I was delighted last year to discover on YouTube a video of an excerpt from The Kukla, Fran, and Ollie Show from about 1950. The show was based in Chicago and featured a cast of puppets with Fran Allison as their friend and adviser. In this episode, Fran sings a song by Carolyn Gilbert called “Christmas Is a Time.” The song was sung with great tenderness and sincerity by Fran, who made the music come to life with everything that Christmas can mean in terms of peace, joy, generosity, hope, and kindness. I have not been able to find the sheet music or any other recordings of this wonderful song, but I’m very happy that this little video exists to keep alive the beauty and warmth of that performance from 1950. It’s worth the five minutes it takes to watch this little fragment of the past. Though in black & white, it is filled with something we’ve lost in the commercial frenzy that has since enveloped the season. Enjoy. — John
P.S. This song is available on Vol. 1 of “Kukla, Fran and Ollie: The First Episodes” and Vol. 2 (which contains two Christmas shows) has just been released. http://kukla.tv/dvd.html
The DVDs are all non-profit.