Wednesday, December 2, 2015

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 2 - The Innocent Santa Claus (This is Your FBI)

We are moving along with more Christmas themed shows from Old Time Radio's golden age.  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.

Holland-Fawcett Family Christmas Party (2014)
Santa Visiting in 2014
This is Your FBI was a long running radio show on the ABC Radio Network (also known as the Blue Network before it spun off from NBC) that spanned from 1945 to 1953. The show was endorsed by the FBI and they shared case files with the show's producers - making the stories all "from the files of the FBI." The stories are really well done and provide scenes showing not only the execution of the crime, but also the way that the FBI solved it. Each story opened the same way -

"The official broadcast from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The incidents used in
tonight’s Equitable Life Assurance Society broadcast are adapted from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, all names used are fictitious, and any similarity to names of persons living or dead is accidental." 
- From Derral Cheatwood Images of Crime and Justice in Early Commercial Radio—1932 to 1958 Criminal Justice Review March 2010 35: 32-51,

I showcased this series earlier this year for my lighthouse radio series.  In this episode from December 21, 1951, a down-on-his-luck vaudeville actor realizes that he cannot be choosy any longer about which roles he takes.  Fred Harper was a huge name in vaudeville, but the years were not kind to him or his act.  Despite the encouragement from his daughter, the vaudevillian slowly realizes that his options, especially if wants to feed his family, are few.  Harper's agent spells it out - $25 for being Santa or nothing else.  So he begrudgingly takes a job as a Santa Claus for a Christmas party.

But along the way, he becomes a patsy in an armed robbery with jewels as the desired good. The FBI was able to determine that it was Fred Harper since he was hired by the party to play Santa.  But when they paid him a visit in his hotel, Fred Harper was no where to be found.  When they tracked him down, they found that he had two pieces of the stolen jewelry in his pockets.  Harper insists he was knocked out, and completely innocent.  It is up to the FBI to find out if Santa is really innocent.  Along the way, they learn something every actor suspects about their agent! 

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

    25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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