Gale Gordon

Gale Gordon

Infobox actor
name = Gale Gordon

caption = Gale Gordon at the 1988 Emmy Awards
birthname = Charles T. Aldrich Jr.
birthdate = birth date|1906|2|20|mf=y
birthplace = New York, New York
deathdate = death date and age|1995|6|30|1906|2|20|mf=n
deathplace = Escondido, California
restingplace = Cremated
yearsactive = 1933-1991
spouse = Virginia Curley (1937 - 1995) (her death)
awards = Hollywood Walk of Fame
Radio Hall of Fame

Gale Gordon (February 20, 1906June 30, 1995) was an American character actor. Remembered best as Lucille Ball's longtime television foil — and particularly as cantankerously combustible, tightfisted bank executive Theodore J. Mooney, on Ball's second television situation comedy, "The Lucy Show" — Gordon was just as respected for his earlier career in classic American radio, where he was once the highest-paid actor in the medium, even though he was never a top-billed radio star.


Born Charles T. Aldrich, Jr., in New York City, the son of British actress Gloria Gordon and her vaudevillian husband Charles Aldrich, Gordon's first big radio break came was the recurring role of Mayor La Trivia on "Fibber McGee and Molly", before playing Rumson Bullard on the show's successful spinoff, "The Great Gildersleeve".

Gordon was the first actor to play the role of Flash Gordon, in the 1935 radio serial "The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon". [ [ Audio Classics Archive: The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon] ] In 1950, Gordon played John Granby in the radio series "Granby's Green Acres", which became the basis for the 1960s television series, "Green Acres." Gordon went on to create the role of pompous principal "Osgood Conklin" on "Our Miss Brooks", carrying the role to television when the show moved there in 1952.

In the interim, Gordon turned up as Rudolph Atterbury on "My Favorite Husband", which starred Lucille Ball in a precursor to "I Love Lucy". Gordon and Ball previously worked together on "The Wonder Show" starring Jack Haley from 1938 to 1939. The two had a longterm friendship as well as recurring professional partnership. In addition, Gordon landed a recurring role as fictitious Rexall Drugs sponsor representative Mr. Scott on yet another radio hit, "The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show", staying with the role as long as Rexall sponsored the show.


The widely acknowledged master of the "slow-burn" temper explosion in character, Gordon was actually the first pick to play Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy", but he was committed to "Our Miss Brooks" and had to decline the offer in favor of William Frawley. But he did make two guest shots on the show as Ricky Ricardo's boss, Alvin Littlefield, owner of the Tropicana Club where Ricky's band played, and later played a judge on a "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" episode. Gordon also had a co-starring role in the television comedy "Pete and Gladys".

In 1962, Ball created "The Lucy Show" and planned to hire Gordon to play Theodore J. Mooney, the banker who was first Lucy Carmichael's executor and subsequently her employer, when she went to work in his bank. Gordon, however, was still under contract to play the second George Wilson neighbor, (after the death of Joseph Kearns) on "Dennis the Menace". When that show ended in spring 1963, Gordon joined "The Lucy Show" as Mr. Mooney for the 1963-64 season. In the interim, Charles Lane played the similar Mr. Barnsdahl character for the 1962-63 season. The somewhat portly Gordon was not only adept at physical comedy, but could do a perfect cartwheel. He did this once onThe Lucy Show, and again as a guest on "The Dean Martin Show".

After the sale of Desilu studios, Ball shut down "The Lucy Show" in 1968 and retooled it into "Here's Lucy". She used Gordon yet again---this time as her irascible boss (and brother-in-law) Harry Carter, at an employment agency that specialized in unusual jobs. It was really the Lucy Carmichael/Mr. Mooney relationship continued with new names and a new setting.

Gordon all but retired when "Here's Lucy" ended (although he did reprise his role of Mr. Mooney in the first aired episode of "Hi Honey, I'm Home!"), but in the 1980s he came out of retirement to join Ball one last time, for the short-lived "Life With Lucy". When Lucille Ball finally called it a career, Gale Gordon turned out to be the only actor to have co-starred or guest-starred in every weekly series, radio or television, she had done since the 1940s.

Gale Gordon died of lung cancer at age 89 in Escondido, California, not long after the death of Virginia, his wife of nearly 60 years. They had no children.The first biography of the ever-funny Gale Gordon is being researched and written by Jim Manago (author of "Love is the Reason for it All: The Shirley Booth Story" (BearManor Media, April, 2008)


In 1999, he was inducted posthumously into the Radio Hall of Fame, and for his contribution to radio he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Radio 6340 Hollywood Blvd.


*Elmer the Great (1933) (uncredited) - Radio announcer
*Here We Go Again (1942) - Otis Cadwalader
*A Woman of Distinction (1950) (uncredited) - Station Clerk
*Here Come the Nelsons (1952) - H.J. Bellows
*I Love Lucy - Mr. Alvin Littlefield (1952)
*Francis Covers the Big Town (1953) - Dist. Atty. Evans
*Our Miss Brooks - Osgood Conklin (1953-1955)
*Our Miss Brooks (1956) - Osgood Conklin
*Climax! - Dr. Raymond Forrest (1956)
*The Brothers (1956) TV Series - Harvey Box (1956-57) (unknown episodes)
*The Real McCoys - P. T. Kirkland (1 episode)
*Playhouse 90 - Ed Keller (1957-1958)
*Studio One - R.J. Fuller (1958)
*The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour - Judge (1958)
*Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse - Judge (1958)
*Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958) - Brig. Gen. W.A. Thorwald
*Sally (1957) TV Series - Bascomb Bleacher Sr. (unknown episodes, 1958)
*Don't Give Up the Ship (1959) - Congressman Mandeville
*The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959) - Raven Rossiter
*Visit to a Small Planet (1960) - Bob Mayberry
*All in a Night's Work (1961) - Oliver Dunning
*Dondi (1961) - Colonel
*All Hands on Deck (1961) - Cmdr. Bintle
*Angel - Mr. Johnson (1961)
*Harrigan and Son - Merril Davis (1961)
*Pete and Gladys - Uncle Paul Porter (1960-1962)
*The Comedy Spot - Emil Sinclair (1962)
*Dennis the Menace - John Wilson (1962-1963)
*Mr. and Mrs. (1964) (TV) - Mr. Harvey
*Sergeant Dead Head (1965) - Capt. Weiskopf
*Vacation Playhouse - Warren Packard (1966)
*The Danny Thomas Hour - Baxter (1967)
*The Lucy Show - Mr. Theodore J. Mooney (1963-1968)
*Speedway (1968) - R.W. Hepworth
*Here's Lucy - Harrison Otis Carter (1968-1974)
*Lucy Calls the President (1977) (TV) - Omar Whittaker
*The Honeymooners Christmas Special (1977) (TV) - Ralph's boss
*Lucy Moves to NBC (1980) (TV)
*Bungle Abbey (1981) (TV) - The Abbot
*Life with Lucy (1986) TV Series - Curtis McGibbon (unknown episodes)
*The 'burbs (1989) - Walter Seznick
*Hi Honey, I'm Home - Theodore J. Mooney (1991)
*The New Lassie (1991)

External links

* [ Gale Gordon, TV Actor, 89; Longtime Foil to Lucille Ball]
* [ The Gale Gordon Archive]
* [ Gale Gordon Biography on Everything Lucy]
* [,+Gale&ArtistNumber=13355 Gale Gordon radiography at Radio Gold Index]

NAME = Gordon, Gale
DATE OF BIRTH = February 20, 1906
PLACE OF BIRTH = New York, New York
DATE OF DEATH = June 30 1995
PLACE OF DEATH = Escondido, California


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