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Variety (1945) - Radio Review: "Miracle of a Bum"


  • magazine article: Radio Review: "Miracle of a Bum"
  • author(s): Cars
  • journal: Variety (26/Dec/1945)
  • issue: volume 161, issue 3, page 30
  • journal ISSN: 0042-2738
  • publisher: Penske Business Media
  • keywords: Ben Hecht, Donald Crisp, Miracle of a Bum


  • Hecht's play was broadcast again on Christmas Eve 1946, apparently with Alfred Hitchcock directing and providing a narration.



With Donald Crisp, Jimmy Gleason
Writer: Ben Hecht
Producer: Art Bailey
30 Mins., Mon (24) 8:30 p.m.

Ben Hecht, simultaneously at his most sentimental and most cynical, achieved a moving Christmas piece in scripting "Miracle of a Bum" for the ABC's holiday eve presentation. Donald Crisp and Jimmy Gleason worked well together to give meaning to Hecht's material. It added up to an unusual type of Christmas show with modern overtones.

Pattern of the yarn was out of the slushy days, about the drunken Bowery bum who sees Christ in his delirium before passing on. But through a lengthy commentary setting the scene, and then through the derelict's monolog, as he addresses the Christ he sees in the saloon-window mirror, came Hecht's warning to a world, on the brink of self-destruction through the atomic bomb, and Hecht's plea for less hatred and more understanding. It was the kind of Christmas fare to which some people might object-but the kind for which net, writer, cast and director deserve a bow.