Short and sweet this morning, got things to do, presents to wrap, memories to sort through. Filthy green lucre, sugar-coated bank statements are the pipedreams of my mind. Where lie the greatest media sales of all time in Christmas books, movies and records? A contradistinction, a wall of sound, a new iron curtain emerges, juxtaposition of my favorites against a popular pick.
For books the top seller of all time is A Christmas Carol, penned by Charles Dickens, and first published on December 19, 1843. Don’t have stats for you, but you can take my word for it, it’s sold the most copies. I see the theme as one of redemption, one of reform of character flaws accumulated by Ebenezer Scrooge, as a result of trying to run a business. The Industrial Revolution in England fostered abuses of labor practice, and A Christmas Carol is a rant against such abuses.
My favorite Christmas story book when I was a kid, and am a kid, is How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss wrote all the silly limerick in the book himself and he even did the zany illustrations. Masterpiece! Publishing date is November 24, 1957 on Random House. Love the telly special from 1966 too; will look for it-animation done by Chuck Jones. Saw him speak once at the Inwood Theater in Dallas.
Where’s the Grinch dittie with the unaccredited Thurl Ravenscroft baritone croaking when you need it? Anyway, for film the experts say the best seller is A Christmas Story from 1983. A boy wants a BB gun for Christmas. Huh? Never seen it, don’t know why? Will check it out; am an expert on what made the 1980s tick. Runner-ups are It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street. Now those I can play back in a movie in my mind.
Capitalism would capitulate from the face of the earth if the King had never lived! Don’t mean to be sacrilegious, but sales and Elvis are like green eggs and ham. Dr. Seuss and The King are bookends in the same picture. Traditions must be preserved and past down to future generations. Phil Spector, for my money, made the all time best Christmas record, A Christmas Gift For You. Since Phil went to jail I’ve not been the same.
Here he hung with John and George all that time, advocates of peace, yet he was a violent man, Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Bang Bang Shoot Shoot. Ironies of the Pop World, casualties of show business line the streets of Hollywood and Vine. Just remembered how craftily Martin Scorsese used Frosty The Snowman by The Ronettes in Goodfellas. Jimmie Burck chastises his crew for buying Cadillacs and mink stoles with the Lufhansa heist cash. Ironies! A Wall of Sound, then the Big Walls of the Big House.
Many are gone now, many have met tragic ends. Some of these travails still play out on the big stage of life. The ink has dried yet on many of these stories, yet the gift of their words, tunes and celluloid are timeless. Pots of gold with no bottoms, slot machines that get a triple orange ’til the end of time. Griswold, Scrooge and Grinch will survive the Recession, and a million eyes will sparkle with glitter from this spill of cartridge ink. Huh! MERRY CHRISTMAS!