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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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"Monty's Christmas Carol" is an Aztec spin on the classic, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." "Monty's Christmas Carol" is an Aztec spin on the classic, "A Visit from St. Nicholas."

Aztecs Ring in Holidays Past

Decades Ago at San Diego: campus celebrates the holidays in the mid-1960s.

With the holiday season coming to an end, Decades Ago looks back at some campus activities as the holidays drew near in the mid-1960s.

Although Christmas celebrations and programs were reported most often, the stories had a slight twist.

For example, The Daily Aztec of Dec. 17, 1965, printed “Monty’s Christmas Carol,” a San Diego State version of the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas.” Since 1936, a reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was a tradition on the San Diego State campus in December, and E. Kingsley Povenmire, professor of speech arts, gave the reading in 1965.

But Povenmire said, “This is the one story that most universally appeals to all faiths and nationalities,” and “it is not necessary for people to be of the Christian faith to understand this story because so many other moralistic views are presented besides the religious one of Christmas.”

On Sunday, Dec. 19, 1965, the campus radio station, KFMB, broadcast a Christmas program as part of its weekly broadcast “SDS Reports.” The Dec. 19 special program featured recent San Diego State graduate Cleavon Little in three literary readings, including "How Come Christmas?" — a dramatic reading in which Little acted the voices of multiple characters.

Little showcased his elocutionary skills as a graduate of speech arts, which heavily influenced the theatre department as well as the debate program. Cleavon Little acted locally and went on to a well-known career on Broadway and in the movies.

Special Collections and University Archives recently digitized the Dec. 19 KFMB broadcast, as part of its audio/video restoration project “Raising Our Voices.”  Listeners may again, as then, “pause and reflect on what Christmas really is – without the influence of commercialism.”

About Decades Ago at San Diego State

The SDSU Library's Department of Special Collections and University Archives presents the weekly series "Decades Ago at San Diego State." Special Collections and University Archives staff members collect articles and photos from archived issues of The Daily Aztec, providing a glimpse of the university's past and its memorable events, people and programs. 

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