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A Very Private Miracle


A very moving story about a cranky old man and a little girl trying to persuade him to play Santa Claus.



Air Dates

  • First Run - December 24, 1974
  • Repeat - December 25, 1975
  • Repeat - December 23, 1978





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30 Responses to Episode 0191

A kind of Scrooge story.Nothing sinister here.

Michel David

Great Christmas story!


Jennifer Marlowe Looks and sounds like Loni Anderson from WKRP in Cincinnati! that was her characters name on the tv series...


At the risk of being a Scrooge - I'm glad "A Christmas Carol" was the annual Christmas show in the years following. This one's pretty saccharine.

Mike in Grand Rapids

A bitter old businessman has put his career ahead of relationships with family and co-workers. Out of the blue, a young girl asks him to play Santa Claus. She scrapes up money to rent a suit which helps to melt the man's icy heart. The man and the young girl are unable to return the suit but the man comes up with a generous way to repay the owner of the suit. The owner turns out to be a very special person, indeed.


A little girl melts the heart of the town Grinch by asking him to play Santa Claus

Anna Williams

A Christmas tale about a miserly and bitter old man who cares for no one but himself and his wealth. When he is approached by a young girl (played by a real child actor who does a marvelous job!!) asking him to participate in their Christmas celebrations by dressing up as Santa. He agrees but only if someone else will rent the Santa suit. The young girls breaks into her piggy bank and manages to find an old shop that rents her a tattered old costume for the 60-some cents she has. She returns to the old man with the suit, and while he is surprised that she actually went through with it, and is unhappy about seeing this deal go through, he is not about to renege on his promise. When he dons the suit, marvelous things happen. Beautiful story, one I can see listening to every Christmas. Fantastic mix of A Christmas Carol, and The Grinch.


This one is just too corny! It has a slight "scrooge" feel to it-- in that it deals with the redemption of a crotchety old man, but it falls flat. And, as I remember other listeners commenting in the past, the little girl's voice is grating at best. A weak entry. "A Christmas Carol" --with E.G. Marshall as star-- is far superior.

Lego Decillo

I thought this was a really good Christmas script with a clever concept---the magic Santa suit. I always like Howard da Silva, and rest of the adult cast was great. The idea of casting a real child as Jennifer was a good instinct, I think. However, this is where the whole show falls apart. Since the entire production essentially rests on the shoulders of Jennifer Swallow, they needed a really perky, winning child actor who knew how to deliver her lines. The charm of the story lies in how well she can convince Howard da Silva's character---most of the play consists of scenes between the two of them. Unfortunately, the kid they cast just didn't make the grade. She spoke her lines in a sort of monotone which became very difficult to listen to after a very short time. Too bad, because the rest of it was really a nice little Christmas fable. Gave it a 2.


I liked this episode. I listened to this one a couple of months ago and thought then that I should listen again just before Christmas. I do have to agree with Steve that the young girl that read her part was quite unemotinal, but I still liked the show.


I can't help but think it would have been improved by someone like Sarah Jessica Parker reading the part, but I thought she was adequate. I loved the story and thought it was tasteful and poignant. I gave it a 4.

John Richard V.

it looked like you either liked it or hated it. well maybe hate is too strong. i thought it was ok but not a KEEPER for me. i've only listened once , maybe if i listen again. maybe not. i figured it was a Christmas story but i was hoping for a Christmas Carol-like show. i'm slowly being turned off by child actors. no wonder it's such a big deal when a good one comes along. Shirley Temple where are you when we need you? sorry if i come across as a scrooge. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! GOD bless us all , everyone.


First off, I don't know if you all experienced the same audio problem as I did, but I almost gave up on this one within three minutes... it sounded like a 45rpm record played at 33rpms... slow mo! All the voices were distorted and (I say this in my best Barry White voice) extremely low. The little girl sounded like a slow-witted young boy. I managed to ignore the audio problem of my file and listen through. I thought it was a great story and fairly well told. It was a bit fantastical, but I enjoy that kind of thing. I loved the whole .61¢ for the suit! My only wish is that they hadn't kept the whole thing going after Jasper died. It just sounded like filler to me and unnecessary, albeit a good tale. I give it a solid 4 based on story, concept, and production. Great choice for the time of year too! And if anyone is looking for a good Christmas movie to rent this year, the film FAMILY MAN with Nicolas Cage is a really terrific sleeper. Best wishes and have a very happy and safe holiday season!!!


I just heard this for the first time two Fridays ago. It's funny, they could have gotten a child actor who still wouldn't have sounded like a kid from semi-tough circumstances. As it was, they got a girl who sounded authentically like she was from semi-tough circumstances yet didn't really sound like a child actor. But with da Silva, whose work I like more and more each time I hear it (and the irrepressible Ian Martin as Santa) it still worked for me. I liked the friendship that da Silva's character eventually developed with both the girl and Santa. Have a blessed Christmas, everyone!

Jeremy Bushong

First, I have to let everyone know that my copy of this program is flawed in that the recording is slowed and the voices are impacted. With that said, I just felt the child actress was annoying. I don't know how much of this was related to the poor quality of my copy but I tend to believe she would have bothered me on the best of recordings. The story was good and I would a have rated this program very highly but it was hard to get over her obvious script reading and poor inflection (I cringed when she giggled with Jasper because it was so contrived).

B. Martin

I am catching up on the last couple of shows of the week because I'm trying to get back into the habit *and* they're both shows I've wanted to listen to for some time but hadn't. I enjoyed this show quite a bit. I had to quickly switch from the one in the set I have to a high quality one that someone from the cbs_rmt YahooGroup had posted last year because of weird skipping and jumping of the voices. It was segmented with weird gaps between the words as if two conversations were spliced together or something. Once I switched to the better version (whew!), I thought it was a nice story. I didn't have problems with the little girl (although I'm very much *not* the critic when it comes to these things so it would be rare for me to pick out stuff that most of you found). I loved that the santa suit renter came down to just the price she needed as a kind gesture and then poof wasn't really there when it was time to return the suit. I also love when a grump turns into a nice person again (or for the first time). It's always nice to think of people making changes like that. As far as their giggling, I always like to think of children as having a special way of reaching people who could use a laugh through their infectious laughter--even if it might be slightly obnoxious or even completely obnoxious. Part of the "magic" is in the actual moment including the facial expressions, body language and surrounding circumstances such as an "inside joke"--things that we're not able to see with our eyes with a program like this. I guess I figure that sometimes people need to find the humor in things to feel better about life and it seemed to fit the situation here.


Sweet! So much fun to use the mind instead of the eyes.

B. J.

Oh, my so sappy and sweet. What a sad but happy ending. It's a sweet story to listen to during the holiday season.


Tune in...for A VERY PRIVATE MIRACLE! This is the kind of story that was made for the Hallmark movies. In this CBSRMT episode, Jasper Crown (played by Howard Da Silva) is like a cross between Ebenezer Scrooge & The Grinch. Egotistic in the beginning of ACT-1, solicitous in the end of ACT-3. Jennifer Marlowe did an excellent job on playing Jennifer Swallow, the girl who sweet-talked him to be dressed as Kris Kringle. Virginia Payne (as Mrs. Murchison) & Evie Juster (as Mrs. Templeton) are talented actresses, but didn't have many lines in this story. Not only Ian Martin was casted in this, but also wrote this heartening tale with good wintery sound effects & holiday music. If you enjoyed E.G. Marshall in Episode #0402-A CHRISTMAS CAROL, you'll be delighted by his terrific contribution to this Fantasy-Mystery


This was an okay episode - I did like the warm hearted story but agree with the voice of the child causing me to not like it as much. I always enjoy hearing Howard Da Silva's voice and it was a good story (even if it seemed somewhat rushed to me) so it's still a good one, even if the E.G. Marshall one is more of a favorite.


Loved the instrumental Xmas music in this. Too bad the music was not recorded and the artists identified on some medium back then that would make it available on cd now.


Saccharin? Yes. Cheesy? Absolutely. I loved it. It made me feel like a teen ager again listening to MT 30 years ago.


Listening to this episode has become a Christmas tradition for me. I'm a sucker for schmaltz like this at this time of the year. The quality of the recording makes it somewhat difficult to get through, but it is worth it. Yes, Jennifer Marlowe seems a bit stiff, but the unsuredness that a young girl asking an intimidating man like Jasper to play Santa would make any young girl unsure of herself. You can feel the change of heart in danger Silva's performance, and the insecurity that he would have had in returning the suit. You can feel the love between the two at the end that makes it so special. Pure Christmas Schmaltz that recounts a bygone era. I love it!!


I grew up on Mystery Theater and I listen to these old recordings daily to drown out the background noise in my department. Today was a tough day both work and personal wise. This program, A Very Private Miracle, really made my day.


I loved this episode. I cried - twice. I very much loved the Jenny’s voice and delivery. She reminded me of the good and wholesome characters from Little House on the Prarie. Redemption always gets to me. :)


This episode can only be described with one word: SAPPY! I hope people don't think I'm a Scrooge to say this, but the whole thing is just so overdone, and there isn't one bit of mystery or suspense in the story line, so it doesn't even belong in a mystery series. Also, Howard Da Silva's voice really grates on my nerves. I haven't liked him in very many episodes, except maybe the creepy one about the sculptor who used people to make living statues. The character in that episode was supposed to be really creepy, so his voice was perfect for that particular part, lol! :D


Also, I wanted to follow up by saying that I really wonder, what the heck happened at the end of this episode? Jenny is saying goodbye to Jasper, but I am confused because it's supposed to be ten years later? Wouldn't she be grown up by then, (at least 20 years old), and how is she saying goodbye? Is she at his bedside as he is dying, or in his thoughts, or where? The story deosn't make it clear at all. (This is perhaps the only "mystery" in the whole episode, lol!)


So I saved this to listen to in December as a good Christmas story was needed ... I must say I loved this Scrooge/Grinch episode! The sound was scratchy but that only added to the nostalgia of listening to radio from bygone days. The ending is a tear jerker, but is a reminder of what Christmas means. Ah to be like this all year round! Merry Christmas to all!


Sappy, absolutely!! Warm hearted absolutely!!! One of my favorites, I listen to this one every year at Christmas even though the recording is what it is. My second favorite De Sylvia role, his second episode being the first. I just enjoy the spirit of the whole thing I guess, somehow it brings a tear to my eye when the little girl does what she has to do towards the end, they have another silly laugh together. This was one of the good ones for me


Ian Martin was arguably this series best writer and its clear A Very Private Miracle was written with love. The ending still affects me after all these years when Jennifer as a child returns to tell Jasper she loves him as he nears the end of his life. As a youngster, that ending always made me wonder if Jennifer was a bit more than she appeared.


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