Schlitz Playhouse: Season 3, Episode 17

The Baker of Barnbury (25 Dec. 1953)
"Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" The Baker of Barnbury (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
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(teleplay), (short story)
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Episode cast overview:
John Lindsey, the Baker
Betsey Monk, the Widow
Tudor Owen ...
Parson Cartwright
Leo Britt ...
Hilda Plowright ...
Parson's Wife
Frank Hagney ...


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Comedy | Drama




Release Date:

25 December 1953 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A Lovely Christmas Story
9 November 2006 | by (Los Angeles, United States) – See all my reviews

This very attractive little Christmas story unfolds in a small village, just before Christmas. The Baker does double duty at Christmas time; in addition to the bread and pies, he also roasts the Christmas meat for many of the folks in the village.

***** SPOILER! *****

The village parson arrives at the bakery, carrying a goose which is bound for the parsonage's Christmas table. The goose has laid an egg, which the parson wants the Baker to hatch, since the bakery is the warmest place in the village. The egg is put in the Baker's night cap and hung on the wall just outside the oven.

As the Baker notes down the parson's order on his chalk board along with the orders of the other villagers, he realizes that he doesn't have an order from Widow Monk, whose sailor husband perished 5 years back, when his ship sank. The Baker decides to go check up on her. She's been scraping up a living by weaving cloth for the villagers, but the new weaving factory in the nearby town has put her out of business, so there is no money for Christmas dinner.

The lonely Baker decides to help the widow by asking her to marry him. When he finally manages to blurt out an awkward proposal, the widow starts to cry and asks him to leave, but as he is leaving she asks him to return on he morrow and calls him 'John'.

Baker Lindsey decides to stop at the pub, where he meets a sailor with a tattoo of an anchor and the name "Betsey". The sailor mentions that he was the bosun on the ship that sank, and he calls the widow "His Betsey".

The next morning, as the confused and unhappy Baker is delivering bread, the widow calls him into her house and tells him that she will marry him, and to meet her at the church that same afternoon. As he leaves, he sees the sailor arrive at the widow's house.

Our hero decides to leave the village; he feels that he cannot bear to see Betsey and her sailor husband being happy. He stops by the parsonage to drop off the parson's goose egg, and is hauled off to the church by the parson's wife. The parson starts the wedding ceremony, and the perplexed John sees the sailor sitting in a front pew, winking at him. When the parson asks the question, John says "NO!" The sailor turns belligerent, and John discovers that the sailor is Betsey's brother; not her long lost husband as he had assumed. The happy John then says "Yes", and the ceremony is concluded.

As the story winds up, we see the villagers picking up their Christmas meats and pies. John is singing Christmas carols and Betsey is preparing their Christmas feast. Then they hear a peeping, and find that the goose egg has hatched, which the happy couple consider a good omen.

The story reminds me a bit of my own childhood. Though we lived in the middle of Copenhagen rather than in a small village, we did not have an oven, so our Christmas pork roast was always roasted by our local baker, who was just across the street on the corner.

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