Jim and Marion Jordan, small time Vaudevillians in the Chicago area, made the move to radio in 1927 on WENR, Chicago. Two of their shows are thought to be some of the earliest Situation Comedies. In the Luke and Mirandy Farm Report Jim played a farmer known for his tall tales and face saving lies. The weekly comedy, The Smith Family, featured Marian as the suffering Irish wife of an American police officer. Both shows were penned by Harry Lawrence.
In 1931 the Jordan's hired Don Quinn, an out of work newspaper cartoonist, as their new writer. Quinn would later write the Fibber McGee and Molly show.
Smackout aired from March 1931 through August 1935. The show was a local favorite on WMAQ, Chicago, and was later picked up by the NBC network in April 1933.
The program featured just four characters, all played by Jim and Marian Jordan. "Marian and Jim" were regular features on WMAQ, and much of Smackout was built around their vocal duets, accompanied by Marian on the piano and harmonium. Also appearing was a little girl named Teeny and Uncle Luke, the proprietor of a country store and infamous teller of tall tales. The running gag through the show was that the store was always "smack out of" whatever his customers wanted. Teeny would move to Fibber McGee and Molly basically unchanged and played by Marian Jordan. Uncle Luke would become The Old Timer, but played by Bill Thompson rather than Jim Jordan.
Many of the elements of Smackout would become the foundation for Fibber McGee and Molly. Smackout lacks the big budget touches of an ensemble of actors playing the recurring characters, a large orchestra, and vocalists. There are very few surviving recordings of the Smackout show. These were originally on 78rpm aluminum disk recordings found in the personal collection of Jim Jordan.
Smackout did manage to delight its audience, which included a Ms. Henrietta Johnson Lewis. Ms. Lewis was a member of the S.C. Johnson family, the owners of the Johnson Wax Company. It so happened that the Company was considering sponsorship of a radio program to advertise its products…
Excerpts from "Smack Out" from 1931
A very early broadcast by the Jordans
broadcast compliments of Old Time Radio