Monday, December 16, 2013

Dragnet's Big Little Jesus & Twenty-Two Rifle for Christmas (old time radio)

Scenes from John Wayne Airport (Orange County, California) - Sunday July 15, 2012

An old radio on display at John Wayne Airport (Orange County, California) in 2012.

As we move closer to Christmas, I am going to start wrapping up some of my favorite Christmas and Holiday themed shows that are available via old time radio. If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#82). He has a number of great programs available this week. You can also get a large number of these programs at a variety or resources on the web. One place to find these shows is the 500 OTR Christmas Shows from the Internet Archive. This is a great resources for many of these wonderful radio shows!

I have not been a huge fan of Dragnet, maybe one of the most famous radio and early television programs out there. I recently showcased the sad Dragnet episode Twenty-Two Rifle for Christmas from 1949. Now I would like to showcase a much nicer episode. This story, called Big Little Jesus, shows how a much nicer side of Christmas. Sergeant Joe Friday and his partner Frank Smith receive a called about a missing religious statue of the baby Jesus from the Mission church in Los Angeles. While it is not a huge crime, they move forward looking at every lead and pawn shop to find this item before Christmas. Eventually, it turns up in the sweetest way possible.

It can be kinda corny, but is one of those radio episodes that really hits home with the true meaning of Christmas. I invite everyone to take 30 minutes, go back in time, and recapture the meaning of the holidays.

Nativity Scene at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (Saline, Michigan)
Here is a link to two versions of Big Little Jesus:
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is this one, also from Dragnet. I have listened to a large number of Christmas radio shows with very happy and cherry endings. It is the holidays after all. But this story does not have a happy ending. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Dragnet was one of the most popular series on both radio and television. From its start in the summer of 1949, it was the brainchild of its star Jack Webb (who played in a large number of radio programs including Pat Novack for Hire and Jeff Regan among others). Dragnet was known for its realism and attention to detail. In the show they broadcast for their first Christmas, Twenty-Two Rifle for Christmas, they tell the story of a child who could not wait until the 25th for his present, and the horrible consequences of that action. In the light of the horrible events at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday December 14, 2012, it is clear that guns are not a new problem. This episode is one of the most chilling that I can recall, where a child not only was the victim, but also the perpetrator. Here is a link right to Twenty-Two Rifle for Christmas:
Here are some links to programs relating to Dragnet:

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