Christmas radio 1939

At this time of year is there anything more ingrained in our tradition than watching “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve every year? A tale we all grew up with, a lesson about being humble and enjoying the small moments of kindness and happiness in life.

A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly spendthrift (yes the term scrooge that is used these days for somebody tight with money came from this character)! Ebenezer spends his time greedily counting his money from his business. On Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, and shown situations where he was shown love and kindness but chose selfishness instead. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.


At Christmas 1939 during the depression, a production of  “A Christmas Carol” was performed at the playhouse, directed by Orson Welles, and aired over the radio thanks to the Campbell Playhouse. Families gathered around to hear the story. 

This was the earliest known production of a Christmas Carol on the radio.


 It is quite a treat to listen to this recording that certainly evokes nostalgia and a reminder of life at the time of writing. There are not many radio recordings from this time, in fact only two Christmas recordings exist today from this period in time. Tis the season indeed, take some time out to listen to this broadcast and think back to a time when people used their radios as not only announcements, important news, and music, but also as entertainment. A far cry from the technology that exists today.


Click below to listen to the audio recording of this classic tale.



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