Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas In The World of Wonder: Crosby, Kaye, Clooney & Lee

White Christmas is a huge holiday film. People love it and just can't seem to get enough of it. It's become an annual Broadway stage show and is, of course, played on television over and over at this time of year. The music from the film is great featuring such tracks as "Snow", "Count Your Blessings", "Sisters" and many other Irving Berlin greats. Back in 1954 when the film came out, there was a bit of a problem in putting out the soundtrack. There were actually two albums of songs from the movie that were released. However, neither one of them qualifies as an original soundtrack recording. The reason for this was that Bing Crosby was signed to Decca Records and Rosemary Clooney was signed with Columbia. Back then that meant that they could not record together. As a result, one album was issued by Decca entitled, "Selections from Irving Berlin's White Christmas", while Columbia issued an album called "Irving Berlin's White Christmas". The Columbia album were selections from the film sung by Rosemary Clooney. The Decca album had songs from the film and featured Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye while Peggy Lee sang the parts that Clooney did in the movie. This was the album that was advertised as the main soundtrack for White Christmas. By the way, if you are wondering where Vera Ellen fits in with all of this, she doesn't. All of her songs were sung by Trudy Stevens both in the film and on the Decca release.
In 2005, Pulse records put out what they called "The Ultimate White Christmas". Fans of the film were hopeful that it would release the actual recordings from the film featuring everyone together. Instead, they got a compilation of both of the original records on one disc. Disappointments abound, it is still a great compilation but sadly it was pulled from print after only one Christmas season. If you have read all of this and are wondering where you can this great compilation, look no further. I present it for you now. Enjoy "The Ultimate White Christmas".

The Ultimate White Christmas

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas In The World of Wonder: A Long TIme Ago, In A Wishbook Far, Far Away

Since the last wishbook post was all about Star Trek toys, I figured that it was only fair that this one be about Star Wars toys. Let's face it, the original Star Wars toys were the coolest toys ever. The best figures, the best playsets . . . just really cool toys! I still have my figures and have them prominently displayed in our "movie themed" room downstairs. Still have the super cool carrying case that's in this picture as well. I wish I still had the Millenium Falcon. I had the original release that came with a little tiny remote for Luke's lightsaber training. It wasn't long after that they stopped including that due to the fact that it was so small! Again, I wish I still had this. Unfortunately, my mom sold it at a tag sale. I think she made a clear profit of 50 cents on the deal. What a crime!

Sears had a weird deal with the Star Wars franchise where they would release cardboard playsets that featured a set of figures that came with it. Mine was the Mos Eisley Spaceport playset. It was basically just a piece of cardboard that stood as a backdrop for the figures to play in front of. I think it lasted about a week before it started to tear. The cool thing about this particular play set is that it featured a figure of Snaggletooth that was twice the size of the regular carded snaggletooth. At the time I felt like I was screwed out of the "real" Snaggletooth figure. Now, I realize that I had the cooler one.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas in The World of Wonder: Christmas Jug Band Music

One of my best friends and fellow Creamed Corn member, Tim Minoudis, is currently manning the guitar/bass chair for the Goodspeed Opera House's premiere of Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas which opened last week and is playing through the holidays. I'm really happy for him that he's doing that but I have to admit, I am really jealous and wish I could be on that gig as well. He called me two weeks ago to tell me he was out drinking with Paul Williams who wrote all of the music for the show. Again, really jealous. I am getting to see it next Tuesday when I fly home for the holiday and can't wait. I've always loved Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas ever since I first saw it when it premiered on HBO back in the 70s. My wife loves it just as much and we make sure that we watch it every year! Here's the soundtrack to the original special. Obviously it's not "official" but it is still the soundtrack and features some great tunes including the classic, "When The River Meets The Sea". Here it is for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas OST (boot)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas in The World of Wonder: And Now A Word From Our Sponsors

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas in The World of Wonder: Merry Christmas From The Griswolds

As you know from the September of Soundtracks, I love the Vacation movies! And of course, at Christmas time, no film is better than Christmas Vacation! It stands out for so many reasons! The quotes are endless: "THE BLESSING", "Can't see the lines, can you Russ?", "Merry Christmas! Shitter's full!" and many more! The film's cast is amazing including series regulars Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quade. Add a young Juliette Lewis, Doris Roberts, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Brian Dolye Murray, the late great William Hickey and the well known voice of Olive Oil and Betty Boop, Mae Questal. Here's a little soundtrack post to help you celebrate your own Christmas Vacation. Enjoy!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation OST

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas in The World of Wonder: Boldly Going Where No Wishbook Has Gone Before

Before Star Wars, there was of course, Star Trek. Don't get me wrong, Star Wars still rocks and the toys that they put out for Star Wars were and still are awesome. But the toys for Star Trek were a little more, I don't know, adult feeling. Take for instance the Star Trek Communicators.

These babies were real. Heavy plastic with real working walkie talkie parts! They came in a package of two and you could use these anywhere! What was really cool was when you hit the little red button on the side it made a high pitched squeal that if hit at the same time as the talk button, could be broadcast to the other communicator! How cool is that?!?!? I still have one of these communicators and it still works! I also had the super cool phaser gun that shot discs! This rocked as well. You loaded up the phaser with the discs (mine were multi-colored, not like the ones in the picture) and just pulled the trigger. Toys like this would never be approved today but back then, they were the best!!!! I'm sure my poor sister took many a plastic disc to the body and face from this plastic weapon.

The action figures for Star Trek were more like the old super hero action figures. They were tall and wore real uniforms complete with utility belts, tricorders and small phasers. Again, these small pieces would never pass inspection today. I had Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and a Klingon. These came with the Enterprise Playset!

This was an amazing toy! On the outside was a drawing of space with the Enterprise soaring through it. The inside was the bridge of the Enterprise, complete with Captain's Chair, Command Center and a screen that could be changed with various scenes of planets and aliens and such. The coolest feature was, without a doubt, the transporter. You would put an action figure in the transporter and spin the dial on the top. There were two buttons to stop the spinning. The red one put the action figure facing the outside while the green one put them facing the inside. Super cool!!!!!! This toy was designed really well because when you were done playing with it, you just folded it up with everything inside and stored it on the shelf (or on top of the toy chest in our house!)

The last Star Trek item I want to show you is the Telescreen Console. This was pretty cool. You could sit Captain Kirk (or any other character for that matter) in the Captain's Chair and then play a pseudo-video game where you would have to hit various asteroids and planets and such. It was pretty cool and from what I can tell, very rare. I haven't seen too many of these around, even on e-bay. They're hard to come by! Anyway, it provided me with lots of good times! A special thanks to Plastic Stallions and The Mego Museum for the pictures. I know not all of the pictures are from the Wishbook, but I assure you that they were in there!!!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas in The World of Wonder: Wishbook Memories

Here's a continuation of a tradition that I started two years ago at the holiday season. It's items from the Sears Wishbook from when I was a kid. Back then, gearing up for Christmas meant breaking out the latest Sears Wishbook and writing out a 3+ page list of all of the goodies inside that I wanted for Christmas. I then gave it to my Mom who of course sent it to Santa who we all knew used the Sears Wishbook for all of his shopping! As in the past, I thought that I would share some of those great items that made the list and eventually made it under the tree. Today we have the golden age of talking alarm clocks. I owned several as a kid. The first one I owned was a Bugs Bunny Alarm Clock complete with the voice of Mel Blanc. It was pretty cool! It said something to the effect of "It's time to wake up Doc". I wasn't able to dig up a wishbook ad for that one so as you can see I just posted a picture of the clock.
I was able to find the Wishbook ad for the clock my sister had.When I received the Bugs Bunny clock, she got the Raggedy Ann and Andy clock (above). I don't remember what that one said at all. I do remember what my second talking alarm clock said. It was a Star Wars clock and it rocked. It had C-3PO and R2-D2 waking you up and yes, it was the voice of Anthoney Daniels! I recently picked up this clock on E-Bay only to find that it didn't work. I sadly returned it and got my money back. But I'm still looking for a replacement (I just don't want to spend a fortune getting it!)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas in The World of Wonder: Judy Garland's Christmas Special

Judy Garland is one of my all time favorite performers and one of two of my favorite holiday themed-traditions are listening to her sing her beautiful rendition of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and the other is watching her Christmas special. It actually was an episode of her television show. The show ran only one season on CBS (1963-64) due to a lot of behind the scenes turmoil and Judy sometime showing up after having a little bit too much to drink. This may or may not have been true of The Judy Garland Show's Christmas episode, guest-starring daughters Lorna Luft, Liza Minnelli, son Joey Luft, Mel Torme, and Jack Jones, but producers were minutes away from calling off the show because no one knew where the star was. Apparently, the night before the Christmas show taping, Garland had been on a major bender. Mel Torme's guest spot was a point of contention on the day the Christmas show was filmed. Torme had signed a contract with Garland's production company guaranteeing him a certain number of guest appearances during the season. Judy wasn't committing to those dates quickly enough and "The Velvet Fog" was very upset about it. Her introduction to Mel Torme on the program was noticeably awkward for that reason. First, Judy mistakenly calls Mel Torme 'Mort,' then flubs a line in Torme's , "The Christmas Song". When Torme good-naturedly points it out, Judy purposely changes the word "reindeer" with "rainbow" - alluding to her signature tune. The tension on the set seemed to bring out the best in everyone as they maneuvered around the spacious multilevel living room set - singing and dancing like their lives depended on it. Here is the opening to that great Holiday episode.

Here's one more Judy moment. This is from the Tonight Show.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Christmas In The World of Wonder: Christmas Mix #1

Here is the first of three different Christmas Mixes I made for this year. It features some greats, some strange and just some. Hope you enjoy it. Keep on the lookout for the other two and also for mixes from the last two years as well! Enjoy!

Dartman's 2008 Christmas Mix #1

Monday, December 01, 2008

December Is Upon Us!

It's December 1 which means the Christmas season is here! Being on the road, I don't have access to all of my Christmas goodies so unfortunately I won't be able to give another "25 Posts of Christmas" like I did last year. But don't worry, I still have lots of fun Christmas stuff to post and send your way (including this year's Christmas Mixes)! We start off the month of December with an announcement about Creamed Corn. For those of you who don't know, Creamed Corn is a band that I have been in for the past 12 years. We are basically a group of friends that grew up together that like to have fun and play music. 10 years ago, we released a Christmas album entitled "Santa Loves You". Before we knew it, several tracks off the album became giant hits on the Internet and the album became a holiday cult classic. We were featured on several Internet radio shows as well as The Doctor Demento Show! Over the past ten years, the album has continued to pop up all over the Internet in various qualities and forms. Since the release of the original, we released a sequel, "Santa Loves You Too" and several different compilations of the two, the most recent being "Christmas Hits", which featured a very cool bonus track. This year is the 10th anniversary and we re-released the album on-line. By now, most of you probably have the original but this re-release is completely remastered and sounds amazing! I personally oversaw the remastering process and made sure that it was up to par. The result is a fuller, richer and bigger sound. This is the Corn's way of saying thanks to the Internet community for all that they did when the original was first released. You can download it at following sites:




So head on over and grab your copy of Creamed Corn's "Santa Loves You, 10th Anniversary Edition". You not only get the original album, but you also get a few tracks from Santa Loves You Too and the super secret bonus track from Christmas Hits! Thanks!
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