NORAD and WHAV Track Santa Tonight with Hourly Reports

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of tracking Santa’s yuletide journey!

WHAV will carry hourly reports of Santa’s Christmas Eve deliveries beginning at 6 p.m. when Santa Claus is expected to delivering presents to children in Paris, France; Spain; Tunisia; and Algeria. NORAD will continue to track the jolly old man all night as he stops at chimneys in London, South America, Canada and many other places around the globe.

Deliveries are expected to arrive in New England during the 11 p.m. hour.

Santa tracking began in 1955 when a Sears Roebuck and Co. advertisement directed children to call Santa direct, but the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition, which NORAD carried on since it was created in 1958.

For more, see the video below.

Other WHAV holiday offerings include:

6 p.m. G.M. Hooker’s ‘Kiddie Christmas’

“Kiddie Christmas” is a 1978 program by the late George “G.M. Hooker” Moonoogian, popular Haverhill High School instructor. He narrates the entire “Kiddie Christmas” in a raspy voice reminiscent of Wolfman Jack. The show includes Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Ding-a-ling, the Little Elf, Everett the Evergreen, Stan Freberg’s Christmas Dragnet, I’m Gonna Put Some Glue ‘Round the Christmas Tree, Dasher With the Light Upon His Tail and The Little Drummer Boy. It also includes rare holiday messages from Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas, Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations, Frederick Earl “Shorty” Long and the Supremes. The program isn’t for audiophiles—the rare, original records are scratchy, but enjoyable.

6:30 p.m. Our Miss Brooks

Madison High School English instructor Connie Brooks finds herself alone on Christmas Eve with Minerva the cat. Everything changes when a young boy shows up selling Christmas trees.

7 p.m. Jack Benny Program

Two different Christmas programs from his long-running show. In the first, from Christmas Eve, 1944, Jack keeps getting shocks from the Christmas tree lights. The Christmas shopping episode, from 1947, features Frank Nelson and Mel Blanc as frustrated salesmen, Joseph Kearns as the man from the store credit department, Elliot Lewis as the perfume seller, Benny Rubin and Artie Auerbach as Mr. Kitzel.

8 p.m. Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show

Radio ventriloquist Edgar Bergen brings his characters Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker out for his 1955 Christmas show. His special guest, young daughter Candace “Candy” Bergen (who later played Murphy Brown on television), reads “Twas the night before Christmas” with a little-remembered reference to Haverhill’s own John Greenleaf Whittier. The story of “Little Red Riding Hood” is told—from the perspective of the wolf, Charlie McCarthy! Other regulars include Gary Crosby, Ray Noble, Carol Richards, Jack Kirkwood, Gloria Gordon, The Mellow Men and Santa Claus’s helper Frank Lawson.

9 p.m. It’s a Wonderful Life

Jimmy Stewart returns as George Bailey in this radio adaptation of the 1948 movie. When Stewart regrets ever being born, his guardian angel grants his wish on Christmas Eve. Besides Stewart, others appearing are Donna Reed as Mary Hatch and Victor Moore as Clarence.

10 p.m. Miracle on 34th Street

Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and Edmund Gwenn, stars of the classic 20th Century Fox 1947 movie, return for this radio adaptation. In the story, Macy’s founder Rowland H. Macy insists a man named Kris Kringle (Gwenn) play Santa Claus in the store even as another store manager tries to have Kringle committed for believing he is the one and only Santa Claus.

11 p.m. A Christmas Carol

Lionel Barrymore plays Ebenezer Scrooge in this 1939 Mercury Theater on the Air production of Charles Dickens’ timeless story, “A Christmas Carol.” Radio listeners closely identified Barrymore with the grouchy character since he performed the role almost every Christmas between 1934 and 1953.

Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25

Christmas Eve programs repeat from midnight to 6 a.m., followed by favorite Christmas songs, except as indicated below, until 6 p.m. Holiday announcements are by the late WHAV news anchor Ralph Hall.

Magic Christmas Window

WHAV’s first Christmas was December, 1947. Because Haverhill’s new radio station was unable to attract a network affiliation, it purchased programs instead from the National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC’s) Radio-Recording Division.

According to an NBC advertisement, “Favorite fairy tales come to life when two typical youngsters discover the secret of walking into The Magic Christmas Window with living toys.” Nine of the 12 programs survive and air for the first time in 68 years, hourly at 45 minutes past the hour between from 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Episodes include “The Projector,” “The Music Box,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Discontented Fir Tree,” “Ugly Duckling,” “Nuremburg Stove,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Brave Tin Soldier” and “Cinderella.”