Orson Welles, Lionel Barrymore – A Christmas Carol

December 25, 2017 – This week, our time machine visits 1939, clicks on the radio, and listens to The Campbell Playhouse production of A Christmas Carol hosted by Orson Welles and staring Lionel Barrymore as Ebenezer Scrooge. When Charles Dickens published the story in 1843, he did so as what we’d call social commentary, reflecting the soul-searching of his fellow Britons about the true meaning of Christmas. Even 175 years later, we can see the importance of Dickens’ central themes in our own world, where so many TV shows have parodied the tale. Like the WPIX Yule Log here in New York City, Lionel Barrymore’s Christmas Eve performances grew into a tradition from the first in 1934 to his final appearance in 1953, a year before his death. Barrymore also features in a great television Christmas tradition, as the miserly Mr. Potter in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, written by a fellow Rutgers alumnus: Philip Van Doren Stern. We hope you enjoy listening to this radio play and the interview with Mr. Welles that follows, as much as we enjoyed researching the stories behind it. As Tiny Tim says, “God bless us, everyone.”   Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:01:04 —…

Peter Lion – The American St. Nick: A True Story

December 21, 2016 – We’re uploading our Monday, December 26, 2016, episode a little bit ahead of schedule — call it an early Christmas gift. Our guest is Peter Lion, who brings us The American St. Nick: A True Story. It’s the unique tail of a World War Two G.I., who ended up playing a big role in tiny Luxembourg. In the lull between the Nazi withdrawal and the Battle of the Bulge, Corporal Richard Brookins helped bring to life the idea of his Jewish comrade, Harry Stutz. Cpl. Stutz learned that St. Nicholas Day had been banned during the occupation as un-German, meaning many children of Wiltz had never experienced it. His inspiration grew into a parade like no other, with Cpl. Brookins in the back of a Jeep, leading the procession through town. Brookins hardly thought about his role as the war dragged on, but the people of Wiltz never forgot, even after their city was destroyed and many of the children killed in Hitler’s doomed counter-offensive. The American St. Nick tells the story of how Wiltz tracked down Brookins years later, and informed him that he’d become a legend. At 93-years-old earlier this year, Luxembourg gave him…