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Radio Play: ‘Christmas, Inc.’

Original Radio Play About The Commercialization Of Christmas

Above: The creative team behind the original radio play, "Christmas, Inc." at the KPBS studios earlier this month.

Aired 12/23/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Jerry Burkey, Writer and Director of "Christmas, Inc."

Delia Knight, Writer of "Christmas, Inc."

Jonathan Hammond, Producer of "Christmas, Inc."


If you feel Christmas has become a crass commercial event, then here's the perfect thing for you: an original radio play called "Christmas, Inc." The play was created for KPBS by Columbia Street Films and it serves up a sly comic tale of a very corporate Christmas.

San Diego has an excess of creative talent but too few outlets for them to express themselves. So KPBS Midday Edition will play host to radio plays -- some original, some based on classics from the golden age of radio -- on an intermittent basis. Midday Edition showcased two Ray Bradbury plays for Halloween, "Zero Hour" and "Mars is Heaven." We had so much fun producing those plays that we partnered with some of the same people for the original radio play, "Christmas, Inc."

"Christmas, Inc." was written and directed by Jerry Burkey, co-written by Delia Knight, and produced by Jerry Burkey and Jonathan Hammond. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando edited the play for radio with technical assistance from Kurt Kohnen.


Fred Jameson: Michael Nieto

Alice Jameson: Laura Kaplan-­‐Nieto

Suzie Jameson: Samantha Ginn

Johnny Jameson: Shaun Tuazon

Sub-­‐Director Fitch: Brendan Cavalier

Bill Fitzpatrick: Jonathan Hammond

Radio/P.A. Announcer: Delia Knight

Dick Boone: Dave Moser

WHC Inspector: Jerry Burkey

WHC Employee: Melissa Coleman-­‐Reed

WHC Secretary: Carla Nell

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Avatar for user 'SanDiego1950'

SanDiego1950 | December 25, 2012 at 2:43 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Just my opinion review of the play.

I was driving home and turned on KPBS, as I usually do, and heard much of the middle of the play. I missed the very beginning, and I arrived home before the end. I did NOT have a driveway moment. In fact, I turned off the radio two blocks from home.

The play was tedious and simplistic. The powers ascribed to the corporation were clearly powers of the state--the power to issue and require permits, the power to check permits, the power to seize property.

So what was I to make of this play? While there were a few anomalies--mentions of the corporation, citations of copyrights, etc.--I was convinced that this was a play about government over-reach.

How did I punch a button on my radio and find that I was listening to Fox News? How was this play, obviously about government abuse and the "War on Christmas", going to get connected to some action of the Obama administration? What had I missed? Was there a new court decision closing creches in court houses, or something?

I glanced at the radio (I was on the freeway), the indicator said that I was listening to the first of my selected radio stations. KPBS? I punched the first button, expecting to hear something else. The play just bored onward. KPBS?? I punched the button for KPRI. Christmas music. Dang.

Wait a minute. That WAS KPBS. I punched button 1 again. "You DO have a permit for those lights, don't you??" Crumb. It was KPBS.

I listened,hoping to find something redeeming about the play. I listened to it another five minutes, hoping.

Then I turned it off.

Please don't hire that playwright again.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 25, 2012 at 5:27 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

@SD1950, radio plays are pretty much museum pieces. But as to your comments about the writing, that is very true. There is much less-than-average writing in local San Diego theater. It is bad, YET it gets produced. As a produced playwright, I know that.

On a related note, I remember being riveted as a teenager, by the CBS Radio Mystery Theater hosted by E.G. Marshall back in the mid to late 70s. They had good staff writers back then.

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Avatar for user 'circle2dot2'

circle2dot2 | December 26, 2012 at 11:42 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow, looks like some people got coal in their stockings and clearly missed the point of the piece. I hardly think the words "Even God is Copyrighted" is something you'd hear on Fox News.
I loved the piece. I heard it on my way home for the Holidays and it cracked me up. Great performances, quirky & intelligent script. Great job Colombia Street Films! I would love to hear more of your work!

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Avatar for user 'AltheaJ'

AltheaJ | December 26, 2012 at 5:34 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

SD1950, all respect to your opinion, but you are thinking too much into it. Your opinions aside, it was just a cute radio play which I took to be a comment on the overcommercialization of christmas. Who doesn't have that thought at this time of year? If anything it was a (liberal) cautionary tale about privatization, not the government. You missed the point.

It's not winning an Emmy, or changing the world, but I thought it was entertaining and funny. But of course I listened to the whole thing.

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Avatar for user 'micdavis42'

micdavis42 | December 26, 2012 at 6:20 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Radio plays have a hard row to hoe to begin with being up against the media blitzkrieg we live through daily. I still love them and look for them everywhere. Thanks to PBS for supporting the actors, artists and performers involved.

This was interesting, funny, and smart. Would love to hear more from these folks.

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Avatar for user 'Gabriela'

Gabriela | December 31, 2012 at 6:02 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Entertaining play! I look forward to more of these!

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