|Wanda the cat under the Christmas tree (2010)|
The CBS Radio Workshop continued the tradition at the network to produce some of the most innovative programs on radio. The program was intended to provide a link back to the Columbia Workshop days and Norman Corwin and provide amazing drama "dedicated to man's imagination, the theater of the mind" In 1956, CBS returned to the airways with a program that would cement their network as the home for innovation. Starting in January 1956, the CBS Radio Workshop would be on the air for 86 episodes through September 1957. The CBS Radio Workshop was designed not to be commercially lucrative, but to find a place where the network could put on cutting edge works that might not match with a sponsor's goals. The 30 minute program started out with a two-part adaptation of Huxley's Brave New World and featured many original and adapted programs. These features great radio talent and special effects that were the best in the business.
The episode we are featuring today is titled All is Bright. It starts aboard an ocean liner on Christmas Eve. A big band on the ship entertaining the guests on the liner start playing Silent Night in a big way. Upon hearing this, an older guest on the ship beckoned them to stop. Turns out this guest was a famous conductor who was well versed in the way that Silent Night should be played. It is a peasant song - one without pretension. It was even called the song from Heaven. What they proceeded to do was not to talk about how the song was written, but how it was spread from a small Austrian village to be one of the best known Christmas songs ever.
Sid Garfield of CBS Radio wrote an article in the January 9, 1957 edition of Variety (p102) called "Please State Previous Experience." This article was about giving young writers in radio a break. He wrote"
Paul Roberts, executive producer of CBS Radio's Workshop, for example, is consistently sympathetic towards inexperienced writers, no matter how dubious or nonexistent their credits. This hospitality has paid off. Just recently, an obscure scriptist named Henry Fritsch sent in several bare outlines of notions he felt, if developed, would enhance the Workshop series.One of these ideas was All is Bright, I think you will agree with Garfield that taking the chance on this script idea was a great idea. I hope you enjoy this beautiful story behind this beautiful song.
Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and CBS Radio Workshop
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)
- 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 - no they are not from Abbot and Costello!
- 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)