Tuesday, December 15, 2015

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 13 - A Child Visits the Magnificent Montague

There are a few short-lived series that seem to be as good as ones that played for years and years.  Part of the issue is listening to the programs with modern sensibilities.  It is hard sometimes to fully appreciate how a series was received at the time that it was produced.  Such was the case with the wonderful NBC series the Magnificent Montague." 

This is the second year I have showcased different Old Time Radio programs for Christmas.  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.  I actually heard this driving the other week as part of the Frank Sinatra blocks that he setup to celebrate the centennial of his birth.

Cats in the Christmas Tree
Cosmo (my cat) in the Christmas Tree (2008)
The Magnificent Montague starred noted actor Monty Woolley.  He might have been best known for his role as Sheldon Whiteside in the Man Who Came to Dinner (which I showcased last year as a Christmas special with Jack Benny).  In this series radio series, Monty Woolley played Edwin Montague, a former stage actor who was a founding member of the "Proscenium Club of Shakespearean Thespians."  As a great actor, he is very proud of his work on the stage.  But as an aging actor, he found himself with fewer and fewer paying opportunities, he turned to a most scandalous occupation - one of a radio actor! Edwin plays in a local soap opera as 'Uncle Goodheart', He is very concerned that one of his fellow members of the Proscenium Club will discover his secret.  So his household is sworn to secrecy on Edwin's new job!  Anne Seymour played Edwin's wife Lily (also a stage actress), and Pert Kelton played Agnes, their housekeeper of 25 years.

In just the fifth episode of this series that started in November, A Child Visits, the Magnificent Montegue has to deal with his new-found fame at the holidays.  Seems everyone wants to send Uncle Goodheart a gift, and it is flooded their home.  As a last minute twist, their housekeeper's nephew is sent to stay with them for Christmas.  But Montague is distracted with the Christmas demands of Uncle Goodheart, especially when it comes to children.  So not only is Montague annoyed that he has a child visiting for Christmas, but when Agnes hurts herself - it is up to Montague and Lily to watch Junior for Christmas.   Turns out that Junior is not that sweet little boy that Agnes remembered!  In addition to Monty Wolley, Anne Seymour and Pert Kelton, the cast features John Gibson, Arnold Stang, John Griggs, and Art Carney (who we know from his work on The Honeymooners).  Also, the announcer was a young Don Pardo, who we would know as a game show and Saturday Night Live announcer).

A Child Visits (also known as Christmas Gifts) - December 22, 1950

Here are some links to programs relating to Magnificent Montague:

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

      25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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