Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gather ‘round the Yule Log

A doff of the TDOY chapeau goes out to Rodney Bowcock, who posted this link over at the In the Balcony bulletin board:

WGN America will air Yule Log: The Golden Age Of Christmas, nine hours of holiday memories from the Golden Age of Radio, starting Dec. 24, officials said Wednesday.

The network, part of Tribune Broadcasting, will usher in Christmas by offering holiday programming from 9 p.m. Dec. 24 through 6 a.m. Dec. 25 using authentic presentations of classic radio programs set to the visual of the Yule Log hearth.

With new Yule Log footage (shot in HD) using the fireplace in Col. McCormick's (former Tribune president and editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune) office at Tribune Tower in Chicago, WGN America claims it will offer an alternative to the traditional Yule Log. While the flames burn, viewers will be hear timeless shows from the Golden Age of Radio.

Also on Wednesday, iN Demand Networks said it would be offering three Yule Log programs for Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to offer to their subscribers on-demand.

Classic programs which will air during WGN America’s Yule Log: The Golden Age Of Christmas include:

-- It’s a Wonderful Life (from the Lux Radio Theater 1947) A staple of Christmas television, an angel helps a compassionate but despondent businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed and stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.

-- A Christmas Carol (Campbell Playhouse 1939) A holiday classic featuring miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who learns the error of his ways when visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve in this adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel.

-- Burns & Allen (1942) Featuring the comedy duo of George Burns and Gracie Allen.

-- Fibber McGee & Molly (1949) Fibber McGee and Molly were played by husband and wife team, Jim and Marian Jordan, with Fibber a brash, loudmouth while his ever-suffering wife, Molly, kept the peace with her sense of humor.

-- The Great Gildersleeve (1942) A spin-off from "Fibber McGee and Molly" featuring a pompous bachelor (Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve played by Harold Peary, and later Willard Waterman) who takes domestic charge of his young niece and nephew.

-- Jack Benny Show (1952) Jack Benny stars in this sketch comedy variety show, one of the longest running and most successful comedies in the history of radio.

-- Miracle on 34th Street (from the Lux Radio Theater 1947) Six year old Susan has doubts about Santa Claus, but after meeting a special department store Santa, Susan is given the most precious gift of all, something to believe in. Maureen O'Hara and Edmund Gwenn star in this heart-warming Christmas classic.

These classic radio programs were provided by radiospirits.com and edited for WGN America by Victor Lisle at WGN Radio. Yule Log: The Golden Age Of Christmas will be presented in 60-minute blocks without commercial interruption.

Yule Log: The Golden Age Of Christmas allows families to resurrect the innocence of a golden era and offers a nostalgic experience for viewers as they listen to memorable radio programs while opening presents, having dinner, and spending the holiday together,” Sean Compton, Tribune Broadcasting senior vice president of programming and development, said in a prepared statement.

I have to admit that while I’ve never been completely able (despite its popularity) to take the “Yule Log” concept seriously, I think this might be worth checking out. Since I’ve always associated old-time radio with the holiday season, it would seem that this is a match made in heaven.

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