And with this, I will wrap up the OTR Christmas Series. Here is a link to all the entries. But tomorrow, Wednesday and on New Year's Day, I will have entries about the changing of the calendar! Then slow things down...not sure I could do one every day!
If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#82). I heard this for the first time on Greg Bell's XM 82 and always love the variety he plays. 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!
The Man Who Came to Dinner is one of the most well known theatrical comedies from the first half of the 20th Century. It was written in 1939 by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart and adapted into a movie in 1942 starring Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan and Monty Woolley. The story involves the visit of a noted New York critic to the house of a small town businessman in Ohio just before the holidays. When the critic (Sheridan Whiteside) slips on ice outside the businessman's house, he becomes laid up there and a not so welcome house guest. The show had an all-star cast performed by the "The Actor's Company" and sponsored by Hotpoint, the appliance manufacturer. The amazing cast was directed by Mel Ferrer and featured Jack Benny (as Sheridan Whiteside), Charles Boyer, Gene Kelly (as Banjo), Dorothy McGuire, Gregory Peck, Rosalind Russell, Willard Waterman, and Henry Fonda as the narrator.
And while I enjoyed the recording, the people at Variety (the entertainment weekly newspaper) were not as impressed. In their review of the performance on December 28, 1949 (page 26), they wrote:
A flock of film names may make an impressive radio draw, but not necessarily a good air show. this was demonstrated anew Sunday (25), when for its Xmas Day celebration, Hotpoint offered the Actors' Co. of Hollywood with a star-studded cast in an hour-long adaptation of the Kaufman-Hart stage comedy, "The Man Who Came to Dinner." Probably few air shows have had such a galaxy of names running through it in lead, characters or bit parts. Bit it didn't come off. Trouble wasn't with the play, which is still fun and sharp satire after years of presentation. Fault lay in the adaptation and especially in the performances. With few exceptions, filmites lacked the legit feel, and the opus sounded lifeless and flat.
While they did not like Jack Benny's performance, they did give them props for this:
Some of the new business was good, as when Benny got a wire from Monty Woolley (play played the role originally on Broadway), and Benny refused to read the telegram, merely emitting a revelatory "Oh, well."
There were no other performances I could find of the Hotpoint Holiday Hour. Like many specials, it had a short life. But this is a fun recording and interesting to hear some of the biggest names in Hollywood on the air.
The Man Who Came to Dinner (Hotpoint Holiday Hour - December 25, 1949)
Here are some links to programs relating to Jack Benny:
- Jack Benny radio program episodes via the Internet Archive
- The Singles and Doubles Collection: Single Episodes H-K from the Internet Archive
- Jack Benny bio on the Digital Deli (follow links to pages 2 & 3)
- Jack Benny Program entry on the Wikipedia
- Jack Benny on Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs
- Also visit 500 OTR Christmas Shows from the Internet Archive.
- Christmas Scripts at Generic Radio Workshop - no they are not from Abbot and Costello!
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas:
- All Entries
- Day 1 - Nick Carter's Christmas Adventure
- Day 2 - The Saint is No Santa Claus
- Day 3 - Stolen Rings at Christmas with Boston Blackie
- Day 4 - Dragnet's Christmas Episodes
- Day 5 - Nero Wolfe & the Slaughtered Santas
- Day 6 - The Plot To Murder Santa Claus (with Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune)
- Day 7 - Christmas at Mission San Gabriel with Romance of the Ranchos
- Day 8 - Arch Oboler's Christmas 1918
- Day 9 - The Story of Silent Night (Hallmark Playhouse)
- Day 10 - Juggler of Notre Dame (with Nelson Eddy)
- Day 11 - Candy Matson's Christmas Episodes
- Day 12 - Lionel Barrymore's Mayor of the Town
- Day 13 - More Radio Adaptations of a Christmas Carol
- Day 14 - Tales Of The Texas Rangers (not those Rangers)
- Day 15 - Christmas in Connecticut (with Ronald Reagan)
- Day 16 - Holidays with Connie - Our Miss Brooks
- Day 17 - The Whistler's Christmas Episodes
- Day 18 - Detroit's WXYZ & The Lone Ranger
- Day 19 - Johnny Dollar and the Nick Shurn Matter
- Day 20 - Christmas Shopping with Jack Benny
- Day 21 - Gunsmoke's Christmas Story
- Day 22 - Bob Hope's Christmas Shows
- Day 23 - Christmas with Mel Blanc
- Day 24 - Bing Crosby's Christmas Shows
- Day 25 - Elgin Watch Christmas Specials
- Day 26 - Five Days Off For Christmas with Night Beat
- Day 27 - Let George Do It Christmas Episodes
- Day 28 - CBS Radio Workshop's All is Bright
- Day 29 - Hotpoint's The Man Who Came to Dinner (with Jack Benny)