Tag Archives: Orson Welles

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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THE MAN WHO SAW TOMORROW (1981) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Man Who Saw TomorrowBefore MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! In the middle 1980s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show. Balladeer’s Blog continues its celebration of the program’s 30th anniversary year.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday November 9th, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

SERIAL: None. This time around the pre-movie offering was the 1953 short titled Nostradamus Says So.

HOST SEGMENTS: At one point Randy and Richard read aloud some ridiculously bizarre predictions made in tabloids by “psychics” of the time period.

THE MOVIE: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow was a hilariously melodramatic and irrational documentary playing along with the silly notion that the 16th Century “seer” Nostradamus’ vague and noncommital quatrains predicted major future events. Orson Welles, in his “anything for money” phase, narrated the film.

This movie was up there with the campy UFO and Bigfoot documentaries of the 1970s and 1980s. Welles, who has to hurriedly pluck his cigar from his mouth at one point so that he can be understood, seems on the verge of laughter most of the time. As usual in anything about Nostradamus meanings are forced into his centuries-old poems that make them seem like he was a “prophet” who foresaw the rise of Napoleon, World War Two, the John F Kennedy assassination and just about anything else that true-believers want to read into the man’s vague scribblings. Continue reading

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