Let Nothing Ye Dismay… We’re Back

    This week a Philadelphia holiday tradition finds a new home at WHYY.

    This week a Philadelphia holiday tradition finds a new home at WHYY. Chris Satullo, executive director of news, explains in his weekly audio column Center Square.

    [audio: satullo20091220.mp3]

    In my neighborhood, folks love their Christmas lights.

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    Red, green, blue, white, even orange – we strew them all over bushes, trees and windows. Giant inflated snow globes, Santas riding in 12-foot-high balloons – it’s all good, bring it on.

    For most of my neighbors, Thanksgiving weekend is when they discover their inner Clark Griswold.

    Me, I’m a slacker. I just got my modest display up last weekend.

    You see, for me, before the lights go on, I’ve got to get the Christmas story written.

    For a dozen years in the Philadelphia Inquirer, I teamed with cartoonist Tony Auth to present an illustrated Christmas story in serial form.

    In all my years as a journalist, writing about elections, wars and scandals, nothing  has brought me as much reaction from readers as these modern tales of the holiday. People  approach me at news events in July to tell me how much they enjoy this Yuletide tradition.

    Last year, my move to WHYY occurred smack in mid-December. For the first time in a long time, Tony and I couldn’t collaborate on a Christmas serial. And it just didn’t feel right.

    So, this year, we’re back, in a new way in new media.

    We’ve teamed up on a five-day, 10-scene Christmas tale titled Let Nothing Ye Dismay. It follows a group of 20-somethings who get together at a beach house to celebrate the season. As happens in these stories, many complications ensue, and, as usual, a dog is in the middle of them.  (My old editor at the Inquirer, Tom McNamara, used to snarl: “Remember, Satullo, I want animals. The Christmas story needs animals.”)

    The story will appear all week on WHYY.org, with two installments posting each day, one in the morning, one after lunch, from now until Christmas Eve. My man Tony has gone to town on the illustration; there are dozens of great ones, all in color.

    Then, because this, after all, IS public radio, we’ve produced a half-hour audio version of Let Nothing Ye Dismay. You can listen to it at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve or 9 a.m. Christmas Day on WHYY-FM. Hope you can join us at one of those times.

    The 20-somethings of this new story now join the hotel manager of The Innkeeper’s Tale, the children’s hospital staff of A Child Is Born and the festive auto mechanics of The Night Visitor on the roster of characters Tony and I have concocted to make your holiday just a little more enjoyable.

    We hope you’ll join the fun on the Web and on the radio this week. So God rest ye merry and… Let Nothing Ye Dismay.

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