Back in the day, WRAL had a special Christmas tradition that was shared with viewers of The Big 5. Imagine your family gathering around the “cool fire” of the television set, with Channel 5 selected on the tuning dial, waiting with childlike wonder to watch and hear a Christmas story. The image on the screen is a man seated in a dimly lit studio holding an oversized book. The sound coming from the television speaker is an instrumental version of “O Come o ye Faithful” playing softly in the background. The lights brighten to reveal a grandfatherly looking gentleman. It is CBC Founder A.J. Fletcher.
For the next three minutes, Fletcher shares a story that starts out, “Sometime, somewhere, it was the eve of Christmas, and two men and a child standing still on the edge of the earth gazed up at the darkened sky and their eyes were filled with wonder. The child, being of tender years and innocence, gazed up and saw, oh surely he saw a gleaming silver sleigh drawn by eight prancing reindeer…” The story ends about three minutes later with, “And the sights the child and the two men saw, or thought they saw in the sky on Christmas Eve, were the sights that have been and always will be seen by all people of faith and wondering spirit, of all ages and time, in all places, on the earth.” Music swells to a crescendo and a dramatic end while the lights dim in the studio.
And the title of the story is…WE DON’T KNOW! Through various articles, it has been referred to as “A Christmas Carol,” “A Christmas Story,” “A Christmas Eve Story,” but we have not been able to find a single published story that contains the words as read by Mr. Fletcher. We are befuddled, bemused, and bewildered, stuck, stumped, stupefied, stymied, puzzled, perplexed…you get my drift.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to report back to us the name of the story read by Mr. A.J. Fletcher in the video link below. (It will not self-destruct after you watch it.)
Merry Christmas and Happy 2017.
Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.