Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Good Morning, Class of '64

the good life,
an easy and pleasant life
or carefree existence

The phrase might have had its origin
in songs from the late 1800s:

Patric Rooney's 1880 song Is That Mr. Reilly
in which the title character describes what
he would do if he suddenly became wealthy.
George Gaskin's 1897 song,

The Best in the House is None Too Good for Reilly,
elaborated on the whimsical idea of a wealthy
Irishman being treated lavishly:

He's money for to pay,
So they let him have his way,
The best in the house is none
too good for Reilly.

Irish American soldiers were using the
term at the time of World War I.
The phrase appears in their letters.

The phrase could have a connection to the
poems of James Whitcomb Riley who depicted
the comforts of a prosperous home life.

There was a wealthy Riley family in
Ireland who minted their own coins.
The coins were accepted as legal
tender in England as well as Ireland.
The coins were called O’Rileys and Reillys
became synonymous with a person of means
and a gentleman who spent freely was
"living on his Reillys".

The Life of Riley
The Life of Riley was an American radio comedy 
series of the 1940s. It was adapted into a 1949 
film, and became a 1950s television series. 
For one season it starred Jackie Gleason as 
Chester A. Riley, then William Bendix played 
the part for six seasons. The Life of Riley
 series with Bendix, was a top rated show.  
It ranked #16 in its first season, 
with 4 of its 6 seasons in the top 30. 
It ran for a total of 217 episodes. 
The Riley family included Peg, Junior and Babs;
 wife, son and daughter of Chester A. Riley.

"What a revoltin' development this is!" became a catch phrase for The Life of Riley, and Chester A. Riley was always in some kind of revoltin' development. Advice from his friend Gillis only made circumstances more revoltin'. 

William Bendix, with his lovable, bumbling portrayal of Riley, made The Life of Riley one of the more enjoyable shows on television. Watching it at such a young age, all the characters seemed so real, like that was who they should have been in real life. 

What a surprise, later on, to see Riley and Gillis keep popping up in movies from the forties. What were they doing there, anyway! They belonged in that fifties aircraft factory or back home with Peg and Honeybee. Getting older sure does destroy the conceptions of youth.



The Life of Riley
Friends Are Where You Find Them

What's My Line
William Bendix
 Mystery Guest 
September 16, 1956

"The Life of Riley"
Starred William Bendix as lovable, blundering, 

Chester A. Riley. It was a radio situation comedy 
broadcast during and after the wartime 40s.
Old Time Radio Internet Archive 132 Episodes

Happy Go Lucky Me
Entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at #99; 
 it peaked at #10 (for 1 week) and 
spent 14 weeks on the Top 100
Paul Evans was a songwriter, and he 
wrote Roses are Red for Bobby Vinton. 
Paul Evans - 1960


In 1922, when he was 15, William Bendix
was a bat boy for the New York Yankees.
He became a favorite of Babe Ruth.
Babe entrusted him with various
personal errands. Years later,
in 1948, Bendix played Ruth in
The Babe Ruth Story (1948).

William Bendix and Marjorie Reynolds

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