IN THAT PERIOD of extreme flux following WW2, the Radio as the center of our homes entertainment and socializing was being challenged by its upstart cousin, Television or TV for short. As what one would consider to be a logically sound, many a popular Radio Series were adapted to the small screen of early Network TV.
WITH VARYING DEGREES of success, various shows made the uncertain trek across their studios from the sound stage to the TV Studio. With the change from strictly a sound only medium to one which blended sound with visual, some made it and others did not. There was probably not such an extreme shift in formats in show biz ever since the Sound Era superseded the Silent Screen.
IN REGARD TO our subject of the day, LIFE WITH LUIGI, was a success with limitations. It did not fare as well as THE JACK BENNY SHOW, THE LONE RANGER, SUPERMAN or GUNSMOKE; but it did outdistance titles such as DUFFY'S TAVERN, INNER SANCTUM and THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE.
FEATURING AT LEAST two actors from the Radio Series (which ran from 1948-53), the short lived TV show bid well to replicate Luigi's world in a visual sense. J. Carrol Naish(Luigi Basco) and Alan Reed (Pasquale) both had the physical appearance needed in addition to their voice acting in doing the proper dialect.*
SETS AND COSTUMING was all contemporary representation of our (my) native City of Chicago and the series was telecast live; which gave us, the viewing audience the equivalence of a weekly live Broadway play.
THIS TELEVISION VERSION of this show lasted about a year, until it was sent back to the Radio solely; lasting about another year. A short lived revival surfaced in 1953, but this version featured Vito Scotti as Luigi.
NOTE: * The two men doing the main characters were both born in NYC. Alan Reed (1907-77) was a versatile actor of Stage, Screen and Television and is perhaps best remembered as the original voice of FRED FLINTSTONE! J.Carrol Naish (1896-1973), who specialized in doing various ethnic characters (including Italian Soldier/POW Giusseppe in SAHARA (Columbia, 1943)). Neither man was Italian,with Alan Reed's being Jewish and J. Carol Naish Irish.
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