Wednesday, December 21, 2016

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 21: The Only Wise Man from Radio Reader's Digest

The Radio Reader's Digest is a great anthology series that I discovered when pulling together episodes for my Christmas on Old Time Radio blog.  I used two episodes from this series last year: Frank Sinatra in Room for a Stranger (Radio Reader's Digest) & The Gift of the Magi (Radio Reader's Digest).  This year, I return to this series with a story that was broadcast on Christmas evening in 1947.  Here is a link to all the previous 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 close to Christmas.

191/365/3113 (December 19, 2016) - Squirrels in Snowy Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan (December 19, 2016)

Squirrel at the University of Michigan - December 19, 2016
(OK this has nothing to do with the story,..just enjoy this great pic)!

The Radio Reader's Digest is a great series on radio. It started in 1942 as a CBS series with Ernest Chappell as the announcer. Ernest Chappell was well known as the lead actor and announcer for Quiet Please. The stories for the Radio Reader's Digest came from the pages of Reader's Digest, which was a huge publication during the 30s and 40s for sure. It still is most certainly around (see The radio program that came from their publication was first sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company, it shifted to Hallmark in 1946. Our episode from today was produced during the Hallmark era.  Later, the series would be changed to the Hallmark Playhouse and feature dramatic versions of classics of world literature.

On Christmas Day, 1947, the Radio's Reader's Digest presented the story of Uncle Henry and Christmas in Centervale, Texas.  It is called "The Only Wise Man" and it was in Reader's Digest after originally in the December 1934 issue of the Rotarian.  You can read the story by Charles W. Ferguson in the pages of The Rotarian via Google Books (go to page 16).  In the radio version, Actor Les Tremayne serves as the announcer and Paul Lukas stars in this great Christmas story.  Lukas stars as Uncle Henry, a old handyman and in this Texas town.  As the town gets very excited about the Christmas pageant, Henry runs into each of the city leaders who get to play the wise men.  He also meets the new minister in the small Texas town.  The minister sees in Uncle Henry someone he can bring into the Church, even though Henry does not go there on Sundays.  Maybe the spirit of Christmas can sway him.  But when the minister notices he is not at the pageant, he tries to find him.  And when he does, he find the true meaning of Christmas from a truly wise man!

I hope you enjoy this wonderful story from Radio Reader's Digest.

Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2016) & Other Links

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

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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