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Saturday 12/12/20

A couple things have given me a little boost of late. Reading the end of Dark March after a long time the other day when sending in Guggenheim work samples for one. Also, listening to this Christmas episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. It was one of those five-part episodes, this one running 12/19-12/23/1955. Two scenes stand out--when Dollar is with the father of the young woman and they're drinking applejack on the side of the snowy road, making sure the killer can't pass, but also killing time. And the dad, who doesn't get to see his daughter much gets all chatty, being simply desirous to talk about her. The other scene is when Dollar is with the woman and her child in the cabin when they're snowed in. Not his wife, not his kid, not his family, but that is a moment of true family-ness. The shifting locus of what is true family.

I have just listened once again to this Orson Welles Christmas program from 12/21/41 in which he recites a reading from the Gospel According to Luke--the same text that Linus orates from the pageant stage in A Charlie Brown Christmas, and that we find in the early 1933 radio play, "The Christmas Eve Ghost." When I have a podcast--that is, when it makes sense for me to have a podcast--I should like to do readings from time to time and include this text. Consider: Welles was filming The Magnificent Ambersons when this broadcast occurred, and Citizen Kane had just been released in September. There's also a lovely version of Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince" that Welles introduces as one of the first things his mother ever read to him. Difficult to hear that bit of information and not think of one's own mother and those earliest experiences of someone who cares about you and protects you when you are small sharing the wonder of story with you.

The poem Welles reads at the end is C.K. Chesterton's "The Truce of Christmas." He reads it brilliantly. I cry every time I hear it.


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