Monday, December 25, 2017

The Christmas Story


Luke 2 :1-39King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Little Town of Bethlehem - A Classic Christmas Radio Drama



The First Nighter Program. December 22, 1945. CBS Radio Network. "Little Town Of Bethlehem" by Anthony Wayne. Sponsored by: Campana Cosmetics.
Barbara Luddy (Mary), Olan Soule (Joseph), Herb Butterfield, Hugh Studebaker, Phillips H. Lord, and Willard Waterman.

For many over the past 40 - 60 years on television, Christmas would not be Christmas unless Rudolph returns to the island of misfit toys, Linus tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about, George Bailey wants to live again, and there is at least one (or 12) Hallmark presentations.

Before television, there was radio. In that great period known as the "Golden Age of Radio" (c. 1922 - 1960) Christmas wasn't Christmas without Amos telling his daughter Arbadella the meaning of the Lord's Prayer, or Lionel Barrymore's annual performance as Ebeneezer Scrooge....and the annual presentation of "Little Town of Bethlehem" by The First Nighter Program. The First Nighter (1930 - 1953) was "radio's little theater off of Time Square" and each week the listener -  via sound effects, music and acting - was given the illusion of visiting a Broadway theater for a new performance.

 In 1933 Anthony Wayne's script for "Little Town of Bethlehem" was first performed and was glowingly received. The play became the programs' most anticipated story and would be repeated each Christmas. This 1945 broadcast was the 9th annual presentation and notes that it is the first "peace Christmas" since 1940. The play is very good, but makes the common Biblical/dramatic error of having all the events of Christ's birth happen in one evening (the shepherds, Wise Men, Joseph's dream), but this may have been done for time. The play has an interesting element of having Herod stay in the inn that holy night, therefore the innkeeper placed Mary and Joseph in a stable because he was expecting a king to honor his household, and had no room for a Nazarene carpenter and his expecting wife! Out of reverence, the Campana sales company has one advertisement, a Merry Christmas greeting.


Buffalo Courier-Express, Saturday, December 22, 1945. Radio news article with a picture of actress Barbara Luddy.
.
Mary and Joseph were played by various actors over the program's run, perhaps most famously by actress Barbara Luddy and actors Les Tremayne and Olan Soule. Only the 1945 & 1952 performances still exist and in the 1945 version that I have posted, Luddy is heard as Mary and Olan Soule is Joseph. Both were among the best radio and voice over artists to grow out of Radio's Golden Age. Luddy was "Lady" in Disney's Lady And The Tramp, Soule was later the voice of Batman in 1970s cartoons, and the voice of Bishop Clement Clark Moore in a 1968 Christmas special.

I first heard this broadcast in an old-time radio cassette collection nearly 15 years ago and have listened to it every Christmas since. It gives me great pleasure to share this great tradition with you.
Wishing you dear reader a Very Merry Christmas and please enjoy the 9th annual presentation of "Little Town of Bethlehem".

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"Hymnologues" For Christmas & Fall/Winter 2017 Updates

Hymnalogues

3-minute color films with classic Christian hymns enhanced with miniatures, produced in Hollywood.



As an older millenial, it is hard to imagine a time when Powerpoints or some sort of screen images weren't used in musical worship. It turns out that the church has used devotional film aids a lot longer than we might think.

The Hymnalogue films were short visualizations of church hymns created by Neil McGuire Productions and the (ADA) Audio-visual Devotional Aids of North Hollywood. Four were released in the fall of 1945* for Christmas: O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and O Come All Ye Faithful. Three of these shorts seem to be the public domain and appear in varios Christmas Video Collections. If anyone has seen the "Silent Night" film, please contact me.

The earliest mention I could find of these films is in the August 1944 issue of Home Movies Magazine, in which they were credited to "Song Book of the Screen of North Hollywood". It is likely that they became ADA a year later since they were also distributed by Post Pictures.



Each short features singing by a quartet called the ADA Crusaders while the words go across the screen. Clever miniatures and limited motion graphics enhance the meaning of the song. This technique was called "action-minature" and is credited to Neil McGuire (1893 - 1972) a film director and producer. McGuire and ADA produced at least 29 of these shorts for church use all distributed by Post Pictures Corporation of New York. According to the 1949 Educational Film Guide titles were: Onward Christian Soldiers, God Be With You Till We Meet Again, and In The Garden. Only the the 3 Christmas shorts seem to be available today.
Please check your church basement! Also it would be fun to try McGuire's technique of filming Hymns with miniatures, even in this age of Adobe products.

* On IMDB these Christmas shorts are dated 1950, but this is incorrect according to film bulletins and magazines.

- Most of this information is from the September 1945 issues of Film World News, pg. 267

UPDATES FOR FALL/WINTER 2017

There are a lot of great new additions to the FBSM blog. 4 new pages have been added to the blog site for the history of Bible based storytelling, to make your Christmas merrier and for the teaching and study of the Bible.

FBSM Theater
I am excited to announce a theater page were I am showing prints of rare and incredible films made by Christian filmmakers across the 20th century. These films come from the Gospel Film Archives,  and I am extremely grateful to film historians Bob Campbell and Ron Hall for sharing a digitized print of the landmark Christian drama The Great Commandment (1939) for the debut of this page.

Christmas Library 2017 
In 1994, an interesting news article revealed an all too obvious truth about media during the Christmas season. That scarcely any of the many Christmas specials on television acknowledge the birth of Christ as central to the meaning of Christmas. So with that in mind I have tried to create a log of family programming to help parents be aware of Christmas specials that focus on the birth of Christ on television, radio, home video and even free downloads from the Golden Age of Radio.

During the Christmas season there will be new blog entries on films, children's books, crafts and more to teach and inspire during this most wonderful time of year.

Apologetics & Education 
While the main focus of FBSM is creative Bible storytelling, because of the urgency of our times I've created a page specially for the study of Apologetics, Christian History and Education. This page features the best radio ministries that broadcast weekly or daily in the United States and around the world.

Bible Study
I've also created a Bible Study page with links to some of the best online resource of edification in the Word of God.

Facebook! - Family Bible Storytelling Media
This is a bold new venture for me, so the page will gradually look better.

YouTube too! - FBSM YouTube Channel



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Updates for Fall/Winter 2017

There are a lot of great new additions to the FBSM blog. 4 new pages have been added to the blog site for the history of Bible based storytelling, to make your Christmas merrier and for the teaching and study of the Bible.

FBSM Theater
I am excited to announce a theater page were I am showing prints of rare and incredible films made by Christian filmmakers across the 20th century. These films come from the Gospel Film Archives,  and I am extremely grateful to film historians Bob Campbell and Ron Hall for sharing a digitized print of the landmark Christian drama The Great Commandment (1939) for the debut of this page.

There will also be films from the news FBSM YouTube Channel available on this page.

Christmas Library 2017 
In 1994, an interesting news article revealed an all too obvious truth about media during the Christmas season. That scarcely any of the many Christmas specials on television acknowledge the birth of Christ as central to the meaning of Christmas. So with that in mind I have tried to create a log of family programming to help parents be aware of Christmas specials that focus on the birth of Christ on television, radio, home video and even free downloads from the Golden Age of Radio.

During the Christmas season there will be new blog entries on films, children's books, crafts and more to teach and inspire during this most wonderful time of year.

Apologetics & Education 
While the main focus of FBSM is creative Bible storytelling, because of the urgency of our times I've created a page specially for the study of Apologetics, Christian History and Education. This page features the best radio ministries that broadcast weekly or daily in the United States and around the world.

I've also created a Bible Study page with links to some of the best online resource of edification in the Word of God.




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Give Thanks and Rejoice - Scripture and History for Reflection

"The First Thanksgiving" (1915), by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (American painter, 1863-1930).
From Joyful Heart Ministries, Thanksgiving and Pilgrim Art and Artwork, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson.

Psalm 26:7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Psalm 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Psalm 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.

The Mayflower Compact - November 11, 1620 (From William Bradford's handwritten history, Of Plymouth Plantation, c. 1630) http://mayflowerhistory.com/mayflower-compact/

(It is olde English, so read it with a slight Irish-Scottish accent and the spellings will become more clear). One of may historical documents that I never actually read while attending school.

In ye name of God Amen· We whose names are vnderwriten, 
the loyall subjects of our dread soueraigne Lord King James 
by ye grace of God, of great Britaine, franc, & Ireland king, 
defender of ye faith, &c
Haueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of God, and aduancemente 
of ye christian ^faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to 
plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· doe 
by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and 
one of another, couenant, & combine our selues togeather into a 
ciuill body politick; for ye our better ordering, & preseruation & fur=
therance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof, to enacte, 
constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances, 
Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought 
most meete & conuenient for ye generall good of ye colonie:  vnto 
which we promise all due submission and obedience.  In witnes 
wherof we haue herevnder subscribed our names at Cap=
Codd ye ·11· of Nouember, in ye year of ye raigne of our soueraigne 
Lord king James of England, france, & Ireland ye eighteenth 
and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom ·1620·|

Signers
John Carver
William Bradford
Edward Winslow
William Brewster
Isaac Allerton
Myles Standish
John Alden
Samuel Fuller
Christopher Martin
William Mullins
William White
Richard Warren
John Howland
Stephen Hopkins
Edward Tilley
John Tilley
Francis Cooke
Thomas Rogers
Thomas Tinker
John Rigsdale
Edward Fuller
John Turner
Francis Eaton
James Chilton
John Crackstone
John Billington
Moses Fletcher
John Goodman
Degory Priest
Thomas Williams
Gilbert Winslow
Edmund Margesson
Peter Browne
Richard Britteridge
George Soule
Richard Clarke
Richard Gardiner
John Allerton
Thomas English
Edward Doty

Edward Leister

"Thanks Be Unto God" by Jack Hamm - From the Grace Bible Fellowship Collection
http://www.gbfc-tx.org/Pages/Jack%20Hamm.html

I have already posted this image, but it perfectly fits the day. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!

- James R. Stewart Jr.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Operation Christmas Child 2017


OCC National Collection Week



















It has been nearly 3 months since I posted a new article about Bible media history, and believe me there is A LOT MORE to come. For now I wanted to highlight a ministry that is very special to my wife and I as we approach the Christmas Season.

"Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, works with local Christians in more than 100 countries to deliver gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need. The Greatest Journey is our 12-lesson follow-up discipleship course for children who have received shoebox gifts".

My wife and I packed our first shoebox last fall and have looked forward to doing it again ever since. We are excited about the 5 boxes we are sending overseas, knowing they can bring joy and hope to a small child and lead them to Christ.



National Collection Week is coming up fast and I want to encourage you to find a local packing center so you can touch the life of a child!

The following images are from the Operation Christmas Child website.

Shoebox Distribution in Moldova 

Shoebox Distribution in Zambia 

By Camel in Namibia 

Collection Center 



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Classic Television: "Great Stories - Bible Stories"

Great Stories - Bible Stories [a.k.a. Great Bible Stories, Children's Heroes of The Bible] 

Children's animated series
Syndicated: 1969 - ????
Production:  John Rydgren, (writer); Betty Garth, (executive producer);
Paul Ballentyne, Robert Pastene, Niki Flacks, John Rydgren, John Lewin, Dale Waddell, Donald West, (voices);

Title Card for Great Stories - Bible Stories.
"Great Stories
Bible Stories
Stories that are true
They tell of God and his love for us
And his power too"

This was a series of 65 four and a half minute cartoons underwritten by the American Lutheran Church Department of TV/Radio/Films for $500,000. They were released in cooperation with the Broadcasting and Film Commission of the National Council of Churches. These cartoons were offered to TV stations for free, provided that they air them as part of a weekday series for children.

Title Card of "The Story of Moses"

Moses and his staff.

Moses and the Burning Bush
The shows were created by Cameo Productions, a Chicago based producer of TV and educational films that formed in 1962. Production on the series was announced as early as 1965, was promoted for distribution in 1967, but not copyrighted until 1969.

The opening title reads "Great Stories - Bible Stories" (also its copyright title) but in the end credits it is announced as "Great Bible Stories"
.
The timing for a color animated Bible series for children was very good. 1966 was the year that all networks began broadcasting in color, and the late 1960s is still famous for the domination of animation in children's programming. The limited animation is quite good for a 1960s series depicting realistic looking human characters and difficult visuals like massive armies, crowds, and the parting of the Red Sea. The voice work is also good and provided by seasoned actors. I found myself enjoy "The Story of Moses", "The Story of Jesus" and "Story of The Apostles" as told in multiple short episodes.

End credits logo for Cameo Productions, Inc., Chicago Ill.


The episodes were written by John Rydgren (1932 - 1968), the president of the ALC from 1962 to 1968, more famous for his unconventional Lutheran radio programs.

This series continues to entertain and teach after more than 40 years. Many episodes of Great Bible Stories were released on VHS in the 1980's and 1990's & more recently on streaming media and DVD under the title "Children's Heroes of The Bible". The DVD was given a "Faith Friendly All Ages" rating by the Dove Foundation. 

Sources & Citations
Information in this post is cited from various issues of Broadcasting magazine, the New York Times, other media magazines and the Catalog of Copyright Entries. Contact the author or leave a comment for a complete bibliography. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Classic Radio: More About "Bible Story For The Children", KDKA with Rev. William A. Logan


In a continuation of my post on Rev. William Logan here is the original text from KDKA's news publication that revealed the identity of the beloved story teller of the Bible Story For The Children  [a.k.a. Children's Bible Story, Children's Bible Stories] program.

Radio Broadcasting News, July 22, 1922, Vol. 2, No. 8. Page 1.

Old Stories in a New Way

We older folks read a story, are amused, and pass on to something else. But to the child the story becomes more than amusement. It grips his imagination and becomes for the time a part of his life. No matter how fantastic may be the situation portrayed, it becomes as real to the child as the home in which he lives. Impossible as the feats of the hero may seem to the older minds, the circumstances of childhood make them perfectly reasonable. Thus in the child's life, the story plays a necessary and important part. 

Some months ago the manager of station KDKA received a letter from one of the ministers who had conducted Radio Chapel. He suggested a series of "Bible Stories for Children" to be given each Sunday just before the Chapel Services. He offered to write the stories and read them to the children, but specifically requested that his identity should remain a secret. 

The stories were started and have been given each Sunday ever since. The children are among the most enthusiastic of radio listeners. Thousands of them heard these stories and expressions of their appreciation began to pour into KDKA. Parents listened and added to those of the children their requests for the name of the man who was interesting the children so keenly in the great heroes who are portrayed in Biblical history. So insistent have been these inquiries that at last the author of these "Children's Bible Stories" has consented to let the Radio Broadcasting News reveal his identity. What is even better we are showing the photo- graph of this popular minister on our front cover this week.  

Cover of Radio Broadcasting News, July 22, 1922, Vol. 2 No. 8.
From AmericanRadioHistory.com 

This friend of the children is the Reverend Wm. Logan, pastor of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Pa. We think the secret of his keen insight into the minds of the children, his kindred spirit with the girls and boys, and his extreme popularity, is explained by the audience shown in the picture, which may be reached without the use of radio, for it is daily with him in his home. And familiarity does not lessen the greatness of this story teller for Margaret, Donald, Bill, and Jean will tell you that "Daddy tells us the grandest stories." Thousands of boys and girls all over the country are thankful that the Logan "Kiddies" are willing to share one of their Daddy's stories each Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Classic Radio: Bible Story For The Children, KDKA with Rev. William A. Logan


Image of Rev. William A. Logan and four of his children
From the cover of the July 22, 1922 issue of KDKA Radio Broadcasting News.
From AmericanRadioHistory.com



For years I have tried to find out what the first Bible program in broadcasting for children was, and I may have found it. For now let's say that it is the earliest known children's Bible program. I wrote a little about this a few months ago and have pulled together more information.  In this blog edition I also have updates for the Radio and Television pages



Bible Story For The Children  [a.k.a. Children's Bible Story, Children's Bible Stories]
Children's (1922 - c. 1923, KDKA Pittsburgh)

This early program was the radio ministry of Rev. W. A. Logan. Being at the historic KDKA, the first commercial radio station, may mean it was the first children's bible program ever broadcast. Rev. William Armour Logan (1884 - 1966) was the pastor of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He was born in Pennsylvania, the son of Scottish immigrants. He attended the Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, earning his bachelors degree in 1910. According to the 1930 US Census his wife was Elsie May Chapman Logan, and the couple had at least 9 children. The Logan's the four eldest children, Donald, Jean, Margaret and William are the ones in the above image. According to some newspaper articles, Rev. Logan was active in concerns for Sunday School and youth ministries.

At first I was not sure if Rev. Logan started this program and if each and every Bible story broadcast was conducted by him. Thanks to the American Radio History website I was able to read the earliest newsletters of the KDKA station to learn more about this program. At first no one was credited for the broadcasts. Apparently as the program grew more popular, audiences wanted to know who was telling the stories. In the July 22, 1922 issue of KDKA's Radio Broadcasting News Logan was revealed to eager listeners as the host of the program. His name was mentioned with the program earlier in listings from the April 21st and the April 28th issue  of Radio Digest (look under Sunday, April 29).

Rev. Logan was also a regularly featured speaker on KDKA's Sunday afternoon chapel program. This researcher is still trying to discover the story behind how Logan became perhaps the first children's Bible host in broadcasting. At some point Rev. Logan submitted the idea of a Children's Bible program to the station manager. Logan would write the stories and do the program anonymously. That is until the public begged to know who he was. It would be incredible if Logan wrote scripts that still exist or if he published his stories in another medium. If anyone has any information about Rev. Logan, his life and ministries I would love to hear from you.

Find A Grave - Grave of William and Elsie Logan

Sample Broadcast Dates and Titles
The exact format and story contents of Logan's program are unknown. Below are sample episode dates and times pulled from newspapers and radio magazines. This program aired Sunday afternoons at various times between 12:00pm and 2:45pm EST. Note that broadcasts were subject to last minutes changes and radio listings may not have always reflected those changes.

1922-04-02 "The King of the Trees". (This is the earliest mention of this program I have found)

1922-04-23 "Planting Seeds in the Right Place".

1922-05-14 "A Baby Story for Mothers".

1922-05-28 "Two Boys-Two Gifts-Two Rewards".

1922-08-27 "Stumbling Blocks"

1922-10-01 "Trimmed Lamps"

1922-09-10 "Ideal Buddies"

1922-09-17 "Showing Off"

1922-10-01 "Trimmed Lamps"

1922-10-22 "Greedy Eyes"Norwich bulletin., October 21, 1922, Page 10, Image 10

1923-03-25 "The Children’s Hosanna"

1923-08-12 "An Ancient Perfume Box".  Evening star., August 12, 1923, Page 13, Image 41

1923-09-02 "The Man Who Built His Own Scaffold"Evening star., September 02, 1923, Page 9,


Rediscovering Rev. Logan and this program after 95 years is very special for the year 2017. This fall will be 75th anniversary of the longest ongoing children's ministry in broadcasting, Children's Bible Hour, as well as the 30th anniversary of Focus on The Family's Adventures In Odyssey. Reflecting on how long ministers of the Gospel have reached children via storytelling media should be an inspiration for generations to come.

RED TEXT - corrections made on July 31, 2017.

UPDATES
This series and several new ones have been added to the Radio and Television pages. I am also trying to make these pages more visual with more images to go along with the program summaries.


End title frame from Tales From The Great Book,
 the animated series based on the long-running newspaper strip by John Lehti.

An "Apologetics & Education" page that will include ministries like Answers With Ken Ham and American Minute is in the works!



Sunday, May 21, 2017

More Contenders for the FIRST Bible Kids Program.

Last month I excitedly (and cautiously) declared that KTBI's Aunt Martha's Children's Hour from 1926 MIGHT have been the first broadcast children's Bible program in North America. More research has led to the discovery of  not one but TWO programs that were on the air two years earlier.

So, going chronologically backwards here are two of the oldest ministries for children in American broadcasting. Both are also listed on my radio page.

Songbook cover (partial close-up) with a picture of Harry "Dream Daddy" Ehrhart
of "How Granny Told The Bible Stories". From the Author's Collection.

How Granny Told The Bible Stories -  (October 19, 1924 - c. 1925, WDAR Philadelphia; WLIT 1925).

Most likely this early radio series was based on the 1921 children's book of the same name by Eleanor Herr Boyd. Boyd was an author of several Bible teaching books which are still used to this day.

The "Granny" program was hosted or narrated by "Dream Daddy" Harry Ehrhart, one of radio's earliest children's "uncles" over WDAR - LIT on alternate Sundays. The station was later renamed WLIT in favor of the Lit Brothers who were co-owners of station.

Interestingly, today WLIT is WFIL-AM "Philadelphia Christian Radio" AND the call letters WDAR now belong to a FM contemporary Christian station in Darlington, South Carolina.


Children's Bible Story [a.k.a. Children's Bible Stories, Bible Story For The Children] - Children's (1922 - c. 1923, KDKA Pittsburgh)

This program aired Sunday afternoons usually around 2:45pm EST. This was the radio ministry of Rev. W. A. Logan of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. Being at the historic KDKA, the first commercial radio station, may mean it was the first children's bible program every broadcast. It is unknown if Rev. Logan started this program and if each and every Bible story broadcast was conducted by him. From reviewing multiple newspaper schedules his name is the only one connected with this program.

Rev. William A. Logan (1884 - 1966) was the pastor of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania. He was born in Pennsylvania, the son of Scottish immigrants. He attended the Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, earning his bachelors degree in 1910.  According to the 1930 US Census his wife was Elsie M. Logan, and the couple had at least 9 children. According to some newspaper articles, Rev. Logan was active in concerns for Sunday School and youth ministries. This researcher would like to learn more about his life and ministry for children AND the events that led him to be perhaps the first children's minister in the history of broadcasting.

Find A Grave - Grave of William and Elsie Logan 


Monday, March 6, 2017

First Children's Bible Program(s) on Radio????

While researching radio magazines I learned about the historic radio station KTBI in Los Angeles. KTBI was the station for the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, or Biola University as it is known today. A weekday afternoon staple of this station was "Aunt Martha's Children Hour". Who was Aunt Martha and what were the contents of her radio hour? I absolutely would love to know!

Pg. 52 from Radio Doings magazine, January 8, 1927, that highlights radio station KTBI,
when the Aunt Marth's Children's Hour was on the air. 


Since KTBI is believed to be have been the first radio station devoted entirely to ministry, "Aunt Martha" may have been the first person with a broadcasting ministry for children in North America. So far radio logs that I have examined show that her program was broadcast every day of the week except for Saturdays over KTBI from as early as 1926 until sometime in 1927 or 1928.

Sometime in 1928 KTBI began broadcasting a different program called "Uncle Freds' Biola Children's Club" which aired weekdays around 8:00am. So far I am unable to find information about these programs beyond the standard radio log listings. I will be seeking more information on these early programs that I've also added to the "Radio Programs" page.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Updates To Begin 2017

I have been in several transitions from December to the present and have been away from blogging for quite a while. If the Lord is willing there will be more resources and media throughout 2017. However, I am happy to note several updates to the Family Bible Storytelling Media Pages.

- Thanks to Majesty Music and Bible Broadcasting Network, I have updates on the Patch the Pirate and Children's Music Room radio programs on the Radio Programs page. Also on this same page I have added a link to the Keys For Kids YouTube Channel where a user can view classic episodes of the Children's Bible Hour TV series

- The "Children's Television" page is now called simply "Television" as I will try to include dramatic Christian programming that was also geared to a general audience. All the children's programs that were listed before are still there along with brief descriptions of "Circuit Rider", "Greatest Story Ever Told (TV Version)" with more summaries coming soon.

- I was very sad to hear of the passing of BBN Radio founder and president Lowell Davey. He went home to be with the Lord on February 18, 2017 at the age of 83. My growing knowledge of Biblical dramatic storytelling and this blog would have been much, much, smaller without the ministry of BBN.

-