Rosemary DeCamp (as Peg Riley), Lanny Rees (as Junior Riley) and John Brown (as Diggby Digger O'Dell, the Friendly Undertaker) all reprised their movie roles in the original 1949 "Life of Riley" TV series. See more »
By 1949 radio was beginning to give way to television. The golden age of radio was reaching an end. THE LIFE OF RILEY (TLoR)had been on the radio for most of the 1940's and had quite a fan base. In 1953 William Bendix would take his radio show character Riley to television. However in 1949 fans were treated to a movie version of the show.
In typical TLoR fashion Chester Riley (William Bendix)spent most of the show confused as to what was going on around him. Basic elements of the show were present. Riley still worked in an aircraft plant, Riley was busy trying to control Babs dating life and Peg, his wife, showed everyone who really wore the pants in the house. Riley was still the "everyman" struggling to make ends meet and get ahead.
Somethings I didn't care for were the actors who portrayed Riley's children Babs and Junior. They were a far cry from their radio counterparts. Junior was so underused his character was more of a cameo. Gillis, Riley's neighbor, co-worker and friend from Brooklyn, seemed old enough to be Riley's father instead of his contemporary. Allan Reed, the future voice of Fred Flintstone, was in practically every episode of the radio show and often played Riley's boss Mr. Stevenson. It would have been nice if he had been in the movie as the Boss.
Somethings I did care for. The Riley's house was pretty much the way I imagined it to be. John Brown carried on his role as Digger O'Dell the friendly undertaker. The plot stuck close to the radio program.
Lastly, I think it is hard for a radio show to transition to film. The beauty of radio is that every persons imagination will portray what is heard on the radio in their own way. No film or television show can please everyone. Considering what TLoR was up against the end result was not too bad. It's a good view. Any fan of the radio program would enjoy it.
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