Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Potpourri




With Christmas just 5 days away, it's time for an eclectic collection of early Holiday TV and movie fare.   





Seymour Hicks as Scrooge



The perennial classic, "A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens, has been adapted to just about every medium since it was first published in 1843. 


Radio, TV, movies, cartoons, stage plays . . . .


Even though the 1935 British entry, Scrooge, was the first talkie version, it was at the very least, the 7th filmed version of the tale. The earliest being Marley's Ghost made in 1901.


Starring Seymour Hicks as Scrooge, this was a familiar role for the 64 year old veteran actor.  He'd practically made a career out of the character, first appearing on stage as the skinflint Ebenezer in 1901, and playing the role many times thereafter.


In fact, he played the role in the 1913 silent film Scrooge.






Scrooge - Julius Hagen
Seymour Hicks plays the title role in the first sound version of the Dickens classic about the miser who's visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. This British import is notable for being the only adaptation of this story with an invisible Marley's Ghost and its Expressionistic cinematography. This is the uncut 78 minute version.




In 1952 Studio One produced a live TV musical version of The Nativity, with Thomas Chalmers, Hurd Hatfield, Paul Tripp.   This is a traditional, deeply religious production, something you rarely find on television anymore.


Don't miss the Westinghouse TV set commercial with Betty Furness, extolling the virtues of the new `electronic clarifyer'.



Studio One : The Nativity
Studio One : The Nativity IMDB PAGE TV Series: "Studio One" (1948) Original Air Date: 22 December 1952 (Season 5, Episode 13) CAST : Thomas Chalmers, Hurd Hatfield, Paul Tripp




Dragnet produced a Christmas story on radio in the early 1950's called `A .22 rifle for Christmas'.  It was remade for the television series (many of the radio scripts were recycled) in 1952.  




This was hardly an upbeat show, as it portrays a young boy accidentally shooting his best friend with his Christmas gift.  




A Gun For Christmas
A Gun For Christmas from the 1950's series Dragnet


In 1953, the producers of Dragnet wisely elected to produce a more uplifting holiday show, one that would be remade again when Dragnet was revived in the late 1960's.



The Big Little Jesus

Sgt. Friday investigates the theft of a religious statue from a church on Christmas Eve. 


The following year (1954)  Four Star Playhouse would produce a remarkably well written and performed tale called `The Answer', starring David Niven, Carolyn Jones, and Anthony Caruso. 


`The Answer' was nominated for 4 Emmy's & won the 1955 DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for Television. 


The story is by Leonard Freeman, a name that many will recognize as the producer of such critically acclaimed shows as Hawaii Five-0 and Route 66








Four Star Playhouse - The Answer - Leonard Freeman
Starring David Niven Directed by Ray Kellino Original Air Date: 23 December 1954 (Season 3, Episode 13) Anthony Caruso ... Bart John Harmon ... Sailor Carolyn Jones ... Dolores Jack Lomas (as Jack M. Lomas) David Niven ... Deacon Nestor Paiva ... Rocco Richard Reeve



The Answer reaffirms just how good early Television writing and acting could be.












Beth - www.VintageInfo.NET said...

Those are some great Christmas finds.
Dragnet :) wonderful!

It is just so neat that so many of these classics are available to watch for free!

I enjoy hunting for long lost old info and have put together a collection of some Vintage Christmas items for free on my site. Books, articles, how-to's.

I only have 1 video so far though - it is about building Christmas memories and based on an old quote I found from the 1860's.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Beth - The Vintage Info NETwork

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Four Star Playhouse's "The Answer" has been removed from the host website. Clicking on the link above brings up a page with the following message: "The item is not available due to issues with the item's content.
If you would like to report this problem as an error report, you may do so here."