A good percentage of the novelty songs seem aimed at kids, but the grownups buy ’em so they have to appeal to the adult consumer as well.
Russ Carlyle’s orchestra survived WWII to continue to play ballrooms in the ’50s in the USA. Apparently cashing in on ‘Mommy Kissing’ from last year he enjoins his children, Phillis and Jeffrey Carlyle, to sing “Santa Claus Looks Like My Daddy.” I suspect helium was huffed during the recording of this vinyl.
After ‘Mockingbird Hill’ Les Paul and Mary Ford did well in 1953 with ‘Vaya Con Dios.’ Their wintertime single was ‘White Christmas’ backed by the childish “Jungle Bells (Dingo-Dongo-Day).” It’s one hep menagerie, cats and kittens.
Borscht Belt funnyman Red Buttons made his splash in show biz in the ’40s. By the ’50s he had his own TV show. The year in question he had a hit record with ‘Strange Things are Happening/The Ho Ho Song’ in which one side of the record one-upped the other. His Christmas entry is “Bow Wow Wants a Boy for Christmas.” Kids love Kosher schmaltz.
Mel Blanc had been a radio fixture since the 1920s. With his mastery of accents he kept us racist through the ’30s and ’40s in The Jack Benny Program, his own show briefly, and Warner Brothers’ cartoons. In 1953 he recorded “Ya Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree” with flipside “I Tan’t Wait ‘Til Quithmuth Day.” It’s all one take, folks. No splicing, no editing.
Corporate kiddie giveaway holiday records (VERY cheaply made–but FREE) start in earnest in the ’50s and i wish i could find more of the tens of thousands surely out there somewhere from a time before social media. “Merry Christmas Song” courtesy of Precision Plastics Co. has been kindly rescued by Raymond T to give us a taste. I also love a recovered freebie uncovered by Pete the Elf for which i can find no further info (could be from the ’40s, but it doesn’t sound like it). I call it “Merry Christmas from Line Materials.” You’ll know why when you hear the ending refrain. (P.S. i found out later it’s from 1960… shh, don’t tell)
Cricket Records was born out of Pickwick Sales greeting cards. In 1953 they issued dozens of 78s from ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett,’ to “The Mexican Hat Dance,’ to ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ For Christmas another dozen mostly original songs were recorded by a stable of talent known as The Cricketone Players (no credit to the likes of Gene Autry, Dennis Day, and Boris Karloff). The album collecting these, that i grew up with, appeared in racks in 1959. It sold for $1.98. Off that album, here is “Little Christmas Stocking with a Hole in the Toe.” It’s formative stuff, gang.