CBC Digital Archives

Alan Maitland reads 'Jest 'Fore Christmas'

In 1974 Alan Maitland joined CBC Radio's As It Happens as co-host, and during that time he became known affectionately as Fireside Al and Front Porch Al, tempting listeners to pull up a chair to the fire or on the porch (depending on the season) and listen. He read stories by a long list of authors, and they were a delight for audiences, whether the story was a humorous or a poignant one. His reading of The Shepherd, by Frederick Forsythe, has become a Christmas Eve tradition on As It Happens.

media clip
Alan Maitland, as Fireside Al, reads a poem called Jest 'Fore Christmas, which expresses a determination felt by many children wishing to guarantee presents under the tree on Christmas morning. The poem is by Eugene Field, and is reflective of a twinkling sense of humour.
• Eugene Field, who came to be known as "the poet of childhood", was born Sept. 2, 1850, in St. Louis, and died Nov. 4, 1895, in Chicago.

• Two of Field's best-known poems are Little Boy Blue, written for his son, and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, originally titled Dutch Lullaby.  His Little Boy Blue is not the well-known nursery rhyme which entreats him to "come blow your horn", but rather begins "The little toy dog is covered with dust".

• Field also worked as an editor and journalist for a number of newspapers, including the Denver Tribune, and the Chicago Morning News.

Medium: Radio
Program: Fireside Al
Broadcast Date: Dec. 20, 1977
Narrator: Alan Maitland
Duration: 2:27

Last updated: December 22, 2014

Page consulted on December 22, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Holiday Treats

Tired of the holiday hustle and bustle? Pour yourself a cup of eggnog, pull a chair up to the ...

Front Porch Al

Alan Maitland auditioned for the CBC as a singer in 1947. But he was hired as an announcer, an...

2001: Norad tracks Santa Claus

He sees you when you're sleeping. But Norad sees him first!

1960: Aluminum Christmas trees come to Canada

Fireproof and tidy, aluminum Christmas trees are a flashy alternative for non-traditionalists.

1985: Electric eels light up Christmas tree

The electric eels at the Vancouver Aquarium light up a tree for the holiday season.

1944: Christmas dinner at the war front

An army cook discusses plans for Christmas dinner at the front in Holland.