"The Johnson Was Program present Brilliant Conductor/Composer Meredith Willson and MGM's
Noted young Commentator Star, John Nesbitt", Tuesday nights on NBC during the summer of
The 1941-42 season of Fibber McGee and Molly ended with the McGees packing for vacation.
Harlow Wilcox and the Johnson Wax Company were not about to let us spend the summer
forgetting the wonders of Johnson's Wax, Johnson's CarNu, or Johnson's Glo-Coat. With Fibber
and Molly out of town they turned Willson and Nesbitt.
Meredith Willson is best known for writing the classic American musical, The Music Man, which
gave us such classic tunes as "Seventy Six Trombones", "Gary, Indiana", and "Till There Was
You." Willson had been part of John Philip Sousa's Band during the 1920's, and became a music
director in radio during the 30's. He was nominated two academy awards for the scores of The
Great Dictator(1940) and Little Foxes(1941).
John Nesbitt was an actor, narrator, announcer, producer and screenwriter from Vancouver
B.C. He claimed that his father had left him a trunk full of newspaper clippings and strange
stories. These would become the basis for his program Headlines of the Past, which would
evolve into John Nesbitt's Passing Parade, premiering in 1937. MGM produced a series
of short films featuring Nesbitt's Passing Parade stories from 1938 through 1949. The films
were re-edited for television syndication, and eventually shown in their original from on Turner
The Summer Program of 1942 was the result of discussions between long time friends Willson
and Nesbitt. "For several years Meredith Willson and I have been discussing just such a
program" explains Nesbitt, "No formality, no fanfare, no hoopla, just as if you were having
a musical party in your own home, heaven help you…" The music is layered around one of
Nesbitt's stories. In reflection of the war effort, the story will have a patriotic theme, and the
music will be full of Joy.
This collection is also part of the John Nesbitt Collection. Fans of Fibber McGee and Molly will be gratified to hear Harlow Wilcox staying gainfully