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!
Statue of Father Junipero Serra at Mission Santa Barbara, November 1, 2013
Romance of the Ranchos is an interesting radio series. Frank Graham had his great radio role on this show where he was the "Wandering Vaquero" on this historical series which came to the air thanks to the Title and Trust Insurance Company of Los Angeles. This historical series revealed how complicated it was to ensure that you held title to your land - which makes sense given the difficult tracking of land ownership in California. The Ranchos were lands given to settlers by Spain and then Mexico in California before the western settlement of the state. These Ranchos were tied with the growth of the missions as well. Given the great history of the Ranchos in Southern California, this radio series was a perfect way for the Title and Trust Insurance Company to share its stories. Each episode featured a historical depiction of a certain area in Southern California. When I travel in Southern California, I always make sure I have these on my phone or my MP3 player.
The episode that aired on Christmas Eve 1941 (only a few weeks after Pearl Harbor) showcased the early days of the Mission San Gabriel. I have enjoyed visiting these beautiful missions on my recent trips to California (see my pictures of the missions here). I have not visited Mission San Gabriel, which sits in Los Angeles County in San Gabriel - but I hope to do so in the not to distant future. Sometime after the holidays, I hope to write up the missions on the radio, though I expect there will be one more for this Christmas season.
The story called Christmas at Mission San Gabriel starts with Father Junipero Serra planing for the missions that would dot the California coast. The scene shifts to the building of the Mission San Gabriel and the Spanish settlements in that area. These episodes work within the framework of the cultural sensitivities that were in place at the time, so they freely refer to "White" and "Indian" populations in describing the tensions and clashes between the two. The last scene represents Christmas in the 1820s around the Mission and how these populations began to live together. The episode closes with a transcription (or recording) of the 24 members of the Title and Trust Insurance Company of Los Angeles Men's Chorus singing "Joy to the World." Here is the episode:
Here are some links to programs relating to Romance of the Ranchos:
- Romance of the Ranchos radio program episodes via the Internet Archive
- Romance of the Ranchos on the Radio - great information from Digital Deli
- Romance of the Ranchos on Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs
- San Gabriel Mission
- California Missions Resource Center
- Ranchos of California (info from UC Berkeley)
- Calisphere (from the University of California) - great info on California History
- See also 500 OTR Christmas Shows from the Internet Archive.
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