Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year) from Honolulu! May these two classic radio shows somehow enhance your Christmas spirit in this seemingly chaotic, frightening world. Share as wanted. Regards – Scott Foster
If you have young children or grandchildren or if you just love a story that begins with, “Once upon a time,” perhaps wait until you can take a few minutes during the busy Christmas holidays to enjoy this rare recording starring Loretta Young. Ms. Young was one of Hollywood’s most beautiful and popular actresses ever; working from 1917 until her retirement in 1989.
In addition to her legendary beauty and presence, her voice has been described as “ethereal” and she was a mainstay of American network radio until the advent of television where she enjoyed yet another long career. The Loretta Young Show aired on NBC Television from 1953 to 1961 “… and was the first and longest-running TV drama series to feature a female star as host and actress.”
In 1949, Ms. Young collaborated with author Charles Tazewell to produce what was to become an annual Christmas radio broadcast of his timeless story, The Littlest Angel. First published in 1946, his story has been in print for over 70 years, making it one of the best known and loved Christmas stories ever told. Listen to it HERE.
While MGM star Lionel Barrymore might be best remembered in his role as Mr. Potter, the miserly and mean-spirited banker in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) or as the irascible Doctor Gillespie in the 1930s and 1940s series of Doctor Kildare movies, international radio audiences in the 1930s, ’40, and ’50s knew Barrymore best as ‘Old Scrooge’ because of his annual radio broadcast of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The first American Radio broadcast of Barrymore’s A Christmas Carol in 1934 had indeed begun one of the Golden Ages of Radio’s longest running annual traditions. Sadly, in early 1938, Barrymore suffered a broken hip and was portraying his popular MGM movie role of Dr. Gillespie in a wheelchair — and his worsening arthritis ultimately kept him confined to the chair. At the time of his accident, MGM was already in pre-production and ready to begin filming A Christmas Carol in order to take advantage of Barrymore’s great popularity in his radio role of Scrooge but Barrymore was physically unable to do it. With Barrymore’s encouragement and approval, Reginald Owen assumed the role in what is now considered the definitive movie version. Listen to the original 1939 MGM dramatic radio adaptation of A Christmas Carol starring Lionel Barrymore HERE