Tuesday, December 1, 2015

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 1 - Honest Harold's Christmas Party

So here we go again...I want to create more blog entries for my OTR Christmas Series.  Last year - I went 29 days - and barely scratched the surface with great number of programs that are available.  Here is a link to all the 2014 OTR Christmas entries.

If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148).  He does a great job of showcasing great holiday themed episodes, especially as we get closer to Christmas and the end of December.  But with a fool's ambition, I am going to try to get an entry out a day.  I will probably miss one or two - but I will make up by the end of the month...that is the plan at least.

Facepalm (Christmas 2000)
Santa visiting in 2000.

Honest Harold is a classic radio comedy starring Harold Peary. In fact, it is often called the Harold Peary Show through its relatively short lived run in the Golden Age of Radio. It started in large part from a contract dispute that removed Harold Peary from his own show, The Great Gildersleeve. Gildy was a character that Harold Peary developed from a stint on the Fibber McGee and Molly show in 1938. By 1941, he had his own show, The Great Glidersleeve on NBC. This might be the first spin-off show. In 1949, he decided to leave NBC and join CBS. He tried to take his show with him, but Kraft would not let him go. So with this, The Great Gildersleeve stayed on NBC (with Willard Waterman taking over Peary's role) and he started a new show. It was was called The Harold Peary Show (or Honest Harold). The show only lasted one season (38 episodes). Peary plays a radio personality in a small town. His show is called (as you might guess) Honest Harold. From the Internet Archive: "The show was about an older, unmarried guy, Honest Harold Hemp, who lived with his mother and nephew and did a radio homemaker's program. The townsfolk think of him as somewhat of a celebrity, but his girlfriend, Gloria, who works at the station, knows better."

In this Christmas episode from December 20, 1950, Harold organizes his club's Christmas party for the town children. Harold wanted more than anything to be the Santa for the party. He even had to run in a club election to get it. When Harold won the right to be Santa Claus, he could hardly contain his enthusiasm. But when he met an old timer who wanted to be Santa, and needed some second and third chances, Harold had a change of heart. The episode ends with a lovely rendition of Oh Come All Ye Faithful from Peary. Before too long, I will have a Gildersleeve episode to share as well.

Here are some links to programs relating to The Harold Peary Show:

    25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

    25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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