Old-Time Radio Playlist: Christmas, Part 3

draft_lens18469959module153045563photo_1315359699JollyI’ve been sick the past two days, which has put me behind on my blogging schedule. This is the third part of my Christmas OTR playlist.

This week, Family Affair Friday will appear on Saturday.

Read part one and part two of my Christmas playlist.

“First Song—Let it Snow”

Dinah Shore Chevrolet Show, December 22, 1954

“First Song—Sleigh Ride”

Dinah Shore Chevrolet Show, December 24, 1954

“Even though the snow may be artificial out here in Hollywood, the sentiment isn’t at all.”

About the Dinah Shore Chevrolet Show: Popular singer Dinah Shore was a fixture on radio throughout the 1940s; according to the Digital Deli Too, she headlined six different shows. The television era brought her even greater fame. The Dinah Shore Show, sponsored by Chevrolet, premiered in 1951 as a 15-minute, twice-a-week program and became an instant hit. From 1953 to 1955, the Dinah Shore Chevrolet Show also aired on radio.
Musical Notes: Songs on the first show include “Let it Snow,” a Rodgers and Hammerstein song called “Happy Christmas, Little Friend,” and the pop standard “Teach Me Tonight.” The second show is all Christmas—besides “Sleigh Ride,” it includes “Silver Bells” and a medley of religious Christmas carols. (I wonder if Shore, who was Jewish, felt strange singing those.
My Verdict: I like the 15-minute length of these—it allows for several songs but limits the cheesy variety show comedy banter.

“’Twas the Night Before Christmas”

The Great Gildersleeve, December 24, 1944

“The only excuse for the kind of suffering that’s going on, all over the world, is if we can make sure it never happens again…Let’s sing the way we used to when we were at home together, and let’s hope that before so very long, all the peoples of the world will be able to join in with us.”
About The Great Gildersleeve: This show, built around a character first heard on Fibber McGee and Molly, was the first successful spinoff. It ran from 1941 to 1957.
Story: December 23rd finds Gildy blue. He’s expecting to be the subject of a breach of promise suit, and he thinks his frenemy Judge Hooker will be handling the case against him. When the judge tells him there’s no case, Gildy is finally ready to celebrate Christmas with family, friends, and his two favorite flames.
Musical Notes: The cast sings “Joy to the World,” then Harold Peary breaks, um, whatever you would call the fourth wall in radio, and invites the studio and radio audience to join in.
My Verdict: Maybe my sinus infection is making me sappy, but I got teary listening to the closing speech and song.

“Christmas Shopping for Perfume and a Necktie,” December 17, 1939

The Jack Benny Program

“You walked in, Sugarfoot. Nobody dragged you.”

Story: usual in the Jell-o era, things ramble a bit before Jack and Mary head out to do Jack’s Christmas shopping.
Celebrity Name Droppings: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.
Jell-o Hell No Suggestion of the Week: Lemon Jell-o with stewed figs and whipped cream.
My Verdict: I think most fans prefer the more polished Lucky Strike shows, but I love the freewheeling Jell-o era. The shopping trip has some fun supporting characters, and jokes about Mary’s history with the May Company are always welcome.

“Christmas for Carole”

Suspense, December 21, 1950

“You asked for this, kid. Now do as you’re told.”

Story: A bank teller’s pregnant wife is having complications and needs full-time nursing care. Unable to afford it, the teller decides to take a one- time trip into the criminal world.
Notable Performers: Singer Dennis Day, best known as a member of the Jack Benny cast, gives a good dramatic performance. Suspense often enabled actors to stretch their range in this way.
Musical Notes: You don’t think you’ll get through this without Day singing do you? He performs “The First Noel.”
My Verdict: The story keeps you guessing, and although everything works out a little too neatly in the end, you can forgive such things at Christmas.

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