Taking off from the first edition… All I’m going to do for the music portion here is just add ten songs (and pray that, over time, I won’t blow the little WordPress audio-player thingie out of the water).
As before, these artists and numbers appear, back-to-back, in the playlist:
- Peter Robbins et al.: dialogue from A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Anonymous 4: Hodie Christus Natus Est
- Waverly Consort: Three Spanish Villancicos – Dadme Albcrecias
- Perry Como: Home for the Holidays
- Mannheim Steamroller: Joy to the World
- George Winston: The Holly and the Ivy
- Celtic Woman: O Holy Night
- John Denver and the Muppets: The Twelve Days of Christmas
- Al Hirt: Nutty Jingle Bells
- The Roches: Deck the Halls
— 2009: —
- Charlotte Church: Mary’s Boy Child
- Madeleine Peyroux/k.d. lang: River
- George Winston: Variations on the Kanon
- Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops: The Toy Trumpet
- Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby
- Mannheim Steamroller: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Celtic Woman: The Wexford Carol
- The Brian Setzer Orchestra: Jingle Bells
- Jimmy Boyd: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
- Cumberland Gap Reunion: Silent Night
(Note: The playlist goes automatically from start to finish, once you click the little Play button. To fast-forward to the next number, once a song is playing you’ll find a little fast-forward button to the right of its progress meter. And a fast-rewind to the left, for that matter.)
About Christmas via TV, I confess I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the 1962 special, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. You may or may not know of the animated Mr. Magoo character, whose distinctive voice was that of actor Jim Backus (probably better known for his part of Thurston Powell III, on Gilligan’s Island.) Says Wikipedia:
Quincy Magoo is a wealthy, short-statured retiree who gets into a series of sticky situations as a result of his nearsightedness, or myopia, compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. Affected people (or animals) consequently tend to think that he is a lunatic, rather than just being nearsighted. In later cartoons he is also an actor, and generally a competent one except for his visual impairment.
Magoo’s Christmas Carol features him (not surprisingly) as Ebeneezer Scrooge. It’s pretty much the conventional storyline from Dickens, but is distinguished by three things:
- First, this was the first animated Christmas-themed TV program, predating Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by two years.
- Second, it added a framing story to the Dickens tale. In it, Magoo is a Broadway star performing in a staged version of A Christmas Carol. He arrives at the theater, causing various bits of mayhem thanks to his poor vision, and then goes onstage.
- Most importantly, there’s the music. Its songs came from the music-and-lyrics writing team of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill… who would go on, shortly, to do the same job for Funny Girl. (I watched the show a little while ago, and have to say that the music holds up pretty well. Or maybe that’s just the rose-colored view of nostalgia?) You can listen to MP3s of the songs at the Popdose site, in a recent post by DW Dunphy.
Here’s Part 1 (3:30 long), showing the opening credits and the intro to the framing story (sorry about the ad which shows up after a few seconds at the bottom of the embedded version — just close it via the little X at the top right of the ad):
The rest of the program is available on YouTube, too, so you can watch it — in sliced-up form — from start to finish:
- Part 2 (8:39 long): to Jacob Marley’s appearance
- Part 3 (8:36 long): the Ghost of Christmas Present, including his trip with Scrooge to the Cratchit household
- Part 4 (8:02 long): with the Ghost of Christmas Past, through Fezziwig’s party (includes the song “I’m All Alone in the World,” which almost everyone who saw the program still remembers — one YouTuber calls it the “saddest cartoon song ever”)
- Part 5 (8:51 long): through the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and the death of… someone
- Part 6 (3:18 long): at — omigodlookwhosegraveside! (reprise of “I’m All Alone in the World”)
- Part 7 (6:12 long): Scrooge realizes he’s not dead after all… and the Cratchits cut into the biggest (and most mysterious) goose they’ve ever had
- Part 8 (5:05 long): Scrooge with the Cratchits; cast of Broadway “framing story” does their curtain call… and Magoo brings down the house