From Christmas Past…

“Christmas Is a Time” — Kukla, Fran and Ollie

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.
The DVDs are all non-profit.


About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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