As provided by the Jot ‘Em Down Journal of February, 1999:
The first show of the new year brings an immediately noticeable change. The “three rings on the phone” opening, a holdover from the later 15-minute episodes, has been completely discarded.
Instead, the show now opens with Wendell Niles’ announcement:
“The Lum and Abner Show, on the air for Frigidaire!!”
After a fanfare, Niles continues, “Frigidaire, a division of General Motors, brings you a brand new comedy show starring Lum and Abner! ” (As the season continues, the opening will be amended to include the names of other cast members.) After these pronouncements, we still have a brief opening, before the first commercial.
Lum has reached the end of his patience with Abner and his many mistakes:
“Air you goin’ to go through life actin like a eediot? ” he asks.
Abner’s typical (for the 30-minute shows) response: “Who’s actin’? ”
During their discussion, Abner reminds Lum that they went into business together 17 years ago… supposedly a reference to the radio show’s 1931 debut (although by January 1949 it was closer to its 18th anniversary).
Finally, Lum bets that Abner can’t go 12 hours without making a mistake of some kind. Abner’s original inclination is to sit still in a rocking chair.
That night. Ezra wants Lum to be the one who presents a gold watch to Bigelow during the meeting. Naturally, Abner manages to confuse the box containing the watch with Ben’s box of rat poison.
After Wendell Niles explains that he will have no trouble keep- ing his New Year’s resolution to help people, because Frigidaire products arc so helpful, Abner and Ben make tracks for the lodge hall to recover the rat poison before Lum presents it to Bigelow.
Naturally, Lum’s speech contains many “double references that also apply to the poison. Bigelow, by the way, is played by long- time L&A supporting actor Frank Graham (the voice of Diogenes Smith, B. J. Webster, Gregory W. W. Dobbs, and count- less other bit parts from the 15-minute days).
Abner narrowly averts disaster at the last moment… Bigelow gets his watch, and Lum doesn’t find out about the mix up until the 12 hours are over (but just barely).
Learn more about the world of Lum and Abner from the pages of the National Lum and Abner Society.