Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Family Theatre
Show: The Littlest Angel
Date: Dec 21 1949

ANNOUNCER:

Family Theater presents Loretta Young!

MUSIC:

FANFARE & THEME ... FADE FOR

ANNOUNCER:

From Hollywood, the Mutual network, in cooperation with Family Theater, presents Miss Loretta Young in Charles Tazewell's story of a small boy who became "The Littlest Angel."

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

SOUND:

APPLAUSE, THEN OUT

MUSIC:

FOR A GRAND, HEAVENLY INTRODUCTION ... THEN GENTLER, WITH AN ANGELIC CHOIR, IN BG

NARRATOR:

Once upon a time - oh, many, many years ago as time is calculated by men -- but which was merely yesterday in the Celestial Calendar of Heaven -- there was in Paradise a most miserable, thoroughly unhappy and utterly dejected cherub who was known throughout Heaven as - "The Littlest Angel."

He was exactly four years, six months, five days, seven hours and forty-two minutes of age when he presented his small self to the venerable Gate-Keeper and waited for admittance to the Glorious Kingdom of God.

MUSIC:

MAJESTIC FANFARE, THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

Standing defiantly with his short, round legs wide apart, the Littlest Angel tried to pretend that he wasn't at all impressed by such Unearthly Splendor, and that he wasn't at all afraid.

MUSIC:

SYMPATHETIC, IN BG

NARRATOR:

But his lower lip trembled and a tear disgraced him by making a new furrow down his already tear-streaked face - coming to a precipitous halt at the very tip end of his small freckled nose.

MUSIC:

FOR A FALLING TEARDROP ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

But that wasn't all. While the kindly Gate-Keeper was entering the name in his great Book, the Littlest Angel, having left home as usual without a handkerchief, endeavored to hide the tell-tale evidence by sniffling.

L. ANGEL:

(SNIFFLES TWICE)

NARRATOR:

Oh, a most unangelic sound -- which so unnerved the good Gate-Keeper that he did something he had never done before in all eternity. He blotted the page.

MUSIC:

TO BLOT A PAGE BY ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

From that moment on, the Heavenly Peace was never quite the same, and the Littlest Angel soon became the despair of all the Heavenly Host.

MUSIC:

HIGH-PITCHED WOODWIND, FOR A WHISTLE ... THEN IN BG, THEN OUT AT [X]

NARRATOR:

His shrill, ear-splitting whistle sounded at all hours through the Golden Streets -- which startled the Patriarch Prophets and disturbed their meditations. [X] Yes, and on top of that, he inevitably sang off-key at the singing practice of the Heavenly Choir, spoiling its ethereal effect.

MUSIC:

A SLIGHTLY OFF-KEY VOICE AGAINST THE ON-KEY ORCHESTRA ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

And, being so small that it seemed to take him twice as long as anyone else to get to nightly prayers, ...

MUSIC:

FOR HURRYING TO PRAYERS

NARRATOR:

... the Littlest Angel always arrived late, ...

MUSIC:

FOR ARRIVING LATE

NARRATOR:

... and always knocked everyone's wings askew as he darted into his place.

MUSIC:

FOR KNOCKING ANGEL WINGS ASKEW ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

Although these flaws and behavior might have been overlooked, the general appearance of the Littlest Angel was even more disreputable than his deportment.

MUSIC:

FOR GOSSIPING ANGELS ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

It was first whispered among the Seraphim and Cherubim, and then said aloud among the Angels and the Archangels that he didn't even look like an angel!

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT OF SYMPATHETIC DISAPPROVAL ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

And they were all quite correct. He didn't. His halo was permanently tarnished where he held onto it with one hot little chubby hand when he ran, and he was always running. Furthermore, even when he stood very still, it never behaved like a halo should. It was always slipping down over his right eye ...

MUSIC:

FOR A RIGHTWARD SLIPPING HALO

NARRATOR:

... or over his left eye.

MUSIC:

FOR A LEFTWARD SLIPPING HALO

NARRATOR:

Or else, just for pure meanness, slipping off the back of his head and rolling away down some Golden Street -- just so he'd have to chase after it!

MUSIC:

FOR CHASING A BACKWARD SLIPPING, RUNAWAY HALO ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

Yes, and it must be here recorded that his wings were neither useful nor ornamental.

MUSIC:

FOR AN UNSTEADY, FLUTTERING ANGEL ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

All Paradise held its breath when the Littlest Angel perched himself like an unhappy fledgling sparrow on the very edge of a gilded cloud and prepared to take off. He would teeter this way ...

MUSIC:

FOR TEETERING THIS WAY

NARRATOR:

... and that way ...

MUSIC:

FOR TEETERING THAT WAY

NARRATOR:

... but, after much coaxing and a few false starts, he would shut both of his eyes, hold his freckled nose, count up to three hundred and three, and then hurl himself slowly into space!

MUSIC:

FOR AN UNSUCCESSFUL FLIGHT

NARRATOR:

However, owing to the regrettable fact that he always forgot to move his wings, the Littlest Angel always fell head over halo.

MUSIC:

FOR A SUCCESSFUL CRASH ... THEN OUT

ANGEL:

(UNHURT) Oh, dear!

NARRATOR:

It was also reported and never denied that whenever he was nervous, which was most of the time, he bit his wing-tips.

MUSIC:

TO NERVOUSLY BITE YOUR WINGTIPS BY

NARRATOR:

Now, anyone can easily understand why the Littlest Angel would, soon or late, have to be disciplined. And so, on an Eternal Day, of an Eternal Month, in the Year Eternal ...

MUSIC:

"O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL" ... GENTLE ORCHESTRA & CHOIR ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

...he was directed to present his small self before an Angel of the Peace. The Littlest Angel combed his hair, dusted his wings and scrambled into an almost clean robe, and then, with a heavy heart, he trudged his way to the place of judgment. He tried to postpone the dreaded ordeal by loitering along the Street of the Guardian Angels, pausing a few timeless moments to minutely examine the long list of new arrivals -- although all Heaven knew that he couldn't read a word. And he idled more than several immortal moments to carefully examine a display of aureate harps, although everyone in the Celestial City knew that he couldn't tell a crotchet from a semiquaver.

But at last, and at length, he slowly approached a doorway which was surmounted by a pair of golden scales, signifying that Heavenly Justice was dispensed within.

MUSIC:

THE "UNDERSTANDING ANGEL" SINGS "O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL" ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

To the Littlest Angel's great surprise, he heard a voice, singing! The Littlest Angel removed his halo and breathed upon it heavily ...

L. ANGEL:

(TWO SHARP EXHALATIONS)

NARRATOR:

... and then polished it upon his robe, a procedure which added nothing to that garment's already untidy appearance ...

MUSIC:

OUT

NARRATOR:

... and then - tip-toed in! (PAUSE) The Singer, who was known as the Understanding Angel, looked down at the small culprit, and the Littlest Angel instinctively tried to make himself invisible by the ingenious process of withdrawing his head into the collar of his robe, very much like a snapping turtle.

MUSIC:

FOR A HEAD WITHDRAWING INTO A COLLAR ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

At that, the Singer laughed, a kind, heart-warming sound.

U. ANGEL:

(LAUGHS)

NARRATOR:

And he said, "Oh, so you're the one who's been making Heaven so unheavenly! Come here, Cherub, and tell me all about it!" The Littlest Angel ventured a furtive look from 'neath his robe. First one eye.

MUSIC:

FOR OPENING AN EYE

NARRATOR:

And then the other eye.

MUSIC:

FOR OPENING THE OTHER EYE ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

And suddenly, almost before he knew it, he was perched on the lap of the Understanding Angel, and was explaining how very difficult it was for a boy who suddenly finds himself transformed into an angel. Yes, and - and no matter what the Archangel said, he'd only swung once on the--

MUSIC:

INTERRUPTS GRIMLY: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'ONCE'?"

NARRATOR:

Well, twice.

MUSIC:

INTERRUPTS AGAIN: "TWICE?" ... AND AGAIN, IN BG, THEN OUT AT [X]

NARRATOR:

Oh, all right, then. He'd swung three times on the Golden Gates. But that was just for something to do! [X] That was the whole trouble. There wasn't anything for a small angel to do. And he was very homesick. Oh, not that Paradise wasn't beautiful, but ...

MUSIC:

FOR REMINISCING ABOUT EARTH ... ORCH & CHOIR ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

Oh, Earth was beautiful, too! Wasn't it created by God Himself? Why, there were trees to climb, and brooks to fish, and caves to play at pirate chief; the swimming hole, and sun, and rain, and dark, and dawn, and thick brown dust, so soft and warm beneath your feet!

MUSIC:

OUT

NARRATOR:

The Understanding Angel smiled, and in his eyes was a long forgotten memory of another small boy in a long ago. Then he asked the Littlest Angel what would make him most happy in Paradise. The Cherub thought for a moment, and then whispered in his ear:

"There's a box. I left it under my bed back home. If only I could have that!"

The Understanding Angel nodded his head. "You shall have it," he promised. And a fleet-winged Heavenly messenger was instantly dispatched to bring the box to Paradise.

MUSIC:

FOR FLEET-WINGED MESSENGER SERVICE ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

And then, in all those timeless days that followed, everyone wondered at the great change in the Littlest Angel, for among all the cherubs in God's Kingdom, he was the most happy. His conduct was above the slightest reproach. His appearance was all that the most fastidious could wish for. And on excursions to Elysian Fields, it could be said, and truly said, that he flew like an angel.

MUSIC:

TO FLY LIKE AN ANGEL BY ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

Then it came to pass that Jesus, the Son of God, was to be born of Mary, of Bethlehem, of Judea.

MUSIC:

FOR THE COMING MIRACLE ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

And as the glorious tidings spread through Paradise, all the angels rejoiced and their voices were lifted to herald the Miracle of Miracles, the coming of the Christ Child.

MUSIC:

HEAVENLY CHOIR FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN FADES OUT AT [X]

NARRATOR:

The Angels and Archangels, the Seraphim and Cherubim, the Gate-Keeper, the Wingmaker, and, yes, even the Halosmith [X] -- they all put aside the usual tasks to prepare their gifts for the Blessed Infant. All but the Littlest Angel. Now he sat himself down on the top-most step of the Golden Stairs and anxiously waited for inspiration. What could he give that would be most acceptable to the Son of God? At one time, he dreamed of composing a lyric hymn of adoration.

MUSIC:

HEAVENLY HYMN ... CHOIR ... STARTS STRONG BUT PETERS OUT BADLY

NARRATOR:

(CHUCKLES) Ah, but the Littlest Angel was woefully wanting in musical talent. And then he grew tremendously excited over writing a prayer! A prayer that would live forever in the hearts of men, because it would be the first prayer ever to be heard by the Christ Child.

L. ANGEL:

(THINKING OUT LOUD) Amen? Amen? Hallelujah? Amen?

NARRATOR:

But the Littlest Angel was lamentably lacking in literate skill. "What, oh what, could a small angel give that would please the Holy Infant?"

MUSIC:

GENTLE ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

The time of the Miracle was very close at hand when the Littlest Angel at last decided on his gift. And then, on that Day of Days, he proudly brought it from its hiding place behind a cloud, and humbly, with downcast eyes, placed it before the Throne of God. It was only a small, rough, unsightly box, but inside were all those wonderful things that even a Child of God would treasure!

A small, rough, unsightly box, lying among all those glorious gifts from all the Angels of Paradise. Gifts of such rare and radiant splendor and breathless beauty that Heaven and all the Universe were lighted by the mere reflection of their glory. And when the Littlest Angel saw this, he suddenly knew that his gift to God's Child was irreverent, and he devoutly wished he might reclaim his shabby gift.

It was ugly!

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT

NARRATOR:

Oh, it was worthless!

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT

NARRATOR:

Oh, if only he could hide it away from the sight of God before it was even noticed!

MUSIC:

A BIG ACCENT ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

But it was too late! The Hand of God moved slowly over all that array of shining gifts ...

MUSIC:

SHIMMERING ... IN BG

NARRATOR:

... then paused ...

MUSIC:

GENTLE ACCENT, FOR A PAUSE

NARRATOR:

... then dropped ...

MUSIC:

GENTLE ACCENT, FOR A DROP

NARRATOR:

... then came to rest ...

MUSIC:

GENTLE ACCENT, FOR A REST ... BUILDS TO A CLIMAX, IN BG, THEN OUT AT [X]

NARRATOR:

... on the lowly gift of the Littlest Angel! The Littlest Angel trembled as he saw that the box was opened. [X] And there, before the Eyes of God and all of His Heavenly Host was what he offered to the Christ Child.

MUSIC:

SYMPATHETIC ... STRINGS ... IN BG ... THEN OUT AT [X]

NARRATOR:

And what was his gift for the Blessed Infant? Well, there was a butterfly with golden wings, captured one bright summer day on the high hills over Jerusalem, and a sky blue egg from a bird's nest on the olive tree that stood to shade his mother's kitchen door. And, oh! Oh, there were two white stones, found on a muddy river bank, when he and his friends had played like small brown beavers, [X] and, at the bottom of the box: a limp, tooth-marked leather strap once worn as a collar by his mongrel dog, who had died as he had lived, in absolute love and infinite devotion.

MUSIC:

SYMPATHETIC STRINGS, IN BG ... THEN OUT AT [X]

NARRATOR:

Oh, the Littlest Angel wept hot, bitter tears, for now he knew that instead of honoring the Son of God he had been most blasphemous. Why had he ever thought the box was so wonderful? Why had he dreamed that such utterly useless things would be loved by the Blessed Infant? [X]

In frantic terror, he turned to run and hide from the Divine Wrath of the Heavenly Father. But he stumbled and fell, and with a horrified wail and a clatter of halo, rolled in a ball of consummate misery at the very foot of the Heavenly Throne!

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT OF BALLED-UP MISERY ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

There was ominous and dreadful silence in the Celestial City, a silence complete and undisturbed save for the heartbroken sobbing of the Littlest Angel. And then suddenly, The Voice of God, like Divine Music, rose and swelled through Paradise!

MUSIC:

TO HERALD THE VOICE OF GOD ... CHOIR & ORCHESTRA ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

And the Voice of God, saying:

"Of all the gifts of all the angels, I find that this small box pleases me the most. Its contents are of the Earth and of men, and My Son is born to be King of both. These are the things My Son, too, will know and love and cherish and then, regretful, will leave behind Him when His task is done.

"I accept this gift in the Name of the Child, Jesus, born of Mary this night in Bethlehem."

There was a breathless pause, and then the rough, unsightly box of the Littlest Angel began to glow with a bright, unearthly light, then the light became a lustrous flame, and the flame became a radiant brilliance that blinded the eyes of all the angels.

MUSIC:

SYMPATHETIC STRINGS, IN BG

NARRATOR:

None but the Littlest Angel saw it rise from its place before the Throne of God. And he, and only he, watched it arch the firmament to stand and shed its clear, white, beckoning light over a Stable where a Child was born.

MUSIC:

SWELLS ... CHOIR SINGS THE TITLE LINE OF "AVE MARIA" TO FILL A PAUSE... CHOIR OUT BUT ORCHESTRA CONTINUES IN BG ... THEN OUT AT [X]

NARRATOR:

There it shone on that Night of Miracles, and its light was reflected down the centuries deep in the heart of all mankind. Yet earthly eyes, blinded, too, by its splendor, could never know that the lowly gift of the Littlest Angel was what all men would call forever:[X] "The Shining Star of Bethlehem!"

MUSIC:

A CAPPELLA CHOIR IMMEDIATELY BEGINS "SILENT NIGHT"

MUSIC:

ORCHESTRA JOINS CHOIR FOR "DECK THE HALLS"

MUSIC:

LENGTHY ETHEREAL ORCHESTRAL TRANSITION TO ...

MUSIC:

... A CAPPELLA CHOIR "COVENTRY CAROL" / "LULLY, LULLA, THOU TINY CHILD"

MUSIC:

A CAPPELLA CHOIR ... "CAROL OF THE BELLS"

MUSIC:

BRIEF ORCHESTRAL TRANSITION TO ...

MUSIC:

... A CAPPELLA CHOIR "WHAT CHILD IS THIS?"

MUSIC:

BRIEF ORCHESTRAL TRANSITION ("JINGLE BELLS") TO ...

MUSIC:

... A CAPPELLA CHOIR "HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING"

MUSIC:

GRAND, HEAVENLY ... ORCHESTRA ... TO A FINISH

SOUND APPLAUSE, THEN OUT

YOUNG:

This is Loretta Young again. It's been more than a pleasure to bring you the story "The Littlest Angel" as a Christmas gift to all of our Family Theater listeners. It's our humble way of wishing everyone a most happy and blessed Christmas. And now, may we remind you as we do each week, that the family that prays together stays together.

VOICE:

(ECHO) "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."

MUSIC:

THEME ... FADE FOR

ANNOUNCER:

From Hollywood, Family Theater has presented Miss Loretta Young who has told you the story of "The Littlest Angel" by Charles Tazewell. Music and choral numbers were composed and conducted by Harry Zimmerman and the production was directed for Family Theater by Jaime del Valle. Jeffrey Silver was heard as the Littlest Angel and Ken Christy as the Understanding Angel.

This series of Family Theater broadcasts is made possible by the thousands of you who felt the need for this type of program; by the Mutual network, which has responded to this need; and by the hundreds of stars of stage, screen and radio who have so unselfishly given of their time and talent to appear on our Family Theater stage. To them, and to you, our humble thanks. This is Gene Baker, inviting you to join us next week, when your Family Theater will present Pat O'Brien in Count Leo Tolstoy's unforgettable "The Cobbler's Window." Join us, won't you?

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A BIG FINISH

SOUND:

APPLAUSE, IN BG

MUSIC:

THEME, IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Family Theater is heard in Canada through the facilities of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and is broadcast to our troops overseas by the Armed Forces Radio Service. This is the world's largest network, the Mutual Broadcasting System.

SOUND; APPLAUSE OUT

MUSIC:

THEME OUT