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Christmas items

Monday 12/13/21

These are some Christmas-related art works I've been listening and reading lately.

The Cinnamon Bear was a radio program that was this huge craze in 1937. It came out at Thanksgiving, and aired every day until Christmas. One of those shows for kids that is fun for adults. Christmas wonder and all of that. The show was big enough that malls would start having a Cinnamon Bear along with the regular Santa, and supposedly it's been aired every year since, somewhere or other. Radio historians and collectors have always liked it. I sent it to my sister last year so that my niece and nephew could listen, but I don't think kids would sit there and listen to something like this now. The kids in A Christmas Story would have known this well.

Was listening to Vivaldi's Concerto No. 4 in F Minor the other day at the MFA. The sound of winter, but it's a darting winter. Not this "isn't it so dreary" winter.

Gene Autry's "Story of the Nativity" is an unusual side. Part talking country lesson, reverential ballad, folk song, history talk, family drama. A real departure from what one got at the time. And obviously a long cut, too.

The 12/23/73 show the Who gave in London may be the best of all of the Quadrophenia gigs. That was a tough tour, when it was hard to get in synch with the loops and tapes, but when it worked (like here, or in Philly), the Who were rarely better. This was part of a bootleg much-prized called Merry Christmas Mr. Who.

Frank Cowper's Victorian ghost story "Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk" is no masterpiece, but I return to it a lot. Cowper was a yachtsman, obviously a fellow who knew a lot about water craft, and that serves him well here. The story is about this guy who goes to visit his old college friend in the country. The friend works in a parish, so he's busy the day before Christmas, and the man who tells the story decides he'll go duck hunting. He wanders out to the marsh--this is why I like the story; nature, the woods, the ducks, the marsh--and finds this old hulk as he tries to get closer to the ducks for a decent shot. The little punt he uses to get to the larger hulk floats away while he's on board, and with the tide coming in, he can't get back to shore. He's embarrassed in one regard, but then he's frightened, as he has this encounter in the dark.


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