Tracks featured on the podcast are :
- Jolly Old Christmas Part 1 by Leslie Sarony (Originally released by Imperial (2779) in 1932.) (For more info on Leslie Sarony see blog for Podcast 1)
- Mrs. Buggins makes the Christmas pudding by Mabel Constanduros and Michael Hogan (Originally released by Eclipse (X 6) in 1927.) Mabel Constanduros was born Mabel Tilling in 1880, in London (She became Mabel Constanduros after her marriage to Athanasius Constanduros). She achieved fame by writing and performing comic radio sketches featuring the Buggins family (she initially played all the characters but by the time of this record had been joined by Michael Hogan). She appeared on hundreds of radio programmes from the mid ’20s up to the 1950s, often writing her own material. She also wrote plays and novels. In the ’50s she also adapted novels for radio broadcast, including a version of Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend” starring Richard Attenborough in 1950. She also appeared in several films including “Where’s George?” (1935), “Rose of Tralee” (1942) and “The White Unicorn” (1947). She died in 1957. Michael Hogan was born in 1893 and began his career as a film actor, appearing in “Bolibar” (1928), “The Lyons Mail” (1931) and “My old Dutch” (1934). He went on to become a screenwriter, writing scripts for films such as “Secret Journey” (1939), “Trouble brewing” (starring George Formby, 1939), and “Appointment in Berlin” (1943). He died in 1977.
- Christmas melodies by the fireside Part 1 by Radio Melody boys (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1267) in 1929). Radio Melody Boys was one of many pseudonyms used by Harry Hudson (1898-1969) and his band. Hudson had a varied career, and was musical director, and appeared in, George Formby’s first film “Boots! Boots!” in 1934. Other recordings as Radio Melody Boys included “Singin’ in the rain”, “Button up your overcoat”, “Jollity farm”, and “My baby just cares for me” (all released in 1930.) Hudson continued performing with his band up until the 1950s.
- Sandy’s Christmas Eve Parts 1&2 by Sandy Powell (Released by Broadcast (761) in 1931). Sandy Powell was born on 30 January 1900 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. His Mother was an entertainer, and he made his stage debut aged 9. His recording career began in 1929 and he went on to make almost a hundred records, the last being in 1942. Most of these records were comedy sketches with him in an occupation-Sandy the Sailor, Mountaineer, Goalkeeper, Doctor, Dentist, Fireman, Solicitor, Dirt Track Rider, even MP! During the ’30s he became a popular radio and theatre act, with his catchphrase “Can you hear me mother?”, and he continued regular radio appearances up to the 1950s. He also appeared in films such as “The third string” (1932), “I’ve got a horse” (1938) and “Cup-tie honeymoon” (1948). He was awarded the MBE in 1975 and died on 26 June 1982.
- Keeping up an English Christmas day by Flora Cramer (released by Zonophone (686) in 1911). Flora Cromer was an actress and music hall singer/comedienne mainly active from around 1908 to the 1920s. Her other recordings include “Walter”,”Take me back to babyland” (both of which she co-wrote with Herbert Rule), “Holding Sandy’s Handle” (which she co-wrote with George Collins) and “Idaho”. She toured Australia successfully in 1921 but never became a huge star, and is now largely forgotten.
- Nuttin’ For Christmas by Joe Ward (Released by Parlophone (R 4110) in 1955). Little is known about this Joe Ward (there have been several singers of that name), but the record was originally released on the US King label and licensed to the Parlophone label in the UK. The record was a minor US hit, but was a bigger hit for Art Mooney, and was also recorded by Ricky Zahnd, the Fontane Sisters , and in a parody version by Stan Freberg.
- Silent Night, Holy Night-Zither Solo by Anton Karas (Released by Columbia (DB 2635) in 1950). Anton Karas was born in Vienna in 1906 and learned to play the zither as a child. Although he wanted to be a professional musician from an early age, he combined his musical career with study, work, and army life during the second world war and it wasn’t until 1948 he achieved fame, after being asked to provide the theme music for the film “The Third Man” by director Carol Reed. Reed had heard Karas playing in a wine tavern. The film-and its music-was a huge success, and Karas went from playing in small bars and taverns to touring the world. Although he toured for more than a decade after his initial success, he never enjoyed fame and retired in 1966. He died in 1985.
- A Rootin’ Tootin’ Santa Claus by Tennessee Ernie (released by Capitol (CL 13633) in 1951.) Tennessee Ernie Ford was born in February 1919 and began his career as a radio announcer, before leaving to study classical singing. He served during World War 2, and went back to radio announcing when the war ended, where he became known as Tennessee Ernie. While presenting a show on KLXA Radio in Pasadena, he also started singing professionally and signed a contract with Capitol Records, where his initial recordings were credited to Tennessee Ernie, before later adding his surname Ford to the name. He had several US hits in the early ’50s and gave up radio presenting, although in 1954 he moved briefly to Television when he hosted a music quiz show and appeared in three episodes of “I love Lucy”. In 1955 he scored his biggest hit to date with “Sixteen Tons” which led to him landing his own NBC TV show, “The Ford Show” which ran for five years beginning in 1956. When this finished he hosted a chat show from 1962-65. His career declined during the ’70s, partly due to his excessive alcohol intake, although he carried on recording, making his final album in 1984. He died in October 1991.
- The Mistletoe Kiss by Promo Scala and his banjo and accordion band with The Keynotes (Released by Decca (8983) in 1948. For more info on Primo Scala see blog for Podcast 4.