Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from VINTRAD- Vintage Radio Blog!

This Christmas, our hope is that despite the hustle and bustle you are able to take a few moments for yourself and enjoy some of the best that Old Time Radio has to offer. Linked below is a collection of vintage radio programs ranging from downright hilarious to genuinely heart-warming. We hope you enjoy!

Best Wishes for a very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you! Thank you for your continued support!

Bing Crosby Christmas Show - December 24, 1947.

Fibber McGee and Molly - Best Christmas Decorations - December 20, 1949.

Abbott and Costello - Christmas Program - December 25, 1947.

Dragnet - Twenty-Two Rifle for Christmas - December 20, 1951.

Suspense - Twas The Night Before Christmas - December 21, 1953.

Lux Radio Theater - Miracle on 34th Street - December 20, 1948.

If you listen to any Old Time Radio Christmas program this year, listen to this one. Easily the best. The Amos 'n' Andy Christmas Program. In the Annual Christmas Radio Show, Amos (played by Freeman Gosden) explained the Lord's Prayer to his daughter Arbadella (played by radio actress, Barbara Jean Wong). This heart-warming script was so overwhelmingly popular, it was repeated every Christmas Eve for 14 years, from 1940 to 1954.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Saint: Christmas Eve Problems

Simon Templar is a British fictional character known as The Saint. He featured in a long-running series of books by Leslie Charteris published between 1928 and 1963. After that date, other authors collaborated with Charteris on books until 1983; two additional works produced without Charteris’s participation were published in 1997. The character has also been portrayed in motion pictures, radio dramas, comic strips, comic books and three television series.

 Simon Templar is a Robin Hood-like criminal known as The Saint — plausibly from his initials; but the exact reason for his nickname is not known (although we're told that he was given it at the age of nineteen). Templar has aliases, often using the initials S.T. such as "Sebastian Tombs" or "Sugarman Treacle". Blessed with boyish humor, he makes humorous and off-putting remarks and leaves a "calling card" at his "crimes", a stick figure of a man with a halo. This is used as the logo of the books, the movies, and the 1960s TV series. He is described as "buccaneer in the suits of Savile Row, amused, cool, debonair, with hell-for-leather blue eyes and a saintly smile..."

 Several radio drama series were produced in North America, Ireland, and Britain. The earliest was for Radio Eireann's Radio Athlone in 1940 and starred Terence De Marney. Both NBC and CBS produced Saint series during 1945, starring Edgar Barrier and Brian Aherne.

Many early shows were adaptations of published stories, although Charteris wrote several storylines for the series which were novelised as short stories and novellas. The longest-running radio incarnation was Vincent Price, who played the character in a series between 1947 and 1951 on three networks: CBS, Mutual and NBC.

Like The Whistler, the program had an opening whistle theme with footsteps. Some sources say the whistling theme for The Saint was created by Leslie Charteris while others credit RKO composer Roy Webb. Price left in May 1951, replaced by Tom Conway, who played the role for several more months. His brother, George Sanders, had played Templar on film. The next English-language radio series aired on Springbok Radio in South Africa between 1953 and 1957. These were fresh adaptations of the original stories and starred Tom Meehan. Around 1965–66 the South African version of Lux Radio Theatre produced a single dramatization of The Saint. The English service of South Africa produced another series radio adventures for six months in 1970–1971. The next English-language incarnation was a series of three radio plays on BBC Radio 4 in 1995 starring Paul Rhys.

Fibber McGee and Molly: Early Christmas Presents

There are people who would argue that Fibber McGee and Molly were the Golden Age of radio. This is partly because of the show's very long (1935-1959) and successful run. But more than just staying power, the show showcased terrific comic and musical talent. Throughout its run, the show was a reflection of its time in the American scene.

The genesis of the program can be traced to a local Chicago show that would become Smackout. Fibber McGee and Molly would go on to great success despite (or perhaps because of) the vaudeville sensibilities of its creators and stars, married couple Jim and Marian Jordan.

Living in the fictional Midwestern city of Wistful Vista, Fibber was an American teller of tall tales and a braggart, usually to the exasperation of his long suffering wife Molly. Life in Wistful Vista followed a well developed formula, but was always fresh. Fibber's weekly schemes would be interrupted, inspired by, and often played upon the People of Wistful Vista, a set of regular players and characters that were as beloved as the stars of the program. The program used a series of running gags that would become part of the common language, many treasures can be found in the Closet at 79 Wistful Vista.

The show began as a comic reflection of Depression Era America, but as time went on and the shadows of war came over the nation, the show again caught the mood of the country. WWII was fought on the Home front on Wistful Vista as surely as anywhere else in America, but here they had the benefit of Fibber's somewhat addled perspective.

The show was formally "The Johnson Wax show with Fibber McGee and Molly." Longtime sponsor S.C. Johnson Wax Company saw the value of saving the episodes they sponsored, thereby preserving this treasure for fans of Old Time Radio today.

One of the funniest, most cleverly written shows you will find. The show ran for an epic 24 years on the radio. The show had a huge influence on popular culture as well. Catch phrases that originated on Fibber McGee and Molly like, "Tain't funny, McGee!" "That ain't the way I heered it!" "Snooky," and "Whatsay?" were common vernacular of the time.

Recently, on an episode of NCIS, Abby Sciutto reprimanded Timothy McGee with the line "T'ain't funny, McGee" as a nod to the show.

Sources: and Fibber McGee and Molly on Wikipedia

Enjoy this great Christmas episode from December 19, 1944, entitled "Early Christmas Presents":

Jack Benny Christmas Favorites!

Most of the programs during the Golden Age of Radio did special shows near the holidays. One of the funniest most enjoyable of these are the Christmas shows Jack Benny and his troupe performed every year.

"One extremely popular scenario that became an annual tradition on The Jack Benny Program was the "Christmas Shopping" episode, in which Benny would head to a local department store. Each year, Benny would buy a ridiculously cheap Christmas gift for Don Wilson from a store clerk played by Mel Blanc. Benny would then have second (then third, and even fourth) thoughts about his gift choice, driving Blanc (or, in two other cases, his wife and his psychiatrist, as well) to hilarious insanity by exchanging the gift, pestering about the Christmas card or wrapping paper countless times throughout the episode: in many cases, the clerk would commit suicide, or attempt and fail to commit suicide ("Look what you done! You made me so nervous, I missed!") as a result.

In the 1946 Christmas episode, for example, Benny buys shoelaces for Don, and then is unable to make up his mind whether to give Wilson shoelaces with plastic tips or shoelaces with metal tips. After Benny exchanges the shoelaces repeatedly, Mel Blanc is heard screaming insanely, "Plastic tips! Metal tips! I can't stand it anymore!"

A variation in 1948 concerned Benny buying an expensive wallet for Don, but repeatedly changing the greeting card inserted—prompting Blanc to shout: "I haven't run into anyone like you in 20 years! Oh, why did the governor have to give me that pardon!?" – until Benny realizes that he should have gotten Don a wallet for $1.98, whereupon the put-upon clerk immediately responds by committing suicide. Over the years, in these Christmas episodes, Benny bought and repeatedly exchanged cuff links, golf tees, a box of dates, a paint set, and even a gopher trap." -via Wikipedia

Enjoy this collection of Jack Benny Christmas shows and have a very Merry Christmas!

"Christmas Shopping" - December 5, 1954.

"Gopher Trap for Don" - December 14, 1952.

"Setting Up Christmas Tree" - December 21, 1952.

"Christmas Party at Birmingham General Hospital" - December 22, 1946.

When Benny transitioned to TV, the tradition continued. Benny’s December 18, 1960 Christmas shopping episode is a TV classic. Mel Blanc reprising his role as a harried clerk who goes the extra mile to please his very finicky customer.

CBS Radio Mystery Theater: Christmas Edition!

Three Christmas-themed episodes of The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, created by Himan Brown and hosted by E.G. Marshall (one of the grandfathers on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation). The first two episodes are presented exactly as aired on WBBM, Chicago in December 1978 complete with original commercials, news and even weather reports!