Monday, November 28, 2011

My Holiday Favorites

Not much to report on the goings-on of Merriman Park.  Still anxiously awaiting a special delivery or two.

Oh, my long-awaited flooring finally arrived...but as much as I thought it would be real wood --it wasn't.   I guess the price should have tipped me off.  But what about truth in advertising?  Whatever, --Merry Christmas. Chalk it it up to caveat emptor --let the buyer beware!

Speaking of Christmas...there was a time, in the long ago, ye-olde, distant past, when holiday music served as a tonic to my soul.  But after toiling in the glamorous, glitter-filled world of retail display for most of my adult life, I can honestly say that most Christmas music now sounds like fingernails scratched across chalkboard.  There are, however, a few notable exceptions.  And as my Holiday Gift to you, Dear Reader, I offer the following, my personal holiday favorites:

Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me, by Rosemary Cloony.  George's aunt was a fabulous chanteuse who only improved with age.  Here, a decidedly young-ish Rosemary belts her  (broken) heart out.  Though this is not exactly a "Christmas Carol" in the traditional sense it is from the movie White Christmas, and it does contain the lyrics: "To send me a Joe, who had Winter and snow in his heart, wasn't smart..."  so it makes the list.  The gown, the gloves, the back-up dancers, the stylized choreography, all conspire to create a moment of pure Hollywood, holiday magic. 

There's Always Tomorrow, from the 1960's Christmas classic, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  This animated gem from my childhood always aired on television right around the first of December and was nearly as eagerly anticipated as Christmas Eve, itself.  This song, again not strictly a Christmas carol per se, but one of my holiday favorites, nevertheless.

 I absolutely cringe whenever I hear the ubiquitous, over-played and decidedly played-out carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, but this video version, The Twelve Gays of Christmas, given a well-needed injection of punk rock vigor and a revamp from some highly-talented male dancers,  never fails to slap a holiday smile on my somewhat jaded, (but still relatively youthful-looking, even in absence of major-cosmetic-surgery) face. 
Christmas would not be complete without a view of this John Waters classic from the cult hit, Female Trouble.  Silent Night was once a holiday fave carol of mine, (until the millionth hearing) whenever I hear it I long for the abridged version sung this clip, Dawn Davenport, desperately wanting a new pair of  'cha-cha heels' for Christmas,  has a little holiday melt-down.  Ah, the true meaning of Christmas, distilled down to a two-minute clip, wrapped up with a big, red bow and presented, dear Reader, as my special gift to you.  Enjoy!

Christmas without Dolly Parton would indeed be a rather dismal prospect!  This song, Hard Candy Christmas from the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas always brings a little tear to my eye.  (Perhaps it's the 1980's hair-dos)?  Or maybe it's just a great, sentimental song from one of my favorite Country-Western divas!

Speaking of tears to the eye and continuing the Country-Western  theme, I give you this heart-warming piece from Jim Reeves, A Memory of an Old Christmas Card.  I simply adore this song, not only because you don't hear it every day at the Mall, but especially for the faux-sincere spoken passage at the middle: (1:35)  "why, I know you must have looked through THOUSANDS of cards to find that wonderful  'po-em,' that still brings a tear to my eye."

Another, 'real' Christmas Carol!  Fortunately, this festive little number, performed by The King's Singers and Dame Kiri Te Kanewa, will never make it to the Mall's playlist.  Therefore, it makes mine.  Plus, it features a harpsichord, which is forever A-OK by me!

My personal fave.  When I first saw the movie Chitty, Chitty, Bang! Bang! in the theater as a very small, tow-headed youth, I instantly glommed on to this delightful scene, featuring Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes) as a clockwork doll.  Oh, the countless hours later spent in front of the looking-glass, in a sad attempt to recreate the magic!  Again, not specifically a holiday song, yet the toy theme allows me to put it on my Christmas list.

To me, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without copious amounts of --well, booze Cocktails!  If you're looking to expand your collection of fab holiday music, run I mean run out and pick up any of the several versions of Christmas Cocktails, must-haves for your personal collection.  Here's the inimitable Nancy Wilson singing another one of my lesser-known, holiday faves.  Ching-Ching, everyone!
Speaking of over-indulging, this is what Christmas is all about  --a well-choreographed, boozy shin-dig!  Poor Judy Garland, mixing up reindeer with rainbows, and what was that Santa had in his sleigh?  And Mel Torme  all trying to keep the well-lubricated holiday ship from altogether sinking... Christmas never looked so messy --or so much fun!

Last but certainly not least, OK, admittedly not a Christmas song in the traditional sense, The Morning After by Maureen McGovern from the sensational, monster-hit-movie, The Poseidon Adventure (the original, 1970's version, not the deplorable, more recent remake) does take place on New Year's Eve, and does feature an up-side- down Christmas tree (which I have gotten plenty of mileage from), putting it squarely within my holiday-song criteria.  'Disaster movies' were  la hauteur de la mode  as I was growing up and this campy, schlock-fest was, arguably, the genre's crowning jewel!  I will sit through this movie every time it shows up on cable if only to see Shelly Winters' belly-flop and subsequent death-scene. The aforementioned belly-flop is featured in this clip, but alas, not the must-see, heart-wrenching, death-scene dialog: ("You see, Manny,  in the water, I'm really ...a skinny lady!......Ach!...Ach! ...''  [Dies.  Scene].

I hope you enjoyed this sad, little tour through my personal, holiday favorites --what, pray, tell,  are yours? Undoubtedly, I will have something more Merriman Park -related things to post in the near future.  Til then, I wish you, dear Readers, and yours, a happy Holiday Season!


Simon said...[Reply]


Teresa said...[Reply]

LOL! Loved those!

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Dear John, ( that sounds like I'm writing a sad letter)

As you well know I feel your pain, living Christmas windows can ruin a love for the season. Repetitive Christmas Cheer is enough to send you to the asylum.

My love of Christmas songs has also dissipated but I try to get in the mood for the Kids.

I have a sad favourite, "Silent night" that always brings a tear, as I associate it with my mother who sadly died 18 years ago. I will spare you that story.

I have enjoyed your post John and shared it with my family, sadly poor Judy I could not play due to some copy right thing here. The 12 Gays of Christmas got a few laughs. All wonderful songs.

I have two favourites.....both being the little drummer boy. First one by Tori Amos
The next one Bing and Bowie ( haven't got the link) the two legends singing together is nothing short of Magic.

Thanks for your post John, there were a couple there I hadn't heard before.

Keep warm, Fi x

Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
I worked in retail for years, and you have my sympathy!
What a great collection of clips, but I have to say it: Dolly rules!
All the best, and try to drown out the music at work,

Pedrete said...[Reply]

Oh John!! Tus post son siempre tan divertidos!! Me super-encanta el sentido del humor que tienes!! A mí tampoco me gusta mucho la Navidad, me considero un poco como el señor Scrunch del cuento de Dickens... Te deseo todo lo mejor para estos días de frio!! Un abrazo enorme de tu amigo Pedrete!!

Irene said...[Reply]

What a great selection John - I thoroughly enjoyed watching these clips - with the exception of Judy whom I couldn't get - and I'd never seen the 12 Gays of Christmas before - that made me laugh. Thanks for that.

John said...[Reply]

Hey guys, glad you liked my selections... Sorry Judy didn't come through to some of you --maybe it was for the better, poor dear.

Fi, I remember my mom trying to put a brave face on for the Holidays! I could not comprehend why she wasn't completely coo-coo for Christmas like all the kiddies were! (NOW, I DO)! She did have a favorite Christmas 'album,' a do-wop group called The Lettermen, which back then I thought was HORRIBLY old-fashioned! (Maybe I'll put 'Love Turns Winter to Spring' on my list, for mom.

I likes me some Tori Amos, but The Little Drummer Boy I always found depressing, even in my callow youth. My friend Thomasina is absolutely MAD for Toru, and gets back-stage passes whenever she swings through town. What on Earth did Bing & Bowie do together? That's crazy!

Giac, your taste is superlative --Ms. Parton rocks.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Hi John,

One day maybe we will swap sad stories about our Mums (Moms). I just tried to get a sample on you tube of the Lettermen but no luck. So do post it if you can.I love a bit of Do - wop.

Here is the address for the you tube clip of Bing and Bowie, you'll love it.

It's kinda corny but apparently it was to clean up Bowies image after massive drug addiction. I just love him to bits in this.......and the tree in the background too.

As for your friend and Tori I'm so Jealous!!! I think I have every lyric of hers permanently implanted in my brain.....sad but true!!

Last night we went to a christmas party our friends have every year, they have a pianist at their grand piano and booklets for every one to sing from and we all belt out the christmas carols. It's a rare thing to happen in these woods but so much fun!!

Hope your coping with the fake snow inside and the real snow out side.

Your friend, Fi xx

Andy said...[Reply]

I think my fav has to be Chitty chitty bang bang, I remember being captivated by this scene when I first saw the film years ago, that and the delightful child catcher!! 'Lollipops, icecream, all free today!', ok, so he was wicked and evil, but you have to love him just the same!! I also enjoyed cha cha heels, never heard of that before, thanks for your fun Christmas post!

John said...[Reply]

Hi, Fi!

Try Pandora for the Lettermen --I think they would have them. That X-mas party sounds lovely! And I can't wait to check out your video.

Hey, Andy! LOVE the Child-catcher, too! I want to be him for Halloween! By all means, rent 'Female Trouble,' someday. But be warned: it's pretty out-there!

Gianna Gifford said...[Reply]

I don't know if you've seen this already but thought I'd point you towards it if not:
I always get a chuckle out of their alternative take on the film.