Normally, I would use this post to play religious music to celebrate the Birth of the Savior, but somehow I’m really not in the mood for that this year. I was telling Cathy the other week that the non-religious aspect of Christmas was best typified by music, laughter, and food. So, here’s some music, laughter, and food.
The first four videos here come from a time when being Scandinavian at Christmastime (or any other time of the year) was hilarious. The first two videos are by comedian Harry Stewart, singing as his comic persona Yogi Yorgesson, “I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas” and “Yingle Bells,” from 1949. Then, Stan Boreson does the classic “Vinter Undervear.” The first time I heard it was on a “Dr. Demento” show one Sunday as I was driving from Wausau to Marshfield, Wisconsin, which, appropriately enough, is a big Scandinavian area. The fourth video is “O Lutefisk,” written originally by Red Stangeland, with an extra verse done by Terry R. Shaw, who performs it here. Lutefisk is a Scandinavian delicacy, dried fish that’s soaked in lye until it has the consistency of jelly, then either fried or baked and served with boiled potatoes. A friend of mine who’s from Minnesota and is Norwegian on his mother’s side (who told me about the song) tells me it’s nowhere near as bad as it sounds.
Next to music, I love old cartoons, and I decided I’d toss a few of them in this year. There’s a strong musical component to all of them, so they fit the day. I’ll warn you, because these were made in the early part of the last century, they are occasionally not politically correct. First is a Disney “Silly Symphony” from 1932, “Santa’s Workshop,” featuring an especially-jolly Santa and his elves preparing for the night before Christmas. Next is a Max Fleischer cartoon from 1936, “Christmas Comes But Once A Year,” in which Grampy saves the day at an orphanage after the toys received by the children all fall apart. It starts sad, but ends quite merrily. Ditto “The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives” (1933), in which a poor boy is shown the time of his life by the wonderful Mr. Claus. Next, another “Silly Symphony” from 1933, “The Night Before Christmas,” sees the return of Santa, this time to the home of 7 or 8 kids, who slumber on while Santa and his toys prepare a fantastic display for them. Finally, we have yet another telling of the story of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” this one a Jam Handy Picture from 1948. (Wikipedia tells us, “Henry Jamison ‘Jam’ Handy (March 6, 1886 – November 13, 1983) was an American Olympic breaststroke swimmer, water polo player, and leader in the field of commercial audio and visual communications. Handy was noted for the number of training films that he produced over the years.”)
Finally, an actual Christmas song, “Riu Riu Chiu,” a Spanish villancico performed by Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, and Mickey Dolenz, i.e. The Monkees. Originally four guys thrown together for a comedy series, they created some fantastic music, surprising everyone but them.
Merry Christmas! That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for Christmas Eve, 2018.