Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"The Plot to Overthrow Christmas"

Many years ago. I heard a radio rebroadcast of a play called "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas". It was originally produced live on CBS Radio and was really something. It's about a conspiracy of the denizens of Hell to stifle holiday happiness. After deliberations, the conclave under the leadership of Mephisto agrees with the suggestion of Lucrezia Borgia to assassinate Santa Claus. Nero wins the draw to do the dastardly deed. When he arrives at the North Pole, however, Santa's kindliness stalls him, and then his logic and friendliness result in a change in heart. At the end, Santa gives him a Stradivarius and Nero stays on to help in the workshop.

Interesting, eh? Starts in Hell, ends at the North Pole. Oh, and the whole story is in rhyme.

A while back I was snooping around for an idea for a unique holiday story for my newspaper. I remembered "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas". I did a little research and realized that the 70th anniversary of its original broadcast is upon us - it was originally broadcast Dec. 25, 1938. Then I really got a surprise - the author, Norman Corwin, is still alive. He's 98 and a writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I got a hold of his email through a web site, and asked him for an interview.

He agreed, and we spent some time on the phone Dec. 14. I wrote a 1,200 word story for the paper on Sunday, Dec. 21. It was a real honor to talk to him, and have a little touch of broadcast history. I'd post the story here, but I'm away from the office right now for the holiday.

This is a video I found on YouTube of some group that staged its own production of "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas". This may give you a little taste of the story. When I get back to the office, I'll get my article and post it here.

Merry Christmas, y'all!

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This is one of my best ever alternate histories.