The World and Everything in It — December 24, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Today we remember people from the field of entertainment who died this year.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Plus, the sounds of Christmas around the world. Today, a small town in Switzerland.

And scripture readings from you as we prepare to celebrate the incarnation.

REICHARD: It’s Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Up next, Kristen Flavin with today’s news.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, NEWS ANCHOR: Trump Vetoes Defense Bill » AUDIO: [Sound of helicopter]

The president and First Lady Melania Trump boarded Air Force One yesterday to leave for their Christmas vacation in Florida. 

But before taking off, President Trump vetoed the sweeping defense spending package Congress passed earlier this week. 

The president said the colossal $740 billion legislation did not include an important provision: a measure that would strip social media companies of liability protections. 

The bill also limited how much defense money President Trump can redirect to build the border wall. And it would require the military to rename bases named after Confederate leaders. 

In his veto message to Congress, President Trump said the bill fails to, quote, “respect our veterans and our military’s history.” He also called it a gift to China and Russia. 

Now members of the House will have to report back to work on Monday for a planned override of the president’s veto. Senate Republicans are also expected to defy the president’s veto next week, re-passing the bill.

The legislation will give troops a 3 percent pay raise and authorize billions in military programs and construction. 

President Grants More Allies Clemency » And President Trump continued to have a busy Wednesday. After touching down in Florida, he announced pardons for 26 people and commutations for three more. 

Charles Kushner was one pardon recipient. He’s the father of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top adviser. Fifteen years ago, Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to tax crimes and witness retaliation. He served 14 months in prison. 

President Trump also scrubbed felonies off the records of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime ally, Roger Stone. Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted both Manafort and Stone during the Russia probe, and juries convicted them both of multiple crimes. 

The pardons come on the heels of 20 others President Trump granted earlier this week. That brings the total number of people he’s pardoned to 65.

Judge rules against California church again » A U.S. District Judge has ruled against California churches seeking to hold indoor worship services. WORLD’S Sarah Schweinsberg has more. 

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Judge Jesus Bernal said late Monday night the Supreme Court’s decision that restored freedom of worship to Brooklyn congregations does not apply to California congregations. 

That’s because the judge reasoned California’s COVID-19 restrictions don’t compare to New York’s rules. The difference? Judge Bernal said California allows church gatherings outdoors in unlimited numbers. 

Now, Harvest Rock Church, the congregation that filed the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals. 

In the meantime, Harvest Rock and other congregations including Pastor John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church will continue to hold indoor worship services—disobeying state guidelines. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg. 

Pfizer Nears Covid-19 Vaccine Deal With U.S. to Boost Supply » More COVID-19 vaccine doses could soon be on the way. The Trump Administration is close to reaching a deal with Pfizer for an additional 100 million inoculations.

The vaccines are to be distributed between April and June. Moderna has also pledged to provide another 100 million doses for this spring.

But Pfizer announced last month that it’s having trouble ramping up vaccine production: partly because of supply shortages. So the pharmaceutical giant says to meet its quota it will need the federal government’s help. 

The deal calls for the Trump Administration to invoke the Defense Production Act in order to give the company better access to the specialized products it needs to make the vaccine.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require patients to receive two doses. That means even with these additional vaccines secured, the government still needs to supply 65 million doses—or a quarter of the eligible American population. Not an easy task with every country competing for supply. 

More than half a million Americans have gotten the coronavirus vaccine so far. 

France relaxes Its U.K. Covid restrictions » After more than 40 nations banned flights from the United Kingdom, France and Great Britain have reached a new travel deal. 

The agreement allows British delivery drivers and European Union travelers to cross French borders, provided they show a negative virus test taken within the last 72 hours. 

EU nations are trying to prevent the spread of a new mutation of the coronavirus found in the UK. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed hard for the deal as grounded flights and halted ferry services disrupted the flow of goods across the English Channel. 

JOHNSON: We fully understand the anxieties of our friends about COVID, but it’s also true that we believe the risks of transmission by a solitary driver, sitting alone in a cab are really very low. 

The United States was not among the countries that stopped flights from the U.K. Assistant Secretary for Health Administration Brett Giroir told ABC News there’s no evidence the virus variant is significantly more dangerous. 

GIROIR: And very importantly we haven’t seen a single mutation yet that would make it evade the vaccine. 

The European Commission is pressuring EU members to follow France’s lead and lift blanket travel bans while still restricting travel to tested passengers and essential services.

I’m Kristen Flavin.

Straight ahead: notable deaths in entertainment.

Plus, sounds of Christmas from Switzerland.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 24th of December, 2020.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. With just over a week left in the year 2020, we continue our look back at notable people who died this year. 

In this segment we focus on those who made their name in film or TV, on the stage or on the page.

EICHER: You may already know about some of the people in those categories who died this year. People like Kirk Douglas, Regis Philbin, Alex Trebek, and Chadwick Boseman.

WORLD senior correspondent Katie Gaultney picks up our coverage of other notable names.

KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: It wasn’t a “dark and stormy night” in Naples, Florida, when the book closed on novelist Mary Higgins Clark’s life on January 31 this year. Still, the Queen of Suspense made significant contributions to the mystery novel genre over the course of her life. She described her writing style in a 2013 interview: 

HIGGINS CLARK: I always loved the Hitchcock way of telling a story. Footsteps on the stairs, you’re alone in the house, you’ve locked the bedroom door, you know that there is a serial killer in the neighborhood, the police have warned everyone. The handle of the door turns, and even though it’s locked, it starts to open. You reach for your cell phone, and it slides out of your hand. I want that kind of writing, as opposed to, “He shot her in one eye to see the expression in the other.” 

Higgins Clark wrote over 50 bestselling novels that shunned profanity, sex, and graphic violence. A faithful Catholic herself, she often featured Catholic women as protagonists. 

Higgins Clark was born on Christmas Eve, 1927. She would have turned 93 tomorrow. 

Moving now from suspense to comedy. 

RAYBURN: He’s one of the most versatile men in show business, Mr. Orson Bean! (applause) Hey, Orson! 

That’s Gene Rayburn announcing Orson Bean on a 1964 episode of The Match Game. Bean was a comedian, actor, talk show host, and frequent game show panelist. He appeared over 200 times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. After years of hard-living, he came to faith in Christ. He talked about his journey in 2009. 

BEAN: My life has been good. I tried everything I could to be happy. So I tried drugs, and I tried booze, and I tried sex, and I tried being well known on the street, and it all worked for a while, and when it didn’t, well that’s when Jesus snuck into me. I think we all have an emptiness that can only be filled by Jesus.

Bean died this February after being hit by a car in Los Angeles while crossing the street. He was 91.

Moving along… or should I say, “Moving On Up?” 

MUSIC: [“Moving on Up,” theme song from “The Jeffersons”]

The voice you hear is Ja’Net Dubois, who co-wrote and performed the theme song for The Jeffersons. Her career in show business spanned more than 50 years. But she’s best known for her portrayal of Willona Woods, the neighborhood gossip on the 1970s CBS sitcom Good Times

GOOD TIMES: Hey, everybody!/ Hi, Willona… 

She died in February at the age of 74 at her home in Glendale, California. 

LIPTON: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God when you arrive at the pearly gates?

That’s James Lipton, longtime host of Inside the Actors Studio. Lipton was a writer, actor, and founding dean of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City. He became famous for his well-researched interviews with A-list actors about their craft. 

The CNN show Starting Point asked Lipton his famous closing question in 2012, about what he wanted God to say to him at his death. And sadly his answer was, well, theologically lacking: 

LIPTON: You see, Jim, you were wrong (laughter), I exist. But you may come in anyway.

After a battle with cancer, Lipton died at his Manhattan home this March at the age of 93.

MUSIC: [Inside the Actors Studio Theme]

Turning the page to the passing of beloved children’s book author and illustrator Tomie dePaola. He was known for modern classics like Strega Nona, Knight and the Dragon, and his illustrated memoirs. His childlike folktales endeared him to readers, but he was a savvy marketer, too. 

DE PAOLA: The teachers that present books to children are usually grown-ups. So we have to squeeze by the grown-ups to get our product to young people. So you kind of make the book fun for the grown-ups as well. Or try to. Or make it beautiful.

His books offered generations of readers charm and wisdom. He wrote in a 2015 children’s book called Look and Be Grateful, “Today is today. And it is a gift.” After a 55-year career in children’s literature, DePaola died from injuries sustained in a fall at his barn studio in New Hampshire. He was 85.

MUSIC: [Green Acres Theme]

That familiar tune, of course, marks the opening of each episode of the classic TV show Green Acres. The show starred Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert as wealthy New Yorkers who trade penthouse views for farm living. You may remember the handyman, Eb, who seemed to have fallen off the proverbial turnip truck.

GREEN ACRES: Okay, now, what else, Eb?/ Oh, Mrs. Douglas needs a loaf of white bread./ Sliced or unsliced?/ Are those the only two kinds you have?/ Yeah…/ It’s a big decision! If it ain’t right I’ll have to bing it brack! 

While his goofball antics garnered plenty of laughs on screen in the late 1960s and early 1970s, off screen, Eb actor Tom Lester was serious about his faith. He recorded his spiritual testimony for a church in 2009. 

LESTER: As a 10-year-old boy, I began to understand that I was a sinner, and that my sin had separated me from God and the only way I could be made right with the Lord was to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, to forgive and forget my sins, and to fill me with the Holy Spirit.

Lester’s faith became sight in April after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 81. 

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Siegfried and Roy!

In May, the world said “goodbye” to the second half of that illusionist act. Roy Horn died in May from complications of COVID-19. The Las Vegas entertainer had survived an almost-fatal tiger mauling on his birthday in 2003 that left him partially paralyzed. But Horn told Entertainment Tonight in 2014 the incident gave him perspective. 

HORN: I’m thankful to God for every breath I can take. 

Transitioning now from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the fictional town of Mayfield.   

MUSIC: [Leave it to Beaver theme]

Ken Osmond, the actor who played two-faced Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver, died in May. He was 76.

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER: Wally asked that Haskell boy over. They’re up in their room, I hope they don’t pick on the Beaver./ Eddie Haskell? He seems like a nice kid… 

What was supposed to be a guest appearance turned into six seasons on the 1950s sitcom. But Osmond couldn’t shake Hollywood’s perception of him as the obsequious Eddie Haskell. He eventually joined the LAPD as a motorcycle cop and was shot while trying to apprehend a car thief. He left the force in 1988, occasionally returning to the small screen as a grown-up Eddie Haskell in Leave it to Beaver sequels. 

FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING: I thought up an ending to my book: “And he lived happily ever after, to the end of his days./ And I’m sure you will, my dear friend./ Goodbye, Gandalf./ Goodbye, dear Bilbo. 

That scene from The Fellowship of the Ring features recently departed Shakespearean actor Ian Holm in the role of Bilbo Baggins. In addition to his appearances in film adaptations from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises, Holm is remembered for other blockbusters. Like his Oscar-nominated role of Harold Abraham’s trainer in Chariots of Fire. This scene depicts the meeting where Abraham asks Holm’s Sam Mussabini to take him on as a client. 

HOLM: We have an old saying in my game, son: You can’t put in what God’s left out. Now you leave it to me. I’ll watch you, I’ll observe, and if I think I can help—if I can see the big prize hanging there—believe me, I won’t waste any time. 

Holm died in London in June at the age of 88. 

From one Oscar nominee to another: actress Olivia de Havilland

STEWART: Now if I could have the envelope… Olivia de Havilland. (applause)

That’s Jimmy Stewart announcing de Havilland’s first Academy Award win for best actress in 1950, for her performance in The Heiress. She gained public acclaim playing Maid Marian to Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood. And her star continued to rise with her first of five Oscar-nominated roles: Gone With the Wind’s Melanie Hamilton, who just couldn’t help but see the good in people.

GONE WITH THE WIND: Melanie! Here’s Scarlett./ Scarlett! I’m so glad to see you again./ Melanie Hamilton, what a surprise to run into you here. I hope you’re going to stay with us a few days at least./ I hope I shall stay long enough for us to become real friends, Scarlett. I do so want us to be.  

Offscreen, de Havilland was a bit less demure than her “Mellie” character. In 1943, she sued Warner Brothers over the seven-year contract system, claiming it made actors little more than property of their studios. She won a landmark decision that changed the way Hollywood hired its stars. That achievement, along with her prolific acting career, led President George W. Bush to present her with a National Medal of Arts and Humanities at a White House ceremony in 2008. 

CEREMONY: Her independence, integrity, and grace won creative freedom for herself and her fellow film actors. (applause)

MUSIC: [“The Death of Melanie,” Gone With the Wind score]

She died peacefully at her home in Paris in July. She was 104 years old.

We began this roundup with the grande dame of mysteries, and we’ll end it with a master of the spy novel. David Cornwell—better known by his pen name, John le Carré—died this month. He is remembered for novels like The Constant Gardener and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Both were adapted to film. Here’s a clip from the latter, when the head of British service assesses Richard Burton’s Alec Leamus to see if he’s ready to reenter the field. 

CUSACK: We have to live without sympathy, don’t we? We can’t do that forever. One can’t stay out of doors all the time. One needs to come in. In from the cold. 

Cornwell’s spycraft knowledge was rooted in his own experience as a member of MI5 and MI6 in the 1950s and 60s. He spoke with CBS last year about how his time in the “secret world,” as he called it, inspired him to write.

CORNWELL: Joseph Conrad wrote about the sea because he was born to the sea. I was recruited very early into the secret world. I would copy Conrad in that respect. The secret world was my natural element. I was in it for those years, and I understand its workings as he understands the sea.

His intelligence career came to an end in 1964 when a British double agent betrayed the identities of British operatives to Russia. In a case of art imitating life, that mole became fodder for the plot of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY: I’m talking to you about the traitor that cut the throat of our man in Istanbul… I’m accusing you of consorting with an enemy agent behind my back…/ Well, I haven’t been seeing him. So get your facts straight, and get off my back! 

His body of work includes 25 novels, 10 films, and six TV adaptations. Cornwell died December 12 in Cornwall, England, after a brief battle with pneumonia. He was 89.


Reporting for WORLD, I’m Katie Gaultney.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Construction workers up in Canada found something very unexpected buried underneath a baseball field.

The crews were excavating the site of a soon-to-be public school in the town of Amherstburg, Ontario. 

They started digging up the pitcher’s mound when the tractor clanked against metal. And as they dug around the object, it began to take shape. 

It was clearly very old. And as they soon discovered, it was more than a century old. 

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo told the newspaper the Windsor Star what they found…

DICARLO: So this is a German field gun, model 77. This came as a war trophy after the first World War.

The gun had been on display decades ago, but when the town built a park at the location, they considered the gun beyond repair and opted to simply bury it rather than move it. 

Long forgotten, the war relic is now something of a buried treasure.

DICARLO: But I guess what makes these quite unique these days is [that] for the second World War a lot of them were taken back and smelted down for the war efforts. And so a lot of them disappeared in that respect, and so this is one of the survivors.

DiCarlo said multiple groups have offered to help restore it. He’s not yet certain what the town will do with the gun, but he can say for sure what he won’t do—to wit, not building a baseball diamond on top of it.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Thursday, December 24th. Christmas eve! We’re thankful you’ve joined us today the The World and Everything in It.

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming up next on The World and Everything In It, Christmas around the world.

Today, our last one in a series. We  travel now to a small river town in Switzerland—this time, for a children’s song that’s quite charming. WORLD correspondent Jenny Lind Schmitt is our guide.

JENNY LIND SCHMITT, CORRESPONDENT: It’s just after five P-M in the small Swiss city of Porrentruy. The rain has stopped, and Christmas lights strung across the streets in the old town reflect off the still-damp cobblestones. A three-story Christmas tree has sprouted in front of the Hotel de Ville—the city hall—and its white lights cast a warm glow onto the white limestone building. Like almost everywhere else in Europe, the concerts and festivals long planned for this season are cancelled. No Christmas markets, no cathedral choirs, no steaming cups of mulled wine. 

But this evening the town’s third grade class assembles in front of the tree for a spontaneous performance of the song they’ve been practicing. A small group gathers to listen. The teacher sets up a makeshift speaker, and as the music begins the clock on the church tower strikes quarter past. 


The song is about a child too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve. “Little boy,” say the words, “it’s time to go to sleep!”  “When you wake tomorrow, you’ll find all kinds of toys in your stocking. But for now, everything is calm and at rest. Your eyes are heavy, and it’s time to sleep. If you’re quiet and listen, can you hear the bells on Santa’s sleigh?” 


Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jenny Lind Schmitt wishing you Joyeux Noel and a Very Merry Christmas.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, December 24th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s time now to return to the Scriptures in anticipation of the coming of Christ.

Here now with selections from the Old and New Testaments are listeners Kristin Tanner, Cathy Mescher, Billy Neumann, Randy Cousins, Shannon Murphy, the DeGrow family, Abraham Eaton, the Baker family, Dan Beaty, Laura Nitz, Dagny Taylor, Erika Kamp, and Karen McDuff.

PSALM 126: When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”

The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!

Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.

I THESSALONIANS 5:16-24: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

PSALM 89:1-4, 19-26: I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.

For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant;
‘I will establish your offspring forever,
and build your throne for all generations.’” 

Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said:
“I have granted help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
so that my hand shall be established with him;
my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him;
the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
and in my name shall his ehorn be exalted.
I will set his hand on the sea
and his right hand on the rivers.
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’

LUKE 1:46b-55: My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: We will share our reflections on this most unusual Christmas season.

And, we’ll listen to the story of Christ’s birth, as told in the Gospel of Luke.

Well, today is Christmas Eve and it’d be a great day to make a gift in our December Giving Drive. If you can do that, just visit

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. And if you’d like, make your gift in honor of Nick’s birthday that is today- what is it, 29 again? Fun way to honor the guy I call Chief.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Lord says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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