Wednesday, December 7, 2011
An Eyvind Earle Christmas
Here is the album cover the original soundtrack recording (in stereo, no less) from the television holiday "spectacular" The Story of Christmas, originally broadcast (or colorcast, I should say) over NBC on December 22, 1963, this was one of the few (in fact, it was reportedly the first) network specials ever broadcast without commercial interruptions. The very special TV special was sponsored by General Mills, which opted to dispense with commercials entirely so as to avoid interrupting the content—especially the magnificent eighteen minute animation segment retelling the Gospel Nativity accounts (the Christmas story, in other words) conceived and produced by Eyvind Earle, the artistic mastermind behind the styling of Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty (1959). Eyvind's distinctive art adorns this album cover, making a fine reminder of what the season is all about. The recording itself boasts the stirring vocal arrangements written and conducted by choral master Roger Wagner, and the vocal stylings of "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, whose lifelong dream this reportedly was. The Story of Christmas is as regarded one of the highest rated, critically acclaimed Christmas specials ever broadcast, and although all but forgotten today, we can glimpse a bit of the Eyvind Earle magic here...and long for the days when great showmanship even extended to take-home treasures such as this soundtrack LP.