10).The Life of Riley
William Bendix stars as Chester A. Riley family man and blue collar lug-head who seems to get himself and his wife and kids in the biggest jams...one of the strangely entertaining characters is Digby "Digger" O'Dell "the friendly undertaker"!!
9). The Fred Allen Show
Probably best known for his feud with Jack Benny, Fred Allen and Allen's Alley was a more topical and "Brainy" comedy show. The best part is the crazy cast of character who Fred visits door to door to get their opinions on say...Meat shortage or Transit Strike...Not as timeless say Aldrich Family or Gildersleeve, but Fred makes up for it with his great adlibs.
8). Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy
One of the longest running duo's on radio, Edgar Bergen did something most comedians couldn't, he was both the straight man and the comedian and convinced people to listen to a ventriloquist on radio but even better he convinced the world that Charlie McCarthy was a real boy!!
7). The Aldrich Family
"Hennnrry!!! Henry Alderich!!" easily one of the most reconized openings during the golden age ...The show revolved around the trials and dramas of teenage Henry Aldrich, each week Henry and his best friend Homer dealt with family, girls, money, girls, high school, girls...and more girls!!!
6). Fibber McGee and Molly
Better known as the Johnson Wax program, tall-tale master Fibber McGee and his devoted wife Molly dealt with everyday crisis while the who's who of Wistful Vista made there way through to give guidance or a one-liners......and always remember "Don't open that Closet!!!!"
5). Burns and Allen
One of radios most beloved characters Gracie Allen worked her illogical-logic always in an attempt to help her long suffering husband George Burns with his career (or hers!) with one zany hair-brain plan after another. The Burns and Allen Show would be the model for sitcoms on radio and television for years.
4). Our Miss Brooks
A great cast of characters revolving around Madison High's favorite English teacher Connie Brooks played expertly by Eve Arden. Miss Brooks navigated the world of high school while trying the land the man of her dreams, bashful biology teacher Mr.Boyton.
3). Phil Harris/Alice Faye Show
A spin off from the Jack Benny Program, bandleader Phil Harris show centered around Phil and his real life wife Alice Faye and their 2 children and cast of crazy characters, but the best moments are between Phil and his best friend and partner in crime, Frankie Remley.
2).The Great Gildersleeve
The most successful spin-off in radio history, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve left Wistful Vista to become Water Commissioner in Summerville and raise his orphan nephew and niece, Leroy and Marjorie....but the show revolved mainly around lover-boy Gildy and his many ever changing lady friends.
1) The Jack Benny Program
Probably the best know comedian on OTR was Jack Benny...on radio for over 25 years Jack and his gang create some of the biggest laugh, some of the most memorable characters and funniest gags in radio history. The show featured the zinger ready Mary Livingston (Jack's real life wife), heavy weight announcer Don Wilson, boozy bandleader Phil Harris, boy singer Dennis Day, Jack's wise cracking valet Rochester Van Jones and a cast of crazy secondary characters played by some of radios great character actors. What Jack did better then anyone was let the cast tell the jokes (and usually at his expense) but this made the "radio" Jack Benny one of the most beloved characters of the golden age of radio.
Below is one of the Jack Benny Program greatest episodes... "Jack is robbed of Ronald Coleman's Oscar"
Originally Aired March 28, 1948