A Christmas Carol
(MUSIC ... CAMPBELL PLAYHOUSE THEME ... UNDER)
ERNEST CHAPPELL: The makers of Campbell Soups present the Campbell Playhouse!
Orson Welles, producer!
(MUSIC ... CAMPBELL PLAYHOUSE THEME ... OUT ... SLEIGH-BELLS BRIEFLY ... THEN,
CHOIR SINGS "THE FIRST NOEL" ... UNDER)
ORSON WELLES: Good evening. This is Orson Welles. There are clearly a number
of ways in which "A Christmas Carol" could be introduced. Myself, I am most
struck by the happy fortune that enables us on this Christmas Eve to present
Mr. Lionel Barrymore, the best-loved actor of our time, in the world's best-
loved Christmas story, "A Christmas Carol."
When Charles Dickens presented this little story to the world almost a hundred
years ago, he found an instant response in the hearts of people everywhere who
saw in it their favorite fictional chronicle of what Christmas is, and what
Christmas means to all the simple people of the Earth. From the day of its
first printing, families have been innumerable in which there has remained
unbroken the tradition that the reading of "A Christmas Carol" was an item
indispensable to a proper observance of the most important of days.
It is the American way, as we know, to establish traditions quickly where
popular instinct and sentiment pronounce them sound. And so it is that today,
actually only the fifth anniversary of Mr. Lionel Barrymore's first playing of
the part of Ebenezer Scrooge for the Campbell Playhouse, there is, I think, in
all America nothing more eagerly awaited, more firmly rooted in the hearts of
the radio family that numbers millions than this yearly performance of "A
(MUSIC ... OUT)
ORSON WELLES: "A Christmas Carol," as Charles Dickens wrote it, has, by common
consent, long been a classic. Mr. Lionel Barrymore's appearance in it is
rapidly becoming one. And now, just before "A Christmas Carol," Ernest
Chappell has a special Christmas greeting from the makers of Campbell Soups.
ERNEST CHAPPELL: Thank you, Orson Welles. As the old year draws toward its
close, we of Campbell's feel a bond of warmth and gratitude toward each of
you, our friends. For, you see, in homes everywhere throughout the land,
Campbell Soups have been welcomed. Day by day and week by week, you have
placed confidence in us and in the foods we make. And there isn't anything we
appreciate more deeply than the fact that so many of you have elected to let
Campbell's make your soups for you. And so, when Christmas comes, we look
about to find some way to show our appreciation, some Christmas present by
which to say, "Thank you." The gift we chose five Christmases ago, and have
chosen each year since, has become a part of Christmas to many and many a
family. It has become a Christmas custom, as Mr. Welles said, to gather around
the radio to hear and to enjoy "A Christmas Carol." And since it is Christmas
Eve, we hope, too that the younger members of the family are permitted to stay
up and listen before dreams and visit of Santa. We get a great deal of
pleasure planning and preparing this Christmas gift -- and now, it's ready.
(MUSIC ... BELLS RING AND THEN "HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING" ... UNDER)
ERNEST CHAPPELL: Off come the wrappings. Off come the tags that say, "Please
do not open till Christmas." Out comes the card. To you, from Campbell's. And
here is the gift itself.
(MUSIC ... UP ... BRIDGE ... THEN OUT)
NARRATOR (WELLES): Marley was dead: to begin with. There's no doubt whatever
about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk,
the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name
was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley
was as dead as a door-nail. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did.
Scrooge and Marley were partners for I don't know how many years. Ah! But he
was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, was Scrooge! a squeezing,
wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! And once upon
a time -- of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve ...
(MUSIC ... CHOIR SINGS "GOD REST YE MERRY, GENTLEMEN" ... UNDER)
NARRATOR: ... old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house, a grim, cheerless
place if ever there was one. The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open
that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, Bob Cratchit, who in a cold and
dismal little cell beyond, worked at his ledgers.
(MUSIC ... UP AND UNDER )
BOB CRATCHIT: (TO HIMSELF) ... nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two ...
(SINGS ALONG WITH CHOIR) ... merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay ... (TO
HIMSELF) ... twenty-three, twenty-six, twenty-nine, nine carry two ... (SINGS
ALONG WITH CHOIR) Christmas Day! ... (TO HIMSELF) ... seventeen-thirteen,
SCROOGE: Bob Cratchit!
BOB CRATCHIT: Er, yes, Mr. Scrooge?
SCROOGE: Stop that infernal caterwauling!
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir. (TO HIMSELF) ... nine, fifteen, seventeen ... (MUMBLES
SOUND: (SCROOGE'S FOOTSTEPS TO THE FRONT DOOR)
SCROOGE: (MUTTERS TO HIMSELF) ... singing their idiotic Christmas carols at my
SOUND: (FRONT DOOR OPENS)
(MUSIC ... CHOIR UP A LITTLE AS DOOR OPENS)
SCROOGE: Go on! Get away from my door!
CHOIR: (STOPS SINGING, PROTESTS MILDLY) Awww!
SCROOGE: Go somewhere else and bellow your blasted carols or I'll give ya [?]
CHILD: Why, Guv'nor? It's an old custom at Christmas time, you know!
SCROOGE: Yes! And I don't want any of your old customs! Take your fellow fools
and go away. (TO HIMSELF) Christmas! Bleah!
CHILD: Right, sir! Merry Christmas anyway, sir!
SCROOGE: (DISMISSIVE) Ahhh!
SOUND: (DOOR SLAMS SHUT, SCROOGE'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
(MUSIC ... CHOIR SINGS "GOOD KING WENCESLAS" AS IT MOVES OFF)
SCROOGE: Now, you get that letter from Higgins and Blackthorne, Cratchit. And
then I want you to finish posting this ledger. And, after that, you can pop
over to Parthegill's and tell Ephrahaim Parthegill you've come after the
seventeen shillings and sixpence he's owed me since Michelmas. And tell him I
shall have a constable over there if he doesn't pay up at once.
BOB CRATCHIT: Mr. Parthegill's wife has been ill, sir.
SCROOGE: Oh, what do I care about his wife? I want my seventeen and six.
BOB CRATCHIT: I - I just thought, it being Christmas, sir--
SCROOGE: Christmas?! Christmas! You mention that word to me once more, Bob
Cratchit and I'll--
FRED: A merry Christmas, uncle! A merry Christmas, Bob!
BOB CRATCHIT: Merry Christmas, Mr. Fred!
FRED: God save you, uncle!
SCROOGE: Bah! Humbug!
FRED: Christmas a humbug, uncle! Now, I'm sure you don't mean that!
SCROOGE: I mean JUST that -- exactly that! Merry Christmas! What right have
you to be merry? What reason have you? You're poor enough.
FRED: Well, what right have you to be dismal about Christmas, uncle? You're
FRED: Now, uncle, don't be cross.
SCROOGE: Well, what else can I be when I live in such a world of fools? What's
Christmas to you but a time for paying bills without money? Merry Christmas! A
time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer. If I could
work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips'd
be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his
heart. He should!
SCROOGE: Now, nephew. Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in
FRED: Keep it! But you don't keep it, uncle.
SCROOGE: Well, let me leave it alone, then. What do you want? A Christmas
gift, I've no doubt.
FRED: I came to wish you a merry Christmas, uncle.
SCROOGE: A merry Christmas! Much good may Christmas do you. Ha, ha! Much good
it ever HAS done ya.
FRED: There are many things from which I derive good by which I have not
profited materially, I dare say, uncle. Christmas among the rest. But I have
always thought of Christmas time as a good time; a kind, forgiving,
charitable, pleasant time; And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a
scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will
do me good; and I say, God bless it!
BOB CRATCHIT: (APPLAUDS) God bless Christmas! Hurrah!
SCROOGE: Let me hear another sound out of you there, Bob Cratchit, and you'll
keep your Christmas by losing your situation! As to you, nephew, I wonder you
don't go into Parliament. You talk enough nonsense--
FRED: Oh, don't be angry, uncle. I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of
you; why can't we be friends?
SCROOGE: Good afternoon.
FRED: I'm sorry you feel that way. Well, I tried. (EXITING) A merry Christmas
to you, uncle!
SCROOGE: Good afternoon.
FRED: And a happy New Year, too!
SCROOGE: Bah. Humbug.
FRED: And a merry Christmas to you, Bob! And the missus! And to Tiny Tim!
BOB CRATCHIT: Oh, thank you, Mr. Fred! Same to you, sir. Good day, sir.
FRED: Good day, Bob!
SOUND: (DOOR HAS OPENED AND SHUT)
SCROOGE: (TO HIMSELF) Nonsense. Twaddle. Flummery. Talking of Christmas and
not two sixpences to jingle together in his trousers' pocket.
SOUND: (COAL IN THE SCUTTLE)
SCROOGE: Hey, hey, you there! Bob Cratchit! Come here! What are you doing
BOB CRATCHIT: I'm only putting a bit more coal in the fire, Mr. Scrooge,
seeing it's so cold in there, sir.
SCROOGE: You put that coal back into the scuttle! A fire! A fire, indeed. I
can tell you, if you use coal at that rate, you and I will soon be parting
company, Bob Cratchit. You understand that? There's many a young fella'd like
your situation, you know.
BOB CRATCHIT: I'm sorry, sir. My fingers were getting a little stiff with the
SCROOGE: Then put on your mittens.
SOUND: (KNOCK AT THE DOOR)
SCROOGE: There's someone at the door. Go on, see who it is.
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir.
SOUND: (A COUPLE OF FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPENS)
GENTLEMAN: Good afternoon, sir.
BOB CRATCHIT: Good afternoon.
GENTLEMAN: This is the firm of Scrooge and Marley?
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir.
GENTLEMAN: I should like to see the head of the firm, if I may.
BOB CRATCHIT: Oh, very good, sir.
SOUND: (DOOR SHUTS)
SCROOGE: What is it?
BOB CRATCHIT: A gentleman to see you, Mr. Scrooge.
GENTLEMAN: Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?
SCROOGE: Marley's been dead these seven years tonight. I'm Scrooge.
GENTLEMAN: Well, now, Mr. Scrooge, at this season of the year, it's only
fitting that we who are more fortunate should raise a fund to buy the Poor
some meat and drink, and means of warmth. You may not believe it, sir, but
many thousands are now in want of common necessities.
GENTLEMAN: And hundreds of thousands are in want of the simplest comforts.
SCROOGE: (GROWLS) Are there no prisons?
GENTLEMAN: Well, there are plenty of prisons, sir.
SCROOGE: And the workhouses? They're still in operation, I trust?
GENTLEMAN: I wish I could say they are not. But they are, sir.
SCROOGE: The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?
GENTLEMAN: Both very busy, sir.
SCROOGE: Ah! I'm glad to hear that. Heh! I was afraid, from what you said at
first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course.
GENTLEMAN: No, sir. All these institutions that you mention are flourishing.
But it's nevertheless true that some additional provision for the Poor and the
Destitute must be made.
GENTLEMAN: A few of us upon 'Change are endeavouring to raise such a fund, you
see. And, uh, what shall I put you down for?
GENTLEMAN: Oh, I see. You wish to be anonymous, sir?
SCROOGE: I wish to be left alone! I don't make merry myself at Christmastime
and I can't afford to help make a lot of idle people merry. I help to support
the establishments that take care of the poor -- they cost enough. Let those
who are badly off go there.
GENTLEMAN: Many can't go there, sir. And many would rather die.
SCROOGE: Then, my advice to them is to do so and decrease the surplus
population. Besides, I've only your word for it that all this is so.
GENTLEMAN: It's the truth, Mr. Scrooge.
SCROOGE: Well, so be it, then. It's not my business. It's enough for a man to
understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine
occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, sir!
GENTLEMAN: I quite understand, Mr. Scrooge. Good afternoon.
SCROOGE: Cratchit! Show this gentleman out.
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir.
SOUND: (FOOTSTEPS TO THE DOOR)
BOB CRATCHIT: This way, sir, please. (LOWERS HIS VOICE) Sir, I couldn't help
overhearing. I should like to contribute tuppence.
BOB CRATCHIT: (TO SCROOGE) Yes, sir! (LOWERS HIS VOICE, TO GENTLEMAN) It isn't
much but it's all I can afford. But there are others in worse situation than
GENTLEMAN: You're a generous fellow. I wish I might say so of your employer.
SCROOGE: (IMPATIENT) Cratchit!
BOB CRATCHIT: (TO SCROOGE) Yes, sir!
GENTLEMAN: Good afternoon, sir.
BOB CRATCHIT: Good afternoon.
SOUND: (DOOR OPENS)
GENTLEMAN: Merry Christmas.
BOB CRATCHIT: Merry Christmas. (TO SCROOGE) Yes, sir!
SCROOGE: Close the door!
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir.
SOUND: (DOOR SHUTS, CRATCHIT'S FOOTSTEPS SLOWLY BACK TO DESK)
BOB CRATCHIT: (SIGHS, TO HIMSELF) ... twenty-four, thirty-one. One, carry
three. A new scarlet tippet for Tiny Tim. A comb for Martha. Thirty-three.
Three and carry three. A hair-ribbon for Belinda. Four, seven, twelve,
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir? Yes, sir?
SCROOGE: It's too late to have you go to Parthegill's. He'll be closed up for
Christmas like these other fools. We may as well close up the place now.
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir. It IS getting a little dark. Hard to see the figures.
SCROOGE: I - I suppose you'll want the entire day to-morrow?
BOB CRATCHIT: If it's quite convenient, sir.
SCROOGE: It's not convenient -- and it's not fair, either. But I suppose I
can't do anything about it. Heh. If - if I was to stop half-a-crown of your
wages, you'd think yourself very ill-used, I'll be bound?
BOB CRATCHIT: Well, sir, I--
SCROOGE: Yeah, but you don't think me ill-used, when I pay a day's wages for
BOB CRATCHIT: It's only once a year, sir.
SCROOGE: Once a year! Once a year, indeed. A fine excuse for picking a man's
pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I suppose there's no good talking.
You must have the whole day. Well, see that you're here all the earlier the
next morning. You understand?
BOB CRATCHIT: Oh, I will, sir.
SOUND: (DOOR OPENS)
BOB CRATCHIT: I will, indeed. (EXITING) Good night, sir. And merry Christmas.
BOB CRATCHIT: Merry Christmas!
SOUND: (DOOR SHUTS)
(MUSIC ... SLEIGH BELLS AND A JAUNTY TUNE ... AS A BRIDGE AND THEN UNDER)
NARRATOR: The office was closed in a twinkling, and Bob Cratchit, with the
long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no
great-coat), went down a slide on Cornhill, twenty times, in honour of its
being Christmas Eve, and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could
pelt, to play with his family at blindman's-buff.
(MUSIC ... TAKES A DARK TURN ... UNDER)
NARRATOR: Scrooge, on the other hand, took his melancholy dinner in his usual
melancholy tavern; having read all the newspapers, and spent the rest of the
evening with his banker's-book, went to his dismal house.
Darkness is cheap. And Scrooge liked it. The yard was so dark that even
Scrooge, who knew its every stone, had to grope with his hands through the fog
and the frost to find the door. Scrooge walked through his rooms to see that
all was right. Sitting-room. Bedroom. Lumber-room. All as they should be.
Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa, nobody under the bed, nobody in
the closet. Close the door.
He locked himself in. He double-locked himself in. And took off his cravat;
put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his nightcap; and sat down before
the fire to take his gruel.
(MUSIC ... EERIE ... UNDER)
SOUND: (CLOCK STRIKES)
SCROOGE: (YAWNS MIGHTILY, COUGHS, THEN AMAZED) Marley. Marley? Marley! I could
have sworn I saw old-- Ah! Humbug. Marley's been dead these seven years.
Humbug. All humbug. What I need is a good night's--
SOUND: (CLANKING NOISE, DEEP DOWN BELOW)
SCROOGE: What? What's that?
SOUND: (MORE NOISE, LIKE DRAGGING CHAINS, INCREASINGLY LOUDER AND CLOSER)
SCROOGE: Someone's in the wine cellar. But the door's locked and double-
locked! Something's - is coming! Some - something is - is coming closer.
Outside my door. Bah! I won't believe it. It's humbug still!
SOUND: (NOISE ... OUT)
MARLEY: (GHOSTLY) Ebenezer Scrooge! Ebenezer Scrooge!
SCROOGE: (GASPS) Marley! (NERVOUS SQUEAK) Oh, no. What do you want with me?
MARLEY: I want much of you, Ebenezer.
SCROOGE: Who - who are you?
MARLEY: Ask me who I was.
SCROOGE: Oh ho. You're very particular, for a ghost. All right then. Who were
MARLEY: In life, I was your partner, Jacob Marley.
SCROOGE: (SKEPTICAL) Jacob Marley! But you're dead. You died seven years ago.
MARLEY: Seven years ago this very night.
MARLEY: What's wrong, Ebenezer? Don't you believe in me?
SCROOGE: I do not.
MARLEY: You doubt your senses, Ebenezer?
SCROOGE: Yes. Yes. Because a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of
the stomach makes them cheats. You - you can't be a ghost. You may be an
undigested bit of beef, or a blot of mustard, or a crumb of cheese, a fragment
of an underdone potato. (CHUCKLES) There may be more gravy than grave about
you, whatever you are! Ah, humbug, I tell ya. Humbug!
MARLEY: (RAISES A FRIGHTFUL CRY)
(MUSIC ... MATCHES THE CRY, THEN SUBSIDES AND CONTINUES UNDER EERILY)
SCROOGE: (SHIVERS AND SHUDDERS IN FEAR) I do believe in you. You ARE a ghost,
MARLEY: Thank you.
SCROOGE: But why - why do you walk the earth, Jacob? Why do you come to me?
MARLEY: It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk
abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide, to witness what it cannot
share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness.
SCROOGE: But tell me, Jacob, what is that chain you wear around you?
MARLEY: I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by
yard; by my own free will. Is its pattern strange to you, Ebenezer?
SCROOGE: Cashboxes? Keys and padlocks? Ledgers and purses?
MARLEY: Yours was as heavy and as long as this, seven years ago. You have
laboured on it since, Ebenezer.
SCROOGE: Old Jacob, speak comfort to me, Jacob!
MARLEY: Comfort I have none to give. I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot
linger. Weary journeys lie before me.
SCROOGE: You travel fast?
MARLEY: Yes, Ebenezer. On the wings of the wind.
SCROOGE: Ah, seven years dead and traveling all the time.
MARLEY: Seven years, Ebenezer. Seven years of remorse. Ebenezer, do you know
that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunities misused?
SCROOGE: But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.
MARLEY: Business! Mankind was my business! Charity, mercy, benevolence -- they
were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the
comprehensive ocean of my business!
SCROOGE: Jacob, Jacob, don't take on so, now. Jacob--
MARLEY: Listen to me, Ebenezer.
SCROOGE: I'll listen to you, Jacob. Go on, Jacob, now. Speak to me but don't
be so flowery.
MARLEY: Ebenezer, I am here to warn you that you have yet a chance of hope of
escaping my fate. Do you hear that, Ebenezer?
SCROOGE: Yes, Jacob. Yes, you always were a good friend to me, Jacob. Thanks,
Jacob. But - but go on, go on, go on, go on. How shall I escape? Oh, I'm
MARLEY: You will be haunted by Three Spirits.
SCROOGE: Is that the only chance and hope, Jacob?
MARLEY: It is your only chance and hope.
SCROOGE: Well, then, I think I'd rather not.
MARLEY: Without their visits, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect
the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls One.
SCROOGE: Couldn't I take 'em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?
MARLEY: Ebenezer, look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed
between us! Remember, when the bell tolls One, look for the first Spirit!
SOUND: (RUSTLE OF THE GHOST AND ITS CHAINS)
SCROOGE: Marley! Jacob Marley!
(MUSIC ... UP FOR AN ACCENT, THEN A BRIDGE, THEN UNDER)
SOUND: (BELL TOLLS ONE)
NARRATOR: Scrooge awoke. He was lying on his bed, fully dressed. Suddenly, the
curtains of his bed were drawn aside, and Scrooge found himself face to face
with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you,
and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow.
It was a strange figure -- like a child: yet not so like a child as like an
old man. Its hair, which hung about its neck and down its back, was white as
if with age; and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest bloom
was on the skin. The arms were long and muscular; the hands the same, as if
its hold were of uncommon strength.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Ebenezer Scrooge.
SCROOGE: (GASPS) Who - who's that?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Ebenezer Scrooge, I have come for you.
SCROOGE: You--? Are - are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold me?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: I am that Spirit.
SCROOGE: Who--? What are you?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.
SCROOGE: Long Past?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: No. Your past.
SCROOGE: But - what do you want of me? What brings you here to haunt me?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Your welfare, Ebenezer Scrooge. Rise! and walk with
SCROOGE: Oh, no, no, no. No! Not - not out of the window! Why, I can't do
that. I'll fall down. I'm not a Spirit. I'm mortal and I'll fall.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Bear but a touch of my hand upon your heart, and you
shall be upheld in more than this. Come! Follow me!
(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN UNDER ... SLEIGH BELLS AND CHILDREN SINGING "GOD,
REST YE MERRY, GENTLEMEN" UNDER)
SCROOGE: Where are we? What's become of the city? And there - there's snow
upon the ground. Where are we?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: These are the shadows of the things that have been.
You recognize this countryside?
SCROOGE: (GASPS) Oh. I know every inch of it. Every rock. Every tree.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: And that bleak building over there?
SCROOGE: Ah, that building! Heh! I was a boy there! Yes, I went to school in
that horrible place.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Do you recollect that path?
SCROOGE: Heh! I could walk it blindfold.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Strange you should have forgotten it so many years.
Come, let us go closer. (BEAT) Look through the window into that cold, barren
room. What do you see, Ebenezer Scrooge?
SCROOGE: I see a boy.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: A solitary child, neglected by his family. Alone.
SCROOGE: Yes, yes, I see. I know that boy. (SIGHS) Oh. I was so lonely. Poor
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Your lip is trembling, Scrooge. And what is that on
SCROOGE: It's nothing. Nothing at all. I wish I-- Ah, it's too late now.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: What's the matter?
SCROOGE: Nothing, nothing. The waifs came to my door singing Christmas carols
last night and there was a boy like that among 'em. A poor pale thin little
boy in a ragged coat. I should like to have given him something: that's all.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: IS that all? Come, Ebenezer Scrooge. Let us see
(MUSIC ... SINGING OUT ... A BRIEF BRIDGE ... MERRY PARTY MUSIC UNDER)
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Do you know this place, Ebenezer Scrooge?
SOUND: (CROWD OF PARTYGOERS LAUGH AND TALK UNDER)
SCROOGE: (DELIGHTED) Know it?! Know it! This is the counting-house where I was
apprenticed! (AFTER A PAUSE) It's my old master! Bless his heart; old
Fezziwig! My master -- alive again! And hosting one of his Christmas parties!
FEZZIWIG: (CALLS A DANCE IN B.G.) Pick your partners!
SCROOGE: Listen to him!
FEZZIWIG: [?] Corkscrew! Thread the needle and back to your places!
SCROOGE: (LAUGHS ALONG WITH CROWD) And there's Dick Wilkins. Poor Dick. Dear,
dear, dear. Yes, and look! There's Mrs. Fezziwig herself, looking younger'n
any of 'em! And the tables, all loaded with roasts and cider, mince pie and
beer! Oh, what a jolly time we used to have!
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: That carefree young man with the light heart and the
gay smile? Do you recognize him?
SCROOGE: Yes, yes, yes. Merciful Heaven. How happy I was then.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: A small matter for old Fezziwig to make those silly
folks so full of joy.
SCROOGE: (INDIGNANT) Small matter! Small, indeed.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Isn't it? He has spent only a few pounds of your
mortal money. Is that so much that he deserves praise?
SCROOGE: (SCOFFS) It's not that. It's not that, Spirit. Old Fezziwig has the
power to make us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or heavy. His
power lies in words and looks and in things so tiny that it's impossible to
count 'em up. The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a - a--
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: What is the matter?
SCROOGE: Oh, nothing. Nothing at all, Spirit.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Something, I think?
SCROOGE: No, no.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Speak.
SCROOGE: Well, only-- It's just that I should like to be able to say a word or
two to MY clerk, Bob Cratchit. That's all.
SOUND AND MUSIC: (PARTY NOISES AND MUSIC UP FOR A MOMENT, THEN FADES OUT)
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: My time grows short. And we have yet another journey
SCROOGE: Where now?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Come!
(MUSIC ... A BRIEF BRIDGE, THEN UNDER)
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: This is our last visit to the past, Ebenezer. Here,
in this little room, with a fair young girl by your side. Do you recognize
SCROOGE: (GASPS) No, no. No, no, no, no. Spare me this!
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: You're older now. A man in the prime of life. Your
face has begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. Your eyes are greedy.
The eager, restless eyes of a miser.
SCROOGE: No! No, please!
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: She knows it, too -- that girl by your side. There
are tears in her eyes.
(MUSIC ... TURNS GENTLE AND SAD, UNDER)
BELLE: It matters little [?] to you, very little -- I know that.
YOUNG SCROOGE: Belle, have I changed toward you?
BELLE: When we were engaged, we were both poor.
YOUNG SCROOGE: Was it better then? Better to be poor?
BELLE: Better, at least, to be happy. You're changed. You were another man,
YOUNG SCROOGE: I was a boy! You blame me because I've grown wiser? Have I ever
tried to break our engagement?
BELLE: In words, no. Never.
YOUNG SCROOGE: In what, then?
BELLE: In a changed nature; in an altered spirit. In everything that made my
love of any value in your sight. So I release you from your promise.
YOUNG SCROOGE: Belle!
BELLE: Oh, at first, it may cause you pain to lose me -- a very brief pain.
But soon it will be dim, like a half-remembered dream -- an unprofitable
dream. And you will be glad to be awake from such a dream. May you be happy in
the life you have chosen, Ebenezer, for the love of [whom you once loved?].
(MUSIC ... OUT)
SCROOGE: That's enough! Show me no more! Take me home!
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: These were shadows of the things that HAVE been. That
they are what they are, do not blame me.
SCROOGE: No. No more. No more.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: One shadow more! Come!
(MUSIC ... IN AND UNDER)
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Do you see this man, Ebenezer Scrooge? This man might
have been you. And the woman beside him, your wife. And that girl -- that girl
might have been your daughter, Ebenezer Scrooge. She might have called you
father. She might have been a spring-time in the haggard winter of your life.
SCROOGE: Spirit -- let me go. Show me no more.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Listen, now, while they speak, Ebenezer.
BELLE'S HUSBAND: Belle, I saw an old friend of yours today.
BELLE: Who was it?
BELLE'S HUSBAND: Guess.
BELLE: How can I? It-- Oh! I know. Mr. Scrooge.
BELLE'S HUSBAND: Mr. Scrooge it was. I passed his office window -- it wasn't
shuttered. And there was a candle inside so I couldn't help seeing him. His
partner Marley lies at the point of death, I hear; and there Scrooge sat --
all alone. Quite alone in the world, I do believe.
SCROOGE: Spirit, Spirit, I can't bear any more. Leave me. Haunt me no more.
Take me back! Take me back!
(MUSIC ... A BRIDGE ... THEN CAROLERS SING "GOOD KING WENCESLAS" ... UNDER)
ERNEST CHAPPELL: You are listening to the Campbell Playhouse, bringing you
tonight the fifth annual presentation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol,"
produced by Orson Welles and starring Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge. This is the
Columbia Broadcasting System.
LOCAL ANNOUNCER: This is the WBBM air theater, Wrigley Building, Chicago.
(MUSIC ... SINGING UP, THEN OUT)
ERNEST CHAPPELL: And now back to the Campbell Playhouse and our fifth annual
presentation of "A Christmas Carol," a Christmas present from the makers of
(MUSIC ... OMINOUS ... BELL CHIMES ... UNDER)
NARRATOR: On the stroke of One, Scrooge awakened suddenly and sat bolt upright
in his own bed. He remembered the words of Marley's ghost and wondered from
which direction the second spectre would appear. At that moment, nothing
between a baby and a rhinoceros would have astonished him very much.
Now, being prepared for almost anything, he was not by any means prepared for
nothing; and, consequently, when no shape appeared, he was taken with a
violent fit of trembling. Five minutes, ten minutes, a quarter of an hour went
by, yet nothing came. Then, as he sat in his bed, he became aware gradually of
a great blaze of ruddy light, which seemed to shine upon him from the
adjoining room. He got up softly and shuffled in his slippers to the door.
It was his own sitting-room -- no doubt about that. But it had undergone a
surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living
green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright
gleaming berries glistened and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the
chimney, as had never been known in Scrooge's time, or for many and many a
winter season gone. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were
turkeys, geese, game, poultry, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long
wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot
chestnuts, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their
In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who
bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty's horn, and held it up, high
up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: Come in! Come in, Ebenezer Scrooge, and know me
SCROOGE: Who--? Who--?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: I am the Ghost of Christmas Present! Look upon me!
You've never seen the like of me before!
SCROOGE: You're-- You're different from the other Spirit. You're tall, almost
a giant. And that great torch you carry--
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: It's light pours into the homes of rich and poor
SCROOGE: Spirit, take me where you will. Last time I went against my will and
learnt a lesson which is working now. If you have anything to teach me, let me
profit by it.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: Touch my robe, Ebenezer Scrooge! Touch my robe!
(MUSIC ... UP FOR A TRANSITION, THEN UNDER)
SCROOGE: Where've you brought me, Spirit?
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: An humble dwelling in an humble street.
SCROOGE: It's humble enough.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: Yet there is happiness there.
SCROOGE: Who - who are these people? Who's that woman? And the children?
SOUND: (FAMILY CHATTER INCREASES UNDER FOLLOWING)
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: These are the family of your clerk, Bob Cratchit.
His wife, dressed in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, laying the
table for their Christmas dinner. And there, assisting her, is her daughter
Belinda. And the young man with the fork in the stuffing -- that's Master
Peter Cratchit. And the two little Cratchits. Listen, Scrooge.
SOUND: (FAMILY CHATTER UP)
GIRL: Here's Martha, mother!
AD LIBS: Martha! (EXCITED CHATTER)
MRS. CRATCHIT: Why, bless your heart alive, Martha, my dear, merry Christmas
MARTHA: Merry Christmas, Mother!
AD LIBS: Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
MRS. CRATCHIT: How late you are, my dear.
MARTHA: Oh, we'd a deal of work to finish up last night and we had to clear
away this morning.
MRS. CRATCHIT: Well, never mind so long as you're here now. Sit ye down before
the fire and have a warm, Lord bless ye!
MARTHA: Where's father?
MRS. CRATCHIT: He's been to church with Tiny Tim. They'll be along directly.
MARTHA: (CONCERNED) How IS Tiny Tim, mother? Any better at all?
MRS. CRATCHIT: Sometimes I think he is. And sometimes I think - oh, dear God,
if anything should happen to Tiny Tim--
MARTHA: Mother! You mustn't even THINK of such a thing!
CHILDREN AD LIB: Here they are!
MRS. CRATCHIT: There's Tiny Tim!
BOB CRATCHIT: Merry Christmas, everybody! Martha! Welcome, my dear!
MARTHA: Merry Christmas, father! And Tim!
TINY TIM: Merry Christmas, Martha!
MARTHA: Oh, Tim, you darling! Oh, father, I'm so glad to be home.
BOB CRATCHIT: And we're so glad to have you, Martha.
MRS. CRATCHIT: And how did little Tim behave in church, Bob?
BOB CRATCHIT: Oh, as good as gold, and better.
TINY TIM: I like church, Mother. Oh, they sang the nicest songs. I hope people
saw me there.
MRS. CRATCHIT: Saw you there? And why, Tim?
TINY TIM: Well, don't you see? Because I'm lame. And if they saw my crutch, it
might be pleasant for them to remember on Christmas who it was made lame
beggars walk, and blind men see.
BOB CRATCHIT: Oh, bless you, my son.
CHILDREN AD LIB: Are we ready to eat, Mother? Come on, let's eat! (CHILDREN
CONTINUE TO CHATTER UNDER FOLLOWING:)
MRS. CRATCHIT: Yes, children. We're all ready. Come, come take your places
now. And, Bob, wait your turn -- there's plenty! Stuffing and dressing and
plum pudding for all of you. Martha, you take care of Tiny Tim.
MARTHA: Yes, Mother.
MRS. CRATCHIT: You see that he eats plenty, he must get tall and well. Now,
sit down, sit down, everyone!
BOB CRATCHIT: Ah, now, my dears.
CHILDREN: (INSTANTLY SILENT)
BOB CRATCHIT: Shall we say grace? (AS BOB SAYS GRACE, WE HEAR SCROOGE AND THE
SCROOGE: Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney-corner,
and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved.
SCROOGE: Oh, no, no. No, no, kind Spirit! Say he'll be spared. Say he'll live.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future,
Ebenezer, the child will die.
BOB CRATCHIT: (FINISHES GRACE) Amen.
BOB CRATCHIT: And, now, my dears, with such a dinner, a toast. A Merry
Christmas to us all. And God bless us!
MRS. CRATCHIT: Amen.
TINY TIM: God bless us every one!
BOB CRATCHIT: And, now, to Mr. Scrooge!
CHILDREN AD LIB: (UNHAPPY) Awwwww!
BOB CRATCHIT: I give you a toast to Mr. Scrooge -- the Founder of the Feast!
MRS. CRATCHIT: (UPSET) The Founder of the Feast indeed! -- who pays you all of
fifteen shillings a week! I wish I had him here. I'd give him a piece of my
mind to feast on, and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it!
BOB CRATCHIT: (PROTESTS) Oh, my dear -- the children! Christmas Day.
MRS. CRATCHIT: Well, it should be Christmas Day, I'm sure, on which one drinks
the health of such an odious, stingy, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge. You know
he is, Bob! Nobody knows it better than you, poor fellow!
BOB CRATCHIT: (INSISTS) My dear, Christmas Day.
MRS. CRATCHIT: I'll drink his health for your sake and the Day's, not for his.
Long life to him! A merry Christmas and a happy new year! He'll be very merry
and very happy, I have no doubt!
TINY TIM: And I say, God bless him, too, Mother. And everyone.
CHILDREN AD LIB: (AGREEING WITH TIM)
(MUSIC ... MOURNFUL CHOIR ... THEN CHURCH BELLS, "O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL" AS A
BRIDGE, THEN UNDER)
NARRATOR: There was nothing of high mark in all this. They were not a handsome
family, these Cratchits; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from
being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; and had known, very likely, the
insides of a pawnbroker's. But, they were happy, grateful, pleased with one
another, and contented with the time. When, at last, they faded, Scrooge had
his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last.
(MUSIC ... TAKES A DARKER TURN, UNDER)
NARRATOR: Many calls Scrooge made that night with the Ghost of Christmas
Present. Down among the miners they went, who labour in the bowels of the
earth and out to sea among the sailors at their watch -- dark, ghostly figures
in their several stations.
Much they saw, and far they went, and many places they visited, but always
with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful;
on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by poverty, and it was rich. In
almshouse, hospital, and jail, where vain man in his little brief authority
had not made fast the door, and barred the Spirit out, the Spirit left his
blessing. It was a long night -- if it was only a night; And it was strange,
too, that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew
older, clearly older.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: My life upon this globe, is very brief, Ebenezer.
It ends to-night.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: To-night at midnight. Hark! The hour has come.
SCROOGE: Oh, no, no. Not yet! Not yet! There - there - there are still more
things I wish to learn.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: These you will learn from still another Spirit.
Still another Spirit, Ebenezer.
(MUSIC ... A HUGE ACCENT, THEN UNDER)
NARRATOR: Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost. It had vanished. And he
found himself once more in his bed, in his dressing gown and his nightcap on
his head. He heard the clock strike and then ... he remembered the prediction
of old Jacob Marley. And lifting up his eyes, beheld the third Spirit...
(MUSIC ... DARKER ... UNDER)
NARRATOR: ... a solemn Phantom, shrouded in black, draped and hooded, coming
towards him, slowly and silently, like a mist along the ground.
SCROOGE: I know you. You - you are the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. You'll
show me the shadows of things that have not happened, but will happen in the
time before us. Answer me, Spirit, Ghost of the Future! I fear you more than
any spectre I've seen. Yet I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope
to live to be another man from what I was, lead on. Lead on! The night's
waning fast, and time's precious.
(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT ... THEN UNDER)
SCROOGE: Spirit! Why - why have you brought me here again? Here to Bob
Cratchit's home? But it's not the same-- What - ?
(MUSIC ... OUT)
SCROOGE: Why is it so quiet? So very quiet here?
MRS. CRATCHIT: (WEEPING)
MARTHA: Mother... Mother, please.
MRS. CRATCHIT: (WEEPING) Oh, my son. My little son. Tiny Tim. I loved him so.
MARTHA: Oh, Mother dear, you mustn't. It's almost time for father to be home.
Don't let him see you crying.
MRS. CRATCHIT: Yes. Yes, Martha.
MARTHA: He's late tonight.
MRS. CRATCHIT: He walks slower than he used to. And yet I've known him to walk
very fast indeed with Tiny Tim on his shoulder.
MARTHA: So have I, Mother.
MRS. CRATCHIT: But he was light to carry. And his father loved him so that it
was no trouble: no trouble--
SOUND: (DOOR OPENS)
MRS. CRATCHIT: Bob!
BOB CRATCHIT: Good evening, my dear.
MRS. CRATCHIT: You're late, Bob.
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, I'm sorry, my dear. I - I went to the church yard today. I
wish you could have gone with me. It would have done your heart good to see
how sweet and green a place it is. But you'll see it often, I promised him.
Yes, I promised Tiny Tim we'd walk there on a Sunday.
MARTHA: Father, dear.
MRS. CRATCHIT: It's God's will, Bob.
BOB CRATCHIT: I'm trying to understand it, my dear. (TO HIMSELF) My son. My
little son, Tiny Tim. And I loved him so.
(MUSIC ... DARK, UNDER)
SCROOGE: Oh, that's cruel. Cruel. Spirit? Can't you give me one ray of hope
that I may change all that? That Tiny Tim may live?
(MUSIC ... AN OMINOUS BRIDGE, THEN UNDER)
SCROOGE: Where are you taking me now? Here? On a common street, Spirit? What
is there for me to learn here? Who - who are those men?
1ST MAN: I don't know much about it, either way. I only know he's dead.
2ND MAN: When did he die?
1ST MAN: Last night, I believe.
2ND MAN: It's likely to be a very cheap funeral, for upon my life, I don't
know anybody to go to it. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer?
1ST MAN: I don't mind going if a lunch is provided. (BOTH MEN LAUGH)
2ND MAN: Come to think of it, I'll bet I was his best friend.
1ST MAN: What?
2ND MAN: We used to nod to each other when we met in the street. (MORE LAUGHS)
SCROOGE: Spirit, help me. Who is this man that died? Is there no one to mourn
the poor creature? No one to follow him to the grave? Perhaps they'll give him
a green grave at least, like poor Tiny Tim. Perhaps--
(MUSIC ... A HUGE, SUDDEN ACCENT, THEN UNDER, EERILY)
SCROOGE: Spirit! Where are we now? Merciful Heaven! A church yard! Overrun by
grass and weeds, choked with too much burying -- desolate, lonely, crumbling
gravestones. Spirit! Before I draw nearer to that gravestone, answer me one
question. Are - are these shadows of things that Will be, or - or are they
shadows of things that May be, only? Huh? Will - will you not speak to me,
Spirit? What IS that grave to which you point?
(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN UNDER)
SCROOGE: Ah, now I see it. Uh huh. There's writing on that stone. The name on
the gravestone is -- (READS, AWED) Ebenezer Scrooge. Ebenezer Scrooge?! Oh,
no, no, Spirit! No, no, no! Hear me! I'm not the man I was! Why show me this,
if I am past all hope?! Tell me that I can change these dreadful shadows
you've shown me by an altered life! I'll honour Christmas in my heart! I'll -
I'll try to keep it all the year. I'll live in the Past, the Present, and the
Future. And I'll not shut out the lessons that they teach. Tell me, Spirit,
oh, go on, tell me! Tell me that I can sponge away the writing on that stone,
Spirit. I beg you, Spirit! I beg you!
(MUSIC ... BIG DARK ACCENT, THEN ABRUPTLY GENTLE, DISTANT CAROLERS SING "GOD
REST YE MERRY, GENTLEMEN")
SCROOGE: (WHISPERS) Spirit, I promise. I promise on my knees. I promise. I
promise. I'll - I - (PAUSES, HEARS CAROLERS SINGING) Why, what's this? It's my
own drape. Oh! I'm home. In my own bed. In my own room.
SOUND: (WINDOW OPENS, CAROLERS LOUDER, THEN UNDER)
SCROOGE: And the sun! The sun's shining! It's clear! It's bright! No fog! What
a beautiful day. Oh, glorious, glorious. (CALLS OUT) Hey, boy! Oh, boy!
BOY: Yes, sir?
SCROOGE: What's - What's to-day?
BOY: What's that, sir?
SCROOGE: What day is it, my fine fellow?
BOY: To-day? Why, it's Christmas Day.
SCROOGE: Ha ha! Christmas Day! Then I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done
it all in one night. All in one night, Heaven be praised.
BOY: How's that, sir?
SCROOGE: Listen, my lad, er, you know where the Poulterer is, in the next
BOY: I should say I do!
SCROOGE: Ha! An intelligent boy! A remarkable boy! Tell me, do you know if
they sold the prize Turkey that was hanging in the window?
BOY: The one as big as me?
(MUSIC ... HAS QUIETLY FADED OUT)
SCROOGE: Hee hee hee! What a delightful boy! It's a pleasure to talk to ye.
Yes, my buck!
BOY: It's hanging there now, sir.
SCROOGE: That's wonderful. Go down, will ya? And tell 'em to send it to Bob
Cratchit and his family on Broad Street. And, mind you, they're not to know
who paid for it. Go along, hurry, hurry, my lad. Here, here, wait a minute.
Here's half-a-crown for your trouble.
BOY: Yes, sir! Yes, sir! And a merry Christmas, sir!
SCROOGE: Ha ha! And a merry Christmas to you, my boy! (TO HIMSELF) Oh! I don't
know what to do! I'm as light as a feather! As happy as an angel! I'm as merry
as a schoolboy! (CALLS OUT) Merry Christmas! (LAUGHS) A merry Christmas to
everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Whoo! Whoo! Hallooo!
(MUSIC ... HAS SNEAKED BACK IN UNDER SCROOGE'S SPEECH AND NOW BURSTS FORTH
WITH A GRAND "PEACE ON EARTH" -- WHICH FADES OUT DURING FOLLOWING)
SCROOGE: My dear sir! How do you do?
GENTLEMAN: I - I beg your pardon?
SCROOGE: Well, you, sir -- aren't you the gentleman who came to my office in
regard to that charity?
GENTLEMAN: Why, yes, sir.
SCROOGE: A merry Christmas to you.
GENTLEMAN: Er, yes, sir.
SCROOGE: Allow me to ask your pardon, sir. And will you have the goodness to
accept-- (LOWERS HIS VOICE) I prefer to whisper this. (WHISPERS)
GENTLEMAN: Wha--? But Lord bless me! My dear Mr. Scrooge, are you serious?
SCROOGE: If you please. Now, not a farthing less. (CHUCKLES) A great many
back-payments are included in it, I assure you! Heh! Will you do me that
GENTLEMAN: Well, my dear sir, I don't know what to say to such munifi--
SCROOGE: Now! Don't say anything, please. Come and see me. Will you - will you
come and see me?
GENTLEMAN: I will! I will, indeed.
SCROOGE: Ha ha! Thank'ee. I am much obliged to you. I thank you fifty times.
Bless you! Merry Christmas!
(MUSIC ... "PEACE ON EARTH" AS A BRIDGE, THEN UNDER)
NARRATOR: Next morning, Scrooge was early at his office. He went early for a
reason. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late!
That was the thing he'd set his heart upon.
And he did it; yes, he did! The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No
Bob. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come in.
At last he came. His hat was off, before he opened the door; his comforter
too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were
trying to overtake nine o'clock.
BOB CRATCHIT: (QUICKLY) ... fifteen and twenty-one, six and carry the one.
Twenty-four and carry the two, thirty-one and eight and nine ...
SCROOGE: Hallo, you Cratchit!
BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir?
SCROOGE: Step this way, Cratchit, if you please.
SOUND: (RELUCTANT FOOTSTEPS)
SCROOGE: Cratchit! What do you mean by coming in at this time of day?
BOB CRATCHIT: Why, I am very sorry, sir. I am behind my time.
SCROOGE: You are. Yes, yes. I think you are.
BOB CRATCHIT: Oh, it's only once a year, Mr. Scrooge. It shall not be
repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.
SCROOGE: I'll tell you what, my friend -- I'll not stand this sort of thing
any longer! And therefore, Bob Cratchit -- I'm about to raise your salary.
BOB CRATCHIT: (AFTER A PAUSE, TREMBLING) Mr. Scrooge? Are you quite yourself,
SCROOGE: No. No, thank Heaven, I'm NOT quite myself. Merry Christmas, Bob!
(LAUGHS) Merry Christmas, my good fellow! A merrier Christmas than I've given
you in many a year! I shall raise your salary, and we'll see what we can do
for Tiny Tim and the rest of your family. Hah?! (CHUCKLES) We - we'll discuss
it this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop.
(MUSIC ... PLAYFUL, CHEERY ... SNEAKS IN AND UNDER)
SCROOGE: Bob! Make up the fire! Make it up and - and - and buy another coal-
scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!
(MUSIC ... CONTINUES AS A BRIDGE, AND UNDER)
NARRATOR: Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely
more; To Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good
a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or
any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people
laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded
them. His own heart laughed. That was quite enough for him.
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total
Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he
knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.
(MUSIC ... OUT)
NARRATOR: May that be truly said of us. Of all of us. And so, as Tiny Tim
observed, God bless Us, Every One.
(MUSIC ... CHOIR SINGS "JOY TO THE WORLD" ... THEN, OUT)
ERNEST CHAPPELL: You have just heard our annual presentation of Charles
Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" starring Lionel Barrymore, brought to you by the
makers of Campbell Soups. And, now, here is Orson Welles.
ORSON WELLES: Ladies and gentlemen, at this point in the program, it's my
custom, as you know, to present to you, with a few words of introduction, our
guest of the evening. With your consent, I shall dispense with this tonight.
To introduce tonight's guest to the Campbell Playhouse audience, or to any
American audience, is an extravagant and superfluous procedure -- for if ever
an actor has won for himself a lasting place in the hearts of his fellow
countrymen through years of unsparing and inspiring service, that actor is
Lionel Barrymore. Mr. Lionel Barrymore.
LIONEL BARRYMORE: Oh, thank you, Orson Welles. Good evening, ladies and
gentlemen. Well, this is the fourth year I've had the pleasure of appearing in
"A Christmas Carol" here on the Campbell Playhouse. And I assure you all it's
a pleasure that never tires. As long as I can remember, this has been one of
my favorite stories. When we were children, it was read to us regularly this
time of year as it is to many millions of children right now. (CHUCKLES) And
like many of them, I'm sure, the three of us -- Ethel, Jack and I -- with the
aid of a sheet and some old ironware, made a play of it. As I remember, we had
three Scrooges in that production.
ORSON WELLES: (AMUSED) Uh, who played Tiny Tim?
LIONEL BARRYMORE: I think we had three Tiny Tims, too.
ORSON WELLES: (CHUCKLES)
LIONEL BARRYMORE: But, seriously, I can think of no part that I've enjoyed
playing again and again as much as I have the part of that squeezing,
wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner, Ebenezer
Scrooge. And I can think of no happier or more suitable choice for the makers
of Campbell Soups to offer the people of America as their Christmas present
each year, than Charles Dickens' well-beloved story "A Christmas Carol." Good
night, Orson. Good night, everybody. And a merry, merry Christmas to you all.
(MUSIC ... UNDER)
ORSON WELLES: Good night to you, Mr. Barrymore. Thank you, sir, and a merry
Christmas to you. Ladies and gentlemen, next Sunday night, we're happy to
announce our version of a great and truly American story by a great American
novelist -- "Come and Get It" by Edna Ferber. Against a background of the
mighty forests of Miss Ferber's own Wisconsin, it tells a stirring tale of the
men and women who live and die in the woods in order that lumber may come down
the rivers every Spring into the cities of the modern world.
(MUSIC ... OUT)
ORSON WELLES: Like so many of Miss Ferber's epic romances of American life, it
was made from a bestselling novel into a highly successful motion picture.
Now, we bring it to you on the air. The story of a man and his son and the
girl they both loved, Lotte. Lotte, played for us by one of the loveliest and
most accomplished of Hollywood's younger dramatic actresses, Miss Frances Dee.
And so, until next week, until "Come and Get It," my sponsors, the makers of
Campbell Soups and all of us in the Campbell Playhouse, remain, as always,
(MUSIC ... PLAYHOUSE THEME BEGINS)
ORSON WELLES: Ah, just - one - moment, please, Benny! Excuse me! Ladies and
gentlemen, it's the night before Christmas!
(MUSIC ... OUT)
ORSON WELLES: And all through the Campbell Playhouse, not a creature is
stirring that doesn't join Lionel Barrymore in wishing you a merry, merry
Christmas! This goes for all of us. For my sponsor, for myself, for - for all
of us -- from John [McBean?] who runs the machinery in the control room to
Miss Helgrin who types the Campbell Playhouse scripts, a merry Christmas! From
Benny Herrmann and his band of merry melodians, merry Christmas!
(MUSIC ... MUSICIANS PLAY LOUD AND OUT OF TUNE ... MERRILY ... THEN, OUT)
ORSON WELLES: From Max [Steers'?], uh, canary-throated choristers ...
CHOIR: (WARBLES AN OSTENTATIOUS PHRASE)
ORSON WELLES: ... a very merry Christmas! And from Harry Essman and [Chris
Dawson?] and his crew of sound effect technicians ...
SOUND: (VARIOUS NOISY SOUND EFFECTS)
ORSON WELLES: ... a merry Christmas! And from Orson Welles and his
considerable aggregation of dramatic talents who include, among others, Mr.
Everett Sloane, Mr. Frank Readick, Mr. Erskine Sanford, Mr. George Coulouris,
Mr. Ray Collins, Miss Georgia Backus, Miss Bea Benadaret, and many, many
others, a merry Christmas! How 'bout it, everybody? A merry Christmas!
CAST: Merry Christmas!
ORSON WELLES: That's right. And now as Tiny Tim says:
TINY TIM: God bless Us, Every One!
(MUSIC ... "PEACE ON EARTH" ... UNDER)
ERNEST CHAPPELL: The makers of Campbell Soups join Orson Welles in inviting
you to be with us in the Campbell Playhouse again next Sunday evening when we
bring you Edna Ferber's "Come and Get It" with Miss Frances Dee as our guest.
Meanwhile, if you have enjoyed our fifth annual presentation of "A Christmas
Carol," won't you tell your grocer so this week when you order Campbell Soups?
This is Ernest Chappell saying thank you and a very merry Christmas to you
(MUSIC ... "HALLELUJAH CHORUS" ... UNDER)
NETWORK ANNOUNCER: This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.
LOCAL ANNOUNCER: This is WBBM, Chicago.
Originally broadcast: 24 December 1939