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I bought a few "LIFE OF RILEY" tapes a while back. I watched a few again
This was a funny show. I wonder it is never shown anymore. It is just as funny as any ole I LOVE LUCY show. I guess the power of pull of DESILU is what propelled this one out of the firmament. It's a darn shame.
WILLIAM BENDIX is a very likable and funny actor. As is the rest of the cast without being "perfect" like some other TV families.
The situations are funny and the family relationships are not as dated as you might think. It not as HOMESPUN as Father Knows Best or The Donna Reed Show...!~
The laugh track also sounds FRESH!!! and REAL!
TVLAND should bring these back.
As Junior would say:
Viewers of this classic comedy were guaranteed to hear that immortal
line when any of Chester A. Riley's schemes had gone astray which they
Bill Bendix created The Life of Riley on radio where Riley became the originator of all those father is an idiot family situation comedies. Riley's phenomenal success on radio gave Bendix stardom and placed him a cut above other fine character actors in films and right into the same money making area as some of the screen's leading men.
I remember this show on television and television in its infancy took a lot of its original programming ideas from radio. As a kid I loved to see lovable, bumbling Riley with all these schemes constantly screwing up and yet his family was there for him no matter what.
What I didn't appreciate then was this TV series had an incredible
array of some of the finest character actors ever to grace the small screen. Any film that would have the likes of Tom D'Andrea, Sterling Holloway, Henry Kulky, Emory Parnell, and Douglass Dumbrille we would consider a classic. All these appeared semi-regularly on The Life of Riley.
We would have to wait 40 years until Burt Reynolds' Evening Shade debuted to have such a company of talent under one roof.
Chester A. Riley, native Brooklynite, transplanted Californian, chaser of the American dream, blue collar hero and family man extraordinaire, we salute you.
I really love the character actor that was William Bendix. I am always hoping that his war movies or the Babe Ruth story would be rerun on a movie channel. When I was a young boy, I watched the Life of Riley every time it was on. I was 6-11 during the time it was on. What saddens me, is that I have NEVER seen any of the shows in reruns. I haven't heard of this show being on at all in reruns. Can anyone tell me a valid reason why a cable channel cant show this great show again? Are the original tapes destroyed like "mr peepers"? It's Christmas eve and "Holiday Inn" is on (with Marjorie Reynolds) and that's why I thought of Life of Riley tonight.
In 1949, Bendix played Riley in a movie. It's not available on DVD or VHS Amc used to show it back when AMC was worth watching. He was unavailable for the TV show. It is listed here on IDMB. In 1949-1950 Jackie Gleason played Chester A Riley on TV. Same characters and premise, just different actors. In it's own way, just as funny. Rosemar Decamp was Peg. Sid Tomack was Gillis. Gloria Winters was Babs. Jimmie Lydon (Henry Aldrich) was her boyfriend. It was canceled after 26 episodes. It was shown on the Dumont network. Again,the show is on IDMB The Gleason version was shown on WPIX in the late 70's after the Honeymooners.
William Bendix and Marjorie Reynolds provided the right chemistry for
the television comedy hit, "The Life of Reilly."
Bendix was sort of an Archie Bunker without the bigotry in this show. Marjorie Reynolds,who left motion pictures, to pursue this show, was the perfect foil for Riley's trials and tribulations. Their wonderful children Babs and Junior always figured well in the various plots. The goal of the show was to show that you just can't win.
What perfect casting for the next door neighbors Jim and Honeybee. Tom D'Andrea and Joan Blondell's sister, Gloria, fit the bill perfectly. James Gleason would sometimes appear as Riley's cantankerous but yet good natured dad.
I have watched the episodes I've got on my DVDs, over & over again &
find them to deliver in entertaining the viewer. William Bendix was a
comic genius & left us a legacy of 212 wonderful episodes and
first-rate performances of his immortal character, Chester A. Riley, in
The Life of Riley series, which I never tire of watching.
Gloria Blondell & Tom D'Andrea as Honeybee & Jim Gillis are excellent supporting characters, as well as the character of Waldo Binney, who add their talents to this outstanding sitcom.
I've obtained all my DVDs from various eBay vendors, but have found retail offerings to be highly obscure. It's a shame a classic like this is sitting on a shelf someplace, & not getting the exposure it deserves. It would be done great justice to get an official DVD release, season by season, & in chronological order. William Bendix's Riley deserves to shine amongst the best of 'em, he's a jewel & I'll continue enjoying my DVDs & listening to him on his old radio series, The Life of Riley, as well.
Go to TVShowsOnDVD.com, & cast your vote.
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