Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Be a Santa, Part 5

We seem to have some momentum now, so allow me to share some quick comments on another trio of tracks from my latest mix, Be a Santa!

Track 15
Holiday Greetings from George Murphy and the Folks at MGM

George Murphy (2nd from left)
I was born and raised in Massachusetts, where politics and government attract lots of attention. I now live in California, where the entertainment industry is king. Lots of folks are wary of those two lines of work intersecting. Conservatives in particular complain that too many "Hollywood types" seem to be getting involved in politics. Historically, however, most of the actors who've sought and won political office has been Republicans, not Democrats. Remember Ronald Reagan? How about Arnold Schwarzenegger? Each of these actors was elected governor of California as a Republican with little or no prior government experience. They each did OK, too. Hell, they both rank up there with Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson compared to the TV star we elected president in 2016. But Ronald Reagan wasn't the first actor to be elected to high office in the United States. In 1964, two years before they elected Reagan as governor, California voters elected actor and noted song and dance man George Murphy to the U.S. Senate, defeating Pierre Salinger, former press secretary to the late President Kennedy. Like Reagan and Schwarzenegger, Murphy was a Republican; and, like Reagan, he had formerly served as president of the Screen Actors' Guild.

Track 15 features a brief holiday greeting from Murphy that was recorded while he was still working primarily as a contract actor for MGM. I like inserting these sorts of greetings between songs as they tend to break up the mix a bit and make it a little more fun.

Murphy served only a single term in the Senate. In 1970, he was defeated by John V. Tunney, the son of famous boxer Gene Tunney, after it was disclosed that Murphy had continued to receive a salary from his former employer, Technicolor, while serving as senator. In 1976, Tunney, too, was defeated after serving a single term by S.I. Hayakawa, a Semantics professor and political outsider. Murphy died in 1992 at the age of 89.

Track 14
Christopher the Christmas Tree, by George Bowers (1982)

I'm not sure we properly appreciate how awesome it is to have such easy access to such a wealth of information and entertainment these days via the internet. I ran across this song on YouTube several years ago and as I was searching for a link to the song this afternoon I discovered that it's now available on YouTube in a longer video format. What's more, it's remarkably easy to import the video into this blog:

It's a cute little story about a scrawny evergreen whose dream of becoming a Christmas tree appears destined to fail. It's overlooked year after year as all the fuller and more attractive nearby trees are selected until one year when he's told he's grown too big to fit in anyone's house and will instead be cut up into firewood. Fortunately, the many birds and animals the tree had sheltered over the years spring into action and a very happy ending is arranged.

You can hear the shorter version of the story that I've included in this year's mix HERE.

Track 13
Linus and Lucy (from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"), by Los Straitjackets (2015)

When I was growing up, watching A Charlie Brown Christmas was one of our family's most anticipated activities during the lead-up to Christmas — right up there with decorating the tree. I'm pretty sure our family wasn't alone in that respect, In fact, this delightful show has become a true holiday institution. No doubt a big part of the show's success is the sublime soundtrack written by Vince Guaraldi,and performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, including the memorable song "Linus and Lucy":

This year's mix includes an interesting version of the song by Los Straitjackets, an American instrumental rock band founded in Nashville in the late 1980s. While this version of the song isn't necessarily immediately recognizable as a Christmas song, but fans of the Peanuts holiday classic will figure it out soon enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment