Letters to Santa - 1978

Letters to Santa programs were a staple of the Christmas season at WJMA. Beginning about 1964 the letters were read by "Santa Claus" Bill Little Sr, but beginning in 1973 the letters were read by Mr. Postmaster and Miss Priority Message in Santa's Orange post office. Arch Harrison was the Postmaster and Ann Harrison was Miss Message. They read letters each Christmas season until 1980 when Miss Message went away to school. The Postmaster continued through Christmas 1983 assisted by Sparky the Wonder Elf.

Many of the Letters to Santa programs have been preserved. Unfortunately the 1977 collection is not complete and some days are missing. Beginning with the December 12 program, stories written by Grymes School students were included in the program.

Mary Thompson is the announcer who begins and ends each program. The programs were sponsord by Virginia Federal Savings & Loan.


Video of Arch Harrison talking about Letters to Santa

You may also enjoy hearing again:
WJMA Monday At One program featuring the carols of Alfred Burt or
A Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore broadcast for many years on Christmas Eve.

Monday, November 27, 1978 (8:38)
Tuesday, November 28, 1978 (5:50)
Wednesday, November 29, 1978 (5:31)
Thursday, November 30, 1978 (9:02)
Friday, December 1, 1978 (10:07)

Monday, December 4, 1978 (8:51)
Tuesday, December 5, 1978 (7:46)
Wednesday, December 6, 1978 (7:15)
Thursday, December 7, 1978 (8:52 )
Friday, December 8, 1978 (10:48 )

Monday, December 11, 1978 (11:03)
Tuesday, December 12, 1978 (11:40)
Wednesday, December 13, 1978 (9:43)
Thursday, December 14, 1978 (12:48)
Friday, December 15, 1978 (11:47)

Monday, December 18, 1978 (8:44)
Tuesday, December 19, 1978 (12:31)
Wednesday, December 20, 1978 (12:58)
Thursday, December 21, 1978 (9:21)
Friday, December 22, 1978 (23:27) For many years at Christmas WJMA ran a contest. For 1978 it was to find Santa's lost sleigh. Clues were given each day. Each clue added a bit more information to help locate where Santa's sleigh was in the United States. On this program Jim and Susan Poole of Somerset are announced as the winners having identified the location as Middlebury, Vermont. Susan Poole remembers: So funny to hear our names on the radio. I played that game with determination. We had a 3 week road trip thru Maine, New  Hampshire, Vermont, and the Hudson Valley. Somewhere along the way we encountered this beautiful sleigh, and someone took our picture. I was certain it was Santa's missing sleigh, but we couldn't remember where we took the picture...so the New England map was laid out each morning when the clues were broadcast and we retraced our steps as the clues narrowed the search. I was so excited to win...wondering now what the prize was? Clearly the thrill of winning was more important than the prize.

Here are three audio files related to the Santa's sleigh contest:
-- contest clue #5 aired on December 11, 1978
-- announcement of the contest winner on December 18, 1978
-- contest is over on December 23, 1978




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