COMMAND PERFORMANCE {CHRISTMAS SHOW} (RADIO)

Summary

One in this series of variety programs broadcast by the Armed Services Radio Service via shortwave radio to men fighting overseas. This Christmas edition begins with a brief monologue by master of ceremonies Bob Hope, who talks about Christmas mailings to servicemen. He then introduces bandleader Xavier Cugat, who leads the Cugat orchestra in "Brazil." Jerry Colonna joins Hope for jokes about the holiday gifts "Professor" Colonna is mailing out, after which Virginia O'Brien performs the comic song "Let's Be Sweethearts." Spike Jones and His City Slickers add to the cheer with "Holiday for Strings," after which Ginny Simms croons "Amor." Jimmy Durante joins Hope to compare nose insults; the two then joke about department-store Santa Clauses, and Durante sings "I'm Durante, the Patron of the Arts." On a more serious note, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson sends greetings to servicemen, after which Cugat returns to lead his band in "Babalu," with vocals by Luis del Campo. Dinah Shore then sends holiday greetings to the troops and performs "I'll Be Seeing You." The audience roars with laughter as Jack Benny and Fred Allen trade quips in a skit set in a Hollywood Boulevard department store; the two are trying to purchase the least expensive ties they can as gifts for each other. They conclude the skit by playing "Jingle Bells" on the violin (Benny) and banjo (Allen). Kay Kayser takes over Hope's M.C. duties for a while. Kayser and his band perform "Dance with the Dolly," after which Frances Langford sings "It Had to Be You." Kayser narrates a skit about the life of a G.I. the day before his draft notice arrived; the bandleader then introduces Dorothy Lamour, who sings "Moonlight and Shadows." Kayser, Lamour, and Hope joke about a possible motion picture based on Kayser's life, to be called "The Road to North Carolina." Danny Kaye then chats with Hope before singing "The Lobby Number," in which he describes the credits and plot twists of a typical Hollywood film. Fred Allen returns to introduce the next guest -- legendary comic W.C. Fields, who performs a monologue about his experience with liquor. Judy Garland then banters with Hope, who tries to date her, before singing "The Trolley Song." In a change of pace, Spencer Tracy introduces and stars in a dramatization of a story by Charles Tazewell titled "The Small One." Focusing on a donkey who proudly takes on a very special mission, it also features the voices of Lee J. Cobb, Skippy Homeier, Griff Barnett, Howard Duff, Harry Bartell, and Elliott Lewis. The evening ends with a group of familiar Christmas carols sung by the female vocalists, along with the Ken Darby Chorus. Shore performs "Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem," followed by Garland with "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful"; Simms with "The First Noel"; O'Brien with "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"; Lamour with "Deck the Halls"; and Langford with "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear." All the women join the chorus for "Silent Night." After Hope wishes the troops "love from home and merry Christmas," brief messages of support and cheer are heard from General George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff, and Admiral Ernest J. King, the commander in chief of the U.S. fleet.

(This program contains minor technical problems. This represents the best copy of this program currently available to the Museum.)


Details

  • NETWORK: NBC
  • DATE: December 25, 1944 Monday
  • RUNNING TIME: 2:01:25
  • COLOR/B&W:
  • CATALOG ID: R:7580
  • GENRE: Radio - Comedy/Variety
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Christmas
  • SERIES RUN: AFRS - Radio series, 1942-1949
  • COMMERCIALS:

Credits

  • Bob Hope … Host
  • Kay Kayser and His Orchestra … Music Group
  • Spike Jones and His City Slickers … Music Group
  • Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra … Music Group
  • Ken Darby Chorus, The … Choir/Chorus
  • Fred Allen … Performer
  • Griff Barnett … Performer
  • Harry Bartell … Performer
  • Jack Benny … Performer
  • Lee J. Cobb … Performer
  • Jerry Colonna … Performer
  • Xavier Cugat … Performer
  • del Campo, Luis … Performer
  • Howard Duff … Performer
  • Jimmy Durante … Performer
  • W.C. Fields … Performer
  • Judy Garland … Performer
  • Skippy Homeier … Performer
  • Spike Jones … Performer
  • Danny Kaye … Performer
  • Kay Kayser … Performer
  • Dorothy Lamour … Performer
  • Frances Langford … Performer
  • Elliott Lewis … Performer
  • Virginia O'Brien … Performer
  • Dinah Shore … Performer
  • Ginny Simms … Performer
  • Spencer Tracy … Performer
  • Ernest J. King
  • George C. Marshall
  • Henry L. Stimson
  • Charles Tazewell