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Christmas Music Guru
Rank: Honorary Member  
Status: Lawrence F. Arcuri Owner/Webmaster of TheYuleLog.com
Score: 3479
Posts: 3479
From: USA
Joined: 09/07/2005

Posted on 04/19/2018 02:26

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.

Posted on 02/25/2018 00:02

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.

Posted on 02/25/2018 00:00

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.

Posted on 02/06/2018 14:05

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

Posted on 02/06/2018 13:50

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.

Posted on 02/05/2018 19:52

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.

Posted on 01/28/2018 00:07

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.

Posted on 01/28/2018 00:04

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.

Posted on 01/26/2018 19:38

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.

Posted on 01/25/2018 14:35

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!

Posted on 01/23/2018 12:20

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!

Posted on 01/23/2018 02:37


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.

Posted on 01/21/2018 12:16

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.

Posted on 01/21/2018 02:02

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.

Posted on 01/18/2018 16:39

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.

Posted on 01/10/2018 01:58

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.

Posted on 01/09/2018 20:47

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.

Posted on 01/09/2018 00:30

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."

Posted on 01/03/2018 03:22

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

Posted on 01/01/2018 13:55

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

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