November 24, 1969
The N. C. Essay
It started out an an idea to do
a weekly television show for children.
Children's theatre has always inter
ested me because ones imagination be
comes the stage, and an audience of
kids will accept anything as long as
it is sincere.
I went down to WSJS television
station and met with Mr. John Comas.
I was surprised to hear that the
station had been interested in doing
some work with NCSA for a long time.
When I told him I wanted to do a
weekly show for kids he smiled and
said, "fine". Then I heard the
clincher. In order to do a weekly
show, they usually begin with a
Now a special is exactly what
the name infers... SPECIAL. And
when he told me this was a require
ment, my mind flew immediately to
Christmas. What a great chance to
bring a little magic back to that
very special time of year. It
wasn't even Halloween when I rode
my motorscooter down to the station,
and plastic Christmas trees were al
ready in the store windows. Yes,
Christmas has lost some of its magic,
Mr. Comas gave me a Christmas
Special, then, and I left the studio
with a beaming face. I already knew
what my story would be: a search for
the meaning of Christmas. It would
involve a little boy who sets out to
discover what Christmas is. Thus the
title: CHRISTMAS IS.
I wanted Robert Davis to play
the little boy right off the hat.
Robert was the little Negro boy who
always turned up on campus to ride my
motorscooter, and ask for money.
It was set then.
I knew who I wanted to act the
other roles, too. I needed a Christ
mas tree who comes to life. Gary
Beach. I needed Rudolph the red
nosed reindeer. Stanley Bernstein.
I needed Charles Dicken's Scrooge.
David Sutor. And I needed an elfish
toymaker. Buddy Gordon. Also, I
knew I'd need a Santa Claus. Are
you ready...President Robert Ward.
(Incidently, when I asked him, he was
as excited about it as anyone else.)
In one week we had a script and
the music. There are three songs in
the show. The whole program lasts
thirty minutes, and is video taped in
Our television director, supplied
by WSJS is Dave Ranson, a great guy
with a lot of young ideas.
Then our first heartbreak
happened. Robert Davis was killed
when an automobile hit him on
Waughtown Street. Robert was eight
Several days later I was
standing in the pulpit of Mt. Carmel
Church delivering his funeral address
It was one of the most meaningful
moments in my entire life. What
does a person say to capture..to try
to capture something of the essence
of a human life. And Robert was
just a little boy. He didn’t even
(Cont. on page 4)
Tu p\sV - Va.\
From Illustrated Modem Avt &
Litevature, Oatober^ 1894
"The Gentle Art of Grumbling"
"To be good-natured is to invite
neglect, imposition and ill-usage;
to be cantankerous is to ensure as
musch as you are entitled to and a
great deal more. In short, discon
tent is great gain, and the proverb
which alleges just the contrary needs
revision. If, in addition to being
peevish and morose, you have the good
fortune to be endowed with a rasping
tongue and a strident voice, if you
can cultivate a sudden scowl, you are
certain to command respect. Don't
imagine that contrariness offends.
There is true philosophy in what Miss
Braddon makes Sir Jasper Denison say,
namely, that he prefers the man who
declines to admit that black is white
to him who politely subscribes to so
obvious a taradiddle. . .
"Verily, grumbling is a fine art,
and it should be cultivated".
Letter to the Editor
"In Nazi Germany. . .
First they put the Communists
and Jehovah's Witnesses in the con
centration camps—but I was not a
Communist or a Jehovah's Witness, so
I did nothing. Then they came for
the social democrats—but I was not a
social democrat, so I did nothing.
Then they arrested the Jews—and again
I did nothing, because I was not a
Jew. Then they came for the Catho
lics, but I was not a Catholic and
did nothing. At last they came and
arrested me—but then it was too late
In the last issue of the N.C.Essay
we were called upon to show our
protest of the war in Vietnam by our
artistic efforts. And in some ways
this will help. To quote Barry Boys,
"No play ever stopped a war." Our pro^
test in artistic matters will be use
less unless it is coupled with poli
tical and social activism.
If we really want to end this
war, along with finding the cures for
the rest of this country's problems,
we must be ready to work for it. And
there is no better place to begin
than Winston-Salem, and towns like it.
For here are the people who put Nixon
in office; and the people who can
force him out of the war, now!
After the Thanksgiving break a
New Mobilization Committee to END THE
WAR IN VIETNAM will begin to organize
at NCSA. This group will work toward
bringing peace in Vietnam, peacefully!
So here is your chance to really work
for peace. We all have a week free
to think about it, and I hope you all
will. The work is there, and so is
peace, even if it is hidden now; now
they need you, brothers and sisters.