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In 1981, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had a huge #1 hit across the world with their "Hooked On Classics" single. While compiling 1980s music (both Christmas and non-Christmas) for my 20th anniversary CD, I discovered this single on eBay.

When it arrived, I placed it on the turntable and gave it a listen - I deemed it not Christmas enough for my CD and it got bumped off the playlist.

In two days, I'll be serving up my 2008 Yuleblog Sampler and one of the selections on it was this obscure single I picked up five years ago. That is until I read this from a new member at FaLaLaLaLa.com:

Quote from: roje on December 09, 2008, 08:23:17 AM:

First-off, I have to admit that having stumbled across this website where there's clearly a true celebration of Christmas music, is most enriching, particularly with our world in its current state. Christmas music is, quite simply put, the exact equivalent of happiness, period.

Now, there is a 7-inch vinyl which I have been in search of, for what has seemed like centuries. I first heard it on a local radio station back in the early 80's. Its called 'Hooked On Christmas', and features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

One thing I'm not too sure of though, is whether its the one with David Arnold, or the one with Louis Clark. In fact I'm not even sure if they are the same recording or not. I'm also practically sure that strangely this has never been released on CD.
Does anybody here have this rare gem that they are willing to share, please?

Once again, the single gets bumped off a playlist. But it's still win-win:

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and David Arnold - Hooked On Christmas

The B-side is "Listen To Essex" - a non Christmas song in case you were wondering.

Happy listening...


This was found at a local garage sale several years ago and the cover totally hooked me. It looked promising (lots of titles listed - in hi-fi!) and I gladly paid my 50 cents. Then I dropped the needle... A pretty standard Christmas organ album.

There was a serious glut of Christmas organ albums between then and now along the sharity network and I couldn't bring myself to share this one out. One track was shared last year as a part of the 2007 Yuleblog Sampler and I decided to share the rest this year.

I wish I had more on Patricia Wilde (Google turned up nothing) but it did yield some info on Acorn Records thanks to the folks at Both Sides Now. It seems Acorn Records had problems with its grammar and spelling - I urge you to check out the Acorn link; it's a hoot!

Patricia Wilde - Christmas Carols In Percussion

Happy listening...


From time to time this Christmas season, I'll be posting some amazing videos that have been rescued by people like us and posted at the mecca of all things wonderful and obscure - YouTube.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

When I began searching for YouTube Christmas videos a while back, these next three were among the first ones on the list. They are a series of theater ads that movie houses and drive-ins would show inbetween their showings and trailers to their audiences:

Some of these came from the excellent compilations entitled "Hey Folks! It's Intermission Time" from Something Weird Video - there are some amazing ads on here if you like these sort of nostalgia.

What do you think?


The legendary jazzlabel Verve had its discography remixed a few times now, and this season ofcourse added a Christmas edition. Here's two examples.

Louis Armstrong - Zat you Santa Claus?
Louis Armstrong - Zat you Santa Claus? (The Heavy remix)
Nina Simone - Chilly Winds
Nina Simone - Chilly Winds (Fink remix)


Welcome Frosty! Christmas Cheers to the talented Denise Jones! Her creations always amaze me! Denise is one creative gal---she turns everything into magic! I keep telling her to spoil us with a craft blog! This Snowman is a Christmas can filled with chocolates, with a styrofoam ball for the head and decorative wire ribbon around the collar with a lot of detail to the face and hat! It is just plain cute! I love it!

Remember your elementary school Christmas pageant or play? You may or may not remember the name of the classmate who played Scrooge or the kid who threw up onstage.

But you probably remember the music that you sang. For many school kids, it was standard Christmas carols and standards. However, some schools went out and spent money from an educational service for a Christmas program, complete with scripts and songs.

This is one of those programs. Designed to enrich the musical experience of boys and girls in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades, this program came with an illustrated guidebook (lost for all eternity) for staging, costuming, and dramatizing the entire program to make the teacher's job all the more easier.

Side one is entirely vocal - one lone female voice singing eight different songs (or "windows") that comprise the entire show (and one of these tracks was used for the 2007 Yuleblog Sampler).

Side two is completely instrumental - so if you feel inspired to learn the lyrics and record your own karaoke version, please send us an MP3 at the P.O. Box.

The Sing 'N' Do Company - Christmas Windows

Happy listening (and possible singing)...


Winter Song

Santa on Surfboard

Silent Night


In March of 2007, I travelled back to my old haunts in Chicago and picked up a few Christmas albums. This is one of the last ones from that trip left to be shared.

There's about 25 schools in Chicago named Sacred Heart. Considering that 1/2 of the album was sung in Croatian, my first guess was that it was recorded up somewhere in the West Town section of Chicago where Ukrainian Village is.

From some comments and consultation with my father (who grew up at 83rd & Buffalo - in the shadow of South Works), there was a Croation enclave on the south side of Chicago as well.

Sacred Heart Croatian Church is located at 96th and Escanaba Ave. on the Southeast side of Chicago.

This album is nothing fancy (a lot of my shares are usually just that). School kids singing Christmas songs. The school sold this album to parents so they could assumingly fund other programs at their school. We are talking about Chicago here - ask Gov. Rod Blagojevich!

I would love to hear from anyone on the back of the cover! And according to one of the commenters below, this album was recorded in 1961.

Sacred Heart School Choir - Sings Croatian & English Christmas Carols

Happy listening...


An error has been found thanks to a sharp listening listener... for more on this, click on this link to read about it.


The Blues Are Still Blue Presents (like every year):

Christmas Compilation 2008

Belle & Sebastian – Are You Coming Over For Christmas?
Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow
Oh Sweet Music! – Oh Sweet Christmas!
Chuck Berry – Merry Christmas Baby
Pearl Jam – Someday At Christmas
The Welcome Wagon – But For You Who Fear My Name
The Raveonettes – Come On Santa
Okkervil River – Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas
Slow Club – Christmas TV
Lucky Fonz III – Christmas Lights In A Cave
Zee Avi – No Christmas For Me
Calexico – Gift X-Change
Albert King – Santa Claus Wants Some Loving
Audiotransparent – December Radio
Barbary Coasters – I Want A Monkey For Christmas
Dressy Bessy – All The Right Reasons
Fiona Apple – Frosty The Snowman
First Aid Kit – Blue Christmas
Sufjan Stevens – That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!

From time to time this Christmas season, I'll be posting some amazing videos that have been rescued by people like us and posted at the mecca of all things wonderful and obscure - YouTube.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

Earlier today, I posted two albums with connection to my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Continuing with that theme, I scanned the YouTube dial to find any videos with a similar connection to the Summit City and came up with quite a few vids.

The first is of a well known and loved three-story tall Santa Claus that's been hanging in downtown Fort Wayne for decades:

This mammoth display used to hang off the Wolf & Dessauer department store in downtown Fort Wayne eons ago and was rescued from the trash bin two decades ago - click on the links for more info.

Our next clip is from The Chorus of Fort Wayne, a gay men's chorus that puts a unique spin into their Christmas show. Anyone got a white polyester suit?:

What can I say? If it's Christmas disco, I'm there. The Chorus of Fort Wayne has a website so if you enjoyed the video, drop them a line!

And now, a word from our sponsor:

Russ Moore Transmissions have been rebuilding Fort Wayne's motors since 1955 and have provided many amusing TV commercials over those many long years.

Amazingly, a good majority of these commercials have been posted online for your viewing enjoyment. FYI - the bumbling mechanic in many of these videos (and in Russ Moore's avatar) is my friend Thom Hofrichter, the head of First Presbyterian Theater where I volunteer my time to help them (and my best pal Joel).

This final clip I was thrilled to find on YouTube. If I were to grab my trusty Boy Scout compass, walk out my front door, and start heading directly northwest for about 1/2 mile, I would run directly into this house:

The Mazocks have been dazzling their neighborhood for several years. Six weeks before Thanksgiving every year, these folks hang an estimated 24,000 lights on their house, bushes, trees, basketball court, and driveway. Even the trees 200 feet away from their home in the backyard don't escape decoration.

By the time they flip the switch, they have a state-of-the-art, 200-amp outdoor power board with 32 plug-ins and an electric bill at Christmas time $250 higher than average.

And they don't stop there. As the cars drive by slowly, you'll notice one of the family members sitting on the driveway as Santa Claus welcoming well-wishers and posing for pictures. You can have your "Wizards of Winter" homes and flashy light-shows... the Mazocks celebrate Christmas, period.

We drove by the house a week ago and I noticed that the house directly next door is on the market. Can you imagine the amount of Christmas energy that would flow from that subdivision if I decided to purchase that home?

Honey??? A Happy Fort Wayne Christmas to one and all...


During a vinyl bin search and rescue mission here in Fort Wayne, I came across not one but two copies of this album still sealed!

The West Creighton Christian Church was looking for an activity for their youth back in 1963 and came across an advertisement for handbell ringing. They ordered a set and a tradition was born.

They toured all over the country with their handbells between 1963 and 1965. This album features Christian music, one patriotic song ("America"), one popular song ("Moon River"), and four Christmas songs!

The four Christmas songs on this album are presented here. On the back cover of this album is a list of all the bellringers - I would love to hear from any of them about this album, memories of travelling with the handbells, etc.

Last June, the West Creighton Avenue church closed after 110 years of ministry in the Fort Wayne area. No word if the handbell tradition was kept to the very end or to the fate of the handbells themselves.

Selections from "The West Creighton Avenue Christian Church Bell Choir of Fort Wayne, Indiana"

Happy listening...


Many times I've come across this album in thrift stores, online vinyl markets, and even eBay and Amazon.com. Two silouetted harps in black and white tell the story.

What I didn't know was the connection this album had to my hometown of Fort Wayne until I had a copy in my hands. It seems not only were one of the harpists (Escosa) had deep roots in Fort Wayne but it was actually recorded here as well on the Carriage Records label.

Side one is The Christmas Story according to St. Mark. Written and narrated by Longstreth, this full 15 minute story is interspersed with lovely music for solo harp (Escosa). Side two has the harpists trading off each other as they go through ten different Christmas carols.

Nothing fancy but it's well done Christmas harp.

One free day this past summer, I went looking for the location of the recording studio listed on the back cover. Located in a iffy part of town, I managed to find it - an empty lot full of grass and trees. Nothing to suggest there was a structure anywhere on the lot.

Across the street stood an apartment building with a prominent name: Carriage House Apartments. I'll have to do some detective work to see if the two are related or if the area has some sort of history with carriages, etc.

String this one along:

Joe Longstreth & John Escosa - Christmas With

Happy listening...


If this is the end of week four, that means we've been doing this for a month? Holy guacamole...

We've got a few odds and ends left after tonight so stay tuned. In the meantime, this is the most up-to-date checklist we've got. Take a look to see if you've gotten everything. If not, click on the link and get it. I need the RapidShare points...

And on with the countdown...

Christmas Favorites EP (Mercury Records)

A Christmas Greeting (L.A. Unit of Recording For The Blind)

Christmas Greetings (U.S. Navy)

Christmas In Italy (Capitol Records)

CLM Industries - Christmas 1961 - SINGLE

A Country Christmas

Vic Dana - Sings Little Altar Boy & Other Christmas Songs

Jimmy Dean - Jimmy Dean's Christmas Card

Bill Doggett - 12 Songs Of Christmas

Dragnet - The Christmas Story

Fogwell Flax & The Ankle Biters From From Freehold Junior School - Christmas 45 - SINGLE

Pete Fountain - Candy Clarinet: Merry Christmas From (STEREO)

DeWayne Fulton - Christmas Greetings From

Funky Christmas (Cotillion Records)

Will Glahe & His Orchestra - Christmas On The Rhine

Earl Grant - Winter Wonderland

Ken Griffin - Christmas Organ

Walt Harper - Open Pantry Presents Christmas Eve With

Heino - A Festive German Christmas

The Hollywood Pops Orchestra - Great Instrumental Christmas Music

Alex Houston & Elmer - Here Comes Peter CottonClaus

Irwin The Disco Duck - Christmas & New Year's Party

Åke Jelving - Christmas In Sweden

Sammy Kaye & His Orchestra - I Want To Wish You A Merry Christmas

Jim & Tammy - Christmas With Love

KFUO Presents Christmas Hymns

KFUO Presents Christmas Hymns and Carols

The Kid's Bible Club - At Christmastime

The Klaudt Indian Family - Peace On Earth; Christmas Greetings

Carmen Le Nard - Jolly Snowman - SINGLE

Liberace - 1954 Christmas Greetings (w brother George) - FLEXI

L'il Wally & The Harmony Boys - A Polka Christmas

Vincent Lopez & His Orchestra - Christmas Music

Fred Lowery - A Family Christmas

The Lutheran Voices Children's Choir - Silent Night

Vera Lynn - Christmas With

Ruth Lyons - Selections from "It's Christmastime Again"

Sy Mann & The Malvin Carolers - Let's All Sing Christmas Carols

The Manhattan "Pops" Symphonic Band - The Sound Of Christmas

The Manhattans - Christmas 45 - SINGLE

The Bob Mantzke Choralaires - Christmas Songs

Robert Maxwell & His Harp - 40 All-Time Christmas Favorites

Mary Mayo - The Magic Of Christmas

Mickey & Bunny - Sing English Xmas Carols in Ukrainian

The Mom & Dads - Merry Christmas With

The Murk Family - Christmas With

Selections from "Nashville Christmas Party" (RCA Victor)

NORAD Tracks Santa - Christmas 1968

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas

O Tannenbaum - Christmas On The Rhine

The Pac-Man Christmas Album

The Piano Rolls & Voices - All Time Christmas Hits

A Pink Panther Christmas

A Power Pak Christmas - THREE ALBUMS

Bob Ralston - Christmas Hymns & Carols

RCA Victor Holiday Promo 45

Bobby Roberts & His Orchestra - Holiday Music For Happy People

Mickey Rooney - Merry Merry Micklemas

Del Roper & The Mason Swiss Bell Ringers - I Heard The Bells

The Royale Story Tellers - Christmas EP

Marlin L. Ryan - York, PA Traditional Christmas Carols

Orion Samuelson - Christmas 45 - SINGLE

Harry Secombe - White Christmas

Seeburg Corporation - The Sound & Color of Christmas

Shirley & Squirrely - Christmas With

Ethel Smith - Silent Night-Holy Night

The Soulful Strings - The Magic Of Christmas

The Sounds Of Christmas (Warner Bros. Records) (MONO)

Phil Spitalny & The Hour Of Charm - Christmas Carols By

The Stonemans - A Stoneman Christmas

Paul & Nancy Steffen - Christmas Bells

The Three Suns - The Sounds of Christmas EP

Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin - Christmas In The Congo

Bobby Vinton - Christmas Promo EP

Jimmy Wakely - Christmas On The Range

We Three Bings: Vital Music's N.Y. Trash Xmas Comp

Justin Wilson - A Cajun Christmas With

Ingvar Wixell - Christmas Music of Sweden

Merrill Womach - Sings Christmas Carols

Archie Wood & His Friends - Christmas Album

Woody The Woodchuck - Christmas Sing Song (STEREO)

Happy listening...


As a kid, I remembered going through my mother's stack of Christmas albums around Christmas and gazing at this exotic, green covered album that contained some of the most bizarre Christmas music I had ever heard.

When she told me this was how children in Africa celebrated Christmas, I nodded my head and still thought it was strange music. This album was seldom played at our house growing up.

Flash forward to 2006. One of my wife's relatives gave me her entire collection of albums and included in that stack was her copy of this album. So I listened again and I appreciated the drumbeats, the style of singing, and the pure joy in the voices that were celebrating Christmas.

Then my kids entered the room and wondered what the mysterious noises from the turntable were... the circle of life indeed.

Les Troubadours Du Roi Baudonin - Christmas In The Congo

Happy listening...


A free compilation of Christmas Covers by Dutch bands thanks to Coverclub:
Audiotransparent - December radio
The Gasoline Brothers - I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus


This 10" Christmas LP was given to me by my in-laws when they were cleaning out their closets.

When Columbia Records first unveiled the long playing record in 1948, two formats were introduced - the 10" version (same size as 78s, used for popular music) and the 12" version (more expensive / reserved for classical & Broadway shows).

This 10" Christmas LP was issued in 1950 (look at the back cover at the popular music of the day) and contains only eight songs.

The Canterbury Choir has had so many Christmas albums under different titles that I threw my hands up after looking for them on MusicStack. At some point, MGM rereleased this album under another title (where & what title, I don't know).

This is a standard organ & choir album. Nothing fancy to detract. A nice change of pace if you're looking for that sort of thing.

The Canterbury Choir - Christmas Hymns And Carols Sung By

Happy listening...


Last December, I shared an album entitled "KFUO Presents Christmas Hymns And Carols", an album from a St. Louis Christian radio station featuring two different Lutheran choirs.

This December, I'm sharing yet another album from KFUO. This one features two choirs from St. Louis - straightforward hymns and carols.

KFUO is a Christian St. Louis radio station that's been spreading the gospel since 1924. Its sister station, KFUO-FM, has been doing the same since 1948.

Strictly for the KFUO completist...

KFUO Presents Christmas Hymns

Happy listening...


If you're thinking this is "just another Christian Christmas album", you're only partially right.

Merrill Womach was blessed with a four octave singing voice - twice over the norm! He began singing publicly at the age of 6 and dedicated his life to bringing his message to the masses through his God given talent.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, 1961, Womach was in a fiery airplane crash that almost took his life. Burned beyond recognition - his head swelled to the size of a basketball. Womach has had over 50 skin graft operations to repair the damage since that tragic day.

Despite losing most of the skin on his face, his voice was unaffected and continued his career of singing. His story was told in an autobiography called "Tested by Fire" and a documentary movie entitled "He Restoreth My Soul".

This was recorded seven years after the crash and his phenomenal voice really comes across and Merrill doesn't hold back - it's a tour de force!

Merrill Womach - Sings Christmas Carols

According to sources on the Internet, Merrill now runs a multi-million dollar business in Spokane, WA providing taped music for funeral homes across the U.S. & Canada. In his office is a crucifix made from the plane's wreckage.

If you want to learn more about Womach, visit his MySpace page.

Happy listening...


Indiana's vinyl bins contain more religious Christmas albums than any other in the Union. If I purchased every one of these albums during my search and rescue missions over the past five years, I would probably have close to 1000 LPs.

This is one of those typical albums. Designed with a Sunday School or Bible camp in mind, we listen as "Uncle Earl" (red flag) and two kids named Kathy and Bill share special stories lifted right out of the Bible. Even now and then, Christmas is involved!

The Christmas music sandwiched inbetween the stories is mostly standard carols with a choir and organ and I shared a track from this album for the 2007 Yuleblog Sampler.

So this year, kids, you get the whole album! Can I get an "Amen"?

The Kid's Bible Club - At Christmastime

Happy listening...

Uncle Capt

Heino is the most successful German folk (Volksmusik) singer of all times. His characteristics are the blond hair, the omnipresent dark shades and the clear, baritone singing voice.

He has sold more than 30 million records in the last 30 years and has become one of the most beloved and famous persons in the German speaking part of the world (98% of all Germans know him - only surpassed by Chancellor Helmut Kohl - 99%).

This album was released in 1969 and it's an epic. Side one is one gigantic Christmas medley (nineteen songs - nineteen minutes in length, all in German!). Side two is a collection of religious Christmas songs (all in German again).

Heino - A Festive German Christmas

If you're not a big fan of Christmas carols, religious Christmas songs, but still want your Heino for Christmas, then this video is for you - all 23 minutes of it! Thanks to Anna-Lena Lodenius for finding this:

The Blonde One reportedly went on a farewell tour recently so who knows if we've seen or heard the last from him.

Glückliches Hören… (aka Happy listening...)


From time to time this Christmas season, I'll be posting some amazing videos that have been rescued by people like us and posted at the mecca of all things wonderful and obscure - YouTube.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

Earlier this week, my family and I sat down to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on VHS (some things I refuse to upgrade). We all laughed, we all grooved to the Vince Guaraldi music, and we had a great time. Thank you, Charles M. Schulz and Bill Melendez!

This leads me to YouTube. There was a famous video that made the rounds a few years back that had Charlie Brown and company rocking out to "Hey Ya" by Outkast. Clever.

I wondered what else YouTube had in the ways of Charlie Brown parodies and found these three. First is a take on the Outkast mashup:

Jimmy Kimmel gave us this parody a few years back. Scientology, anyone?:

The cast of "Scrubs" originally did this parody for their year-end cast Christmas party. It was so well received that it made it to YouTube:

This final parody came from the mind of Denis Leary. You've been warned...

Good grief...

What do you think?


This EP was given to me by my in-laws when they were cleaning out their closets. According to my father-in-law, this was one of his mother's Christmas favorites on the old Philco.

There's exactly four tracks on this EP - one by Frankie Laine, one by Eddy Howard, and two songs by a young up & comer named Vic Damone.

I could have cleaned up the back cover with PhotoShop but I decided against it - I wanted you to see the original price tag from 1950 - $1.49 plus tax!

This is vintage Christmas at its best. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as my in-laws did...

Christmas Favorites EP (Mercury Records)

Happy listening...


Check out the Tuitorial! Christmas Triangles

My friend Scott Marks has been gracious to lend me several of his Christmas movie reviews from his amazing website Emulsion Compulsion.

If you haven't visited his site for some thoroughly honest movie reviews, commentary, and image vaults to die for (including a bunch of Christmas related stuff), take a moment to head over this his site and surf - you'll be there for at least 20 minutes max.

For his final review, Scott chose a movie that was being shown in 3-D at the time and is one of my personal... umm... let me just post the review and let my opinion fall by the wayside:

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Directed by: Henry Selick
Written by: Tim Burton & Michael McDowell
Cast: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, Edward Ivory, Susan McBride, Debi Durst, Greg Proops, Kerry Katz, Randy Crenshaw, Sherwood Ball, Carmen Twillie
Aspect Ratio: 1.66 : 1
Running Time: 76 min.


Rod Serling didn't known it at the time, but when he spoke about finding another dimension by turning a key and unlocking the door of imagination he was directly addressing the current state of film exhibition.

I have seen the future of movies and it is 3-D... I hope.

The depth expanding novelty process, which has been around since the twenties, saw it's greatest rise in popularity during the Fifties when it was dusted off as a means to combat the onslaught of television. With the exception of Hitchcock's "Dial 'M' for Murder", no other stereoscopic film bothered to utilize depth as a means of storytelling. Everybody just wanted to test the limits of those uncomfortable cardboard glasses.

Arguably, the single greatest exponents of 3-D gimmickry were the Three Stooges. With all the pies and fingers aimed at the lenses there was little time left to stop and savor narrative and textural nuance.

Cost and public indifference brought a quick end to the vogue. Originally it took two interlocked projectors rigged with polarized lenses that were offset by approximately three-inches to bring 3-D to the screen. Theaters had to be refitted with expensive silver screens and doubling the prints meant doubling the shipping costs.

Barely on life support in the Sixties, 3-D experienced a minor revival over the next two decades. By now polarized lenses had all but vanquished their blue and red predecessors. The new single-strip process looked better than ever and, positioned at the dawn of sequelitis, found steady employment in third-part installments of horror films. ("Jaws 3-D", "Friday the 13th Part III" and "Amityville 3-D".)

(CAPT'S NOTE: Don't forget "Comin' At Ya!" from 1981 - first 3-D movie I ever saw)

Ultimately, 70mm killed 3-D as well as Cinerama. Audiences didn't have to endure tri-panel seams, nose-creasing glasses or higher ticket prices. Oddly enough, the sharper image resolution wasn't what gave the film stock its celebrity, but the fuller range of stereophonic sound.

Too costly to shoot in the wide-gauge process, for a period Hollywood was ordering 70mm blow-ups on every fifth picture slated for release. As much as I adore "Gremlins 2", even I was stunned to see it in the grandeur of 70mm. With the advent of digital sound, 70mm was put on the disabled list.

Not until IMAX combined 70mm and stereoscopic cinematography had the potential for worldwide acceptance shown such promise. Glasses were now replaced by helmets equipped with polarized visors and tiny speakers that sat behind your ears assuring optimum stereophonic separation.

Attempts to incorporate narrative into the otherwise flaccid Disney-esque nature documentaries proved fruitless. The domed dinosaur that sits in Balboa Park is a far cry from what came to be known as the IMAX Experience. The closest San Diego comes to true IMAX exhibition is up the road a piece in Irvine.

The IMAX thrill quickly came and went, until now. The brainiacs at Industrial Light and Magic devised a way in which any 2-D film can be digitally catapulted into the third-dimension. It is expensive and time consuming, but the results are staggering.

The original 2-D negative is scanned into a computer and digitally spruced up. Coming up with the second strip was a laborious process as Nightmare producer Don Hahn explained in an interview with animationartist.com: "If you want to see the original version, you just look with your left eye. But then we have to create a whole right eye version... and that's done by rebuilding the whole movie as a digital picture. In other words, if you have a shot of Jack Skellington, you have to build Jack, and you have to build the background behind him, his house and the snow, or whatever is behind him in a digital world. And then we project a movie on to that digital geometry and then move the digital camera over to the right and re-photograph that for the right eye version."

You still have to wear glasses, but Disney has thankfully devised lightweight and comfortable, if not aggressively unfashionable, lenses.

With its surplus of musical numbers and paucity of plot, I confess to not being a fan of the original Goth-approved Nightmare. In 3-D it's a revelation. The studio promises at least one film a year will be converted to 3-D. I vote for a deep-focus enhancement of "Bambi's" Multiplane Camera pyrotechnics. If not a Disney feature, why not one that influenced Uncle Walt like "Triumph of the Will"?

- - Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy Hannukah to all my Jewish friends. Scott Marks

Thanks Scott for this fantastic review! I hate this film and I think Tim Burton is a totally overrated director who can't tell a good story because the dark themes or special effects backing him up get in the way ("Ed Wood" was the lone exception).


Found this one on eBay and caveat emptor indeed! The seller finally contacted me a week after the auction ended and took their sweet time shipping it to me. When it finally arrived, there was a huge tear into the middle of the front cover they neglected to tell me about... Grrrrr!

I wasn't sure if my handiwork with PhotoShop would be up to the task but I got it patched up pretty well if I do say so myself.

Paul Steffen & his daughter Nancy operate antique Swiss handbells and put them into eighteen different Christmas carols & standards. No orchestra behind them, no chimes or other instruments to accent them. Straight handbell Christmas music.

This 1959 release was the first ever Christmas album issued by the Atco Record company, the Atlantic subsidiary.

Paul & Nancy Steffen - Christmas Bells

Happy listening...


In addition to collecting Christmas music, I have collected nearly 1000 vintage Christmas ads over the years. Many of these include celebrities, radio, television, cigarettes, liquor, modern appliances, and the like.

Every Friday from here until I run out, I will feature an ad from my collection.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

We've arrived at the Friday before Christmas. What better way to start the final Christmas weekend then with some vintage celebrities in vintage Christmas ads pitching everything from cigarettes, clock radios, cameras, Christmas Seals, and candy.

I've selected ten for your viewing enjoyment (click on all images to enlarge):

Jackie Gleason for Manhattan Shirts

Donna Reed for Singer Machines, Inc.

Ann Sothern for Lucky Strike Cigarettes

Dick Van Dyke for Kodak

Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) and Jay Silverheels (Tonto)
for Christmas Seals

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
for Philip Morris Cigarettes

(L to R) Arthur Godfrey, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Bob Hope
for Chesterfield Cigarettes

Starting at 12 noon going clockwise:
Nat King Cole, Stan Kenton, The Four Freshmen,
Les Paul & Mary Ford, Ray Anthony, Margaret Whiting,
Glen Gray, Dean Martin, and Judy Garland
for Telechron Timers

for Lucky Strike Cigarettes

(L to R) Curly Joe DeRita, Moe Howard, and Larry Fine
for U.S. Savings Bonds

There's a comment in you somewhere - otherwise you wouldn't have read this far. Let's hear it - your initial reaction, what you found amusing about a specific ad, or a comment on one or all of the stars shown here.

What do you think?

DonHo57 says: If I awoke on Christmas morning to find that halo of faces circling over my bed like that Telechron ad, I'd pull the covers back over my face and pray for them to leave. Too much eggnog will do that.

Ravel says: The Singer ad: the 2 miniature miracles. Jeff hates records; the way he holds the needle arm, he is about to scratch the record.

PDMan says: The Gleason ad reminds me of something I've always found funny - the use of the word "smart" to refer to fashion. "Look smart when you wear these fabulous (insert article of clothing here)." If only it were that easy.

Stubbyfears says: I see Ann Southern puts a lot of thought into her Christmas gifts...not. Cancer sticks for everybody! Whee!

Any other opinions?


Sammy Kaye released four Christmas albums in his lifetime - Ernie has shared out "Christmas Day With Sammy Kaye" and "Christmas Serenade" which is a 45 RPM box set of different tunes than the original 10" LP that Hi-Fi Holiday shared out.

I reviewed Ernie's shares and at some point down the road, I'll probably review Hi-Fi Holiday's contribution to the Kaye display (bad puns are all I have left today... sorry).

This is the fourth and I'm guessing it's very similar in sound to what's already been out there.

It's a nifty album - some great melodies and arrangements set up by Mr. Swing and Sway himself. If you ever get the Christmas blues, this album will cure them - guaranteed or your money backed by the U.S. Government (uh-oh...)

Sammy Kaye & His Orchestra - I Want To Wish You A Merry Christmas

Happy listening...


Last night as we slept, ol' man winter decided to pay us a visit. We got around 1" of snow followed by thunderstorms (ever awake to thunder in the middle of December) that froze everything and anything in its path.

Schools were cancelled, power outages were everywhere, and thousands of broken limbs scattered streets and yards. Put your ear up to the screen and you'll probably hear the drone of the chainsaws outside my window.

I grabbed my purchased last year, already obsolete digital camera and took a few snaps of the view from my kitchen into my backyard.

We did lose power for a brief time but it's fully restored. Compared to some of the areas in town that could be without up until Christmas, lady luck smiled on us.

What a way to start Christmas vacation for the kids!


Here's an album I grossly overpaid for - I wasn't sure what I was getting but it wasn't available anywhere.

Open Pantry was (or is) a major chain of food stores throughout Pittsburgh and the Eastern Pennsylvania area. I assume when you purchased x amount of groceries, you could get this tagged Christmas album for an extra $3 or $4 back in 1974.

Walt Harper was a Pittsburgh jazz legend - for years he was a behind-the-scenes player in jazz circles and rubbed elbows with practically everyone in the jazz world.

But he never forgot his hometown of Pittsburgh. In 1958, he landed at the downtown Crawford Grill and stayed for ten years. Then in 1969, he opened his own jazz club/restaurant (the first of several), and got a regular gig playing at Steelers home games from the mid-1970s to 2002.

This album is smooth Christmas jazz deluxe!

Walt Harper - Open Pantry Presents Christmas Eve With

Happy listening...


Of all the thrift stores in all the towns in all the world, this album found mine.

I never expected to see an actual Taiwanese Christmas album here in Fort Wayne. But this cover stood out like a someone wearing a White Sox jersey at a Cubs game in Wrigley Field.

With the exception of the title, the artist, and the city of origin, and the names of the songs on the back cover, there is no other printing in English. What's worse is I'm not certain of the language printed all over the covers and insert.

This album contains fourteen Christmas songs sung by a children's choir either in Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, or Philippino. It's fun, touching, and a treat to hear these favorites in a brand new way.

And if the final seven songs sound like the album's warped, you're only half right. When I transferred this, I noticed the grooves on side two were off-center. This meant the needle was bucking and weaving side-to-side like a seismologist's needle during a mild earthquake!

I wish I had the capacity to record a YouTube video and post video of this needle swaying in the wind - it's the darnedest thing I've ever seen when transferring an album.

The Lutheran Voice Children's Choir - Silent Night

Happy listening...


From time to time this Christmas season, I'll be posting some amazing videos that have been rescued by people like us and posted at the mecca of all things wonderful and obscure - YouTube.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

Okay kiddies... put your wet boots by the fire, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and settle in for a nice winter's storytime:

I had heard about this sketch many times but until today, I had never seen it before. God bless us, one and all...

What do you think?

CrimsonCrow says: I love that man!

Any other opinions?


This year's Christmas present by Zooey is a cover of Father To A Sister Of Thought, but a few years ago they had a present even more appropriate for the season called the Grey Christmas EP: