WMMS Christmas Carol (1975)

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In December, 1975, we did one the first special programming features to show the true versatility of the emergent WMMS staff. We produced our own contemporary version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring the WMMS airstaff, our receptionist Verdelle Warren and special guests, Michael Stanley and Alex Bevan. Denny Sanders and Dan Garfinkel scripted the adaptation, which was directed and produced by Jeff Kinzbach and Steve Lushbaugh.

My job was to green light the project with corporate – not an easy task considering we planned to record A Christmas Carol during the busiest production time of the year. A deal was struck. We could do it but its recording and production would have to work around the commercial production schedule, which, during the Christmas season, was limited to late Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings. Another give-back. Since we hadn’t budgeted in advance for the project, no one could claim overtime for participating. It was a true labor of love.

The entire production was done with antiquated equipment and recording tape at our decrepit studios at 50th and Euclid, and took hundreds of hand-made tape splices to complete.

We called it a production of the Buzzard Theater of the Air, a satirical take-off on Orson Wells’ 1930s radio series, the Mercury Theater of the Air.

CAST:

Iggy Scrooge………………Murray Saul

David Marley……………..David Spero

Little Leo……………….Kid Leo

Matt the Cratchit…………..Matt the Cat

Mrs. Cratchit……………..Shelley Stile

Daughter Martha…………..Betty Korvan

The Spirit of Christmas Past……..Len Goldberg

The Spirit of Christmas Present……Charlie Kendall

The Spirit of Christmas Future……Steve Lushbaugh

Scrooge’s Fiancee…………..Verdelle Warren

Men about town……………Denny Sanders, Jeff Kinzbach,

Ed “Flash” Ferenc, Michael Stanley, Alex Bevan

A Christmas Carol became an annual WMMS Christmas eve feature and was repeated annually from 1976 through 1985 and it still stands the test of time today.

The full story on the making of A Christmas Carol can be found in Chapter 11 of The Buzzard.

As Boom would say, “en-joy!” And Merry Christmas.

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6 Responses to “WMMS Christmas Carol (1975)”

  1. Kent Fenwick Says:

    I have an old BASF cassette tape of this and the War of the Worlds adaptation. I still pull it out for the preverbal stroll down memory lane.

    Thanks for putting a digital version up.

    The one thing that stands out to me is the numerous spliff references.

    Light up and save the world!

  2. Awesome. Bring back the GOOD OL DAYS

  3. Wow! I recorded this when it aired and had the tape for years until I lost it. Thanks so much for posting this up! I thought I would never hear it again!

  4. Where did the audio go??? It says, “File Not Found”! Awww mannnn! FIX it, John! Please!

  5. I am the real human wmms Buzzzzzzard! Merry x-mas to all.

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