Thursday, December 22, 2016

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 22: Richer By One Christmas with Virginia Gregg

Last year, I listened to a great program I had not heard before on my way into work on Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). It was Colgate's Theater of Romance and their presentation of how Handel wrote his most famous work, "The Messiah."  It was broadcast on December 25, 1945, the first Christmas in many years that was free of war in the United States.  A welcome state indeed.  I showcased the episode in last year's series (The Messiah from Theater of Romance) and I head back to that series a few years later.  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) this week as he does a great job of showcasing great holiday themed episodes, especially as we get close to Christmas.

Visit to Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site (Long Beach, California) - October 23, 2015

Antique Doll - at Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site
(Long Beach, California) - October 23, 2015

The Theater of Romance is a bit of a misnomer.  The way that today's episode opened was with this description:  "Romance.  Transcribed stories of love and adventure, of comedy and crisis, of conflict and human emotion."  In looking at that opening statement, you could be prepared for, well, anything!  And that is why this series will be fun to explore.  The series was known as a filler - the kind of series that you would just slot into the schedule when an opening appeared.  But from the Digital Deli article on this series (see the link below), they argued that this was definitely NOT a filler on the CBS Network:
Theatre of Romance and Romance spanned twenty-two years and over 490 installments during those twenty-two years.
Throughout those twenty-two years, Romance found at least four major, repeat sponsors--for contiguous runs of as many as 120 weekly episodes.
During most of its CBS runs, Romance commanded the greatest Film, Stage and Radio talent available during the era for leading--as well as supporting--roles in its dramas.
Even as a sustaining production, CBS' Romance continued to provide the highest production values, writing talent and West Coast Radio voice talent for its radioplays--right to the very end.
What I found in this series is the above and more.  The production quality is great and these programs are very enjoyable.  I am going to go through these more over the next few years.  I even found one episode to use when I reboot my baseball Old Time Radio series.

On Christmas Eve, 1955, the Theater of Romance (or just Romance) aired a great program called Richer By One Christmas.  The original story was written by Sylvia Richards and directed by Norman Macdonnell (who was best known as the co-creator of CBS's Gunsmoke).  The star of the episode is Virginia Gregg, one of my favorite radio actresses.  In this episode, she played a harried wife named Evelyn who is trying to get everything ready for the holidays.  Her husband shares news that her mother, who lives far away in Iowa, can no longer live on her own and that she should come to California and live with them.  With the prospect of where she would sleep in the house and how they would afford it with all the business of the holidays, she felt there was no way her mother could come.

Then she started thinking of her childhood in Iowa during the Great Depression.  It was just after her father died and her mother was doing everything she could to keep the family fed.  Evelyn took a job selling Christmas Cards.  She did well enough to head into town to buy her mother a gift.  That gift was a Dresden Doll with a pin cushion.  She had just enough to buy it for her mom.  It was a gift she cherished forever.  That image allowed Evelyn to rethink having her mother come to California.  This is a sweet story that really tells a wonderful story of Christmas.  I hope you enjoy this!

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)

No comments:

Post a Comment