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  Complete Cinnamon Bear - 7 hours [Audio CDs] #RA031



 
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The Complete Cinnamon Bear


Twins Judy and Jimmy Barton crawled into their attic one December day and found a passageway to a place called Maybeland. They looked in all the dusty corners for any sign of the silver star that always sat atop their Christmas tree. Their search crossed the path of little Paddy O'Cinnamon, "The Cinnamon Bear," who had shoe-button eyes and a ferocious growl. He showed them a small hole through which the Crazy Quilt dragon had absconded with their star and invited Judy and Jimmy to pursue the rascal. Paddy would function as a guide and they'd chase the dragon throughout Maybeland. Paddy magically "de-grew" the twins so they'd fit through the attic tunnel, fired up a miniature airplane powered by soda pop, and flew the Barton kids into a startling and wondrous adventure.

So begins "The Cinnamon Bear," a delightful, one-of-a-kind children's series produced in 1937 by TRANSCO, the Transcription Company of America. Intended to be heard between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the series features twenty-six fifteen-minute cliffhanger installments. The program immediately hooks children because suspenseful fun is always present as each episode concludes with yet another obstacle for Paddy and the twins to overcome. The dragon eventually joins up with the trio but remains unpredictable and mischievous. Named "Crazy Quilt," he succumbs time and time again to his obsession with the shiny silver star.

To put it simply, "The Cinnamon Bear" is great radio entertainment. Excellent sound effects, charming background music, clever songs, well-drawn characters, sparkling dialogue -- they're all here in a blend of the very best talents and techniques from the golden age of radio. Here, fantasy and imagination reign as Paddy O'Cinnamon and his company cross a landscape featuring a singing tree, a looking glass valley, an icicle forest, a root beer ocean, an immense inkwell, a river of mud, a golden grove, and a multitude of other bizarre places and strange talking creatures. Familiar vocal artists - some of whom would later become radio legends - provide the voices: Elliott Lewis, Hanley Stafford, Verna Felton, Frank Nelson, Martha Wentworth, Howard McNear, Joseph Kearns, Ed Max, Gale Gordon, Elvia Allman, and many others. For some of these performers, it was their first enduring assignment on their way to radio celebrity in the years to come.

"The Cinnamon Bear" was written by Glanville Heisch, ably aided by his wife, Elizabeth. Designed for syndication to local radio markets across the US as a Christmas promotion, sponsors would insert commercials for toys and other children's products while the installments played out between the holidays. Recognizing a good thing when they saw it - and aided by a wide variety of low-cost promotional materials provided by TRANSCO - many big department stores introduced Paddy O'Cinnamon to their customers in 1937 and continued to sponsor rebroadcasts of the series annually for years to come. The Lipman and Wolfe Company of Portland, Oregon, for example, continued sponsoring "The Cinnamon Bear" annually throughout the 1950s. Kids visiting the store at Christmastime perched on the lap of an overstuffed Paddy O'Cinnamon and told him what they wanted for Christmas -- as a jealous Santa Claus sat nearby. (By the way, that original bear suit still exists.)

Even today, radio stations in Portland and other parts of the country continue to air the series during each holiday season -- although now as more a novelty than as advertising gimmick. Seventy years after the programs were produced, the series continues to win new fans with its enduring quality, charm, and timeless storybook characters. Some of these fans have, in fact, made it a point to research and publicize the series to others; Don Jensen and, later, Carolyn Kolibaba published a newsletter entitled "Bear Facts" from 1987 to 1991. Finding that their research had increased interest in "The Cinnamon Bear," they founded "The Cinnamon Bear Brigade," which in 1991 boasted four hundred members worldwide.

The Principal Players and the Music

Like many radio programs, "The Cinnamon Bear" series did not give on-air credit to the performers who brought the shows to life. Although some of the voices are obvious and well known - at least to fans of old time radio - much of the work necessary to identify the performers was done by collector Terry Black with help from actor Frank Nelson and series announcer Bud Hiestand. The full cast listing was first acknowledged in Chuck Schaden's "The Cinnamon Bear Book" (Hall Closet Publications, 1987) - the only book yet written entirely about the series. Larry and John Gassman of the Southern California-based SPERDVAC ("The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Radio Drama, Variety, and Comedy") cleared up the mystery of who played Queen Melissa -- an actress unidentified until just a few years ago. However, despite the best efforts of many fans over the years, the name of the young actor who played Jimmy Barton remains to be discovered.

The cast members of "The Cinnamon Bear" include:

Paddy O'Cinnamon: Buddy Duncan
Judy Barton: Barbara Jean Wong
Jimmy Barton: Unidentified
The Crazy Quilt Dragon: Joseph Kearns
Mother: Verna Felton
Wintergreen the Witch: Martha Wentworth
Queen Melissa: Rosa Barcelo
Weary Willie, the Stork: Gale Gordon
Penelope, the Pelican: Elvia Allman
Fe Fo, the Giant: Joe DuVal
Santa Claus: Lou Merrill
Captain Tin Top: Frank Nelson
Snapper Snick, the Crocodile: Hanley Stafford
Samuel, the Seal: Howard McNear
Indian Chief: Cy Kendall
King Blotto: Ted Osborne
Fraidy Cat: Dorothy Scott
Mr. Presto, the Magician: Elliott Lewis
Blotto, the Executioner: Ed Max
Narrator: Bud Hiestand

Many of the actors doubled in other roles as well. For example, Gale Gordon also played the Ostrich, and Howard McNear appeared as Slim Pickins, the Cowboy. Ted Osborne played Professor Whiz, the Owl, and Cy Kendall provided the voice for Captain Taffy, the Pirate. Director Lindsay MacHarrie voiced some minor roles too, including Wesley the Whale, and the Grand Wonkey, among other characters.

In addition to a notable cast of performers, "The Cinnamon Bear" features eleven songs written specifically for the show, including "Never Say Boo to a Crazy Quilt Dragon," "You'd Better Let the Bumble Bee Be," "The Candy Buccaneers," "The Cockleburr Cowboys," and "The Christmas Tree Parade." Composer Don Honrath wrote the songs and incidental music, with Felix Mills handling the musical direction and the Paul Taylor Quartet singing the lyrics.

The Audition Disc

A few years ago, the original 1937 promotional disc for "The Cinnamon Bear" series surfaced, providing a unique glimpse into how the series came to be -- and also how it was promoted. Direct mailed to radio stations, advertising agencies, and potential sponsors, the 12" disc - complete with specially created illustrated labels and sent in a festive paper sleeve with "Merry Christmas" emblazoned in red across the top - was TRANSCO's effort to provide the broadcast marketplace with a program series designed for "pre-Christmas running."

In this sixteen minute two-sided recording, the program's narrator and announcer John "Bud" Hiestand (Elizabeth Heisch's brother) introduces and interviews Lindsay MacHarrie, TRANSCO's production manager and the producer of the series. MacHarrie says he bumped into Glan Heisch one day on Hollywood Boulevard and invited him to lunch. He told Glan that he wanted a Christmas series "with all the charm and whimsy of the OZ books and 'Alice in Wonderland.'" MacHarrie told Heisch he desired a series of twenty-six fifteen-minute programs, designed to run from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Glan agreed that Santa Claus must play an important role in the series and that it should have a "growing Christmas feeling" as it approached Christmas Day. Agreeing to the project, Glan and his wife wrote the show quickly and the rest, of course, is history.

This "audition disc" runs approximately eight minutes on each side, with side two featuring a synopsis of the story spoken by Judy, Jimmy, and a cranky Cinnamon Bear.
Audition Disc Sleeve
Audition Disc Label - Side One
Audition Disc Label - Side Two


The Cinnamon Bear on Television

By the early 1950s, television had made considerable inroads into the broadcast markets formerly dominated by radio and retail advertisers began devoting more and more of their promotional dollars towards it. Recognizing the long-demonstrated ability of "The Cinnamon Bear" to attract children and their gift-buying parents to local department stores, a Chicago-based television station decided to produce a puppet version of the series. Apparently using the original radio recordings as a soundtrack, this visual representation of the series was sponsored by Wieboldt's Department Stores.

Very little is known about this production of the series - the programs were not known to have been recorded and no kinescopes seem to have survived - but evidence of it exists in a series of four 7" 78 RPM records containing the songs from the show, sold by Wieboldt's as a promotional item. These recordings offer an interesting audio footnote to the series, as the songs on these discs were not simply extracted from the radio series but, instead, transferred from the original 1937 music and vocal recordings made prior to the recording of the dialogue for individual episodes. Thus, we get the chance to hear the songs without any lead-in or mid-song dialogue - providing us for the first time with an "Original Cast Album" for "The Cinnamon Bear." The songs - nine in all - are included here in restored digital transfers from an original set of 78s, released by Gilwin Productions.

Never Say Boo to a Crazy Quilt Dragon
The Wailing Whale
Fraidy Cat
You'd Better Let the Bumble Bee Be
Lullaby
The Candy Buccaneers
The Cockleburr Cowboys
I'm Jack Frost
The Christmas Tree Parade

The twenty-six programs in "The Cinnamon Bear" series were first heard in 1937. During that initial year of syndication, the fifteen-minute installments were to be programmed six times a week - from November 26th through December 25th. Distributed on then-standard sixteen-inch vinyl transcription discs, musical interludes during the opening and closing portions of the shows were included to allow insertion of commercials by subscriber radio stations. So far as it is known, the individual episodes were not titled; Radio Archives takes responsibility for the titles listed here.

Episode One: Surprised by the Cinnamon Bear
In their attic while looking for Christmas decorations, Judy and Jimmy meet the Cinnamon Bear. They learn that the Crazy Quilt dragon has stolen their tree-topper, a gleaming silver star. Paddy O'Cinnamon ("The Cinnamon Bear") invites them to go after Crazy Quilt.
First broadcast Friday, November 26, 1937

Episode 2: Piloted through the Attic Tunnel
Flying though a hole in their attic in a glass airplane fueled by soda pop, Judy, Jimmy, and Paddy head for Maybeland but are stranded at the bottom of Looking Glass Valley by a stork who maliciously drinks all the plane's fuel.
First broadcast Saturday, November 27, 1937

Episode 3: Stranded in Looking Glass Valley
Conscience stricken, the stork returns to the hapless trio and flies them out of the valley. They locate a sleeping Crazy Quilt with the silver star at the tip of his nose. Paddy awakens the dragon and a scared Crazy Quilt drops the star into the Root Beer Ocean.
First broadcast Monday, November 29, 1937

Episode 4: Captured by Ruthless Ink Blotters
Judy, Jimmy, and Paddy are captured by strange creatures called Inkaboos as Crazy Quilt escapes by jumping into the Root Bear Ocean. The twins and Paddy are taken to a vat of ink and threatened with immediate execution.
First broadcast Tuesday, November 30, 1937

Episode 5: Outwitted by a Polka Dot Whale
Crazy Quilt and a band of scissor soldiers rescue the prisoners. Crazy Quilt, Paddy, Judy, and Jimmy escape to the Root Beer Ocean. They see the star bobbing on the surface. Just as they are about to grab it, a whale swallows it whole.
First broadcast Wednesday, December 1, 1937

Episode 6: Frustrated by a Pelican
After the whale sneezes up the star, Samuel - a playful seal - starts juggling it when a wandering pelican named Penelope snatches it in midair.
First broadcast Thursday, December 2, 1937

Episode 7: Intrigued by a Treasure Chest
Presto the Magician appears after the travelers once again arrive on dry land. Using magic, Presto locates Penelope and causes her to drop the star on the Island of Obie. Crazy Quilt, Paddy, and the Barton twins locate an old treasure chest. They suddenly find themselves surrounded by pirates.
First broadcast Friday, December 3, 1937

Episode 8: Befriended by Pirates
The pirates take Judy, Jimmy, and Paddy to their ship, leaving Crazy Quilt behind. The pirates were only looking for candy and agree to take their new passengers to the Island of Obie.
First broadcast Saturday, December 4, 1937

Episode 9: Upset by a Mysterious Force
On the Island of Obie, Paddy and the twins catch up with the Roly Poly Policeman, whom they had spotted wearing the silver star. Crazy Quilt, who arrived ahead of them, had tricked the policeman into giving him the star. As they start out after Crazy Quilt, a strange force causes Paddy to vanish.
First broadcast Monday, December 6, 1937

Episode 10: Approached by a Giant
Paddy reappears. Finally they are all together. They enter a witch's house and walk right through a picture frame into a forest. There they meet Fraidy Cat and begin to tremble as a huge giant comes toward them.
First broadcast Tuesday, December 7, 1937

Episode 11: Scared by Yellow Flashing Lights
The giant is a gentle soul and helps Paddy and Judy and Jimmy find food. He gives them a whistle so they can summon him if danger appears. Suddenly, the forest becomes dark and two yellow lights start flashing, looking just like eyes.
First broadcast Wednesday, December 8, 1937

Episode 12: Trapped in a Forest
The lights turn out to be Crazy Quilt's eyes. He explains that some strange force told him to take the silver star to the house where it then disappeared into the forest picture. While walking, the group meet a rhyming rabbit, a bee stings Paddy, and the group becomes terribly lost. They give the Giant's whistle to Crazy Quilt and he accidentally swallows it.
First broadcast Thursday, December 9, 1937

Episode 13: Threatened by a Witch
The Giant has heard the whistle as Crazy Quilt was hiccupping and takes the whole group back to the house. Paddy, Judy, Jimmy, and Crazy Quilt step through the picture frame into the clutches of Wintergreen the Witch. She seals the door and picture, trapping them. They ingeniously escape the witch and retrieve the star. Crazy Quilt takes them back to the mainland and he accidentally sits on the star, breaking it into a dozen pieces.
First broadcast Friday, December 10, 1937

Episode 14: Helped by Queen Melissa
Crazy Quilt suggests they all go see Queen Melissa of Maybeland who might be able to repair the star. When they reach her, Melissa gives them instructions, requesting their undivided attention.
First broadcast Saturday, December 11, 1937

Episode 15: Foiled by a Crocodile
Queen Melissa writes down repair instructions in magic ink, sealing them in an envelope. She directs Paddy, Jimmy and Judy, and Crazy Quilt to read the instructions in total darkness. The quartet heads for the Wishing Woods, which is known to be quite dark. There they meet a crocodile that swallows the envelope.
First broadcast Monday, December 13, 1937

Episode 16: Obstructed by a Deep, Dark Well
The crocodile is friendly and reads the instructions in his stomach after digesting them. The foursome is instructed to head for the Wishing Well, which Judy guesses is where they have to wish that the star be fixed. Arriving at the well, Paddy peers into it, loses his footing, and falls headlong to its deep, dark bottom.
First broadcast Tuesday, December 14, 1937

Episode 17: Pelted with Mud
The twins and Crazy Quilt note instructions on the well that they have only one wish. They use it to rescue Paddy. Heading back to Queen Melissa, they are pelted with mud and trapped in oozy, slimy mud by strange creatures called muddlers. They slowly sink.
First broadcast Wednesday, December 15, 1937

Episode 18: Chased by Indians
A group of cowboys ride up and save the foursome. The leader of the cowboys brings Melissa into focus through a looking glass placed in his hat. She hears of the troubles experienced by Paddy, Crazy Quilt, and the children. She tells them to locate a singing tree. They leave the cowboys to search and are surrounded by Indians.
First broadcast Thursday, December 16, 1937

Episode 19: Confronted by an Angry Witch
The searchers run into a cactus forest as they are chased by Indians. Actually, only one Indian had been in pursuit but Paddy, Crazy Quilt, and the Barton's' imaginations conjured up many, many more. They bribe the Indian into letting them go and continue the search for the Singing Tree. Suddenly, the Wintergreen Witch appears and threatens to turn them all into bullfrogs.
First broadcast Friday, December 17, 1937

Episode 20: Lulled to Sleep by a Singing Tree
Wintergreen demands the star pieces, but her evil magic doesn't work. She threatens to destroy the shattered star. Queen Melissa's assistant arrives, arrests Wintergreen "for practicing magic without a license" and hauls her off to Looking Glass Valley, where she will spend the rest of her days staring at her hideous self. The relieved travelers, star pieces again in hand, lay down under a tree and are lulled to sleep by beautiful singing. They have discovered the Singing Tree. When they awake, they see a big hat with a door -- and, pinned to the opening, is a note!
First broadcast Saturday, December 18, 1937

Episode 21: Flown to the Land of Ice and Snow
The group enters the hat, which flies them to the Land of Ice and Snow. When they arrive they are taken to see Santa Claus!
First broadcast Monday, December 20, 1937

Episode 22: Welcomed by Santa Claus
Santa warmly receives Paddy, Crazy Quilt, and the Barton twins. Crazy Quilt stays behind, as Santa takes Paddy and the twins to the home of Jack Frost who will repair the star. Jack puts magic snow cement on the star and the pieces fit back together again. After he puts it on his windowsill to harden, the star is stolen.
First broadcast Tuesday, December 21, 1937

Episode 23: Enchanted by Santa's Storeroom
Jack Frost observes the Bad Dolls - a group of mean-spirited dolls made with bad sawdust - running off with the silver star. Santa sends out the Tin Soldiers and invites Paddy, Judy, and Jimmy to the big storeroom where they reunite with Crazy Quilt. Eventually, Santa receives word that the soldiers need reinforcements because some hideous green creature is leading the Bad Dolls.
First broadcast Wednesday, December 22, 1937

Episode 24: Thrilled by a Train Ride
Santa tells the twins not to worry and gives everybody a train ride. While riding on the train, they see all the toys. Eventually Santa is informed that the Captain of the Tin Soldiers is waiting in his office with the silver star in hand. His troops have defeated the enemy!
First broadcast Thursday, December 23, 1937

Episode 25: Betrayed by Crazy Quilt
With the silver star now safe, and the Wintergreen Witch turned into a wreath, Santa offers to take Judy, Jimmy, Paddy, and Crazy Quilt back to the attic, but Crazy Quilt wants to remain in the snow country. As the group climbs into Santa's sleigh, Jimmy hands Crazy Quilt the silver star for just a minute - and, true to his nature, Crazy Quilt dashes off with it.
First broadcast Friday, December 24, 1937

Episode 26: Returned to the Attic
Santa, Paddy, Judy, and Jimmy pursue Crazy Quilt to the North Pole. As Crazy Quilt begins to climb the Pole, the group scares him. When he falls down, they recover the star and the twins find themselves magically back in their attic with their mother shaking them out of a sleep. When they finally place the star on top of the tree, Judy and Jimmy wonder if it has all been a dream. Then they hear the Cinnamon Bear's song one more time.
First broadcast Saturday, December 25, 1937

"The Cinnamon Bear" is, arguably, the best holiday series ever developed for radio. Containing all of the elements of a classic children's fantasy, combined with radio's unique ability to create vivid mental images in the minds of its listeners, it continues to delight both young and old. And now, for the first time, you can hear and enjoy "The Complete Cinnamon Bear" -- including all twenty-six original and unedited shows, the original 1937 promotional recording, and all of the songs from the series as transferred from an original set of 78 RPM recordings. Each of the programs has been digitally transferred directly from a set of original 16" broadcast transcriptions and painstakingly restored for outstanding audio fidelity - truly the best-sounding version of the series that has ever been released.

It's yet another triumph for Paddy and his band of travelers as, after well over seventy years, they once again carry on their magical search for the silver star.



Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 | Total Reviews: 44 Write a review

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
An experience! May 20, 2013
Reviewer: Andy Wood from West Yorkshire, ENGLAND United Kingdom  
What a wonderful experience Radio Archives just afforded me!! Me and my 6 year old Son listened to each episode every night when he was tucked up in bed. We followed the story, both as intrigued as the other, and loved every minute and guessing what would happen in the next episode. Beautiful quality and fascinating bonus material!

Great to hear Magic Island's Tommy Carr as Jimmy. His "child" voice is just as convincing as Walter Tetley's!

Thanks so much for a wonderful experience!

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
CINNAMON BEAR February 28, 2013
Reviewer: JOETTA WILEY from HOQUIAM, WA United States  
I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING CINNAMON BEAR, FOR
SEVERAL YEARS, ON OUR LOCAL RADIO STATION
AND FALL IN LOVE WITH THE STORY. NOW I DON'T HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS TO LISTEN TO IT . I CAN LISTEN IT AT ANYTIME DURING  THE YEAR.

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  2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
 
Wonderful February 9, 2011
Reviewer: Paul Johnston from Canada  
I heard this program series as a child over 65 years ago. It is wonderful to have it available again to re-live the Cinnamon Bear's adventures.

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  1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
A Wonderful Treat December 27, 2010
Reviewer: Ted Campbell  
My daughter teaches autistic children. I let her use my copy of the Cinnamon Bear this year and they loved it. So now I am giving her a copy of her own to use each year. She tells me they looked forward to it every day and that it was a wonderful treat for them.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
What a wonderful, gentle Christmas fable. November 29, 2010
Reviewer: John Roach from Kingston, IL United States  
The complete Cinnamon Bear is a treat for kids of all ages! It is such an imaginative, beautifully written, produced and acted children's tale. It is a whimsical, fun story that is never harsh, or unfit for little ears. As a matter of fact if I'd had this years ago when I was raising kids I would have definitely put it on the listening menu for Christmas. There's not much you can say that for on TV and there is nothing like Radio drama to teach kids how to use their imagination. All this audio wonder in Radio Archives incredible standard of remastering and a reasonably priced set. It would make a great early Christmas present for the radio enthusiast and certainly your child/children.

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