Sunday, December 17, 2017

Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 15: Christmas Carol from Maxwell House's Good News (1938)

If there is something we could all use, it is some good news.  We do not necessarily need it now - we need it always.  Well, such was definitely the case during the Great Depression - an event that matched with the rise of radio in the United States.  As one of the biggest advertisers on radio during the Golden Age of Radio, Maxwell House was front and center in so many programs.  After all, they were in a heated coffee war with Chase and Sandborn for the attention of America's java drinking public.  So that premise takes us to December 1938 and a collaboration between one of America's iconic brands with one of the iconic movie studio's for a great series that brought an evening of entertainment from coast to coast over the NBC Network.  This is also fun for me because I have not featured this series before.  If you have Sirius XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). It is particularly good this week with all Christmas themed programs.  Or you can see my previous OTR Christmas entries (or drop to the bottom of this message).

Maxwell House Plant (Jacksonville, Florida - July 27, 2016)

Maxwell House Plant (Jacksonville, Florida - July 27, 2016)

Its Good to the Last Drop!

From 1937 through 1941, Maxwell House partnered with M-G-M studio for an hour long variety series over the NBC Radio Network.  The show was called Good News with the year added on (in very much like a fiscal year - so the holiday episode of 1938 is in the series called Good News of 1939).  The show cost the coffee giant around $25,000 a week to get this good news across the nation.  The show featured stars from the M-G-M Studio including "Jimmy Stewart, Robert Taylor, Dick Powell, and Frank Morgan joined Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, Ann Sothern, Mickey Rooney, Alice Faye, Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, Ronald Colman, William Gargan, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Robert Montgomery, and others to dazzle the air waves every week." (from the OTRCAT).

A few months before this episode aired - the value of this program was called into question by by the coffee maker and the studio.  From the September 14th, 1938 Variety (page 5)"

Metro May Go Off Air
There are growing indications that the Maxwell House Coffee division of General Foods and Metro will call it quits when the current contract on 'Good News of 1939' expires Dec. 29.  The java distrib isn't sure whether it wants to continue with the tieup, while Nick Schenck, M-G chief, is reported to be inclined the same direction because, in his opinion, the show is costing the studio money and its exploitation value has proved negligible.  
On December 15th, 1938, the hour-long Christmas episode was broadcast over the NBC Radio Network.  Like other shows in this series, there were LOTS and LOTS of stars.  Robert Young was the host of the evening and music was provided by Meredith Willson and His Orchestra. Meredith Willson long provided the music for Maxwell House  Among the stars who appeared on the show were Fanny Brice (as Baby Snooks), Tony Martin, Hanley Stafford, and Frank Morgan.  One of the nicest parts of the program was Lionel Barrymore, Gene Lockhart and Kathleen Lockhart lead the cast in a rendition of Dickens' Christmas Carol.  There also is a 'comic' and dated skit starring Frank Morgan on men shopping at the holidays.

I hope that you enjoy this episode and that you have good news in your future.

Here are some links to programs relating to Maxwell House's Good News:
      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)

      No comments:

      Post a Comment