Don Ameche & Frances Langford

The Bickersons Rematch

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This double-LP compilation was culled from the collective contents of The Bickersons (1961) and The Bickersons Fight Back (1962). Animating John and Blanche Bickerson are the timeless bantering of Don Ameche and Frances Langford. The characters originated during the "golden age" of radio on The Chase & Sanborn Hour (hosted by Edgar Bergen), which featured Ameche among its brilliant ensemble. By the mid-'40s the actor had garnered his own half-hour variety show on NBC radio, where he furthered the Bickersons. By listener demand, the contentious couple became more frequent "guests." Their consistent popularity allowed them to be among the few pioneers to make a successful media transition from radio to television on The Francis Langford-Don Ameche Show. In the early '60s the duo once again teamed up with longtime writer and Bickersons co-creator Philip Rapp. Together they extended several more situations and scripts, and among the hallmarks of these tracks is the exceedingly well-crafted and equally adept performance rapport that had developed between the actors. They absorb much of the sting in John's often mean-spirited barbs or Blanche's equally incessant nagging. The eight acts or scenes draw heavily upon auxiliary characters -- such as Gloria Gooseby or any number of Blanche's relatives -- as well as previously established personal habits such as John's snoring and bourbon obsession. It is within this familiarity that listeners find themselves most engaged as the Bickersons become the unwitting brunt of Cousin Eunice's honeymoon cruise -- aboard a fishing trawler no less -- on "The Bickersons at Sea." Back at home, the pair celebrate (in the loosest sense of the term) their "Wedding Anniversary" without John. He seems to have been "working late" -- on a fifth -- while Blanche entertains guests. The final four cuts are appropriately enough titled "rounds," as the Bickersons go head to head on topics such as Blanche's breakfast fare -- which includes a two-foot rhubarb pie, powdered eggs, and frog legs -- and John's loathing for his in-laws, especially Blanche's glandularly challenged sister Clara. In 2003, Collectors' Choice Music reissued The Bickersons Rematch on CD. The consumer ultimately benefits from this modernization, as the extended play capabilities of the compact disc allow for a seamless listening experience.

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