Tag Archives: Mercury Theater

THE MERCURY THEATER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938)

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

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