The Magnificent Montague

The Magnificent Montague

Listen to all posted episodes of The Magnificent Montague

Monty Woolley was one of radio's most recognizable personalities, having been a guest star on many of radio's most popular shows. By 1950, big time radio was in its sunset years, yet Woolley had never had his own series.

Creator/writer Nat Hiken, who would go on to create the popular television shows The Phil Silvers Show (Sergeant Bilko) and Car 54, Where Are You? created The Magnificent Montague as a showcase for Monty Woolley's talents. Woolley played a fading Shakespearean actor who is forced to accept a role on a radio soap opera to keep working. This is a great setup for Woolley's pompous and bombastic delivery, and the show clicked on all cylinders, including the writing and the supporting cast. That cast included Pert Kelton as the Montagues' maid, Agnes. Agnes was a master of sharp, cutting putdowns - a style that would serve Kelton well a year or two later, when she took the role of Alice in the Honeymooners sketches on Jackie Gleason's Cavalcade of Stars. In another connection to the Gleason show, many of the supporting characters on Montague were played by Art Carney, who became famous playing Ed Norton.

The show only ran for one season, but The Magnificent Montague is a little pearl in the sands of the waning days of network radio.

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