the minor triumphs and crisis of everday life. A gentle realism was the keynote of this series with blown fuses, burnt-out lightbulbs and ruined dinners being about the worst things that happened in Sandy Harbor where the couple lived. On radio, The Arbuckles had generally been the only characters heard but a few friends and neighbors wandered through the tv version from time to time.

Ethel and Albert - Netflix

Type: Scripted

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 30 minutes

Premier: 1953-04-25

Ethel and Albert - Ethel and Albert - Netflix

Ethel and Albert (aka The Private Lives of Ethel and Albert) was a radio and television comedy series about a married couple, Ethel and Albert Arbuckle, living in the small town of Sandy Harbor. Created by Peg Lynch (1916-2015), who scripted and portrayed Ethel, the series first aired on local Minnesota radio in the early 1940s before a run on the NBC Blue Network and ABC from May 29, 1944, to August 28, 1950. It co-starred Alan Bunce as Albert. Radio historian Gerald Nachman (in Raised on Radio) called the show “insightful and realistic... a real leap forward in domestic comedy—a lighthearted, clever, well-observed, daily 15-minute show about the amiable travails of a recognizable suburban couple” which combined “the domestic comedy of a vaudeville-based era with a keen modern sensibility. Lynch made her comic points without stooping to female stereotypes, insults, running gags, funny voices or goofy plots.” The show began as three-minute filler between a pair of Minnesota KATE station programs, then expanded to 15 minutes, and finally became a half-hour show during its last years on radio. Like Easy Aces, the humor on Ethel and Albert was low key; like Vic and Sade, it was constructed around such simple, often mundane household situations as efforts to open a pickle jar. Often Ethel or Albert would attempt to prove the other wrong over some inconsequential matter. For example, one entire script centered on Ethel disputing Albert's claim that he could see her using only his peripheral vision. “I realized that I didn't have to sit down and knock myself out every minute to try to think of something funny,” Lynch told critic Leonard Maltin years later. “All I had to do was look around me.” Two film stars had a presence in the show. Richard Widmark, who portrayed Albert in 1944, left after six months and was replaced by Alan Bunce. Margaret Hamilton, famous as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, played Aunt Eva. Ethel and Albert's daughter Suzy (Madeleine Pierce, born in 1946) was the only other voice heard on the original series.

Ethel and Albert - Sources - Netflix

Wertheim, Arthur Frank. Radio Comedy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Ethel and Albert - References - Netflix