How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1966

The cartoon was released in 1966 and has been shown every year since. This one along with Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and a few more were a part of Christmas. These specials would prime you for the big day.

One cool thing about the cartoon was that Boris Karloff was the narrator. Thurl Ravenscroft (voice of Tony the Tiger) sang the great song “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch. ”

The citizens of Whoville looked and acted like the others of Dr. Suess’s universe. They were all getting ready for Christmas while a certain someone…or thing looked down from Mt. Crumpit. The Grinch has hated Christmas for years and sees the Whovillians getting ready for Christmas and is determined once and for all to put an end to it.

He dresses up as Santa Clause and makes his poor dog Max act as a reindeer to swoop down and steal Christmas. The Grinch sleds down the hill almost killing Max and they soon reach Whoville. He is busted by one kid…Cindy Lou Who, who asks him questions as the Grinch took her family tree. He lies to her and sends her to bed.

In the morning after he has everything including “The Roast Beast,” he listens for the sorrow to begin.

You need to watch the rest or rewatch…

A live action remake came out in 2000 but I still like this one the best. You cannot replicate Boris Karloff.

The Budget – Coming in at over $300,000, or $2.2 million in today’s dollars, the special’s budget was unheard of at the time for a 26-minute cartoon adaptation. For comparison’s sake, A Charlie Brown Christmas’s budget was reported as $96,000, or roughly $722,000 today (and this was after production had gone $20,000 over the original budget).

You’re a mean one Mr Grinch The famous voice actor and singer, best known for providing the voice of Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, wasn’t recognized for his work in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Because of this, most viewers wrongly assumed that the narrator of the special, Boris Karloff, also sang the piece in question. Upset by this oversight, Geisel personally apologized to Ravenscroft and vowed to make amends. Geisel went on to pen a letter, urging all the major columnists that he knew to help him rectify the mistake by issuing a notice of correction in their publications.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/72593/13-spirited-facts-about-how-grinch-stole-christmas

 

Buffalo Springfield – Broken Arrow

I first heard this song in the eighties and have been intrigued by it ever since. It’s a song that is in sections and it’s hard to explain it with words… There is something haunting and beautiful about it. One of the most interesting Neil Young songs I have ever heard. Any song with the lyric “He hung up his eyelids and ran down the hall” grabs my attention.

Every time I hear it it’s like going on a voyage to the unknown. This song did not chart when it was released in 1967 and it’s not hard to understand why…

From Songfacts

Neil Young wrote this after breaking up with the group because of what he called “An identity crisis.” He quickly returned to the band and recorded this song. In a Rolling Stone interview about what broke up Buffalo Springfield; Young said, “I was going crazy, you know, joining and quitting and joining again. I began to feel like I didn’t have to answer or obey anyone. I needed more space.” Meanwhile, his Buffalo Springfield bandmate Stephen Stills concurs, saying in part: “We were of the age where you can very easily get the diva syndrome before you’ve sold any records or anything and all that stuff, and there was a little of that. And it was so laden with talent, this bunch, that we just hit the track going too fast that we went into the wall with no skid marks. It was just… we spun out. But we spun out because we didn’t realize how hot the car was.”

This track took over 100 hours to record, which was an eternity by 1967 standards. “Broken Arrow” sometimes draws raised eyebrows for being so oddly arranged – rather like the Beatles’ psychedelic period such as “Revolution 9.” Perhaps it is this song which longtime Young collaborator David Briggs had in mind when he said, “When you make rock and roll, the more you think, the more you stink.”

Dewey Martin, who was Buffalo Springfield’s drummer, sang the first verse of Mr. Soul in this tune. The track was produced by Jack Nitzsche, and the jazzy piano solo at the end is by Don Randi. 

Of “Broken Arrow,” Peter Frampton had this to say: “Ever since the Buffalo Springfield, ‘Broken Arrow’ – I think that’s the one that did it for me, that just put him at the top of my list as one of my favorites. And to have him and Stephen Stills in the same band, ’cause I love both of them, was incredible. But Neil is just an amazing performer as well as, obviously, the amazing songs he’s written. I’m a big fan.”

Broken Arrow

The lights turned on and the curtain fell down
And when it was over it felt like a dream 
They stood at the stage door and begged for a scream 
The agents had paid for the black limousine 
That waited outside in the rain 
Did you see them, did you see them? 
Did you see them in the river? 
They were there to wave to you 
Could you tell that the empty quivered 
Brown skinned Indian on the banks 
That were crowded and narrow 
Held a broken arrow? 

Eighteen years of American dream, 
He saw that his brother had sworn on the wall 
He hung up his eyelids and ran down the hall 
His mother had told him a trip was a fall 
And don’t mention babies at all 
Did you see him, did you see him? 
Did you see him in the river? 
He was there to wave to you 
Could you tell that the empty quivered
Brown skinned Indian on the banks 
That were crowded and narrow
Held a broken arrow? 

The streets were lined for the wedding parade 
The Queen wore the white gloves, the county of song 
The black covered caisson her horses had drawn 
Protected her king from the sun rays of dawn 
They married for peace and were gone 
Did you see them, did you see them? 
Did you see them in the river? 
They were there to wave to you 
Could you tell that the empty quivered 
Brown skinned Indian on the banks 
That were crowded and narrow
Held a broken arrow?

John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

My favorite Christmas song hands down. Yea I’m biased because I am a Beatles fan but this one is great. John’s voice goes so well with this song. The song peaked at #2 in the UK charts in 1971.

I think of High School when I hear this song. Our school had a Christmas poster contest and a buddy and I made a poster as a joke and wrote “So this is Christmas and what have you done another year over, and a new one just begun” and won first prize…with an assist from John.

From Songfacts.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote this in their New York City hotel room and recorded it during the evening of October 28 and into the morning of the 29th, 1971 at the Record Plant in New York. It was released in the US for Christmas but didn’t chart. The next year, it was released in the UK, where it did much better, charting at #4. Eventually, the song became a Christmas classic in America, but it took a while.

John and Yoko spent a lot of time in the late ’60s and early ’70s working to promote peace. In 1969, they put up billboards in major cities around the world that said, “War is over! (If you want it).” Two years later this slogan became the basis for this song when Lennon decided to make a Christmas record with an anti-war message. John also claimed another inspiration for writing the song: he said he was “sick of ‘White Christmas.'”

The children’s voices are the Harlem Community Choir, who were brought in to sing on this track. They are credited on the single along with Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band.

Lennon and Ono produced this with the help of Phil Spector. Spector had worked on some of the later Beatles songs and also produced Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” It was not Spector’s first foray into Christmas music: he and his famous session stars (including a 17-year-old Cher) spent six weeks in the summer of 1963 putting together A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, featuring artists like The Ronettes and Darlene Love. Unfortunately, the album was released on November 22, 1963, which was the same day US president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The album sold poorly as America was focused on news of the killing.

This was originally released on clear green vinyl with Yoko Ono’s “Listen, The Snow Is Falling” as the B-side.

At the beginning of the song, two whispers can be heard. Yoko whispers: “Happy Christmas, Kyoko” (Kyoko Chan Cox is Yoko’s daughter with Anthony Cox) and John whispers: “Happy Christmas, Julian” (John’s son with Cynthia). >>

This being a Phil Spector production, four guitarists were brought in to play acoustic guitars: Hugh McCracken (who had recently played on the Paul McCartney album Ram), Chris Osbourne, Stu Scharf and Teddy Irwin. According to Richard Williams, who was reporting on the session for Uncut, when Lennon taught them the song, he asked them to “pretend it’s Christmas.” When one of the guitarists said he was Jewish, John told him, “Well, pretend it’s your birthday then.”

As for the other personnel, Jim Keltner played drums and sleigh bells, Nicky Hopkins played chimes and glockenspiel. Keltner and Hopkins were part of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, and a third member, Klaus Voorman, was supposed to play bass on this track, but got stuck on a flight from Germany. One of the guitarists brought in for the session covered the bass – which one nobody seems to remember.

John Lennon was shot and killed less than three weeks before Christmas in 1980. The song was re-released in the UK on December 20 of that year, reaching #2 (held off the top spot by “There’s No One Quite Like Grandma” by St. Winifred’s School Choir). It made the UK Top 40 again in 1981 (#28), 2003 (#32) and 2007 (#40). Also in 2003, a version sung by the finalists of the singing competition Pop Idol reached #5.

The Fray were the first to chart with this song in America, reaching #50 in 2006; Sarah McLachlan’s version went to #107 that same year. Other artists to cover it include The Alarm, The Cranes, The December People, and Melissa Etheridge (in a medley with “Give Peace a Chance”). 

The Australian artist Delta Goodrem also covered it in 2003, taking it to #1 in her native country as a double-A-side single with “Predictable.” >>

Though now a Christmas standard, Lennon originally penned this as a protest song about the Vietnam War, and the idea “that we’re just as responsible as the man who pushes the button. As long as people imagine that somebody’s doing it to them and that they have no control, then they have no control.”

This didn’t appear on an album until 1975, when it was included on Lennon’s Shaved Fish singles compilation. Most Christmas songs are compiled with other songs of the season, but Shaved Fish listeners got to hear it year round.

 

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

(Happy Christmas Kyoko)
(Happy Christmas Julian)

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Happy Christmas

Yardbirds – Shapes of Things

This is the Yardbirds Jeff Beck edition. Great song that peaked at #11 in the Billboard 100, #3 in the UK and #7 in Canada in 1966. Beck’s guitar solo in this song is fantastic as he uses sustain, distortion. and some eastern influence. This was shortly before Jimmy Page joined the group.

From Songfacts.

When we spoke with Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, we asked him about writing a hit song. He replied: “That’s probably the hardest thing to try and do. Every time we tried to do that it never really succeeded. I suppose we were lucky in that when we did ‘Shapes of Things’ it was like a hit song, but we were really coming from not trying to create a sort of a 3-minute piece of music, it was just something that seemed natural to us. We started with the rhythm, we used a bass riff that came from a jazz record, got a groove going with that and then added a few other bits from elsewhere, other ideas that we’d had. And I think it was a great success for us, it was a good hit record that wasn’t really selling out. And it was original.”

Explaining how they composed the song, McCarty added: “With ‘The Shapes of Things’ I came up with a marching type of rhythm that I tried to make interesting. And at the end of each line we’d build up like we used to do with some of our stage stuff – the rave ups. And then the bass riff came on top of that. And the bass riff was loosely based on a Dave Brubeck song, sort of a jazz song, around a doo doo doo doo doo doo, and then the chords came over that. The chords were very basic, came between the two tones, I think G and F, and then resolving it in D, each verse. And then the tune came on top of that. In fact, I remember putting the backing track down, which sounded great. I wasn’t at the session where Keith made up the tune, and when I heard the tune, I thought, Oh, that’s great. It’s a real surprise. He made up the tune, and then we had this sort of ‘Come tomorrow,’ but that was part of the song, anyway, at the beginning. So it was an exciting song to be involved in.”

Bassist Paul Samwell-Smith told NME staffer and press officer Keith Altham that he wrote this song about the destruction of the planet. He added: “I wrote it in a bar in Chicago. I just lifted part of a Dave Brubeck fugue to a marching beat. It’s a sort of protest song.”
Jim McCarty told us: “‘Shapes of Things’ was very much about the state of the situation in the country with the Vietnam War, so it was sort of an anti-war song.”

In 1995, 3 years after The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band reformed, eventually releasing the album of new material Birdland in 2003. Bass player Chris Dreja says of this song on their website: “I think ‘Shapes of Things’ is one of the finest things the band ever did. It was the first recording done at Chess in Chicago. They just nailed our sound. It’s a great song to play live. When you hit that chord for the solo part, then a little pause, then you get that BANG where the solo comes in. It’s just a magic moment.”

Drummer Jim McCarty (August 2011): “We were definitely surprised when we discovered that we could write hits without outside writers. With Jeff Beck it became very much a team effort. Some of us did some things well and some of us did other things well. We put all of those things in a pot and it just all seemed to work. I always fancied ‘Shapes Of Things’ as being the Yardbirds’ best single. That song had all the elements. Good tune, good lyrics, good rhythm and a great guitar solo by Jeff. That song was really the band at that point.”

 

Shapes of Things

Shapes of things before my eyes,
Just teach me to despise.
Will time make men more wise?
Here within my lonely frame,
my eyes just heard my brain.
But will it seem the same?

(Come Tomorrow) Will I be older?
(Come Tomorrow) May be a soldier.
(Come Tomorrow) May I be bolder than today?

Now the trees are almost green.
But will they still be seen?
When time and tide have been.
Fall into your passing hands.
Please don’t destroy these lands.
Don’t make them desert sands.

Chorus, Lead.

Soon I hope that I will find,
Thoughts deep within my mind.
That won’t displace my kind.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

The Peanuts were my favorite cartoon growing up and I would never miss their Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas specials. Everyone can relate to Charlie Brown because we lose more than we win in life. He doesn’t get to kick that football, his dog has more things than he does and he is forever trying to get the elusive little redhead girl to notice him.

The Peanuts inhabit a kids world where grownups are felt but not heard. At least not in English.

This 1965 special has everything good about them in one show.

The gang is skating and Charlie Brown is telling Linus that despite Christmas being a happy time he is depressed. Linus tells Charlie that is normal and Lucy pipes in with “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.” That sums it all up.

Charlie gets to direct the Christmas play and his main job was to get a spectacular Christmas tree under Lucy’s orders. …He picks the only real tree there…more like a branch but he is sure it will do the job. Most of the gang do not agree when he comes back with the tree but Charlie persists. Linus gets up and reads from the Bible and the inflection he lends to the reading is great.

After that, you will need to watch because it will be worth it.

Aluminum Christmas trees were marketed beginning in 1958 and enjoyed fairly strong sales by eliminating pesky needles and tree sap. But the annual airings of A Charlie Brown Christmas swayed public thinking: In the special, Charlie Brown refuses to get a fake tree. Viewers began to do the same, and the product was virtually phased out by 1969. The leftovers are now collector’s items.

Actors and Actresses The early Peanuts specials made use of both untrained kids and professional actors: Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Christopher Shea (Linus) were working child performers, while the rest of the cast consisted of “regular” kids coached by Melendez in the studio. When Schulz told Melendez that Snoopy couldn’t have any lines in the show—he’s a dog, and Schulz’s dogs didn’t talk—the animator decided to bark and chuff into a microphone himself, then speed up the recording to give it a more emotive quality.

Love the Christmas Dance.

 

 

 

 

 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer every year is the same as setting up the tree. Every year I would look forward to seeing this along with the others but what a fantastic durable show this has been. When I hear Burl Ives in anything…I think of him as the narrator Sam the Snowman of this program.

 

The characters are wonderful. Well except those other young reindeer who really come down on Rudolph when his nose lights up.

Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist
Clarice – The reindeer who likes Rudolph just as he is red nose and all.
Yukon Cornelius the prospector who loves silver and gold and has a tongue that can find his silver and gold.
Abominable Snowman – The bad guy of the show who only needs a dentist to make him a good guy.
Head Elf – He leans on Hermey to get his elf self-act together and discourages him from being a dentist…I never liked him too much.

Throughout the special, Yukon Cornelius is seen throwing his pickaxe into the ground, taking it out and licking it. It turns out that he is checking for neither gold nor silver; Yukon was actually searching for an elusive peppermint mine. In a scene right at the end of the special’s original broadcast, deleted the next year to make room for the Misfit Toys’ new scene, Cornelius pulled his pick from the ground, licked it and said, “Peppermint! What I’ve been searching for all my life! I’ve struck it rich! I’ve got me a peppermint mine! Wahoo!” The scene was restored in 1998 and has been reinstated in all the subsequent home video release except for the 2004 DVD release. However, this scene is still cut from recent televised airings.

The Island of Misplaced Toys got to me when I was a kid. I really felt sorry for these lonely toys. King Moonracer was over the island and tried to convinced Rudolph to tell Santa about them so he could pick them up and find kids who would play with them.

Related image

The original 1964 airing did not include the closing scene where Santa picks up the misfit toys. That scene was added in 1965, in response to complaints that Santa was not shown fulfilling his promise to include them in his annual delivery.

The stop animation in this works really well.

The songs are really good. Silver and Gold, Holly Jolly Christmas, Jingle Jingle Jingle, We Are Santa’s Elves, There’s Always Tomorrow, We’re a Couple of Misfits and The Most Wonderful Day of the Year.

https://christmas-specials.fandom.com/wiki/Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_(Rankin/Bass)

 

Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

One of the great Kinks songs. The song peaked at #2 in the UK Charts but failed to chart in America.

Ray Davies brought this to the band while they were in the middle of recording the album. He was reluctant to share the lyrics because they were so personal. In a Rolling Stone magazine interview, his brother (and Kinks guitarist) Dave Davies said Ray felt “it was like an extract from a diary nobody was allowed to read.”

From Songfacts.

Written by Kinks lead singer Ray Davies, he called this “a romantic, lyrical song about my older sister’s generation.”

Waterloo Bridge is in London, and the lyrics are about a guy looking out of a window at two lovers meeting at Waterloo Station. Davies used to cross Waterloo Bridge every day when he was a student at Croydon Art School.

It is often claimed that the line, “Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station every Friday night” is about the relationship between actor Terence Stamp and actress Julie Christie. However, Ray Davies denied this in his autobiography. He subsequently revealed that it was “a fantasy about my sister going off with her boyfriend to a new world and they were going to emigrate and go to another country.”

According to Kinks biographer Nick Hasted, Terry was Ray’s nephew Terry Davies, whom he was close to in early teenage years.

Further confusing the matter, Davies told Rolling Stone in 2015 that Julie and Terry were “big, famous actors at the time.” The actors had been dating since the early ’60s and starred together in the film Far From the Madding Crowd, which is often cited as the direct inspiration for the song, but the film didn’t come out until six months after the single’s release.

 

Waterloo Sunset

Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night?
People so busy, make me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright

But I don’t need no friends
As long as I gaze on
Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunset’s fine (Waterloo sunset’s fine)

Terry meets Julie
Waterloo station
Every Friday night
But I am so lazy, don’t want to wander
I stay at home at night

But I don’t feel afraid
As long as I gaze on
Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunset’s fine (Waterloo sunset’s fine)

Millions of people swarming like flies ’round
Waterloo underground
But Terry and Julie cross over the river
Where they feel safe and sound
And they don’t need no friends
As long as they gaze on
Waterloo Sunset
They are in paradise

Waterloo sunset’s fine (Waterloo sunset’s fine)
Waterloo sunset’s fine