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Re :   Joni James: Nina-Non & Christmas And You

My pleasure, Steve; and yes, Joni definitely puts her unique and charming stamp on the song with that revised line.

07/05/2018 02:35

Re :   Joni James: Nina-Non & Christmas And You

Oh man, Chip, I jusI love that Kate Smith Christmas album that Peter Matz arranged. Her huge range and powerful voice is just spectacular and was truly built to sing those amazing carols and songs. Because of consulting you, I was able to secure a hard to find copy of the original BMG version of that album with the original full cover art without that God awful blue border that they added when they re-released it as a CD-R.

I also love that fantastic Jo Stafford Christmas album that blends her first iconic Christmas album with her second winter inspired collection. Wow, her husband was a great orchestrator as well and her perfect pitch singing is phenomenal. I am so thankful for your historical knowledge on the history of these great albums as its next to impossible to sort all this out without your expertise.

I was absolutely amazed by that huge orchestra that is featured on Joni James very underrated and spectacular Christmas album. The sonics and quality of the recording on her album is amazing. I actually thought I was listening to a stereo CD for awhile and I kept researching and re-reading your great threads to make sure it was not. The velvet vocals and beautiful, but not overdone, reverb on her Christmas album reminds me very much of those great sonics that were captured at the Capitol Tower recordings of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra's best albums.

Yes indeed, I think you nailed it once again about Joni rewriting "From kids from one to ninety-two" to "Kids from one to ninety-one" as probably just her thinking it made more sense to rhyme it in the same sentence than the following one. I agree with you too that it probably sounds better as written, but nevertheless, I find it endearing that she personalizes it in her own her way. It makes it her song so to speak. She just seems like such a beautiful lady and the way that she quit the business to take care of her husband just impresses the heck out of me. My gosh, she is still alive too, if I recall right. What a lady!

Thanks again for all the great info, Chip, you are the man!


07/04/2018 23:22

Re :   Joni James: Nina-Non & Christmas And You

Yes Steve, Kate Smith's greatest effort at a full orchestra backed Christmas album was her 2nd (and by far best) Christmas album from 1966, which comes in at #18 in my Top 500 -- and also happens to be the highest ranking female vocalist Christmas album in my entire collection.

But as to your question of what was the first full-fledged effort of an orchestral backed Christmas album by a female vocalist, the earliest were Jo Stafford's 1955 Christmas album (which was backed by hubby orchestra leader Paul Weston), Patti Page's 1955 Christmas album, and Gisele MacKenzie's 1957 Christmas alum. Even though Jo, Patti and Gisele's respective Christmas albums rank higher in my Top 500 than does Joni's album, Joni had a larger string section backing her up.

As for why Joni changed the lyrics in her version of "The Christmas Song," I've always though the change to be nothing more than poetic license on her part. Even though by changing the lyrics there's no rhyme anymore between the lines "And so I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-two" and "Although it's been said many times many ways Merry Christmas to you," there is a new rhyme of sorts within that first line itself with "And so I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-one." It's cute, but probably not as effective as the original lyrics by Mel Tormé. But Joni's so gosh darn sweet, I'll cut her some slack on that one.

07/04/2018 20:50

Re :   Joni James: Nina-Non & Christmas And You

Hello Chip,

Once again your fantastic Top 500 playlist has brought to my attention another great gem from the Golden Age of Christmas, in this particular case a Christmas artist that you highlighted in your In The Spotlight thread noted above, the tremendously gifted and underrated Joni James.

Residing at number 146 on the Second Tier of your Top 500 is Joni James heartfelt and truly splendid "Merry Christmas From Joni" album. Interestingly enough, Joni's remarkable holiday album rests two notches below my other recent discovery on your Top 500, "Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas" album, which has recently become one of my very favorite female Christmas albums of all time with its stellar orchestral and choral arrangements by the legendary Ralph Carmichael.

I recently picked up the Taragon Records twofer CD issue of Joni's elegant Christmas album from 1956, paired with her absolutely lovely holiday album for Easter, "Give Us This Day." Both albums feature fantastic remastering with Joni herself overseeing the process, along with her personal sound engineer, Tom Perry, as well as a remastering engineer from the the famed Capital Records Tower Studios, Charles Paakkari. Wow, when an artist takes an active role in the reissue process, you can often get a quality product and this twofer CD has great liner notes and beautiful full page cover shots of the original albums. The back page has the beautiful full color artwork of her iconic "Merry Christmas From Joni" album on the back of the booklet so you can just flip it over and it will display on the front of the CD cover. 

I just love these fantastic full orchestral Christmas albums form the Golden Age of Christmas with some of the greatest vocalists of all time doing their greatest interpretation of some of the greatest secular and sacred Christmas material ever written, like Joni's splendid versions of "White Christmas," "O Holy Night," and "Ave Maria," which is actually a highlight on her gorgeous religious album that is part of this twofer collection. I also love the two original songs that you posted above that were actually her first attempts at holiday music.

I have a couple of questions for you, Chip. Firstly, I am wondering if you would consider her "Merry Christmas From Joni" album to be one of the very first full fledged efforts of an iconic full orchestral vocal album from a female artist that represents the truly iconic period of the Golden Age of Christmas music that really begin right around this time period? I cannot really think of another female artist of any magnitude, other than perhaps Kate Smith, that put together such a fully realized orchestral album that is sonically a masterpiece so to speak. I think even Kate Smith's greatest effort at this full orchestral sound would come later in the 1960's with her second Christmas album, which is obviously and deservedly one of the most beloved and revered Christmas albums in history.

Secondly, Chip, and this question is really an obscure one to ask you, but if anybody would know the answer to this question about Joni's fantastic Christmas album, I know it would be you. In Joni's great version of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)," Jodi changes the lyric in the refrain "So I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-two" to "So I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-one." As another reviewer on amazon noted, this change from saying "ninety-one" instead of "ninety two" actually stops it from rhyming with the next line in the song that ends with "Merry Christmas to you," so she obviously did this lyric change for a reason and with purpose. I was wondering if she might have had a child around that age or something when she was recording the album as she even repeats the line that way twice.

Best regards,


07/03/2018 21:59

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)

Being the fine gentleman that he was, Elvis was loyal to a fault. And unfortunately, he felt he owed everything to the Colonel for his success. The Colonel took full -- and I mean full -- advantage of this. And sadly, as a result of the way he managed his career, he basically just squandered Elvis' full potential and talent.

07/01/2018 11:10

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)


You are so right about Elvis's potential to be a very fine actor. My father, who spent the early part of his career in the television industry as a director, was always very critical of Hall Wallis and the limited budget films that Tom Parker negotiated for Elvis. He too, thought Elvis had natural born skill as an actor.

Walter Matthau was another great actor that worked with Elvis in one of the KIng's better movies, King Creole, and always had very great things to say about Elvis personally and as an actor, including the following statement about Elvis in a 1987 interview, "“He was an instinctive actor...He was quite bright...he was very intelligent...He was not a punk. He was very elegant, sedate, and refined, and sophisticated.” 

07/01/2018 08:58

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)

Exactly Steve and another example of this was Elvis' acting career. He was a far better actor than he is given credit for, largely due to all of the lightweight vehicles that the Colonel negotiated for him. And when a serious dramatic acting role came along, the Colonel usually turned it down. The 1960 film Flaming Star was a rare exception to this. But two years earlier, the Colonel turned down one of the best films Elvis was ever offered: 1958's The Defiant Ones, which eventually went to Tony Curtis.

07/01/2018 02:08

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)

Hello Chip,

Oh boy, it looks like I am batting a 1000 today on my facts! Glad you are there to catch my errors. And I am totally with Ms. Gabriel on her opinion of Colonel Tom Parker. He really failed Elvis, both personally and professionally, especially in the later half of his career. He always based his decisions on the near term financial gains and never from the merits of the artistic long term prospects for his client.


07/01/2018 01:03

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)

Close Steve, but it was actually Elvis' next (and what would ultimately be his last) film, Change Of Habit, that Mahalia visited him on the set. She wanted him to participate in a fundraiser she was organizing. He was willing to do it, but Colonel Tom put the kibosh on it. This is typical of why my friend Ethel Gabriel, the legendary RCA Records producer, who was very close to Elvis having been with him at RCA from the beginning, was not partial to the Colonel. And Ethel wasn't alone, as many people had issues with the Colonel as well.

07/01/2018 00:39

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)

Hello Chip,

Yes indeed, I totally agree with you regarding the superiority of Patti Page's second Columbia Christmas album over her first one for Mercury. Once again your list guided me to securing both those splendid albums, but there is a charm and wistfulness on that second holiday album for Columbia that just cannot be beat. My mom was a huge fan of her iconic song "Tennessee Waltz" and of course with my Aunt's connection with her earlier career, we all remained very big fans of hers for a lifetime.

Oh gosh, I had a real senior moment with your favorite album cover picks of all time. Gee whiz, I am only 58 for goodness sakes. Well, of course the fantastic Fred Waring album with the iconic Norman Rockwell cover is your greatest Christmas album cover of all time. How could it not be as I bought two copies of your spectacular twofer release from Real Gone Music just to make sure I have a back-up with that wonderful cover as well as the glorious music that lies within. I also agree with your pick for number 2 with Percy Faith's original album cover for Music Of Christmas. Just precious to say the least.

I have just been mesmerized by listening to the great Mahalia Jackson and thanks again for posting those amazing clips of her glorious singing. Elvis Presley was a big fan of Mahalia's and got the chance to meet her when she came on the set of his movie, The Trouble With Girls. He also gave a shout out to her during the filming of one of his Las Vegas concerts, when he teased his wonderful back-up singers, the Sweet Inspirations, after they could not stop laughing at one of his antics on stage by saying, "I'm bringing in the Supremes next week with Mahalia Jackson singing lead." Elvis loved gospel music above all else and there must have been a lot of mutual respect there between the two legends.

And thanks again for expanding your fantastic Top Playlist throughout the years as without consulting it, I would have been like a man lost in the desert trying to find water without a compass.

Best regards,


06/30/2018 23:05

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)

Yes, I agree about Burl Ives; but that list was only to show what artists in the 1st Tier of my Top 500 had multiple stellar Christmas albums.

As for Patti Page, her Columbia album was actually her second Christmas album (1965); but it's ranked higher at #20 than her original Mercury album (1955), which is ranked #80.

Regarding my ranking of the greatest Christmas album covers of all-time, Leroy Anderson's "Christmas kitty" (as I refer to it) cover for his 1955 Christmas album Christmas Carols is #3, behind Fred Waring's great Norman Rockwell cover for his 1955 Christmas album 'Twas The Night Before Christmas which is #1, and Percy Faith's "Father playing Santa Claus while holding sleeping daughter" cover for his original version of his 1954 Christmas album Music Of Christmas, which is #2. For that original thread on the board, click here.

In my Top 500, in addition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tiers, as well as the "Notable Mentions" section, there is my "Bubbling Under" section of 200 albums that bubble under the Top 300. For my original announcement in 2013 of the posting of the "Bubbling Under" section, click here.

And lastly, so glad you appreciate the Christmas music of Mahalia Jackson. Her Christmas albums are, unfortunately, quite underrated and underappreciated today. She was the "Percy Faith" of gospel singers, in that she was able to convey the kind of power, emotion and reverence with her singing that Mr. Faith did with his orchestra. And just like with Percy Faith, it's always an emotional experience listening to her music. I did an In The Spotlight tribute to her in 2009, click here. And posted below is my favorite Mahalia Jackson Christmas song of all-time; her magnificently spirited rendition of "Go Tell It On The Mountain."

06/30/2018 20:53

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)


Thanks so much for reminding me of the other glorious pairings by those iconic artists on your magnificent Top 500 list. I had forgotten about Jo Stafford's fantastic albums since they are available on one CD as a twofer as well. Wow, and her pitch and intonation is right on par with Ella's and of course I have that great CD in my collection, which again is an artist that I would not have ever even known about without your iconic Top 500 list.

Burl Ives is another artist I should have mentioned, and again I guess I put him in almost the Bing and Perry category, but I guess as much as I love his voice as a great story teller, I probably do not put him in the same great vocal category as Bing, Andy, Johnny or Nat, but thats a matter of my personal bias. He is a truly iconic Christmas artist nevertheless. Oh Patti Page, how did I overlook her as an artist that made two great albums. My aunt Helen, who I have talked to you about before, helped her early on in her career while she owned and managed KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I love that first Christmas album of hers on Columbia, but will have to revisit the Mercury album again for comparison.

Now, the great Mahalia Jackson, that is the artist that I meant to get to after I talked about Ella in my previous post. Once again, your fantastic list of the greatest Christmas albums ever brought me to one of her great holiday albums that I did not have in my collection and along with "Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas," is my favorite "new" holiday CD added to my collection this year. I love all three of her great Christmas albums, but wouldn't you know, the one that turns out to be my favorite is the one I just bought a few days ago based on your list, "Christmas With Mahalia". What I love most about this album, besides her majestic and powerful vocals, is the stellar orchestral arrangements of Marty Paich, who surrounded her with swelling strings the way one might have imagined Percy Faith would have done if he had scored the charts on this splendid Christmas album.

I did think about Leroy Anderson too, briefly, with the stereo and mono versions of his iconic Christmas album. I love those two iconic album covers as well, and I believe the first album cover with the great picture of the cat and presents is rightly rated by you as the number one Christmas album cover of all time. Ferrante & Teicher definitely made two of the greatest instrumental Christmas albums in history as well as being one of my very favorite piano Christmas album artists of all time.

I cannot imagine how I would have ever tracked down some of these fantastic, but rare Christmas albums without your definitive and irreplaceable Top 500 list. I have found great albums on all three tiers of your amazing Top 500 list and even an album or two on your "honorable mentions" category. I cannot imagine the work and resources it took to put together such an iconic listing and ratings of the greatest Christmas music albums in history. Thanks again for the road map that you have provided to all of us Christmas lovers of the Golden Age as we await your coming announcement about what gems from that list that we will be able to add to our fantastic collections this year. From your previous statement on the board regarding the future announcement of your RGM Christmas albums not being made until after July in all likelihood, we now know you are diligently trying to score some more of those iconic, but hard fought releases from Universal Music. We so appreciate your tenacity to get these glorious albums remastered and restored to their original splendor and back out in circulation. Good luck, my friend!

06/30/2018 13:43

Re :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)


In addition to Andy Williams, Perry Como and Bing Crosby, other solo recording artists who have multiple albums in the 1st Tier of my Top 500 (albums 1-125) are Jo Stafford, Patti Page, Burl Ives, Buck Owens and Mahalia Jackson.

For instrumental recording artists, in addition to Percy Faith and Mantovani, they include The Living Strings, Leroy Anderson, Ferrante & Teicher and Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops.

And for choir/chorale/ensemble recording artists, they include Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians, Ray Conniff, The New Christy Minstrels, Mitch Miller, Sammy Kaye, Lawrence Welk, The Living Voices, The Ames Brothers and The Chipmunks.

06/30/2018 12:25

Topic :   Chip's Top 500 Play List (The Gift That Keeps On Giving All Year)

Hello Chip,

As I and so many of your loyal board members anxiously await your next installment of Chip's Tips, whereby you announce the upcoming iconic Christmas classics from the Golden Age of Christmas music that you and Real Gone Music have managed to secure for CD release this year, I always find myself returning to scan your Top 500 Christmas List of the greatest Christmas albums in history in order to add to my growing CD collection. I never fail to find less than four or five CD's to add to my growing Christmas collection each year that now numbers well over 300.

This year, among your not so "hidden gems," I recently discovered two surprisingly glorious albums. Firstly, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas album from 1967 has been an absolutely breathtaking listen. To begin with, I was virtually unaware that the great Ella had even made a second Christmas album of any consequence as everybody else is so obsessed with her first beloved holiday album, "Ella wishes you a Swinging Christmas," and rightly so as it truly deserves its place in you top tier of your top 40 of the greatest Christmas albums of all time. I mean this is Michael Bublé's favorite Christmas album of all time, so its status is well deserved with those fantastic brass charts by Frank DeVol being a perfect match for Ella's great jazz chops.

What makes Ella's follow-up album six years later for the Capitol Jazz label even more amazing is how different the sound and arrangements were from her first masterpiece. Ella's second iconic holiday album goes in the opposite direction in more ways than one. Firstly, she began by selecting all sacred songs for her stupendous second Christmas album as opposed to the first holiday album that was all secular in its song choices. Secondly, she chose the magnificent conductor and arranger, Ralph Carmichael, as her primary collaborator, best known for his stellar orchestral arrangements on Nat King Cole's glorious and iconic "The Christmas Song" album, one of the top five best selling Christmas albums of all time.

Ralph Carmichael could not have been a better choice as he is more or less known as the father of contemporary Christian music that has become so popular in the last several decades. Wow, and Ella totally adapts to his gentle and caressing style, much like the velvety cushion he provided on Nat's iconic Christmas album. Lots of glistening harp, violins and choral arrangements that are to die for and never get in the way of Ella's perfect pitch singing and amazing intonation. 13 glorious sacred songs and if anyone on your great board appreciates and admires Nat King Cole's splendid holiday album, than they will definitely be thrilled with this amazing masterpiece as well and sonically they sound very similar.

Chip, I can only think of a couple vocalists from your amazing Top 500 List that have made two almost perfect and equally great Christmas albums in their lifetime. Andy Williams comes to mind immediately with his two magnificent holiday albums. Of course, I should mention Bing and Perry Como have at least three albums in your First Tier as I recall so they are sort of in a category all by themselves. We also know that the two great instrumental maestro's, Percy Faith and Mantovani, are at the top of the list for creating more or less two equally glorious albums, especially Percy, who of course deservedly holds the top two places on the First Tier of your glorious Top 500 List.

Chip, am I missing any other artist or vocalist from your magnificent list that you feel made at least two almost equally great Christmas albums in their lifetime?

06/30/2018 10:55

Re :   What's Happening to our board?


Aimoo is doing a major overhaul of its message board platform. I've applied for a complete transfer of all existing forum data to the new apparatus, but I fear this conversion could be even more disastrous than the conversion from version 7.0.1 to version 8.0.1 in 2007. The board was closed for months while I made repairs, and much information was lost and never recovered. So I'm bracing for impact.

As far as the upcoming new releases for 2018 are concerned, I'd ideally like to announce them in July, but since most of the releases are UMG projects, it will take longer to get all the deals worked out.

06/27/2018 02:19

Topic :   What's Happening to our board?

Chip, is Aimoo kicking us out, or will we still have a home to chat about the sounds of the season?

PS: Any "Christmas is July" special announcements about RGM Christmas music releases this year?

06/26/2018 22:39

Re :   Hallmark Movies this Friday 4-6

Hallmark is doing an extensive "Christmas in July" promotion called Keepsake week. July 13th to the 26th. with some of their many Christmas movies. In addition Their channel, "Hallmark Movies and Mysteries: will air Gold Crown Christmas from June 28th through July 15. So, if you like, there are Christmas romance movies from June 29th right through July 26! They are not your classic Christmas movies like Christmas Story or Wonderful Life, but it is a touch of Christmas! ENJOY!

06/26/2018 11:55

Re :   More unidentified non-Christmas music

Will they not download for you?

EDITED ----  Nevermind, it says that they are in violation of their rules or something.  It doesn't make sense because all they are only a few seconds of a song it's not anything someone would want to keep.

I guess I'll have to put them into a single file as a zip file and put the files inside it. I will also password protect a file so MediaFire can't try and figure out what is in the file.

I would just upload them to our message board but you can only upload videos or pictures not MP3 files and so on.

05/31/2018 20:12

Re :   More unidentified non-Christmas music

Unfortunately, I can't access these songs.

05/31/2018 17:25

Topic :   More unidentified non-Christmas music

I often hear songs on the radio while I am driving, and if it is something I may have only heard a couple of times growing up, I can't always identify the song title or artist, but I will use my camera on my smartphone to capture part of that song.
I then will play it back and use the microphone on my computer to get just an audio file of that song.  It isn't the best quality being it isn't a line out line in, so it picks up outside noises.  Also sometimes I may be turning and it will pick up the clicking of my directional signals or even my hands sliding across the steering wheel.

These songs may only be a few seconds, but some are a bit longer.

They are all in m4a format as I had to reformat my computer once again and haven't installed a converter program to get them into mp3 format.

If anyone can identify these songs and the year, it would greatly be appreciated.  They don't play them much on the radio anymore on the oldies stations I listen too, just once in awhile.  Also this one station I listen to doesn't do many live broadcasts but instead plays recorded music, so no disc jockey.  Probably syndicated, but when I call the radio station, they can't help me identify the songs.

These on MediaFire, and should be a quick download

Number 2  to me, it sounds a bit like the Original Jay Black (Jan and the Americans) but isn't a song I recognize by them

Number 4

Number 5 this one sounds like maybe The Rip Chords

Number 6 

June 1, 2018.  I moved the files to Dropbox and renamed them 01 unidentified 02 unidentified.  Etc.  Please add the extension ".m4a" to each file and they should work with most media players.  Thank you

05/31/2018 12:33

Re :   It's Christmas Time In May In Phoenix, Arizona On The Radio

Glad to hear you got through on their business line; for some reason, all I get is a busy signal.

05/30/2018 18:58

Re :   It's Christmas Time In May In Phoenix, Arizona On The Radio

Hello Chip,

I have a call in to KEZ program director Paul Kelly. I mentioned the is talking about his station and what happened last Thursday with Christmas music being played continuously for several hours. I left a message on his line after someone answered the business line and I asked for Paul Kelly after briefly telling her the story.

I googled his name and the radio station and found a funny article with a provocative headline about a radio station playing non-stop Christmas music in early November last year in a tie in with a credit union. They have been going all Christmas around Thanksgiving for almost 20 years and they say the ad revenue has been tremendous and other stations have followed.

I will let you know if he returns my call, but I am sure the program director would be more likely to return your call than mine, Chip, so have at it if your so inclined. The article about KEZ is from the Digital Music News dated November 16, 2017.

I will let everyone know if I find out anything further. What a great stunt and a sheer thrill. Wow, it was nearly 100 degrees and the Christmas music was flowing like a faucet. 

05/29/2018 17:42

Re :   It's Christmas Time In May In Phoenix, Arizona On The Radio

Tried to call the station's business number today and unfortunately only get a fast busy signal.

05/29/2018 11:55

Re :   It's Christmas Time In May In Phoenix, Arizona On The Radio

I looked online and it shows 99.9 KEZ as the Holiday Station. I don't know if it is 24 -7 365 days a year holiday music but it is interesting!

05/29/2018 10:13

Re :   It's Christmas Time In May In Phoenix, Arizona On The Radio

Hello Chip,

Oh, I did make sure I wrote down the station call letters as I could not believe my ears when that Christmas music came on and did not stop for so long. I did try to call myself to find out on their request line last night and this morning, but it was busy the whole time. Maybe you could try their business line. Sorry I forget to mention the station call letters. Its 99.9 KEZ in Phoenix, Arizona and their phrase is "The Valley's 80's to Now Variety."

Please let us know what you find out. I do think it was some sort of special marketing promotion and I do agree with you a rather brilliant one at that. I bet they got a ton of calls. The sort of thing radio stations use to do back in the "good old days" of radio broadcasting.


05/26/2018 21:22

Re :   It's Christmas Time In May In Phoenix, Arizona On The Radio

My guess, Steve, is that it was either part of some kind of sales promotion, or perhaps just a publicity stunt to garner attention from the public and media for the station. If indeed it was a publicity stunt, it was a brilliant move, as I'm sure it created a lot of talk around town. Too bad you don't remember the station; I would have liked to call them to find out.

And for this Memorial Day weekend, I'll share here a little Christmas music in May for everyone to get into the spirit and enjoy from two sets of great singing brothers: Mills and Ames.

05/26/2018 13:50

Topic :   It's Christmas Time In May In Phoenix, Arizona On The Radio

Hello Chip,

I have recently traveled to Mesa, Arizona to attend my youngest daughter's wedding this weekend and while driving around in my rent a car I thought I was listening to a top 40 radio station on the FM dial that had been playing a variety of current top 40 hits, when suddenly it seemed to flip to an all Christmas format for several uninterrupted hours. I mean everything from Bing Crosby's White Christmas to Perry Como's There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays and Burl Ives among so many others.

My middle age daughter was in the car with my gal and I and her mouth just about dropped to the floor. I have been referred to as Mr. Christmas around my loved ones on more than one occasion due to my love of Christmas music and the season in general, but this switch to all Christmas music in the middle of the Mesa, Arizona dessert with temperatures hovering near 100 was a fantastic and splendid surprise to say the least. My daughter remarked, "Dad I have never heard Christmas music played this time of year on the radio, leave it to you to bring Christmas music with your arrival in town. I don't know how you did it, but you managed to do it somehow!"

I mean this was not a satellite radio station, but a regular top 40 pop station. We drove around for nearly two hours as we went to eat at a restaurant and visited the local Barnes & Noble book store and each time the very vintage Christmas music remained on the radio station air waves until we came back to the car for the last time. We heard no explanation other than some talk of a "Christmas promotion" or something that seemed taped ahead of time.

Now there was one time a year or two ago I heard a country radio station play one Christmas song in July as a sort of joke because of the hot weather or something, but it was one song only and they quickly returned to playing the hit singles of the time, and I believe the song was Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. It was definitely a one off so to speak.

Chip, I know you know my family has been involved in the ownership and management of several television and radio stations over the years, but I have never heard of or witnessed such a splendid and dedicated effort towards the continuous playing of Christmas music by a major market radio station this early in the year.

My question for you Chip as the greatest authority in the world on the popular Christmas music from the Golden Age and beyond is the following; Have you ever heard of such a planned and continuous display of Christmas music this early in the year or do you think someone "fell Asleep at the controls" so to speak and this was some sort of pre-taped mistake where an engineer hit the wrong switch or playlist by mistake? Either way, it just wetted my appetite for your impending announcement of the Real Gone Music Christmas releases for this year that I am sure is not too many months or even weeks away from being released on this great forum.

Best regards.


05/25/2018 23:46

Re :   2017 Yule Log Broadcast Schedule (Local Coverage)

Thank you Chip,
From what I was told, Tribune is no longer offering the Superstation package to Cable, Satellite or Fiber Optic Television providers.  I have read several complaints that say something that even if Charlie Ergen, the President of Dish Network had changed his equipment or services, that he couldn't get the Superstation Package back either. (Yeah Right) lol

I can't get a distant CW network because we have a local CW network station.

It isn't right, even if I go to one of those Pick and Choose Streaming Channel Services, I can't get WPIX, unless it was in my Direct Marketing area.  So why even offer a Pick and Choose Service?  If I am willing to pay for a specific channel, it shouldn't matter where I am located.

As you know, I love the Classic Television Movies and Programs, and yes we get some shows like I've Got A Secret and What's My Line, but our Local station that gives us Retro TV or MeTV, Get TV, Grit TV etc, they don't give us all the programs that the actual Networks are, and they fill in with a local talk show or a local bowling show.  So even it I were watching, Hazel and then they advertises that Leave It To Beaver is "coming up next on most of these stations", I will get the local bowling show instead.

It is good to know that Antenna TV will continue to broadcast The Yule Log.

I will miss not being able to have a backup network though for when WPIX airs it, since I could get a few changes at different times to DVR it. and if there was bad weather, it might not last long enough to affect both channels being they broadcast The Yule Log at different times.

04/19/2018 06:56

Re :   2017 Yule Log Broadcast Schedule (Local Coverage)

That's such a shame, Susan, that you lost your Superstation package. Dish Network really did you a disservice.

You should write them a strong letter of complaint for doing that to you.

If it's any consolation, yes, Sean (Compton) will continue to air the Yule Log on his Antenna TV network. He made that pledge to me several years ago and has kept it. So as long as he's in charge at Tribune Broadcasting, rest assured it will air on Antenna TV.

04/19/2018 02:26

Re :   2017 Yule Log Broadcast Schedule (Local Coverage)

I'm not sure which section this should go to, so please if it is in the wrong one, could you move it for me?

Well, I can no longer get WPIX or the other Superstations.    Last week we have very high wind gust for 2 days straight, and it knocked over my satellite dish and broke the mounting bracket for the LNB to the arm of my dish.

I had to go to Cleveland Clinic yesterday and there was a change that I would be there for a few days or more if they were going to do some surgery.  So being I didn't know how long I was going to be in the hospital, and that I couldn't actually pick up any signal from Dish Network, I called them to see if there was a way I could get a credit for the number of days I would be in the hospital, since I wouldn't be home to let a technician in and they told me that I could put my account on "Vacation" and only pay $10.00 a month until I get back from the hospital.  So i said that would be fine and wehn I get back from the hospital I could just call to have them take it off "Vacation"

Well I didn't need the surgery yet because they had to do an X-Ray with contrast and because I still have swelling from the previous surgery, they are going to wait at least a few more weeks.

I came home lat evening, and I was able to get the mounting bracket for the LNB, and got the dish re-aimed.  I called Dish Network to have my service taken off of "Vacation" and then they asked me to check and make sure all my stations where there, and unfortunately WPIX, WWOR, WSBK, KWGN and KTLA were gone. 

When I told the customer service rep that they were gone, she told me that I couldn't get them back because they stopped offering the Superstation package in 2013 and because I had my service put on vacation for even just 3 days, that voided me being grandfathered in.  They have no way of even overriding that.

I was on the phone for over an hour trying to find a way to get that package back because I was NOT told that if I put my service on Vacation, that I would lose that package.  Even if I were to upgrade my receivers to their Hopper system, I would lose that package.

So now I can only hope that Antenna TV will continue to broadcast it each year, and the full 5-hours.  Also that they might put a commercial in between the 3rd and 4th hour like they did a few years ago.

I won't get The Honeymooners anymore.  Yes they are available on DVD as well as other programs that WPIX airs, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is so much better to actually watch them when they air on WPIX

04/18/2018 17:08

Re :   Christmas Vinyl Internet radio

Out of curiosity I tried the URL in the starter message of this thread, and my Norton Security Suite started popping up warnings like this:

4/5/2018 7:45:39 PM,
Severity: High,
An intrusion attempt by was blocked.,
No Action Required,
Web Attack: Malicious Redirection 21,
No Action Required,

04/05/2018 21:00

Topic :   First Noel - Organ & Orchestra - Unknown Artist

I've been sorting through my boxes of old home recorded audio cassettes and came across an unidentified recording of The First Noel played on a pipe organ and chimes accompanied by an orchestra.  I'm not certain where I got it, but I think I copied it from a set of home recorded cassettes of Christmas music a former neighbor gave me years ago.  She had received them as a gift from a former boyfriend, but she was one of those people who hated Christmas so she gave them to me. 

I copied it from one of those compilation cassettes onto a 5 minute cassette and then eventually transferred it to an MP3, but the quality is really poor, to the point of being unlistenable.. 

I'd be grateful for some help in trying to identify the source of the original recording so I could track down a high quality recording of it.

Can someone remind me how I could post the MP3 here to the message board so you folks could give it a listen? 

04/05/2018 20:03

Topic :   Hallmark Movies this Friday 4-6

Christmas in April?

This Friday April 6th. the Hallmark Channel is airing 4 Christmas Movies between 2PM and 10PM from its Merry Madness Christmas Bracket contest.

A Very MerryMix-Up - 2/1c
A Royal Christmas- 4/3c
A December Bride- 6/5c
Switched forChristmas - 8/7c


04/05/2018 11:16

Topic :   Mike Douglas - My Kind Of Christmas LP

Was wondering if anyone out there was able to send me nice scans of the front and back of the Mike Douglas "My Kind Of Christmas" LP ?

03/18/2018 09:36

Re :   'The Snowman' w/ sax solo instead of singer?

Edit: Never Mind!  I found it!

It just occurred to me that perhaps I was using the wrong search term.  I had been searching for "Snowman."  So just now I tried searching for "Walking," and Bingo!  Up it popped.

So, now I'm trying to figure out how to delete my message from a few minutes ago:

Hey Chip, remember that MP3 that I linked to in this thread many years ago -- the one with "Walking in the Air" played as a sax solo instead of being sung?

Well yesterday I decided to finally get around to sorting through the remainder of my old audio cassettes and try to winnow them down to what what is truly irreplaceable.  I came across the audio cassette of that sax version of "Walking in the Air" and that reminded me that I had once transferred it to an MP3. 

But when I searched my hard drive, that MP3 didn't turn up.  I suspect that it resides on the hard drive of an old PC that I junked when I moved a couple of years ago. 

So I Googled for this thread and tried the link from my initial post.  But I got this error message:
 Server not found

 Firefox can’t find the server at

Oh well, I thought, that's ok, I'll just have to transfer it again.  But when I tried to play the cassette in my old dusty stereo cassette deck, the tape deck turned out to have died on me sometime in the last few years.  I can't even remember the last time I used it.  I moved a couple of years ago, and can't remember if I've ever used it since the move.

So, I'm wondering if you (or anyone reading this) bothered to save that MP3 when you listened to it back in 2011.  If you did, I'd sure be grateful to you if you could email a copy of it to me.

03/16/2018 09:34

Re :   Miracle on 34th Street - Location of Brooks Memorial Home For The Aged

Yes, it is sad that the cast members are all gone now.  IT might be interesting to know if any of the "Extras" who were very young at the time the film was done remember anything about what might have been deleted from the original movie that was first shown in theaters.  I am sure it would be hard to tack them down and possibly the only way might be financial records of the production company who most likely paid them their fee for being an extra in the move.
I know I mentioned this elsewhere on the board, but my mother told me that she saw the movie when it first came out and when Kris was on trial for lunacy, there were parents and children picketing/protesting outside the courthouse with signs about releasing Santa Claus.  But the movie I first saw on TV in the 1960's didn't have those scenes.

02/26/2018 11:36

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

Johnny it is just so strange that the production numbers could be so far out of sequence on some of the episodes.  A few go into another season or they are several numbers apart.
For instance in Season 5, Episode 144 is 5784-119 and is is the last episode of Season 5 but the first episode of season 5 is episode 119 5784-121

In Season 3,  Episode 63 starts with 5784-65 and Episode 78 is 5784-62.  The season ends with episode 92  5784.73

Then in Season 6, they added another number to the production numbers starting with Episode 151  35784-149 ending with Episode 168 35784-156

I don't know how many episodes were taped before their actual broadcast on TV, but it does seem odd that they would have them so far out of sequence.

I do vaguely remember at the end of each episode in the 1960's that they had a preview of the next episode.  It would be interesting to know if these ending credits still exist.

I have watched the complete series of Car 54 Where on Shout TV on ROKU, are and in their end credits, it shows the "Sponsored By"  But when it was airing on MeTV or Antenna TV a couple years ago, those graphics weren't in the ending credits.

02/26/2018 11:29

Re :   ***Coming in 2017 the Holy Grail of all Christmas albums***

Oh sorry i thought it would be out of print. Sorry for the confusion made.
Greetings Rick

02/26/2018 10:03

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

Funny that you should mention this Susan, as it's one of the very few TV shows that I always looked for the episode number during the ending credits, and always noticed it was very prominent compared to any other show I've ever seen. And of course I always like the Bing Crosby Productions logo at the end of each show. As far as out of order, I'm not sure about that  - perhaps there's a ME-TV site where you can ask that question?

02/25/2018 00:28

Re :   ***Coming in 2017 the Holy Grail of all Christmas albums***

It's neither out of print with Real Gone Music or with Sony Music: another pressing is coming from RGM of our newly remastered expanded edition with my liner notes and bonus tracks; and Sony is still printing their unremastered version.

02/25/2018 00:02

Re :   Miracle on 34th Street - Location of Brooks Memorial Home For The Aged

There were several great scenes that were deleted from the film, Susan. It's a shame they can't be found. More than likely they were discarded after they hit the cutting room floor.

On a personal note, it's also a shame that when Alvin Greenman died a couple of years ago, there went the film's last surviving member. It was through my research for this thread about the Books Memorial Home in 2010 that I first became acquainted with him. We talked pretty regularly after that up to the time of his death. I miss him and the conversations we used to have, which were mostly about the Golden Age of Hollywood. His daughter, Grace, is still active in the business.

02/25/2018 00:00

Re :   ***Coming in 2017 the Holy Grail of all Christmas albums***

Just wondering about this release...
Will there for sure be a second pressing?
What if this cd will be out of print will sony release it again themselves?
Since i thought this album has never been out of print since release?
Thank you

02/24/2018 17:04

snow miser
Re :   WPAT - The Spirit of Christmas marathon

Hi Rich,
Thanks for this.  I tried contacting you offline but I don't think you got my message.  I wanted to know if the 6 hours you recorded from WPATs Spirit of Christmas included the once in a while voice heard saying " Our Holiday gift to you, 36 hours of the Spirit of Christmas, from WPAT, Easy 93".  There were variations to the message and sometimes he would read the sponsors that made this possible.  I would love to hear those again.  If you could let me know and if yes, I would like a copy of your recording.  Let me know, thanks.


02/24/2018 17:04

Re :   Miracle on 34th Street - Location of Brooks Memorial Home For The Aged

I'm not sure if this is the correct topic to post this, but another member here who also has a Facebook account posted a still that was seen on eBay from the movie.  It is from a deleted scene were Kris purposely fails his mental examination and ends up at Bellevue.

It would be interesting to find out if any more stills or actual footage could be found, maybe in the vault at Twentieth Century Fox/20th Century Fox.
Still from a deleted scene of Mriadcle on 34th Street
EDITED 2/24/2018 because the link wouldn't work correctly so I am trying to insert the image I "borrowed"

02/24/2018 14:39

Re :   K-Mart In-Store Holiday Music from December 1974

Thank you Gene for letting us know about this. It definitely brings back memories of blue light specials and lay-away Christmas gifts.
"Those were the Days" :)

02/11/2018 17:49

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

 I don't know if this was intentional or a mistake but in the pilot, Carter / Larry Hovis rank was Lieutenant and in of the rest of episodes he was a Sargent.  I believe Hockstetter and Burkhalter had different ranks too.

02/07/2018 20:02

Re :   Best Buy Will Stop Selling CDs This Summer

This makes me wonder if any store won't go back into selling Vinyl because record companies are releasing current artists on Vinyl, and I believe re-releasing other albums on vinyl.

I realize that Vinyl takes up more space than CD's, but it was nice to be able to buy a 45 by some artists, if you didn't care for the rest of the songs that might be on an album.

I remember when CD's and Cassettes took up a lot of space in the stores because they tried to make them more theft resistant.

02/07/2018 11:22

Re :   K-Mart In-Store Holiday Music from December 1974

This is really nice, brings me back to my teens, and when the stores weren't being pushed out of business by Wal-Mart.  K-Mart always had great sales.  Too bad most of them are closed now.  Not to mention their parent company Sears.

02/07/2018 11:18

Re :   Best Buy Will Stop Selling CDs This Summer

Hello Chip,

Yes indeed, cheers to Real Gone Music and their belief and success in the CD format. The death of the CD has been greatly exaggerated for many years as consumers simply get their music in a number of different ways, but according to Billboard Magazine, the Bible of the recording industry, the CD format is still the number one way consumers purchase albums across the spectrum. Almost half a billion dollars in revenue on almost 100 million physical sales in 2017 are not small numbers.

Yes, the young whippersnappers  tend to stream, but I remember when the industry thought digital downloads were going to be the future salvation of the industry. The good news is that the large labels, including most recently Sony Music, are reporting large profits again because of their diversified income and their death was greatly predicted several years ago. 

I think the demand for CD's will remain with a dedicated, but significant fan base and there will always be people that want a physical product with artwork and liner notes for their very favorite artists and albums. The resurgence of vinyl, though I think is close to reaching its apex, has demonstrated that in spades. I think CD's will eventually be perceived like vinyl is today as a superior audio format that is sought out by dedicated collectors in surprisingly significant numbers even though the market will be greatly fragmented with streaming and possibly a new a new digital format that we cannot even predict what form it will take.

Best regards,


02/06/2018 23:59

Re :   Best Buy Will Stop Selling CDs This Summer

It won't affect the Christmas releases from Real Gone Music; Gordon and I will always be a champion of the CD format.

02/06/2018 14:05

Re :   K-Mart In-Store Holiday Music from December 1974

Definitely, Gene. And yes, the '60s were the ultimate time for classic Christmas music. We were both lucky to have grown up during that time.

02/06/2018 13:50

Topic :   Best Buy Will Stop Selling CDs This Summer

I imagine that most of us now buy nearly all our Christmas CDs online, so this may have little or no effect on upcoming Christmas CD releases, but it is a sad sign of the times, isn't it?  BTW, it's interesting to note that "Revenues from shipments of CDs were down 3% to $431 million, while vinyl albums were up 3% to $182 million."

02/06/2018 12:42

Re :   K-Mart In-Store Holiday Music from December 1974

Ah!!! I knew if anyone had any corrections to whoever wrote that list that it would be you!!! Thank you!!!!
Yes...the good old days!!! If they could take me back to the 60's, that would be great!! But I'll take the Christmas shopping experience from 1974!

It really sets the mood, doesn't it?

02/06/2018 05:44

Re :   K-Mart In-Store Holiday Music from December 1974

Ah, the good old days.

By the way, there's a lot of info that is wrong on this discography, but the fourth to last song is "Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers" by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops from 1959.

02/05/2018 19:52

Topic :   K-Mart In-Store Holiday Music from December 1974

Anyone feel like taking a trip back to 1974? This site has a lot of audio that was played in K-Mart stores. In particular, this audio from a reel to reel specifically made for the Christmas Shopping Season including announcements and jingles. The audio is two hours long and is downloadable.

The playlist, copied and pasted from the above link:

0:03 K Mart jingle
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas – Billy Vaughn (1958, Christmas Carols album)
Happy Holiday – Eddie Dunstedter (1963, The Bells of Christmas Chime Again album)
March of the Toys/Toyland Medley – Andre Kostelanetz (1959, Joy to the World album)
The Christmas Waltz – Ronnie Aldrich (1964, Christmas with Ronnie Aldrich & The London Festival Orchestra album)
Jingle Bells – Mantovani Orchestra (1963, Christmas Greetings from Mantovani & His Orchestra album)
Will Security please report to Section 3?
I'll Be Home for Christmas – Jackie Gleason Orchestra (1969, All I Want For Christmas album)
Silver Bells – The Living Strings (1963, The Spirit of Christmas album)
Snowbound - Wayne King Orchestra (1963, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas album)
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Ferrante & Teicher (1962, Christmas Is So Special album)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops (1959, Pops Christmas Party album)
Jingo Jango - Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra (1963, Christmas Wonderland album)
Attention please: if you plan to pay with your purchase with a personal check...
Jingle Bell Bossa Nova - Eddie Dunstedter (1965, Christmas Candy album)
Pine Cones & Holly Berries/It's Beginning to Look a LotLikeChristmas–The Living Strings(1963, NewFromBroadway)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town/March of the Toys/Rudolph medley – ("The Twenty-Two Best Loved Christmas Piano Concertos" (1959))
Sleigh Ride – Hugo Winterhalter (1959, Wish You Were Here album)
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas – Frank Chacksfield (1959, Music for a Merry Christmas album)
There is no smoking allowed on the sales floor, only in the Snack Bar...
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – George Melachrino & His Strings (1959, Christmas Joy album)
Walking in a Winter Wonderland – The Three Suns (1961, The Sound of Christmas album)
Jingle Bells – Domenico Savino & His Orchestra (1959, Hi-Fi Christmas Party album)
Christmas Bells – Mantovani Orchestra (1963, Christmas Greetings from Mantovani & His Orchestra album)
Frosty the Snowman – John Klein (1959, A Christmas Sound Spectacular album)
Christmas Candy - Eddie Dunstedter (1965, Christmas Candy album)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Hollyridge Strings (1965, Christmas Favorites album)
Snow in Hawaii - The Waikikis (1973, Merry Christmas in Hawaii album)
Snowfall – Tex Beneke (1965, Christmas Serenade in the Glenn Miller Style album)
K Mart jingle
Jingle Bell Rock – Pete Fountain (1967, Candy Clarinet album)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town/Here Comes Santa Claus – Liberace (1952, A Liberace Christmas)
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – ?piano and orchestra
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Andre Kostelanetz (1972, Wonderland of Christmas album)
Parade of the Wooden (Tin) Soldiers – Living Voices (1962, Living Voices Sing Christmas Music album)
All Around the Christmas Tree - John Klein (1964, Lets Ring the Bells All Around the Christmas Tree album)
Will Security please report to Section 10...
I'll Be Home for Christmas – Lawrence Welk (1961, Silent Night album)
Walking in a Winter Wonderland – Hollyridge Strings (1963, Christmas Favorites by the Hollyridge Strings album)
Under the Christmas Mistletoe - Dick Leibert (1963, The Happy Hits of Christmas album)
Sleigh Ride – Tex Beneke (1965, Christmas Serenade in the Glenn Miller Style album)
Sleigh Ride – Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops (1959, Pops Christmas Party album)
Attention please: if you plan to pay with your purchase with a personal check...
Ring, Christmas Bells (Ukrainian Bell Carol) – Eddie Dunstedter (1963, The Bells of Christmas Chime Again album)
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - The Wayne King Orchestra
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – The Living Strings (1963, The Spirit of Christmas album)
Happy Holiday – Jackie Gleason Orchestra (1956, Merry Christmas album or possibly a later recording)
Toy Parade - Bert Kaempfert (1963, Christmas Wonderland album)
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Three Suns (1959, A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas album)
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas – Hollyridge Strings (1963, ChristmasFavorites by the HollyridgeStrings album)
There is no smoking allowed on the sales floor, only in the Snack Bar...
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Lawrence Welk (1956, Merry Christmas from Lawrence Welk album)
I'll be Home for Christmas – Eddie Dunstedter (1965, Christmas Candy album)
March of the Wooden (Tin) Soldiers – ?orchestra
Silver Bells – Al Hirt (1965, The Sound of Christmas album)
I'll be Home For Christmas – Hollyridge Strings (1963, Christmas Favorites by the Hollyridge Strings album)
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Wayne King & His Orchestra (1963, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas album) 

02/05/2018 16:01

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

That's makes no sense to me too, Susan. I can see showing a holiday-themed episode out of the sequence that episodes for that season were filmed, but not the others.

01/28/2018 00:07

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

I hate when stations do that. I know they have to make their money, so I don't care how many damn commercials they show, but don't cut the doggone movie. They should either show it correctly or don't show it at all.

01/28/2018 00:04

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Hi Chip!
Totally agree!    One of the biggest sins this past holiday was committed by This TV they aired The Bishop's Wife a few time but showed it in a 2 hour spot - the film runs 109 minutes - they literally butchered the film - thankfully TCM did show it uncut.   Suggested to WPIX contacts they show the film again like they used too!

01/27/2018 08:36

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

Well this is getting more and more confusing.

I am up to Season 3 and Episode 86 of the entire series, and the production numbers that are missing 5784-73 and 5784-77.

Episode 86 is 5794-87.

What I see online, even though the production numbers are out of sequence, they list the episodes in order and the dates they originally aired.

It just seems odd that they would have the production numbers out of sequence, especially when they taped them, I believe they were numbered in order of production, therefore they should have aired on TV in the order they were produced.  I don't believe they taped an entire season in a few weeks, especially when nobody could predict how long the series would last.

01/27/2018 08:13

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

I agree, Bob, they are both indeed masterpieces. I do think 49th Parallel is the better film, though.

As for The Way Ahead, as big as TCM is at showing movies in their original form uncut, I just can't understand why they choose to air the American edited version of the film known as The Immortal Battalion. In fact, TCM is so big on showing the originals, that they thankfully show Laurel and Hardy's 1934 holiday classic under its original title of Babes In Toyland, not the later re-release title of March Of The Wooden Soldiers.

01/26/2018 19:38

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Thanks Chip!

On The Way Ahead VCI's did a great job on the release Interestingly TCM shows the american cut we discussed.    On One Of Our Aircraft is Missing it is a flip of Powell and Pressburgers The 49th Parallel!    In the first film Brits land in Nazi territory and in the second Nazis arrive via the ocean into Canada - two masterpieces! 

01/26/2018 15:23

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Oh boy, Bob, yes, another great U.K. war film with yet another great director, Sir Carol Reed, and yet another auspicious movie debut, this time the terrific Trevor Howard.
Gee willikers, you're definitely a movie fanatic like me.

And you're absolutely correct; this film is an under seen and underrated gem. For some godforsaken reason it does not get as much exposure as the two previous U.K. war films we discussed, One Of Our Aircraft Is Mussing and In Which We Serve. I really don't know why, but again, it might be a licensing issue. Whatever it is, it's too bad.

Oh, and thanks for the link to those pieces you did for WPIX. Good job!

01/25/2018 14:35

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Thanks Chip!   If you really want to see a great and underrated Brit war film grab a copy of "The Way Ahead" starring David Niven - Peter Ustinov appears in this too - one of his first roles.     The film as released by VCI is the original Brit version NOT the American edited version titled "The Immortal Battalion" a really under seen gem!!!

Best and warmest regards,

Also check out the piece on did on Miracle On 34th Street this past Christmas and other clips I shared with PIX!

01/25/2018 12:14

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

I usually didn't pay attention to the Special Features in this DVD set but in in going through and keeping track of the production numbers.  I started watching the special features and noticed that there was a gag reel   Bob's wedding to Sigrid Valdis otherwise known as Patricia Crane and there was the Jell-o commercial so they did include these things

01/24/2018 20:23

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

You're picking up some fine films here, Bob. Those two 1942 U.K. motion pictures sported two of the most celebrated filmmaker collaborations in British cinema. They also provided feature film debuts for two of the greats of British cinema.

For the movie One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing, you have filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (known together as The Archers). And Peter Ustinov made his feature film debut in this movie.

For the movie In Which We Serve, you have filmmakers David Lean and No
el Coward. And Richard Attenborough made his feature film debut in this movie.

Good picks!

01/23/2018 12:20

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Hi Chip!

I don't think Sim ever made a bad film!   He always made each film better for his taking a role in it!    Love the Brit war films from the 1940's too just got "One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing" and also "In Which We Serve" too, amazing how even during the war with all the huge sacrifices they made the Brits were making masterpieces of cinema!  Thanks for the info on your Christmas release Quest for this year on Harry Simeone always drove me nuts thatUniversals release on CD dropped songs from the album! 

Best and warmest regards,

01/23/2018 08:01

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life


That first film in the St. Trinians series, The Belles Of St. Trinian's, was a reunion of sorts for A Christmas Carol cast members Alastair Sim, George Cole (a prot
égé of Sim), and the always delightful Hermione Baddeley. Sim did two films in the Trinians series, and Cole did four. Hopefully The Belles Of St. Trinian's will be in circulation someday, as it was the best in the series. Sim was a hoot in drag.

As for Bush Christmas, it's too bad that it isn't more widely known today. But thankfully, TCM does show it from time to time.

And regarding the new Christmas CD releases that I proposed and are being negotiated for this year are Jim Reeves, Leroy Anderson, Jack Halloran and Harry Simeone; but for the Simeone, I have to locate the original masters. I also have a proposed John Klein 2-fer CD package that's cooking. And in addition to all that, there's also a good possibility of 2-CD set package releases coming for Andre Kostelanetz, Ferrante & Teicher, Arthur Fiedler and Eugene Ormandy.
The 2-CD sets for Andre Kostelantz and Ferrante & Teicher will hopefully contain all three of each artist's Christmas albums; and the 2-CD set for Eugene Ormandy might possibly contain all four of his Christmas albums (the original two with Columbia, and the later two with RCA).

There is even more beyond this, and I will post updates in the future accordingly.

01/23/2018 02:37

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Chip again spot on!    I rec'vd The Holly And the Ivy on dvdr along with another great brit film missing in action here in the states Alastair Sims classic "The Belles Of St Trinians" from a firm in CA I reviewed them on my FB page, according to my sources Trinians is owned here in the states by Paramount!   It was shown last here in the states on WPIX around 1975 in fact it was a New Years Day!
Been trying to encourage Olive Films to release it here on dvd but so far no luck!    Have you seen "Bush Christmas" 1947 a real gem, VCI has it!!!!    Know it is way early but what Christmas re releases would you like to see this year?  I did grab the GREAT Percy Faith release you and Real Gone made happen!!!!!

01/22/2018 08:20

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Yes, it's a shame about the lack of exposure for the 1952 film The Holly And The Ivy; it must be a licensing issue, as it's not currently in circulation. The film not only boasts in its cast the great Ralph Richardson, but also the great Celia Johnson who, like Richardson, is totally underappreciated these days. She was particularly good in director David Lean's classic 1945 film Brief Encounter. And as for Richardson, good Lord, he was exceptional in The Fallen Idol, The Heiress (which he did for the great director Willy Wyler), and Long Day's Journey Into Night (which he starred with the great Kate Hepburn).

I hope to God that VCI or someone else picks up the option for 1951's A Christmas Carol, I'd really hate to see that movie fall out circulation. It is by far the
#1 film in my list of all-time favorite Christmas movies.

01/21/2018 12:16

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Hi Chip!

Sorry for the double post!    Spot on comments about IAWL,   Love You Can't Take It With You!   McCarey had the same problem with pacing his films of the 40's Going My Way and Bells Of St Mary's are great films but the pacing is horrible on both films.   Capra's Pocketful Of Miracles is another long haul to watch - just got the chance to see "The Holly And The Ivy" starring Ralph Richardson used to air on WOR I think up till the 1970's then vanished and it really is a sadly missing from Christmas here in the states gem. thought provoking and has a real feel of a old fashioned family Christmas!   A heads up VCI might have lost the rights at the end of 2017 to 1951's Scrooge starring Alastair Sim, not privy to if they will be able to renew their contract so my advice to others here grab a copy while it is still in circulation! Just in case!

01/21/2018 09:10

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

I concur, Bob. And it's refreshing that someone else has views on this film similar to mine.

As you know I am an ardent classic movie buff, but I have never understood why some people are so goo-goo over this film. And that's exactly right: it is too long and too dark. I also never liked the way it portrayed the great actor Lionel Barrymore in such an unflattering light as the evil Mr. Potter. I didn't like that bald piece they put on his head either. It's such a shame that most people today only know Mr. Barrymore from this film. I'm so happy that I was able to expose and enlighten people to some of his other work when TCM (Turner Classic Movies) finally went with my suggestion to showcase (via their "Star Of The Month" franchise) the work of the great Barrymores: Lionel, Ethel and John (known affectionately to his fans and friends as Jack).

By the way, a much better precursor to this 1946 film was Mr. Capra's classic 1938 film You Can't Take It With You, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. It starred Lionel Barrymore as the lovable patriarch of an oddball but wonderfully endearing family that included the superb actress Jean Arthur. This film also starred Jimmy Stewart, along with the marvelous Spring Byington, Ann Miller and Edward Arnold. The profound message of this great film is as relevant today as it was back in 1938. It ranks #7 in my list of my all-time favorite regular (non-Christmas) movies. Frank Capra always used top-notch actors and actresses in his films -- including It's A Wonderful Life, which had amongst its cast the great Thomas Mitchell, Beulah Bondi, Gloria Grahame and Henry Travers. It's A Wonderful Life is a good film, but it has flaws and is just overrated. The Academy Award winner for Best Picture that year in 1946 was the movie that I believe (and many others too, including actress Bette Davis) to be the greatest movie ever made of all-time, The Best Years Of Our Lives.

And lastly, regarding Holiday Affair, I'm a big fan too, as you can tell by the fact that it's in my list of my favorite
Top Dozen Christmas movies of all-time.

01/21/2018 02:02

Re :   It's A Wonderful Life

Used to Like IAFL (It's A Wonderful Life) but really have no interest in it any longer, I find it a very mean film, over long by a good 20 minutes Capra and McCarey were very good at dragging out films!  In the 40's the Motion Picture code still insisted crooks were not to get away with crimes so it still irks me that Mr Potter got away with stealing the money from Uncle Billy.  And the topper is that Clarence the Angel could have easily showed or told George about Potter finding the money and not turning it over to the Bailey family!   

01-20-18 @ 14:56 PM
Follow-up to above message:

Been a fan of "A Holiday Affair" 1949 since I first watched it on WOR the old channel 9 here in NY when RKO General owned the station and the film library, saw it in july I think one afternoon on the 1 O'clock film!   The film was shredded by the NYT's when it was released on Christmas Eve 1949 but it really is a charmer and a serious topic -probably taking a cue from Miracle On 34th Street which dealt with a divorced lady raising a child.   TCM has really gotten the film exposure and every year it gains more fans!

*Message edited by the Yule Message Board Administrator on 01/20/18 to combine two consecutive reply posts by the same member. Also, double-post was deleted.

01/20/2018 13:51

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

Thanks Chip,
It would be nice if they would re-release the series again with the episodes in the correct order.and include outtakes and ending credits where they show previews of the next episode and sponsored by.   Also  Commercials such as the Jello one when Carol Channing was in it.

01/18/2018 19:51

Re :   Hogan's Heroes

Don't know for sure whether they are correct or not, Susan. But my guess is that CBS/Paramount just screwed up when issuing the DVD set. And I agree with you that they should have done a better job on this.

01/18/2018 16:39

Topic :   Hogan's Heroes

I know you like Classic TV Programs, so you may have more information on this series.

I have all 6 seasons on DVD, but have a question about the episode order.  I have watched them several times, and finally decided to keep track of the number at the beginning of the end credits.

I have noticed that for every season that some numbers are missing and some are not in sequence.

I have only started to keep track of these numbers since yesterday, and for Season 1, they are as follows:

Episode   1 5784-01
Episode   2 5784-03
Episode   3 5784-04
Episode   4 5784-02
Episode   5 5784-09
Episode   6 5784-06
Episode   7 5784-07
Episode   8 5784-12
Episode   9 5784-10
Episode 10 5784-14
Episode 11 5784-15
Episode 12 5784-13
Episode 13 5784-16
Episode 14 5784-18

5784-17  are all missing from this sequence,   Do you know if these numbers are incorrect?  Or, are the episodes out of order on the DVD set?  I do remember from watching all episodes that they number sequence continues out of order and has missing numbers.

One would think that CBS and Paramount would have done a better job at putting them in the correct order.

01/18/2018 08:51

Re :   Newest Album in Top 300

That's a great story, Steve. And yes, music -- especially Percy's Christmas music, is indeed quite therapeutic; it's very uplifting, inspirational and, as you said, healing and soothing as well. I'm so glad that it brought your bank manager some much needed joy in an otherwise sad time in her life. Percy, who was such a gentle creature, would be so happy to hear that. And I'm so glad that on his behalf I have helped keep the mission of his music alive. It's a privilege. And yes, all this is definitely a labor of love for Gordon as well.

01/10/2018 01:58

Re :   Newest Album in Top 300


It is my absolute privilege and honor to promote the great maestro, Percy Faith, and his iconic Christmas album, Music Of Christmas, as well as your fantastic liner notes for this historic release by Real Gone Music. We have all waited so long for this masterpiece to get released on CD properly and the fact that it got done in such grand fashion with such beautiful artwork, absolutely stellar remastering by Mr. Vic Anesini and with your splendid liner notes was beyond our wildest expectations.

It has been such a thrill and pleasure to share this special release by Percy with family and friends. The manager at my bank is going through some serious health issues with her eldest adult son and she is a very sweet person and a true professional when it comes to her job. I brought her a copy of Music Of Christmas after finding out that she loves Christmas music. I told her about your key role in getting this the greatest of all Christmas albums released and how Vic Anesini, who has been in charge of remastering Elvis Presley's catalogue of albums the last several decades, did such an amazing job restoring this album to its true sonic glory.

She told me that she had a long drive to a nearby city during the holidays and she played Percy's Music Of Christmas the whole way there and back and it gave her great pleasure and comfort during such a difficult time for the family. Her son is hanging in there, but it has been tough. I know another board member has mentioned a similar experience for himself and how soothing and comforting Mr. Faith's Christmas album is to him as well.

I know you are acutely aware of the healing and soothing powers of music and particularly Percy's Music Of Christmas. I hope that Gordon Anderson at Real Gone Music realizes how important and significant his Christmas releases are to the fans who buy these great albums. I hope like you and Mr. Anesini feel that it is a "true labor of love" for him as well.

Best regards,


01/10/2018 00:12

Re :   Newest Album in Top 300

Thanks for promoting the Percy Faith CD with your friends, Steve, and for your ringing endorsement of my liner notes.

And that is correct what you said about the old Hollywood studio system. It is very easy for some folks today to decry the controlling nature of the old studio system and the powerful movie moguls that ran the studios like Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwyn, Jack Warner, William Fox, David O. Selznick, Darryl F. Zanuck, Harry Cohn, Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle, Herbert J. Yates, Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, but the fact of the matter is that these men were responsible for making the greatest motion pictures the world has ever known. And it is because of the genius of these men that this period became known as the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Sadly, the end of the studio system -- and hence the Golden Age of Hollywood, came primarily at the hands of the federal government when they ordered the movie studios to divest themselves of their company owned movie theaters. The major studios could probably have continued the fight in the courts for years if RKO chief Howard Hughes hadn't sold out and made an agreement with the feds; but once he did, the writing was on the wall and the era sadly came to an end.

01/09/2018 20:47

Re :   Newest Album in Top 300

Hello Chip,

That is such a great comparison you make between the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Golden Age of Christmas music in the 1950's and 1960's. My father was a television director for a period of time before the family got in the radio business and he and my mother would always talk about the old Hollywood system whereby the studios would nurture the stars and train and educate them in multiple skills like singing and dancing as well as acting. The writing was so incredible and the directors were not the slaves to CGI and computers like they are now.

Yes indeed, I remember back many years ago when I use to get really excited about the latest country music or pop Christmas album coming out, and now even though I do buy some of those albums, my real excitement and joy is finding out what absolute gems from the Golden Age of Christmas you are going to get released through Real Gone Music. Everything from this truly iconic time is better; bigger orchestra's, almost always far better voices and more natural sound. The new millennium just cannot hold a candle to the albums released during the Golden Age of Christmas.

In particular, I think the quote I borrow most from you when trying to describe the great Percy's Faith's magnum opus, Music Of Christmas, is where you say it sounds like his music is "piped down from heaven" and that it has a "heavenly, celestial" feel to it. As you so well say, its hard to put the beauty and passion of Percy's music into mere words but you articulate it better than anybody and I really treasure those liner notes you wrote for the Expanded Music Of Christmas release for RGM. I tell all my friends to read your liner notes first before they actually listen to the album.

I feel the same way about this Golden Age of Christmas. It just seems magical and unmatchable no matter how hard anybody tries. I thank God that you and Gordon have rescued this iconic music from being lost forever!

Best regards,


01/09/2018 01:29

Re :   Newest Album in Top 300

That's correct, Steve; the reason why the albums from Christmas music's Golden Age tower over anything that came before or after, and their enduring legacy as iconic, classic and legendary, goes far beyond the myopic theory and/or simple-minded concept of mere nostalgia. The best way to explain it -- or better yet, the best analogy that I can give is something that the great Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said in 1964 about defining the word obscenity: he didn't even try to define the word, but instead just laconically and intuitively said "I know it when I see it." Well, that's exactly how it is with albums from the Golden Age of Christmas music. A person might not be able to fully explain why they sound so different and so much better -- aside, of course, from the unassailable and prodigious talent of the recording artists who made them, but they just know they do. It's the same thing that has been said for many years about the superiority of MGM musicals over the musicals of any other movie studio during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The MGM musical just had a certain look, feel and sound to them that the other studios -- try as they might -- could never quite duplicate. There were so many reasons for this, not the least of which were the great MGM musical producers Arthur Freed and Joe Pasternak. As well as the roster of incredibly talented directors, actors and actresses that were contracted to MGM.

Anyway, going back to the superiority of Christmas music from its Golden Age, you wisely cited one of the many reasons yourself in the third paragraph of your previous post.

The difference with me and everyone else is that I have an incredibly huge collection. My
Top 500 is not my entire collection, but rather the best of thousands of Christmas albums that I have accumulated over the years. And while it's nice to have all this wonderful music, the dilemma for me is that I cannot play all the classic Christmas albums in my collection. So I wouldn't even begin to dedicate any precious listening time to contemporary Christmas music.

But yes, there is some very pleasant new/contemporary Christmas music out there today -- some of which you alluded to in your post; but as I've
said on the board in the past, there are periods of time in history when certain things just seem hit their artistic peak and are never equaled thereafter. For example: classical music (Beethoven, Mozart, etc.), painters/sculptors (Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.), Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1930s and '40s, Television's Golden Age of the 1950s and '60s, and, of course, easy-listening and Christmas music's Golden Age which also was of the 1950s and '60s. Nothing that has come since, or will come in the future, will ever hold a candle to the artistic peaks in these respective arts. They are eras that will never be repeated or duplicated.

To quote a famous movie line from that legendary 1939 movie: "Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A civilization gone with the wind."

01/09/2018 00:30

Re :   Newest Album in Top 300

Hello Chip,

This was such a great question proposed by Tom and one that I have been curious about myself. Do any albums released after the Golden Age of Christmas qualify to make your top 300 or 500 list? You have pretty much answered that question, but let me say that I for one find the fact that your list almost exclusively concentrates on the Golden Age Of Christmas during the 1950's till the early seventies to be one of its best qualities, but like yourself Chip, I would hate to rule a great album out just because it was not recorded in that very iconic time period.

There is just something totally special and sonically unique about these albums. I do not think our love for them is merely for nostalgic reasons as I know many of these albums that I came to love, in fact most, were not albums that I grew up listening to as a youngster. Oh sure, there is a component of that as I grew up listening to Johnny Mathis Merry Christmas album and that of course brings back great memories and feelings of long ago, but I did not grow up on Mantovani, John Gary and of course the Maestro himself's masterpiece, Music Of Christmas and its spectacular follow-up, Hallelujah, yet these are some of the albums that I treasure the most. Yes indeed, surely Percy's great arranging on the Mathis album was burned into my brain early, but clearly I have sought out other albums by Frank DeVol, Jack Jones, and the Hollyridge Strings that I had no real prior experience listening to as a child.

I read a brilliant analysis by someone who speculated that part of the splendor of these albums is the way they were recorded themselves. He said that instead of the microphones being placed individually on each instrument, one microphone was on each section of the orchestra, like one for the saxes and one for the trombones and one for the violins etc. He said the sound you got by recording this way was a beautiful blend where one instrument might slightly stand out or disappear altogether, but it was richer and more like the natural sound you would hear if you were in front of the orchestra live.  A truly brilliant analysis of one of the many reasons that these fantastic albums from the Golden Age cannot be matched by modern recording engineers in my humble opinion.

Now having said the above and strongly believing that music geniuses like Percy and Monty only come along once in a lifetime or so I am going to go out on another limb and admit there are several albums that fall well outside the Golden Age Of Christmas that I think are splendid examples of having some of the great components that these albums had, great sound, great arrangers and truly great vocalists.

The first one is Michael Bublè's Christmas album from 2011, the only album in the history of the Billboard album chart to make the top ten every year for seven years in a row since its release. It is now sold almost 12 million copies worldwide and more importantly than its commercial prowess is the fact that it was cut "live on the floor" at the Capital Records Tower in Hollywood with the singer, rhythm section, orchestra and arranger all there in person at once, something that is almost never done anymore. Secondly, great arrangers like Patrick Williams, William Ross, and Chris Walden, who have worked with people like Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, and Herb Alpert respectively, produced great arrangements harkening back to the Golden Age of Christmas. Just listen to Mr. Walden's fantastic brass charts on Jingle Bells with the Puppini Sisters doing their very best to spur on Mr. Bublè to do his best version of Bing's classic arrangement. Terrific stuff.

The second more "modern" classic, and God I hate to even use that word, would be Kenny Rogers Christmas album from 1981. The truly fantastic arranger Gene Page, who did both the iconic string and horn arrangements on You've Lost That Loving Feeling by the Righteous Brothers as well as Kenny Rogers own number one, Lady, is known for his intricate arranging style with strings and particularly French horns. People often forget that Kenny was once a well regarded jazz singer with a three octave vocal range and his version of O Holy Night shows his voice off to amazing effect with Mr. Page's truly stellar orchestral arrangement. There are a couple fantastic original songs on this classic album as well, Christmas Everyday, which is a beautifully written and melodically gorgeous song that you will have on repeat once you hear it. Kentucky Homemade Christmas is a sad song with a slightly upbeat melody that ends on a slightly hopeful note. Best country Christmas song since Merle Haggard's If We Make It Through December.

The last album is really a hidden gem from one of country music's best vocalists, Collin Raye. The Gift also features a 60 piece orchestra and was also recorded "live on the floor" in Nashville with the great piano player, John Hobbs producing and the brilliant arranger, Ron Huff, doing much of the orchestral work. His version of White Christmas features the seldom recorded opening verse about "being in Beverly Hills L.A." I love that opening verse and wish that more artists would include it in their respective versions of Irving Berlin's masterpiece. He has a couple of beautiful duets with his daughter on Away In A Manger and Silent Night, but the true highlights are a stellar vocal and separate instrumental version of The First Noel and one of the greatest versions of O Holy Night I have ever heard. I believe that only Johnny Mathis's iconic version with the great Percy Faith arrangement equals or surpasses this magnificent and glorious version by Collin Raye!

Please let me know what you think, Chip, as your taste and opinion on all such matters is always impeccable and without question.

Best regards,


01/08/2018 15:09

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale

Hello Chip,

Thanks so much for sharing with the board your incredible knowledge and insight into the legendary Percy Faith and his magnificent Music Of Christmas album. My first exposure to Mr. faith's brilliance was with Johnny Mathis's Merry Christmas album, which I still believe without a doubt is the greatest vocal Christmas album with orchestra ever recorded as that is the one my parents worshipped and the one I grew up listening to along with the John Klein album.

The thing that always struck me about Johnny's Merry Christmas album, besides his fantastic voice and vocal range as well as the stellar arrangements of the strings by Percy, was the fact that sonically the album was so incredibly recorded and the sound so pristine. I could never understand why the sound on that album was so unique and rich until I started learning about the importance of recording engineers and particular recording studios like 30th St. in New York.

I learned of course as a huge Elvis fan the importance of certain recording studios, like Studio B in Nashville, and the fact that they had a certain signature sound and great engineers like Bill Porter that made their records really stand out for their sonic beauty. The Tower Recording Studio at Capital Records in Hollywood is another great one with its signature reverb chambers built below the building and designed by Les Paul I believe. Of course as we all know, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra made some of their greatest recordings at that facility.

Percy was such a musical genius as well as a very smart man to know that "Chappie" was a very important element of his great sound. As a huge Roy Orbison fan I have learned that many music historians trace his rather sharp decline in record sells after the middle sixties to his new record contract that left both his producer, the great Fred Foster, and Fred's fantastic engineer, the previously mentioned Bill Porter, out of the recording process. Many experts say that Roy recorded some great songs after this period with even some of the same musicians, but his signature sound with Bill Porter's great engineering and Foster's stellar production was lost.

Best regards,


01/03/2018 10:58

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale

Yes indeed Steve, Percy Faith was a brilliant contrapuntist; and it's his magnificent counter-melodies in his arrangements that gave his Christmas music such an ethereal, celestial and angelic quality to it. So much so, in fact, that it sounds like it was phoned in from God -- or as I said in my CD liner notes, like it was literally piped down from heaven. There was an otherworldly quality to his Christmas music that no other recording artist has ever come close to in duplicating. And this from a man who was Jewish, which in my opinion, made it all the more special, as let's not forget that Christ was Jewish.

As for the great recording engineer Harold "Chappie" Chapman, he and Percy were close friends. He did all of Percy's albums up to 1970, when sadly, he retired. Regarding Johnny Mathis, in 1957, after Columbia A&R chief Mitch Miller asked Percy to help Johnny with his fledgling recording career, Percy acted as a guide and mentor, as well as arranger and conductor on some of Johnny's most important early albums -- including the biggest and greatest album that Johnny ever recorded (Christmas or otherwise): 1958's Merry Christmas. And yes, to answer your question, Chappie was the recording engineer for this legendary album as well. Johnny became very fond of Chappie through Percy, and whenever was possible, was the recording engineer for Johnny's albums as well. And you are correct that all this incredible music magic that Percy, Johnny and other Columbia recording artists created with Chappie was done right here in New York at Columbia's legendary 30th Street Studios, also known as "The Church" because it originally was a Presbyterian church from 1875 until 1948.

By the way, later on, after Percy relocated his home to Encino, Ca, and his recording operations to downtown Los Angeles, Chappie did the same and went with him. And unfortunately for us, they left "The Church" behind. As a result, nothing was ever like the acoustics they had achieved with that spectacular 30th Street Studio.

Oh well, we just have to be very thankful that Percy's first two Christmas albums (his greatest), and Johnny's first Christmas album (his greatest) were recorded here in New York at what in my opinion -- and many others as well -- was the greatest recording studio the world has ever known -- the Columbia 30th Street Studios.

                     Chappie Chapman

01/03/2018 03:22

Motown Mik
Re :   Christmas albums available as Digital Downloads

After further research, I've discovered all those Muzak titles are available from iTunes as well.

01/02/2018 20:55

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale

Hello Chip,

I am very excited at the prospect of "The Harry Simeone Lost Christmas Album" by Real Gone Music for 2018. Hopefully you can tract down those master recordings, but I am sure it will not be an easy task.

Meanwhile, I am still basking in the glory of your iconic releases for this year, particularly that glorious release of Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas Expanded Edition with the maestro himself's brilliant use of counter melody and Mr. Vic Anesini's phenomenal remastering of this masterpiece. I have well over 100 albums that Mr. Anesini has remastered including some deluxe box sets by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Ronnie Milsap and I have got to tell you that his remaster of Music Of Christmas is my favorite one he has ever done.

I know Chip that you and Vic would be the first to acknowledge Percy's favorite recording engineer, Harold "Chappie" Chapman, who did such a fantastic job as the original recording engineer on that magnum opus by Mr. Faith if I am correct. I know this was part of the frustration with that original lousy remaster by Sony in the early eighties was the fact that the original vinyl recording was a sonic splendor to behold as Columbia was known for their great recording facility in New York and their fine recording engineers like Chappie.

A question for you Chip that I have never been able to verify but assumed was true. Did Chappie also engineer that great Merry Christmas album by Johnny Mathis with the magnificent Percy Faith arrangements too? The sound on that album is fantastic, particularly on that great remaster by Vic's associate at Sony Battery, Mike Piacentini for the fantastic Complete Christmas Album Collection that RGM did a few years ago and for Johnny's current The Voice Of Romance box set this year. I read a quote from Mr. Mathis where he said that the 30th Street Studio where he cut that album and many others had a fantastic recording quality and reverb that he could never find anywhere else when he recorded at other studios later in his career.

Again, the fantastic RGM releases that you got out this year including Percy, Fred Waring, Connie Smith, Robert Shaw, Ames Brothers and the Supremes have just made me so excited for the 2018 Christmas releases. Wow, we might get Jim Reeves, Harry Simeone and that great John Klein A Christmas Sound Spectacular album in Living Stereo for the very first time on CD. I am sure you will have a few more gems up your sleeve as well as you always seem to surprise us with something we did not even see coming.

Happy New Year, Chip, and thanks again for all you do to get the greatest music ever recorded back out to us in such splendid and glorious fashion!

Best regards,


01/02/2018 12:49

Re :   What's The Most Collectable Christmas Record

I'd certainly like to get it released, Rodney, but it will be a tough one since it belongs to UMG.

01/01/2018 13:55

Re :   Christmas albums available as Digital Downloads

Thanks for the Muzak links, Mike! Looks like Amazon has a lot of Muzak albums available. I'll need to check this out.

01/01/2018 12:11

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale

That is wonderful news! I hope you are successful in finding the original masters. It is only January 1st yet I am already excited about Real Gone Christmas re-issues for this year!

01/01/2018 12:09

Re :   What's The Most Collectable Christmas Record

With the success of Percy Faith: Music Of Christmas (The definitive 1959 stereo re-recording, Expanded Edition) can we look forward in 2018 to a release of #27 on your All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums list, “Christmas Is A-Comin’ by the Jack Halloran Singers?

 I would love to have it in Stereo, but with the original mono artwork.

01/01/2018 12:03

Motown Mik
Re :   Christmas albums available as Digital Downloads

Muzak has made three of its vintage Christmas albums available via download at Amazon:

01/01/2018 01:30

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale


You're correct: that special double LP package was released in 1961 (catalog #TCF-110-2 for mono; and #TCF-110-2S for stereo).

To all members:

Update: Though I have never been able to locate the original masters, I went ahead and formally proposed to Gordon (Anderson) in Hollywood the release of Harry Simeone's fourth (and best) Christmas album from 1973,
It's Christmas Once Again. Not only has this album never been released on CD, it also had a very limited release on LP back in the 1970s. Therefore, I suggested to Gordon to promote the CD's release as "The lost Harry Simeone Christmas album classic."

Anyway, as long as I can come up with the original masters by spring, we'll be golden.

12/31/2017 02:15

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale

Sorry about that errant release date.  I got it off Wiki.  So that means my mother purchased "O Bambino" the year it was released, 1965.  That's what I thought in the first place!  And yes, I vividly remember the album cover.  I hope the full-length album eventually gets released on CD.

I also had "Sing We Now Of Christmas" not the 1959 single album but as a double album b/w "Merry Christmas Carols" by The Radio City Organ and Chimes which IINM was released in 1961.  Sides 1 and 2 was "Sing We Now Of Christmas".  Sides 3 and 4 was "Merry Christmas Carols".  I do recall the label read "20th Fox". 

12/30/2017 11:36

Re :   Percy Faith: Music of Christmas (Expanded Edition)


They probably offered that mixed mono/stereo track selection for the mp3 download to differentiate it from our 2012 CD release.

As for my big 2017 release this year of the classic and legendary 1959 stereo version of Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas masterpiece -- the #1 album in my
Top 500, I'm not sure how you could have missed the announcement. You're on the group email list, and I both posted it on the message board and sent out a group email announcement way back last year in 2016; on August 8, 2016, to be exact. Perhaps it went to your spam folder. Anyway, for my official announcement from last year, click here.

And yes, Sony has always been very protective of Percy Faith's Christmas recordings -- especially the 1959 stereo masterpiece (as it has never been out of print since its release in 1959), and would not grant licensing to release it. That is, until this year when they finally acquiesced and the deal was made. I added 7 bonus tracks and wrote the CD liner notes. If you're planning on purchasing it, you better hurry as the only vendor that has stock left is Amazon; and I just checked, and they're down to just 5 copies. Once they're gone, you'll have to wait for the second pressing.

12/29/2017 01:21

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale


The other thing that was different about the CD reissue of Harry Simeone's O Bambino/The Little Driummer Boy LP was that the 9th and 10th songs were reversed.

As for Mr. Simeone's fourth and, yes indeed, best overall Christmas album, It's Christmas Once Again, it's a mystery. If I could ever find out what became of the masters, I'd try to get it released. I personally know Mr. Simeone's daughter, Molly, and she never knew either. I haven't talked with her in a while; so before I wrote this post, I gave her a call to catch up and revisit this subject. She's going to try and reach out to an old agent of her father's that she thinks is still alive and see what she can find out. It'd be nice to give this album the recognition that it deserves.

Ironically, the two best Christmas albums that Mr. Simeone released were the two that did not include the hit song "The Little Drummer Boy." That's the reason why they are the most rare and least known about. The record companies have treated them like second-class sisters because they don't have the song ("The Little Drummer Boy") that they feel is needed to sell the release. By the way, that other Christmas album that is the second-best after the 1973 Omnisound Records album
It's Christmas Once Again, is the 1963 Mercury Records Christmas album, The Wonderful Songs Of Christmas.

12/29/2017 01:15

Re :   Percy Faith: Music of Christmas (Expanded Edition)

Thanks Chip,

I had a feeling the Sony was mixing tracks from the stereo and mono versions of the album. I am never sure how decisions like this are made. I have yet to find a consumer who prefers this sort of mash-up approach. The good new, for me at least, is I had no idea you were able to get your hands on the stereo version of the masters! I must have missed the announcement. I seem to recall Sony being unwilling to part with them a few years back. In any case, I will be picking up a copy of the "Real Gone Music" remastered release of the album to round out my collection!

Thanks again for the info and thanks for creating a truly peerless source of info.

Merry Christmas!

12/28/2017 17:39

Motown Mik
Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale

Thanks for the update, Chip. Yes, I’d forgotten they’d lopped a song off for that CD.
Unfortunately, doing Harry Simeone reissues means having to deal with Universal Music, since no less than three of their major Christmas albums were originally released on labels affiliated with them: 

Sing We Now of Christmas (20th Fox, 1959) 
The Wonderful Songs of Christmas (Mercury, 1963)
O Bambino/The Little Drummer Boy (Kapp, 1965)

Only the first of these has been reissued on CD in its entirety, albeit with a different title (The Little Drummer Boy, natch) and different cover art. The Mercury album hasn’t made it to CD at all. 

Meanwhile, I’m curious as to the current status of Simeone’s fourth (and, as Chip has stated many times, best) seasonal LP, It’s Christmas Once Again, released on the independent Omnisound label in 1973. Who even owns those recordings now? Are the master tapes still extant?

12/27/2017 23:02

Re :   O Bambino - The Harry Simeone Chorale


Harry Simeone's Christmas album entitled O Bambino/The Little Drummer was released by Kapp Records in 1965, not 1963 as you had mentioned in the first paragraph of your post. This album resides in the 2nd Tier of my
Top 500, coming in at #190.

The original version of Harry Simeone's rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy" song was released as a 45-rpm single in 1958, and then on the full-length LP Sing We Now Of Christmas in 1959. By the way, the record label for this album was actually 20th Fox, without the word "Century" in the middle. That's how 20th Century-Fox did their record label back then.

But going back to the 1965
O Bambino/The Little Drummer LP, as Mike said in his previous post, it was indeed released on CD. However, only in an abridged form: the last song on the album, "Sing Of A Merry Christmas," was cut. Something Universal Music is notorious for.

And no, currently there are no plans to release any of Harry Simeone's Christmas albums on CD, but perhaps in the future.

12/27/2017 03:17

Re :   2017 Yule Log Broadcast Schedule (National Coverage)


Yes, unfortunately the new Percy Faith 1959 stereo Music Of Christmas CD is pretty much sold out everywhere, except Amazon. They got the last shipment of the new CD a couple of weeks ago. However, I just checked and there are only 12 copies left. So please order quickly!

12/27/2017 03:07

Re :   Percy Faith: Music of Christmas (Expanded Edition)


What they are offering for mp3 download is basically what we released in 2012, except that it has a combination of 1954 mono tracks and 1959 stereo tracks. Why they did this, who the hell knows but it's pretty darn stupid. And those three bonus tracks are the exact same ones on our 2012 release (disc one).

By the way, that group of singers is known as The Shillelagh Singers, not "Sisters" as you had said in your post.

And yes, Sony remastered all of these Percy Faith albums, and it was because of our 2012 and 2017 CD releases. The remastering was done here in New York at Sony's renowned Battery Mastering Studios: Maria Triana did the remastering for the 1954 mono version of Music Of Christmas and the 1958 album Hallelujah for our 2-CD Percy Faith release in 2012 (click here -- but view in Firefox to see the jpeg images that I posted); and Vic Anesini did the remastering for the 1959 stereo version of Music of Christmas for our 2017 release this year (click here).

12/27/2017 03:05
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