The Life of Riley (1953–1958)

TV Series   |    |  Comedy

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The Life of Riley (1953) Poster

Riley worked in an aircraft plant in California, but viewers usually saw him at home, cheerfully disrupting life with his malapropisms and ill timed intervention into minor problems. His ... See full summary »


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16 May 2004 | bkoganbing
| "What a revoltin' development this is."
Viewers of this classic comedy were guaranteed to hear that immortal line when any of Chester A. Riley's schemes had gone astray which they inevitably did.

Bill Bendix created The Life of Riley on radio where Riley became the originator of all those father is an idiot family situation comedies. Riley's phenomenal success on radio gave Bendix stardom and placed him a cut above other fine character actors in films and right into the same money making area as some of the screen's leading men.

I remember this show on television and television in its infancy took a lot of its original programming ideas from radio. As a kid I loved to see lovable, bumbling Riley with all these schemes constantly screwing up and yet his family was there for him no matter what.

What I didn't appreciate then was this TV series had an incredible

array of some of the finest character actors ever to grace the small screen. Any film that would have the likes of Tom D'Andrea, Sterling Holloway, Henry Kulky, Emory Parnell, and Douglass Dumbrille we would consider a classic. All these appeared semi-regularly on The Life of Riley.

We would have to wait 40 years until Burt Reynolds' Evening Shade debuted to have such a company of talent under one roof.

Chester A. Riley, native Brooklynite, transplanted Californian, chaser of the American dream, blue collar hero and family man extraordinaire, we salute you.

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