Thanks, NoFake: If not the first such, Orson Welles' Campbell Playhouse 1938 "A Christmas Carol" was the most influential production of Dickens' ghost story on Radio. It began a tradition which was continued for years, with Lionel Barrymore playing the prodigal skinflint.
I don't know if we were a better people back in 1938, probably not, unaware as we were, for instance, indeed often self-justifying in almost every act, of our racial bigotry and religious prejudices. But we had been through a Depression, which had brought many of us together, we had a narrow but important support for a bold New Deal program to modernize and make more democratic our nation, and we were uncertainly preparing to meet the great challenge of the 20th Century: The Collapse of Monarchies and Rise of Fascism. Orson Welles was aware of all these issues.
In any case, we wanted to believe that we were a better people, that by practicing tolerance and applying democratic ideals embodied in our Constitution, we could become a better Union. And we did that one family, one individual at a time, which is where the Dickens/Welles' "A Christmas Carol" came in, as we gathered around our radios at Christmas 1938.
A majority of Americans wanted to believe there was something else to life than what became known as The Bottom Line. They were perhaps in that belief misled, but we would not have become the most admired nation in the World by 1946, had we not believed that as a people.
Now, there are entire cyber-libraries devoted to the utilization of "A Christmas Carol," mostly to fuel an increasingly desperate frenzy to buy and sell distracting products -- the weary lament and confession Charles Foster Kane would make about his Anti-Capitalist waste of wealth "to buy things." Most of us have become big or little Charlie Kanes. The lambs have once more been shorn.
But we do have "A Christmas Carol."
Thanks again, NoFake.
Ten years ago today, I wrote my first "serious" post on the Internet.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmanay!