My Man Godfrey by Eric Hatch, adapted by Morris Ryskind and Eric Hatch

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Download My Man Godfrey from Misfits Audio Productions

Misfits Audio Productions, August 2010
Best known from the 1936 film with William Powell and Carole Lombard, My Man Godfrey tells of the eponymous hero (Mark Koelsch), a down-and-out who eventually becomes butler to the eccentric Bullock household, including Angelica (Sue Wilby) and her spoilt daughters Irene (Claire Acott), and Cornelia (Kristen Zaza). Through a combination of luck and good judgment, Godfrey manages to survive in his employment, even though we discover that he is actually a Harvard-educated Boston socialite who has decided to "slum it." Eventually he rescues the Bullock family from financial ruin and marries Irene, even though he never intended to.
Very much a product of its time, My Man Godfrey is at once a screwball comedy and a New Deal parable. In Jim Smagata's production, based on the Lux Radio Theatre script, the daughters came across as rather lovable in their eccentricities; we could not really censure them, even though they squabbled over Godfrey's presence in the house. Their mother lived in a world of her own, inhabited by pixies, while Mr. Bullock (Tony Junor) regarded their behaviour with a mixture of despair and amusement. Godfrey cut a reassuring presence in the household; he knew how to alter his manner to suit each member of the family, which is why he proved so successful at his job.
While the play's ending contains a certain degree of wish-fulfillment, it also emphasizes the importance of New Deal capitalism, in which the rich and privileged make a special effort to care for the needy. In the contemporary world of get-rich-quick capitalism, this seems rather a quaint view, even though Koelsch's Godfrey remained serious in his desires to support those who had been his neighbours for so long when he was in the gutter. The play also emphasizes the importance of moving both up and down the social scale; unless you know how those either superior or inferior to you live, then you cannot understand how to create a better world.
Presented by Misfits Audio under the executive producership of Captain John Tadrzak, this Calliope Sound Production, recorded live, proved an entertaining listen.