Sunday, December 28, 2008


While some are still in the holiday spirit, let's take a look at some Christmas novelty songs.

Of course the most notable of these Christmas melodies is The Chipmunk Song: Please Christmas Don't Be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Originally recorded in 1958, David Seville (the stage name of Ross Bagdasarian, Senior) reused the technique of speeding up his own vocals, which created the voice of the title character in his earlier hit Witch Doctor; to bring to life three cute characters who have gone on to achieve a fame all their own. The recent stars of a 2007 movie, the trio are scheduled to return to the big screen next winter in Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakel.

But running it a very close second is You're A Mean One, Mister Grinch. The tune, whose verses were heard during the 1966 Christmas special How The Grinch Stole Christmas, was sang by an unaccredited at the time voice actor named Thurl Ravenscroft, who among other roles was the original voice of Tony the Tiger.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, a child's plea for an obvious Christmas present, was first recorded by Spike Jones and His City Slickers in 1948, although artists as diverse as Nat King Cole and George Strait have recorded their own versions since then.

Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, in character as Bob and Doug McKenzie of Second City Television fame, did their own version of The Twelve Days of Christmas in 1982; while Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady routine from 1971 is an annual tradition on some radio stations.

But while there are way too many to Christmas novelty songs to name in this "short" column, in my humble opinion, perhaps the funniest is I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas. Recorded by Gayla Peevey in 1953 when she was 10 years old, it was a local favorite in her native Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. But as the urban legend goes, when the song eventually went on to a national audience, some thought it was recorded as a fund raiser for the local city zoo and somehow, somewhere along the way, someone got the bright idea to actually present Peevey with a real hippopotamus for Christmas the following year, which she in turn donated to the Oklahoma City zoo. Matilda the Hippo went on to entertain children and adults alike for fifty years until she passed away from natural causes.

The person behind Ms. Waxy Dragon and other Internet avatars wanted the
weekend off to be with their family. The Sunday Funnies will resume next weekend
to kick off 2009.

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