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He’s A Pretty Nice Fellow, Too "By Willard Waterman NBS Radio’s ‘Great Gildersleeve’"

He’s A Pretty Nice Fellow, Too
By Willard Waterman NBS Radio’s ‘Great Gildersleeve

I’m Willard Waterman but most everybody thinks I’m Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve. The character I portray on NBC’s “The Great Gildersleeve” radio show.

But honest I’m not the blustering Water Commissioner of Summerfield. Really, I’m not pompous and stuffy. Believe me. I don’t argue with neighbors and the Jolly Boys. Assuredly I’m not a predatory bachelor whose romances never seem to bloom into marriage.

Actor, Husband, Father I’m just plain Willard Waterman, actor, husband and father. In faot, it occurs to me that maybe you know all about the mythical Gildersleeve, so maybe you’d like to know something about the actual Waterman. Even if you don’t want to know about the actual Waterman, here it is:

I was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in August, 1914. I grew at the rate of a year every 12 months and then, when I was in high school. I got my first break in radio. I was singing with a local quartet and we were hired to do musical interludes on station WIBA in Madison. I guess maybe my voice was the loudest, because pretty soon the station manager let me do some announcing and even read some poetry.

But I figured acting wasn’t the life for me, so when I entered the University of Wisconsin I majored in engineering. However, pretty soon I found myself veering away from engineering and into “hamming” it up in student theatricals. I finally succumbed to the urge and decided to become an actor.

In 1936 I moved to Chicago, and for a long time it seemed like I should have stuck with engineering. Eventually, though, work began to come my way and I played roles on “First Nighter,” “Ma Perkins,” “Mary Marlin” and other network shows.

Not To Boast
I don’t want to boast, a la Gildersleeve, but between 1936 and 1946 there wasn’t a radio show in Chicago that I didn’t work on at one time or another, and I was doing as many as 35 to 40 programs a week.

When a program I was on, “Those Websters,” moved to California, so did I, and I’ve been there ever since. A few years ago I was signed to do the Gildersleeve role, and that brings me up to date.
Except for one thing. Unlike “Gildy,”I have the most wonderful family a man could be blessed with There’s my wife Mary Anna, and my two daughters,-Lynne who is 16 and Susan who is 10.
My three women take good care of me- a little too good in the food department, I’m afraid. They like to cook and I like to cat and, as a result, I weigh 225 pounds.

I try to take some of the excess weight off by playing golf. I once made a hole in on, but after 18 holes I get such a ravenous appetite that I put it all back on again.

Anyway, the guy I’ve described is Willard Waterman. He’s a pretty nice fellow-almost as nice as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve.

Gildy’s Joy-“The Great Gildersleeve” in a pose he enjoys- surrounded by young lovelies. The girls showering their attention on the Water Commissioner of the mythical Summerfield are, (left to right) Alice Drake, Julie Bennett and Barbara Fuller. They are heard occasionally on the five-nights-a-week radio program as they enter the zany situations in Gildy’s life.


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