Submitted by Ken Kliewer
KELY, Ely’s Hometown Radio Station
In 2010 KELY was pleased and proud to present the World Premiere of the Lincoln Highway Players BREW TREK, written and produced by then Ely mayor Jon Hickman. Jon loved what we call Classic Radio, and Brew Trek, however silly it was, was a masterpiece. In honor of the late mayor, who passed away in 2014, we will present an encore of Brew Trek at 10am, Saturday, December 24 to a larger audience than the original program had, on the entire Rural Nevada Talk network, KELY in Ely, KNNT in Battle Mountain, and KPKK in Amargosa Valley.
In addition, beginning at Noon Saturday, Classic Christmas Radio Theater begins it’s 18th year of broadcasting on stations from Coast to Coast. The program will air until 10pm, when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be on the air with special Christmas programming until 5am. At 5am our regular broadcast of the Rosary will be followed by a special edition of Family Theater entitled “A Daddy for Christmas” starring Pat O’Brien, Linda Johnson, and Bobby Driscoll, originally broadcast December 15, 1948 and hosted by Shirley Temple
Classic Christmas Radio Theater resumes from 6am until 10pm.
Here’s a listing of the shows:Classic Christmas Radio Theater – 2016
Hour 1 – CBS Radio Workshop – December 23, 1956 – All Is Bright – The story of how “Silent Night” came to be written and became world famous. Also Fibber McGee and Molly – December 19, 1955 – Mailing packages. And a CBC Broadcast from December 23, 1947 on how a little girl’s Christmas Letter was answered.
Hour 2 – Jack Benny – December 20, 1936 – An Old Fashioned Christmas. The cast exchanges Christmas gifts. Also Fibber McGee and Molly – December 10, 1940 – A visit to the post office to mail Christmas packages.
Hour 3 – The Whistler – December 26, 1948 – Delayed Christmas Present – A bar girl in Mexico finds herself involved in a robbery and murder. Also Henry Morgan – December 24, 1947 – A Christmas show about two kids who travel to Washington to lobby Congress to have Christmas every day of the year.
Hour 4 – Lights Out – December 22, 1937 – Uninhabited (Christmas Story 1918) – Three soldiers of different nationalities party on a train on a Christmas Day after their tour of duty. An event involving three wise men similarly happened 2000 years ago.. The show was written by show creator Wyllis Cooper and is understood to have been produced some years earlier, and the script reused for this production. Also Calling All Detectives – December 24, 1948 – Detective Jerry Browning dresses up as Santa Claus, but so do 5 other guys…one of whom is a pickpocket!
Hour 5 – Bob Hope Pepsodent Show from December 28, 1943. The program originates for the nurses and WAVES at The San Diego Naval Base Hospital. Bob tries to get a New Year’s date. Guest Cary Grant and Bob appear as hicks who come to San Diego to gamble. Also Abbott and Costello from December 20, 1945 – Lou is planning to throw a Christmas party, but no one wants to come. Abbott and Costello meet Santa Claus. Hour 6 – Grand Central Station – December 22, 1945 – Grand Central Station – The sixth consecutive presentation of the show’s traditional program. A well-done and very moving Christmas story. It is Christmas Eve and no one should have tears on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve the hospital is always busy with calls. In this area the people are too poor and know only one healer, the intern and his ambulance and tonight, night of mercy and goodwill the people will experience true peace and goodwill. Also Lum and Abner from December 16, 1947 as they work to build their float for the Christmas Parade in secrecy. Finally words from President Franklin Roosevelt lighting the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve 1940. Hour 7 – The Life of Riley starring William Bendix – December 20, 1947 – A flashback story as the Rileys remember their first Christmas together. Riley applies for a job as a chauffer and finds himself driving the getaway car for bank robbers! Also an excerpt from Old Gold Time. December 24, 1947. Christmas eve at the Bickersons: a touching scene. Don Ameche and Frances Langford are the Bickersons. Hour 8 – The Six Shooter starring Jimmy Stewart – December 20, 1953 – Britt Ponset’s Christmas Carol – The story of “A Christmas Carol” is retold with a western motif. A young boy on a pinto rides towards the campfire that Ponset has started and asks if he can stop and warm himself and his horse for a while. The young boy has run away from home and doesn’t think very much of Christmas. Ponset begins to tell him the story of A Christmas Carol, substituting Dickens characters with western heavies. Also Guest Star, the Treasury Department Public Service program from December 18, 1955. Red Skelton plays the role of a talking Christmas Tree. Hour 9 – Lum n Abner – December 19, 1948 – The annual Christmas show. Lum, Abner and Grandpappy Spears travel East to visit a family in need, seeking shelter in a barn…and with a young baby. Also a 15 minute episode of Lum and Abner in which Lum tries to drop a hint to Abner that he wants a Leather Desk set for Christmas. Hour 10 – Theatre Royale – A Christmas Carol starring Sir Lawrence Olivier – December 24, 1953 – Harry Allen Towers recorded the Theatre Royale series in London for independent syndication. NBC acquired rights to the series and broadcast this version of the Dickens classic on Christmas Eve 1953. Also an episode of the Treasury Department radio show Guest Star from December 16 1951, “Stand in for Santa” starring soon to be Days of our Lives star MacDonald Carey, with Frank Nelson and Gerald Mohr. Hour 11 – Screen Directors Playhouse – Miracle on 34th Street – December 23, 1949 – The Christmas motion picture classic about the department store Santa Claus who thought he was real thing…and proved it! Edmund Gwenn reprises his Academy Award performance, joined by Willard Waterman and Natalie Wood. Also Lum n Abner from December 24, 1953 as the old boys decorate the Christmas Tree for the children’s Christmas party. Hour 12 – Lady Esther presents Orson Welles – December 22, 1941 – Welles does some dramatic readings from the season including “The Happy Prince”. Also Bill Stern’s Sports Newsreel from December 23, 1949 with Heavyweight Boxer Joe Louis reads “The Night before Christmas”. Hour 13 – The Lone Ranger – December 24, 1947 – Mission Bells. Tex Jackson challenges a parson with a past. Brace Beemer stars as the Lone Ranger. Also Roy Rogers from December 25, 1952 – The Night before the Night Before Christmas. On the night before the night before Christmas, Jess Gorman is framed for robbing the General Store. Hour 14 – Jack Benny – December 2, 1951 – Christmas Shopping – The best Jack Benny Christmas shows were his shopping shows with Mel Blanc. In this episode Jack decides to buy cuff links for Don. But it can’t be that simple, can it? In the second Jack Benny show this hour from December 5, 1954 Jack goes Christmas shopping for oil paints for Don Wilson. Hour 15 – The Man Called X Starring Herbert Marshall – December 23, 1950 – It’s just before Christmas and Mr. X crashes the plane he’s flying somewhere in the Middle East. A Christmas fantasy. Also The Coronet Little Show sponsored by Coronet Magazine. A retelling of the o. Henry story, The Gift of the Magi, from Dece,ber 19, 1943. Hour 16 – Screen Director’s Playhouse – It’s a Wonderful Life – May 8, 1949 – Adaptation of the 1946 Christmas Fantasy Drama. Also a Christmas Seals fund raiser from December 11, 1948 starring Eddie Cantor Hour 17 – Phil Harris Alice Faye Show – December 21, 1947. The show at this time was still the Fitch Bandwagon, but Phil and Alice were the big stars. When Phil offers to pay $10 for a Christmas Eve Santa Claus, guest Jack Benny shows up! The script, with minor alterations, would be used annually through the last season of the series in 1953-1954. Also from December 23, 1940 George Burns and Gracie Allen where Gracie has lost the scripts to her play. Hour 18 – Richard Diamond Private Detective starring Dick Powell – December 21, 1951 – An excellent Christmas show as the entire cast (in character) does an updated version of “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens. Also yours Truly Johnny Dollar from December 22, 1957. The Carmen Kringle Matter – A touching Christmas show about an old prospector, dying in the desert, and his faithful mule “Carmen.” The episode was written by Bob Bailey, who portrayed Johnny Dollar in this episode. Bailey played Dollar from 1955 to 1960. Hour 19 – Columbia Workshop – The Plot to Overthrow Christmas – The well-done story told in verse about the attack against Santa Claus was first broadcast in 1938. The source of this show is given as December 19, 1944. Also Fibber McGee and Molly go hunting for a Christmas Tree in a December 22, 1953 broadcast. Hour 20 – Amos and Andy – December 23, 1947 – Annual Christmas show. Any complainers about Amos and Andy should set their feelings aside and enjoy this show where Andy takes a temporary job to get Amos’s daughter the special doll she wants. Andy’s tender explanation of the Lord’s Prayer to her daughter at the end of the show is so sweet, yet so strongly Christian, that it could never air as new material today. Amos and Andy is a reminder of how far we have come, but how much we have lost along the way. Also the Stan Freberg 1953 classic Christmas Dragnet, retitled “Yulenet” after someone without a sense of humor complained. Hour 21 – Duffy’s Tavern – December 22, 1948 – Miracle on Third Avenue. A Christmas show. Archie is depressed after not getting a Christmas bonus until a stranger pays him a visit. Jeff Chandler is the guest star. Also the Private Lives of Ethel and Albert from December 12, 1947 – Albert overspends his budget on buying Christmas gifts for the office. Peg Lynch stars as Ethel as well as writing the scripts, and Alan Bunce stars as Albert. Hour 22 – Jimmy Durante – December 24, 1947 – Guest Margaret O’Brien makes the rounds with jolly Jimmy Duranteclaus. And Judy Canova from December 21, 1946 – Judy has a quiet Christmas party planned. Hour 23 – NBC Monitor -December 24, 1961 – A moving Christmas presentation. Colonel R.L. Gould of NORAD reports on tracking Santa Claus flying down from the North Pole. Retired radio commentator H.V. Kaltenborn (speaking from WPTZ, Palm Beach, Florida) recalls Christmas when he was a boy in Milwaukee. Also Monitor from December 25, 1965 – Gene Rayburn introduces a late 1940’s recording of A Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore Hour 24 – The Aldrich Family, December 23, 1948. Henry wants binoculars for Christmas, Homer wants a piccolo. The hints start falling like snowflakes. And Treasury Star Parade from December 25, 1942, A Modern Scrooge starring Lionel Barrymore. A wartime “Christmas Carol,” well-done!