I think maybe it's time for a holiday-oriented blog post!
Back in the late 1920s Jack Snow wrote a weekly radio column called "Cruising the Air Channels" for the Piqua Daily Call in Piqua, Ohio. Incidentally, for years I mispronounced the name of this small Ohio town. It's actually pronounced "Pick-way."
Below you will find excerpts from two different columns, both from December 1928. I'm not quite sure why Snow found this issue of multiple Santa's on the air waves so troublesome. To me, it seems no more problematic than the usual logic issues of how Santa gets to all the various houses to deliver all those toys from one sleigh in one night.
But it's still fun to read about the relatively young medium of radio, and Snow mentions "nomes" and uses Baum's spelling. So get ready to lock down your radio tuner and enjoy some Christmas Snow!
December 17th 1928
This is the season of the year when every radio studio has its Santa Claus. Actually if you want to preserve the illusion of the bewhiskered Saint for your small son or daughter, the only thing to do is to pick a strong station and lock the controls of the set. For if the youngster starts hunting Santa of his own accord, he will discover the air to be thickly beset by the benevolent old gentleman. The child will make the alarming discovery that Santa can hop from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati and to St. Louis and and back again as fast as he can turn the dial. Apparently Santa is possessed of a tenor voice in St. Louis, a bass tone in Cincinnati, and a mellow baritone in Pittsburgh. This state of affairs is confusing to say the least, and has been known to elicit some embarrassing questions that parents are not always capable of answering.
All the Santas are jolly and beneficent so there is not really much choice. The thing to do, therefore, is to pick the strongest station and then stand guard over the controls of the set while the young hope is absorbing the Christmas spirit. Otherwise the radio as a means of child education is going to prove just a trifle too successful.
December 24, 1928
Our worst fears are realized. Either the whole Santa Claus story is a gigantic hoax, or Santa himself is a deceiver of the worst sort. How, are we anxious to learn, aided by even the swiftest airplane can Santa be in Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, and Cincinnati as fast as we turn the single dial of our set?
And oh, the companions and merry little helpers of Santa, their member is legion. There are nomes, elves, princesses, fairies and all manner of what nots that roam through the pages of the charming child books. The main difficulty, however, in all this pleasant phantasia to entertain the younger members of the radio audience is the lack of consistency. Even in fairy tales, and imaginative stories, the author must be believed - he must be consistent. but not so your bland studio director, he asininely bites off several more hunks than he can choose, and proceeds to lose seven-eights of the illusion that the microphone, more happily handled, might create. Here again, we have a crying need for competent radio dramatists.
Now, why not head over to our sister blog Hungry Tiger Tales and read Jack Snow's The Animals' Christmas Tree.
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