Thursday, December 14, 2017

Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 12: Palm Beach Santa Claus on the Damon Runyon Theater (1949)

I have always had the good fortune to live in places where we get all four seasons.  So for me, snow at Christmas time has been the norm.  But there are people who celebrate Christmas in warm weather - but they find a way to make it work.  This must how they celebrate in Florida and other warm locations across the States and elsewhere.  But even Palm Beach needs Christmas - and Santa Claus.  And thanks to Damon Runyon - we have a great story about Christmas in the most elegant of Florida cities.  So today's entry for Christmas on Old Time Radio we are going to where Santa might be able to get by with shorts.  If you have Sirius XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). Or you can see my previous OTR Christmas entries (or drop to the bottom of this message).

TV Set for NCSI: Los Angeles - Long Beach, California - October 22, 2015
TV Set for NCSI: Los Angeles - Long Beach, California - October 22, 2015
The Damon Runyon Theater is a great series and takes you right into the world of Damon Runyon. Damon Runyon captures a romanticized version the charming lives of New York's gamblers and other rougher characters like Harry The Horse and Broadway. The show starred John Brown as Broadway, who serves as the central figure and narrator of the stories. If you like Guys and Dolls, you will love these great dramatizations for radio. Since this series did not have a standard schedule of broadcasts, the Christmas episodes were recorded at different times of the year.  I previously highlighted the story called Dancing Dan's Christmas - which appears to have been first broadcast on March 13, 1949 (as far as I can tell).   It was produced by the Mayfair Transcription Company and pretty much only ran in 1949.  It was broadcast over many different stations, but not as a network program.   Mayfair Transcription Company was run by movie star Alan Ladd, who's Box 13 is one of my favorite series.

Today's featured story is called Palm Beach Santa Claus and once again brings us a Christmas story from the world of Damon Runyon.  We meet Fatso Zimpf, a gambler and horse aficionado who finds himself in sunny Florida on December.  And as his name would indicate, he is not a small person.  So when he is by chance waiting around in between races at Hialeah and other tracks on a sunny Winter's day, he is spotted as the perfect candidate to be...well...Santa Claus.  The person with the immediate Santa-need is Mrs. Mimm of Palm Beach.  She is interested in having a Santa at her big Christmas party to hand out the gifts for all the guests at the party.  While Fatso is happy for the paying gig as Santa, he decides that what the guests really need is a bit of enhanced match-making and plays Cupid as well.  You know - sometimes it is hard to read the names of the packages for someone wearing a Santa suit!  But what might be the best part of the story is how Fatso has to translate the beautiful phraseology of the New York gambler with that of Palm Beach society.

The original story appears in Colliers Magazine on Christmas Eve, 1938 (link below).  This episode was directed by Richard Sanville and stars John Brown and Jeff Chandler.  I hope you enjoy this great story from the holidays.

Palm Beach Santa Claus (July 24, 1949)

Original story from Colliers Magazine (December 24, 1938)
Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2017) & Other Links

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2016) 

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

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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