We recently found in the stacks of our Maryland Room collection, this volume from 1945 with a very saucy cover. A bit misleading since the contents — a collection of short stories — are in no way racy. I mean, James Thurber? Dorothy Parker? Clarence Day, Jr.? C’mon!
The editor of this volume of stories, “selected for MAN’s enjoyment,” was Ed Fitzgerald, who co-hosted with his wife Pegeen a daily New York City-based radio program, broadcast directly from their home for over 40 years.
When it first began in 1940, Ed and Pegeen’s daily show of chit-chat and self-described “ramblings” was something new. A wholly original format for radio, in that it was not derived from theatre or vaudeville, the husband-and-wife radio program genre would soon catch on and spawn imitators like “Tex and Jinx,” starring Tex McCrary and his wife Jinx Falkenberg (1945-1961), and other programs with the likes of Dorothy Kilgallen and Dick Kollmar.
The Fitzgeralds broadcast daily from their 16th floor apartment over looking Central Park. Everything in the lives of the Fitzgerald’s was fodder for radio, from paying that month’s bills to the various doings of friends and family to current events. Nothing (except the show’s commercials) was ever scripted and the couple worked with no pre-show preparation. “Do you prepare for a conversation with a friend?,” Pegeen once asked rhetorically, about her and her husband’s on-air style.
The Pegeen Fitzgerald Collection is part of the Library of American Broadcasting and housed within Special Collections in Mass Media and Culture at the University of Maryland Libraries.