Happy Holidays from OTRCAT.com! Holiday Time is the most wonderful time of the year and old time radio shows help listeners celebrate with music, laughter, and even suspense!
Each Radio show celebrated Christmas with their special twist. One of the most memorable productions was Orson Welles Campbell's Playhouse version of "A Christmas Carol" starring Lionel Barrymore. On Lux Radio Theater, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed reprised their roles in a reproduction of "It's a Wonderful Life."
Mystery and detective shows also got into the Christmas Spirit. Dragnet also had a special Christmas program with a moral at the ending called "A Rifle for Christmas." In Suspense, a child and nanny are left alone wondering if the parents will return home for Christmas after news of a plane crash.
In the comedy realm, Jack Benny Christmas shows usually revolved around penny-pinching Jack trying to avoid spending money. Gracie Allen is up to her old tricks as she tries to get George to guess what she wants for Christmas.
"A Christmas Carol " from December 24, 1939
Lionel Barrymore reprises his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. A wonderful Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol, is the story of a very grumpy and cold hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who wants nothing to do with Christmas and croaks "Baw-humbug" at any sign of Christmas cheer. Orson Welles beautifully narrates this classic tale of redemption and brotherly love.
"Paddy O Cinnamon" from mid-1930s
The Cinnamon Bear is Christmas classic radio at its best. The fifteen-minute episodes were first broadcast from the end of November right up 'till Christmas, and can still be enjoyed that way by the entire family. This episode is the first of The Cinnamon Bear series. The story begins with twins Jimmy and Judy (Barbara Wong) writing a letter to Santa Claus. Their mother asks for help trimming the Christmas tree, but uh-oh the Silver Star is missing and the twins look in the attic for the missing star. In the attic they meet a special Irish teddy bear with a green ribbon around his neck…
"It's A Wonderful Life " from March 10, 1947
Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed reprised their roles on Lux Radio from the film "It's A Wonderful Life." Victor Moore stars as Clarence the angel. The story follows George Bailey as he considers ending his life. Clarence shows George that not only would he be missed in the world but It's a Wonderful Life. This is truly an inspiring story and a popular holiday favorite.
"Trimming a Tree" from Dec 24, 1944
Mary comes over to help Jack trim his Christmas Tree. When she plug in the lights, Jack gets a shock and he tries his hand at being a electrician by wrapping the cord with "enough tape." Meanwhile a police office stops by to talk to Jack Benny about disturbing the peace at the department store. Jack almost gets arrested for loosing his cool with an old man that kept asking him "What should I buy my wife for Christmas?" and for breathing on someone's Christmas carnation.
"Leroy Wants a Motor Scooter " from Dec 18, 1946
Geee-heee—ho-ho-ho! Leroy finds a cat outside and wants to keep it. Uncle Mort refuses saying "I wouldn't mind kittens if they didn't grow up to be cats." Santa's going to have a hard time paying for gifts this year, good thing Leroy only wants one thing, just one thing "a motor scooter!" Perfect Marjorie says, "I don't care what I get Unckie, anything you decide I'll be grateful for."
"Twenty-Two Rifle for Christmas" from December 21, 1950
"You're a Detective Sergeant. You're assigned to homicide detail. A small boy is reported missing from his home. His age? Nine years. Foul play is suspected. Your job…find him." Joe Friday and his partner Ben Romero work to solve one of the most heartbreaking cases in Dragnet's history. It's a Christmas chronicle, Dragnet-style, and there's a bonus moral twist at the end for all parents wanting to buy their kids a gun for Christmas.
Broadcast from November 29, 1938
The Christmas on the Moon series follows Jonathan Thomas and he gets the help of his teddy bear and the Man on the Moon to rescue Santa Claus from kidnappers. The series played one episode a day in 1938 between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This episode is the first of the Christmas on the Moon series.
"The Night Before Christmas" from December 21, 1953
"The Night before Christmas" is a strange Suspense version of the holiday classic poem "Twas the Night before Christmas." This is a Christmas story about a little girl whose parents are missing on Christmas Eve in a possible plane crash from Paris. The family's housekeeper tries to protect the little girl from hearing the terrible news on Christmas Day. Despite this episode's morbid theme, it is well written and a good hearted story with a surprise ending.
Broadcast from December 21, 1944
Christmas favorite Bing Crosby sings opens with "Adeste Fideles" first in latin and then "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" with the Kraft Choral Club, which was Bing's opening Christmas standard every year. The Kraft Choral Club is 70 co-workers of the Kraft offices and factory in Chicago. In 1944, we were in WWII and in the audience there is 100 young ladies from the Navy W.A.V.E.S. and we are reminded that Kraft Cheese only takes two ration points.
Bing Crosby Adeste Fideles/Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Bing Crosby Jingle Bells
Eugenie Baird sings I Dream of You
Bing Crosby I Can Make Believe
The Charioteers sing a very fun A Slip of the Lip Might Sink a Ship (WWII Propaganda song "Don't Talk to Much, Don't Know too much…")
Bing Crosby What A Difference a Day Makes
Kraft Choral Club A Beautiful Savior
Kraft Choral Club God is Ever Beside Me
Bing Crosby Silent Night
"Gracie's Last Minute Christmas Gift" from December 18, 1947
Gracie is up to her old tricks again and she won't tell George what she wants from Christmas. She writes out a list of clues to get George to guess what she wants but he's clueless. George is forced to pay Gracie a 50 cents for each wrong guess that he makes, eventually he sends Gracie to the psychiatrist. Hans Conried and Gale Gordon also star in this episode.
"Uninhabited" from December 22, 1937
A memorable post-World War I tale: a French, Australian, and African-American soldier find themselves travelling on a train on Christmas Eve 1918.
"Markheim" from 1945
A tale of Chrismas murder: the nephew of a wealthy uncle follows his inner voices to commit murder in attempt to cover the trail his reckless investments.
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