12.15.11: Peppermint Kandy Kids


Went to the Mall of America today.



I don’t mind the place. It’s chic to hate it. I like it. But I only go once a year, for Christmas shopping; puts me in the mood. You know, The Mood. It’s a bit hard to come by this year; the unrelenting warmth and rain has eroded every molecule of snow, and all is bare. I want snow and lots of it - it’s one of the guarantees we have here, one of the compensations. Otherwise the Yuletide spirit sags and wheezes. You might as well be living in one of those places where snow at Christmas is - the sort of thing that happens at the end of the story to the accompaniment of sleigh bells and children’s faces upturned in Wonder (TM) at the Miracle of the Season, Defined Here As Weather, and the rest of those cliches that clutter the season.

It will snow.

It always does.


A dandy glowing hunk of krep today:



It’s as dreadful and insincere as you might imagine, and it comes from 1972. But I repeat myself.

I suppose if you’re six or so you might look forward to it, because you heard it last year, and it’s tradition! and you’ll listen to it every year until you grow up, then stumble across it on YouTube some day and think oh wow, my childhood was the greatest ever, this brings it all back, what a wonderful time! All of the things an adult hears - the arrangements, the forced cheer, the cliches, the fact that the official Rudolph canon does not involve a Christmas party - are lost on kids. The cliches aren’t cliches at all, but comforting notes of conformity, reassuring you that this is indeed Christmastime. Otherwise there wouldn’t be jingling bells and talk of reindeer. This all means presents.

According to the YouTube page, this is from the 1978 version, which was redone to include dialogue. So it starts out with Rudolph’s song, then fades to the North Pole, with high winds that made you suspect it’s going to be one of those “oh, it’s too snowy to travel; looks like Christmas is ruined this year” plots that always make Santa look like he’s trying to get out of work. But no: the United Nations is involved in the world-wide dissemination of Rudolph’s party plans.

Huh? Eh? Yeah:



Reading sites devoted to matters like cataloguing every Peppermint Kandy Kids album - and hey, who am I to criticize - it seems that the 1978 version has “The Chief” attempting to stop Rudolph’s party. I gather “The Chief” is Santa, as the elves would call him, and it’s probably safe to say the Chief comes around at the end and not only lets Rudolph have the party, but approves of it and participates, and quite possibly says Ho ho ho Merrrrry Christmas at the end. It’s possible, that’s all

Peter Pan records were the K-Tel of kid records. Never seemed to be official, in the way a Disney record was official. Who was behind it? I love this: the SYNTHETICS PLASTIC COMPANY.

One of the most successful records released under the SPC banner was "My Son, The President"—a comedy spotlighting former president skewering then-president John F. Kennedy, his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy and their daughter, Caroline—that followed in the footsteps of Vaughn Meader's The First Family series of comedy records. "My Son, The President" (the "My Son" part of the title itself borrows from Allan Sherman's series of comedy albums) was released on the Clan subsidiary of SPC in 1963.

That was an early sixties cliche: “My Son, the (X),” based on the stereotype of the proud Jewish mother. So it really made sense to apply it to JFK.

They were very active in the business of sound-alike recordings. They would find a singer who sounded like a well-known artist of the time, such as Mario Lanza or Perry Como. The sound-alike singer would record an album of songs previously recorded by the better-known artist, which would be released with a facsimile of the "name" artist on the cover. The cover would prominently mention the popular artist (e.g., A Tribute To Mario Lanza), while the actual singer would be mentioned in very small print ("Sung by Enzo Stuarti").

What, that Enzo Stuarti? Yes, that Enzo Stuarti!



To complete the migration away from the original topic, in true YouTube / Wikipedia search style, a “related video” has another message from the civilization that preceded ours:



That fellow is so serious about the importance of this particular cigarette. I knew a fellow who smoked True cigarettes, and the rest of us regarded them as the unbummable smoke; if you knew a guy smoked Trues, you never hit him up for one. We all knew they weren’t good for you, but adding plastic fumes to the usual mix really seemed like pushing it.

Today: there's some new Bleatplus, and the Disneyshorts button on the right will take you to a peculiar short about a robot cow that gives milk. Tomorrow? 1961 Christmas, with Harper Lee and Nuclear Dread. See you around!



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