Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol
Decca Album No. A-290 - Personality Series
Christmas without Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol just wouldn't be Christmas at all, for the heartwarming humanity of Dickens' famous story has traditionally become as much a part of the festive season as Santa Claus himself, or Christmas Trees, holly wreaths, mistletoe - the gaily decorated shops filled with bewitching toys and colorful gifts-the general hustle and bustle and all the other fascinating features that go to make Christmas the exciting occasion it is.
Every Christmas season millions of English speaking peoples listen to A Christmas Carol over their radios or read the story at home or attend an actual stage production in many of the schools, churches and theatres of the country. A suitable recorded version has long been in demand and Decca is happy to present here a special dramatic adaptation by the well known director, George Wells, who is responsible for the entire Decca production. Exceptional care has been taken in the planning, adaptation and direction of this Dickens' classic in order to present the wonderful story in the simplest, most direct and vitally appealing manner possible. Great pains were taken, too, in the casting. After much deliberation, the famous and popular British movie star Ronald Colman-was selected for the key role of Scrooge. Many members of the excellent supporting cast have previously been associated with other productions of the work. We feel that the result of this highly dramatic production is a real contribution to the Spirit of Christmas and a most exciting adventure!
Ronald Colman is not a man with a short memory.
It is that memory which has inspired his credo, his philosophy, his capacity for living life to its fullest.
He hasn't forgotten the days when jobs were few and far between. Success and the recompense of success have come in full measure and Colman is a contented man.
Untouched by avarice, he maintains now a policy of filming but one picture each year.
"If I don't work so much it means more jobs for others," he says, adding with his characteristic smile, "and it also permits me to be very choosy. I wait until I find the role I want to play."
Colman was born at Richmond, Surrey, England, on February 9, 1891. His father was Charles Colman, a non-professional. He was educated at Littlehampton, Sussex, England.
After serving in the British army during the first World War, he started a stage career in England. He met with some success until post-war business depression and unemployment closed many of the theatres. In 1920 he decided to come to the United States where he felt an ambitious actor might find the opportunity to eat more regularly than he could in England.
Though he had only $57 to his name, he was able to convince immigration officials that he was the "artiste" mentioned on his passport and he was permitted to enter New York. He rented an inexpensive furnished room in Brooklyn and started making the rounds of theatrical offices. Though he had entertained no idea that the streets of New York were paved with gold, still they were a bit rockier than he had anticipated.
His little nest egg evaporated slowly but surely and meals got to he a carefully planned novelty. Then he landed a job in support of Robert Warwick in "The Dauntless Three." The play had a short, unhappy life but it showed Colman's latent talent.
As a result George Arliss signed him for "The Green Goddess" and Colman was definitely set in his career. His chance to enter motion pictures came in 1922, when he was supporting Ruth Chatterton and Henry Miller in "La Tendresse." Henry King saw him and offered him the leading role opposite Lillian Gish in "The White Sister."
No one had to tell Colman that this was his opportunity. He eagerly accepted and when "The White Sister," which was filmed in Italy, was released he was a top flight name in pictures. He followed this picture with "Romola" and Samuel Goldwyn signed him to a contract which ran for many years. Then he assumed a contract with 20th Century-Fox and upon the expiration of that decided to free lance.
Among the many great films in which he has starred are "Tarnish," "A Thief in Paradise," "The Dark Angel," "Stella Dallas ... .. Lady Windemere's Fan ... .. Beau Gest," "Kiki," Bulldog Drummond," which was his first talking picture, "Under Two Flags," "Condemned," "Raffles," "Arrowsmith," "The Masquerader," "Clive of India," "Tale of Two Cities ... .. Lost Horizon ... .. Prisoner of Zenda," "If I Were King," and "The Light That Failed," "Lucky Partners" and "My Life With Caroline."
Constantly in demand for pictures, Colman steadfastly pursues his policy of but one picture a year. His days between pictures are active and busy. He reads, swims, plays tennis, motors and travels extensively with Benita Hume, his wife. He lives the life of an English gentleman of leisure, doing all the things he has dreamed of some day doing throughout his life. He leads the life that most men would like to lead if they had the time and financial resources. He is 5 ft. 11 inches tall, weighs 165 lbs. and has brown hair and brown eyes.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Entire Production Directed by George Wells
Victor Young, Musical Director - Ken Darby, Vocal Director
Cast of Characters
Ebineizer Scrooge - Ronald Colman
Bob Cratchit - Eric Snowden
Tiny Tim - Barbara Jean Wong
Jacob Marley - Lou Merrill
First Ghost - Hans Conried
Second Ghost - Cy Kendall
Third Ghost - Gale Gordon
Mrs. Cratchit - Heather Thatcher
Fred (Nephew) - Fred Mackaye
Boy - Stephen Muller
Belle (Sweetheart) - Duane Thompson
Mr. Portly - Ferdinand Munier
Men In Street - Gale Gordon & Fred Mackaye
Copyright, 1941, Decca Records, Inc.