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The Life of Riley

The Life of Riley, with William Bendix in the title role, was a popular American radio situation comedy series of the 1940s that was adapted into a 1949 feature film, a long-running 1950s television series (originally with Jackie Gleason as Riley for one truncated season, then with Bendix for six seasons), and a 1958 comic book. Irving Brecher created the radio series for friend Groucho Marx. Originally titled The Flotsam Family, the sponsor balked at what would have been essentially a straight head-of-household role for Groucho (Marx went on to host Blue Ribbon Town from 1943 to 1944 and then You Bet Your Life from 1947 to 1961). Creator and producer Brecher saw William Bendix as taxicab company owner Tim McGuerin in Hal Roach's The McGuerins from Brooklyn (1942). Brecher stated, "He was a Brooklyn guy and there was something about him. I thought, This guy could play it.


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