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Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Cinnamon Bear & The Crazy Quilt Dragon

Inspiration. I'm often asked where I find it. Many times, I don't know where it comes from. It's just there. But I think it's safe to assume that something always leads up to it. We just don't quite remember what.

Today, while Googling for photos of crazy quilts, I was reminded of one of my counted cross stitch designs and I do recall what inspired me to create it.

The Cinnamon Bear was a 26 episode radio show originally broadcast in 1937. Each weekday after school, between Thanksgiving & Christmas, one 15 minute cliffhanging episode would air on the radio.

The story was about a set of twins, Judy & Jimmy Barton who went up their attic to find the silver star for the top of their Christmas tree. They couldn't find their silver star but what they did find was a tiny teddy bear named Paddy 'O Cinnamon. The Cinnamon Bear told them that he saw The Crazy Quilt Dragon steal the star and run off with it to Maybeland. And so the adventure begins!

I first heard The Cinnamon Bear when I was about 5 years old. My dad had all 26 episodes on reel to reel tape but the sound quality so poor, I remember barely being able to understand what was happening. That was in the mid-60's.

Sometime in the 1970's, a Chicago radio station began re-broadcasting The Cinnamon Bear everyday after school during the time between Thanksgiving & Christmas. My sister and I would race home to listen to the adventure!

I've always been so fond of this story. Of course, I love almost anything from the 30's & 40's so it's no surprise to me!

In 2001, after receiving my invitation from Just Cross Stitch magazine to contribute an ornament for their special Ornament Issue, I knew right away I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas stories. I designed a Cinnamon Bear along with Fraidy Cat, another character from the story. The Christmas Memory that I wrote of was the story that I just shared with you. Below is my finished ornament which appears in the 2001 issue.



Back to Googling today for photos of Crazy Quilts, I found a photo titled, "The Crazy Quilt Dragon". This immediately rang a bell for me! So I clicked over to the link and there I found more information on The Cinnamon Bear than I had ever read! The site is Radio Archives and it appears to me that they digitally restore old radio shows and other sound recordings.

This is basically the "story behind the story" of The Cinnamon Bear! Complete with photos of The Cinnamon Bear artifacts as well as notes regarding each episode!


Click here for the link.

I also see that they offer the complete adventure on CD. I already have the story on CD's but for those of you with little ones, this is a wonderful Christmas story and it would get your kids away from the TV and video games for a little while!

It's funny how something simple can trigger a memory and how that memory can be transformed into a piece of needlework. And it's strange how everything old becomes new again. There's a "Crazy Quilt" Dragon in my past and perhaps he'll show up again in my future!





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