Friday, December 12, 2014

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 12 - Lionel Barrymore's Mayor of the Town

Working on sending out one blog entry each day in December to showcase great Old Time Radio for the Christmas season.  Here is a link to all the entries.  Here is day #12 - Lionel Barrymore's Mayor of the Town Christmas Episodes.

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 throughout the month of December on his great show.  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!

Christmas Trees

Decorative Trees, Holidays 2007

If your some people I could guess that your first exposure to the great actor Lionel Barrymore was in Frank Capra's brilliant It's a Wonderful Life.  In this 1946 holiday classic, Barrymore played the bitter and evil Mr. Potter - the arch rival to Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey.  His distinct voice and menacing role forever made him the evil heavy in any movie.  But then I started listening to Barrymore on old time radio, especially as Dr. Gillespie in the radio series Dr. Kildare.

Not that long ago, I discovered Mayor of the Town.  In that series, Lionel Barrymore plays the mayor of an unnamed small town, somewhere in America.  Playing the mayor's housekeeper, Marilly, was the great actress Agnes Moorehead, who is best know for her role on Bewitched.  The series is pretty sweet, as Barrymore not only plays the Mayor, but also as a virtual grandparent for everyone in town.  In these two Christmas episodes, Barrymore is at his best - and is just perfect for radio.

On Christmas Eve 1942, the cast of Mayor of the Town performed Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  Barrymore naturally plays Scrooge and does a fantastic job.  Listen for yourself:

A few years later, and a few weeks after Christmas, there was a great Christmas themed episode on this series.  In the Burning Christmas Tree episode, the Mayor seeks to help out a sick girl who is tremendously saddened when the tree that was by her bed had to be thrown out.  The little girl needed a reason to be happy when her tree was taken away from her.  And the Mayor had just the perfect way to do that.

Here are some links to programs relating to Mayor of the Town:
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas:

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