No, not those kinds of gremlins, although it’ll do as an image to brighten the place up for Christmas weekend. This year, I give the gift of Old Time Radio, in the form of a short (15 mins) radio play starring Orson Welles, as part of the Cieling Unlimited series. The play was first broadcast on 21st December 1942, and plays on the wartime tales of ‘gremlins’, impish creatures of legends responsible for sabotaging machines, with a particular fondness for aircraft. Ceiling Unlimited created patriotic radio dramas featuring Hollywood movie stars, and Welles was, for a while, a regular contributor. This is one of his finest radio moments, introducing pilots’ tales of encounters with the mischievous little blighters. The same year, Roald Dahl, himself an RAF pilot, was publishing his storybook about gremlins, which very nearly became a Disney cartoon. As it happened, the book came out under Dahl and Disney’s names, with cartoons by Vivie Risto and Walt Kelly.
I hope you enjoy this little piece of radio history, and that you have a happy and peaceful holiday season, wherever you may be:
GREMLINS mp3 (Click to play or right-click to download)