About The Name

Harold Peary played many different characters named Gildersleeve on “Fibber McGee and Molly.” Many of these were variations on a theme, a pompous character with a booming voice and the name Gildersleeve. These characters had different first names, including, on several programs, the name George. The Gildersleeve characters, with Peary’s distinctive, booming delivery, were a popular running joke on the program, and eventually evolved into a regular character, next-door neighbor Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve.

Basil Lanneau GildersleeveThe name “Gildersleeve” was said to be selected because it was the most pompous name the writers could think of. And it does have a certain ring to it. Perhaps there are subtle, unconscious connections with the idea of “gilding” or making something appear to be golden, and the haberdashery sound of “sleeve” that make you think of a vain and slightly ridiculous man. Or perhaps the Gildersleeve writers were unconsciously remembering the name of Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, the noted classical scholar of whom Professor Paul Shorey of the University of Chicago, said that during fifty years of American classical scholarship, “the figure of Gildersleeve had dominated throughout.” Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve was the author of standard Greek and Latin textbooks, so writers may have been familiar with it from their school days.

virginiagildersleeve.jpgThe Gildersleeve name was also carried by the distinguished American scholar, Virginia Cocheron Gildersleeve, who served as the Dean of Barnard College for many years.

The “Throckmorton P.” part of the name is easier to trace– Peary lived on Throckmorton Place!

More about the Real Gildersleeves

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s