Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 6: America for Christmas from Du Pont's Cavalcade (1944)

I am happy to share this new episode from the Cavalcade of America celebrating storytelling! And the ability of a good story to take you places - even home.

Seems like a great way to celebrate the holidays this year.  As you know, I am highlighting a different Christmas episodes from Old Time Radio by showcasing a program a day (well, I will try).  I expect to have some repeats, but also some new shows featured as well.  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).

Paul Bunyan Statue (Oscoda, Michigan) - October 11, 2014
Paul Bunyan Statue (Oscoda, Michigan) - October 11, 2014

The Cavalcade of America is a great series sponsored by DuPont.  The purpose of the program has been one of great study and I am definitely glad that I have a few episodes to talk about it.  The long-running show ran from 1935 to 1953 and then had a second life on television.  Starting first on the CBS Network, it moved to NBC in 1939.  This 30 minute program provided a great platform to showcase some of the lesser known incidents and people who made the country great.  Not only was this series a great source of historical dramas, there were numerous fictional stories brought in as well.  From the Internet Archive page (see link below),  "The company's motto, 'Maker of better things for better living through chemistry,' was read at the beginning of each program, and the dramas emphasized humanitarian progress, particularly improvements in the lives of women, often through technological innovation."

On Christmas Day, 1944, the Cavalcade presented a play called "America For Christmas"  The play was written by Peter Lyon based on Benjamin A. Botkin's A Treasury of American Folklore, that was published during the same year.  This classic book provides a collections of tall tales and great folklore stories that are part of the American culture and history.  The play takes place on a small island in the Pacific, where soldiers had just finished their Christmas dinner and spending another holiday away from family.  The star of the show is Walter Huston, who plays the head of a USO troupe that is giving a play to the soldiers as their gift.  While they could not bring the soldiers to America, the troupe decided to bring America to the soldiers.  In this play, they showcased the tall tales that are found in every corner of the country - from New England to Pittsburgh to Arkansas to Texas to Idaho and everywhere in between.  You meet tough farmers, business wheeler and dealers, engineers and others who make America...well, America!

Joining Walter Huston in the cast are Dick Ryan, Bob Jellison, Tom Holland, John McIntire, Howard McNear, Griff Barnett, Pinky Parker, Paul McVey, Lou Merrill, Polly Connell, Herb Lytton, and one of my favorites - Frank Graham.  Also joining the cast are The Sportsmen.  Like so many episodes of Cavalcade - this is very well done and a great joy to listen to.  Enjoy!

America for Christmas on Cavalcade of America (December 25, 1944)

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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