Merry Christmas! I hope all our readers have a joyful day today with their family and friends. May we all recognize the rich treasures we already possess, before we open a single package.
We conclude our Christmas countdown of old radio Christmas broadcasts with an adaptation of a story that has come to be associated with this time of the year as much as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: the classic It's A Wonderful Life.
We're accustomed, in our day and age, for movies to make their way to television, as the final resting place after their initial arrival at our neighborhood theater. There was precedent for this on radio, where it was common to "play" the film through that medium as well!
Today's selection is from the radio series The Lux Radio Theater, which was the most popular showcase for film adaptations on radio. A listener today might wonder, "what's the point to listening if I've already seen the movie??" Well, I admit that used to be my reaction, when I first began discovering the world of radio drama. It took me a while to realize the great time machine that these adaptations represent; we may have seen the film before (and in the case of It's A Wonderful Life, maybe enough times to know most of it by heart) but we've never seen it with a live audience from the time it was made. It is like eavesdropping on the past, lifting back a curtain, to compare their reaction to our own.
I had read about the 1946 film's poor performance at the box office upon its original release, and no wonder: it wasn't able to reach most theaters until January of 1947! Bad timing. The film doesn't get much more of a break in this radio adaptation, as it was broadcast in March. (March 10 1947, for those keeping score at home)
But if you have an hour to spare, waiting for company to arrive, or wrapping gifts in anticipation of a family visit, I hope you find it a helpful way to pass the time today. Maybe the tough year has meant fewer gifts to wrap, less family able to visit. Just remember, as the story teaches us:
No one is truly poor if they have friends.