I am happy to feature this series for the Christmas series. 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.
|Nativity Scene at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (Saline, Michigan) - 2013|
The Cavalcade of America is a great series sponsored by DuPont. The purpose of the program has been one of great study and I am definitely glad that I have a few episodes to talk about it. The long-running show ran from 1935 to 1953 and then had a second life on television. Starting first on the CBS Network, it moved to NBC in 1939. This 30 minute program provided a great platform to showcase some of the lesser known incidents and people who made the country great. Not only was this series a great source of historical dramas, there were numerous fictional stories brought in as well. From the Internet Archive page (see link below), "The company's motto, 'Maker of better things for better living through chemistry,' was read at the beginning of each program, and the dramas emphasized humanitarian progress, particularly improvements in the lives of women, often through technological innovation."
As the United States finished up their first full year embroiled in World War II, The Cavalcade of America featured a new nativity play written for the radio by Stephen Vincent Benet called A Child is Born. This was broadcast over the NBC Radio Network on December 21, 1942. The play starred Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in the roles of the innkeeper and wife of those who provide shelter to Joseph and Mary on their travels to Bethlehem.
INNKEEPER:Waiting? For what?
WIFE:I do not know. For something new and strange,
Something I've dreamt about in some deep sleep,
Truer than any waking,
Heard about, long ago, so long ago,
In sunshine and the summer grass of childhood,
When the sky seems so near.
I do not know its shape, its will, its purpose
And yet all day its will has been upon me,
And there is light in it and fire and peace,
Newness of heart and strangeness like a sword,
And all my body trembles under it,
And yet I do not know.
INNKEEPER:You're tired, my dear.
Well, we shall sleep soon.
Variety said this about the production:WIFE:No, I am not tired.
I am expectant as a runner is
Before a race, a child before a feast day,
A woman at the gates of life and death,
Expectant for us all, for all of us
Who live and suffer on this little earth
With such small brotherhood. Something begins.
Something is full of change and sparkling stars.
And yet--I cannot read it yet. I wait
And strive--and cannot find it.
Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne lent added stature to 'A Child is Born,' an original Miracle verse-playlet by Stephen Vincent Benet, Monday night (21) on 'Cavalcade of America' on NBC. Although Benet has still not completely mastered the radio medium, his script had a fresh approach and built to an uplifting finale. Miss Fontanne's mannered style of playing seemed somewhat flat in the early passages, but reached an infectious intensity toward the close. Lunt's performance was hurried at the start, but he too improved. The script contained numerous topical suggestions. Ardon Cornwell's score used orchestra and choir in arrangements of sacred music. Du Point eliminated its commercial copy for the occasion. - Variety (December 23, 1942, page 34 - from ProQuest Variety Archive)So that is why you need to listen to another episode to know that Du Pont makes for better living through chemistry! The announcer for that episode was Bud Collyer, who would be known for his work as Superman over the radio. Enjoy!
December 21, 1942 (A Child is Born)
Radio Script (from the Generic Radio Workshop Script Library)
Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and Cavalcade of America:
- The Cavalcade of America radio program episodes via the Internet Archive
- The Cavalcade of America on Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs
- The Cavalcade of America on RadioGOLDINdex
- The Cavalcade of America entry in the Wikipedia
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links
- 2015 Day 1 - Honest Harold's Christmas Party
- 2015 Day 2 - The Innocent Santa Claus (This is Your FBI)
- 2015 Day 3 - Christmas Story from The Mysterious Traveler
- 2015 Day 4 - All is Bright (the story of Silent Night)
- 2015 Day 5 - Beeker's Barn (a Christmas tale from Gunsmoke)
- 2015 Day 6 - Santa Claus of Bums' Boulevard (Casey Crime Photographer)
- 2015 Day 7 - Dr. Sixgun's A Pony for Christmas
- 2015 Day 8 - The Plot To Murder Santa Claus (with Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune)
- 2015 Day 9 - Department Store Woes with Johnny Dollar
- 2015 Day 10 - Department Store Contest with Connie Brooks
- 2015 Day 11 - Radio Nutcracker
- 2015 Day 12 - Frank Sinatra in Room for a Stranger (Radio Reader's Digest)
- 2015 Day 13 - A Child Visits the Magnificent Montague
- 2015 Day 14 - The Gift of the Magi (Radio Reader's Digest)
- 2015 Day 15 - A Child is Born (from Cavalcade of America)
- All my entries covering OTR and Christmas
- All my OTR blog posts
- Also visit 500 OTR Christmas Shows from the Internet Archive.
- Christmas Programs from Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs
- Christmas Scripts at Generic Radio Workshop
- Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148)
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)
- 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)