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The makers of Lux toilet soap

Saturday 12/15/18

I just composed a 700 word op-ed. Will try to sell. It is a Jacobin bloodbath. Jonathan Swift never clipped a jugular like this.

What is the tally of this week, which now comes to its close? The composition of two op-eds. The publication of a Daily Beast piece on DNA. The composition and subsequent publication of a live jazz review. The composition of an essay on the greatest jazz Christmas performance. The composition of nine blog entries (one is sitting in drafts). The completion of a short story, "Pillow Drift." We will leave out all of the dozens of pitches and the hundreds of letters. At least three miles were walked every day, and at least one obelisk was climbed every day, and ten films were screened. I was not working hard, though I need to. I sometimes don't work hard because it all but kills me right now just having work pile up and sit here with me. In some ways, I have barely started what I can do.

But to lighten the mood, I will turn my attention to sharing some delightful radio programs, the nature of which you might not be acquainted. In the 1940s, it was common for the stars of a film--or most of them--to regather a year or two--or five--after the film fact, and enact a radio production of the movie. This would take place in about an hour. So, we can hear, for instance, Jimmy Stewart say his lines differently in a different, shorter, production of It's a Wonderful Life. Isn't that neat?

This is the radio version of It's a Wonderful Life (actually, there are two). It is from late winter of 1947 (the film having come out, of course, in 1946).

And here we have Robert Mitchum and in Holiday Affair, the film of which I watch a half dozen or so times each year. The film came out in 1949, and this is from December 1950.

This is Miracle on 34th Street, which came out in May 1947--nuts!--and was cast into a radio version in December of that year.

This is the radio version of Rembeber the Night, a Christmas film you might not know--it's very quiet and good--starring Barbara Stanwyck (always love her) and Fred MacMurray. Actually, Beulah Bondi is in it as well. In Make Way for Tomorrow, which I recently wrote about in these pages, she gives one of the great performances in all of American cinematic acting. The film--and this a Christmas film straight up, mind you--came out January 19, 1940. This radio version followed in March.

And we close with a radio adaptation of a film that isn't technically a Christmas film, but it works really well at Christmas. And it was written by Noel Langley, who would go on to write Scrooge. I am talking about The Wizard of Oz. It's from 1939, and this radio version is from Christmas 1950. Think about that! Judy Garland as Dorothy eleven years later! Aren't you glad this exists? What a remarkable document.


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