Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues!

Mercury Theater Christmas Carol 1938THE MERCURY THEATER PRESENTS A CHRISTMAS CAROL – In 1938, the same year as the Mercury Theater’s legendary War of the Worlds radio broadcast, came this presentation of the Dickens classic.

By December 23rd, the date of the Christmas Carol broadcast, the radio show had gained a sponsor and was technically called Campbell Playhouse, but the Mercury Theater affiliation was still well-known.

I prefer the 1938 Mercury Theater version to the 1939 version. In 1938 Orson Welles narrated AND played Ebenezer Scrooge, while in 1939 Welles narrated but the venerable Lionel Barrymore, in poor health, limped along as Scrooge. It’s not Barrymore’s fault, of course, but that is why the 1939 version edits down Scrooge’s lines so much to spare Lionel. Filler material was thrown in at the end to pad out the on-air performance since so much was cut.   Continue reading




Balladeer’s Blog examines yet another ancient Greek comedy which has survived only in fragmentary form.

Theater of Dionysus

The Ruins of the Theater of Dionysus in Athens.

COTTABUS PLAYERS (c 420s B.C.) – This comedy was written by Ameipsias, whose career as an Athenian comic poet ran from approximately the 420s B.C. to the 390s B.C. In the Dionysia Festival of 423 B.C. he won 2nd Place for his comedy Connus and in 414 B.C’s Dionysia he won 1st place for The Revelers. Ameipsias also won 1st place at a Lenaea Festival but the year and title of his entry are not known.

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will remember that Cottabus was a party game in ancient Athens and had two variations. The “lesser” variation involved the hard-drinking guests (and virtually ALL guests at ancient Athenian parties were hard-drinking) throwing the wine-lees at the bottoms of their cups at a plate balanced on a pole, with the winner being the one who knocked the plate off the pole.

masc chair and bottleThe “greater” variation, to the proud, sea-faring Athenians, who “ruled the waves” long before Britons came along, involved throwing their wine-lees at plates floating in a pool, with the winner being the one who sank each plate. This small-scale equivalent of naval warfare was, according to Athenaeus, the more prestigious version and was characteristic of a more “high-end” party.

The all-important Chorus of this comedy by Ameipsias was presumably a set of rowdy, drunken Cottabus players. Let’s take a look at what can be gleaned from the surviving fragments:

** The comedy’s characters were SO drunk (“How drunk were they?”) they were using their projectile vomiting instead of wine-lees to sink the floating plates.      Continue reading

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Hillary Clinton crazy smileThe Democrats at Politico, the Washington Post and elsewhere have reported on this: “George Nader, a convicted pedophile that special counsel Robert Mueller used in his Russia investigation, was indicted on Tuesday for allegedly concealing millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

“The Justice Department refers only to an unidentified 2016 presidential candidate, but campaign finance records make clear that the candidate was Clinton,” Politico reported.” (More links below.)

“In a statement, the U.S. Department of Justice wrote:

#WalkAway“According to the indictment, from March 2016 through January 2017, Khawaja conspired with Nader to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions, directed to political committees associated with a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election. By design, these contributions appeared to be in the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his company. In reality, they allegedly were funded by Nader. Khawaja and Nader allegedly made these contributions in an effort to gain influence with high-level political figures, including the candidate. As Khawaja and Nader arranged these payments, Nader allegedly reported to an official from a foreign government about his efforts to gain influence.” (Note from Balladeer: Yes, a foreign government

Robert Mueller surrendersAnd per Daily Wire, ” … Sean Davis noted in a tweet that Nader was ‘a top Mueller (left) source during the anti-Trump Russia probe – a pedophile and child porn trafficker WHOM MUELLER REFUSED TO ARREST (All caps mine – Balladeer) — was just indicted for running an illegal campaign contribution scheme in 2016 on *Hillary Clinton’s* behalf.  Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion


PBSBalladeer’s Blog continues its annual orgy of versions of the Dickens classic as Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2019 resumes!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984) – Don’t be misled by the 1984 date, this is neither the George C Scott version NOR the French TV version which I first reviewed years ago. This is a taped stage performance that aired on Ohio Public Television station WNEO on December 22nd, 1984.  

Just to give you an idea of the psychotically obsessive lengths I sometimes go to to track down these obscure versions of the Carol: Years ago when I bought this it was one of the many productions not available on video. Nor was it to be found on E-bay or Amazon or any of the usual outlets.

By emailing various staff members at Kent State University (whose theatre department mounted this version) I eventually reached a kind individual. He stated that, though the university did not have copies of the production for sale he would ask around on the KSU faculty’s exclusive chat boards to see if anyone had a copy they may have taped off television back in 1984. Continue reading




Mississippi Gulf Coast helmetThe 2019 college football postseason continues. Tonight the Lackawanna College Falcons helmetNJCAA National Championship Game will pit the top ranked MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST COLLEGE BULLDOGS against the number 2 team in the nation – the LACKAWANNA COLLEGE FALCONS. Continue reading

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Adventures of an engineerTHE ADVENTURES OF AN ENGINEER (1898) – Written by Weatherby Chesney, better known as C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne. This is a collection of short stories about the scientific adventurer Richard Felton.

Part pulp hero and part proto-Quatermass, Felton’s escapades also put one in mind of Quentin E Deverill from the cult show Q.E.D. aka Mastermind. Seventeen stories are featured in this collection, among them:

THE RULER OF THE WORLD – Felton is persuaded by his old friend Braithwaite to construct a super-scientific aircraft for him. Richard does so, and after a test-flight with Braithwaite to demonstrate how deadly the flying machine is, the latter reveals his megalomaniacal plans to use the aircraft in a Roburesque plan to conquer the world. Our hero must try to stop him, even if it means destroying his own creation. Continue reading


Filed under Ancient Science Fiction, Pulp Heroes


Biden no malarkeyJoe Biden’s hilariously bizarre but endlessly entertaining political campaign continues. Nibbling on his wife’s fingers while she was trying to deliver a speech on his behalf, telling pervy stories about little kids rubbing his “hairy legs” around a public swimming pool, claiming he comes from “the black community” and that he went to “an HBCU,” Joe always brings the crazy.

Sometimes it’s not his fault, like when his dentures came loose during one of the televised debates, his grotesquely bloody eye during another debate, Obama preferring to endorse Canada’s Prime Minister while snubbing Joe, etc. But for every time fate makes Joe’s buffoonish nature impossible to ignore there are plenty of other times when he is the author of his own destruction. Well, destruction plagiarized from someone else, anyway.

biden fingerBiden’s inept coverup of his and his son Hunter’s corruption, the inane “gang member Corn Pop” tall tale, and so much more came to mind when I learned Quid Pro Joe’s newest slogan: “No Malarkey!” Seriously. THAT’S what he and his staff came up with. I guess they feel that slogan is the bee’s knees. Or the cat’s pajamas.  

If you’re going to use a pathetic and outdated expression like “No Malarkey” you should at least go all the way and add “Dagnabit!” at the end of it. C’mon, Joe! Commit to the bit! 

Will Joe’s opponents for the Democrats’ nomination escalate things? Will they announce new slogans like “No balderdash!”, “No hooey!”, “23 Skidoo” or “I’m what made us wiser than the Kaiser?” Should voters watch out for “Oh, rubbish!” or “Stuff and nonsense!” or a dangerously succinct “Nertz!” This could spiral out of control if they’re not careful. One of them may even resurrect “No horseplay!” in response to Joe’s creepy public pool story and his pervy confession that he loves it when children jump in his lap.

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsI can’t wait for insider accounts of the Biden campaign so I can read all about the bitter in-fighting over whether or not to use an exclamation point or a more statesmanlike period after Malarkey in that slogan. And did Joe’s advisers warn him that Americans might not be ready for a Malarkey-denier in the White House?

It remains to be seen if Biden’s new zero tolerance policy regarding Malarkey will be the game-changer he feverishly hopes it will be, but in the meantime “No Malarkey” has joined Wendell Wilkie’s “No man is good three times” as my favorite absurd campaign slogan.    


Filed under humor, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion