As everyone knows (or should) The Two Gay Geeks are huge Disney fans. As such we have been around since the early days of AOL Groups and one that focused on Disneyland run by Al Lutz (at that time Al Weho) on through various incarnations of websites about Disneyland. One such site currently is Micechat.com who we wish to thank for permission to reprint this article. We have had to make a few minor changes due to formatting and some updated information. Thank you Micechat and Al for this walk down memory lane.
Disneyland’s Main Street Christmas Music Loop
By Al Lutz
I tend to get the same e-mails every year about this time (and yes, almost always in all-caps) usually requesting/demanding/begging an immediate response:
AL! BUDDY! MY PAL! DO YOU KNOW WHAT ALBUMS THEY USED TO MAKE THE DISNEYLAND MAIN STREET CHRISTMAS MUSIC LOOP??? MY (insert name of relative here) WHO IS (insert rather unpleasant medical condition of said relative here) WANTS TO GET A COPY OF THIS BEFORE THEY (insert usually bleak future state of said relative here).
Since I get a LOT of e-mail I really don’t get the chance to respond personally to them all. But I do try and keep in mind the many requests and try to provide some kind of an answer eventually here in the column.
For the original run of this piece I did some Googling on the above demand, plea, request to see what I could find. Part of the answer was easy thanks to a wonderful resource out there, but the real work went into filling in all the missing details.
If you haven’t visited Kirsten Wahlquist’s Disney Music Loops website yet you should, as she has done an outstanding job of rounding up this unusually hard to get information. She has listings for many of the music loops at the Disneyland Resort and if you click on the Main Street link there you can find the page for the Christmas version, which as I understand first played in the park in 1972.
She’d found an amazing amount of information, but her original listing was incomplete. We completed the list for the first time we presented this column, showed you all the albums the songs came off of, and Kristen at that time finally had a finished set of titles for her site.
This is how I would package it.
I finally located the last few hardest to find tracks, copied them onto my iPod and was able to compare them as I was sitting in the park’s hub during the loop’s playback. Everything checked out except for a few trimmed intros. Talk about reverse engineering!
First, here’s what is available on CD: The Lawrence Welk version of “Rudolph” can be found on the “Christmas Memories” CD, his “Deck the Halls” and “Hark” tracks can be found on the “22 Merry Christmas Favorites” disc, both from Ranwood. All eight of the music box selections can be found on Rita Ford’s Columbia CD “A Music Box Christmas” and the lounge version of “Jingle Bell Rock” can be found complete on a Collector’s Choice CD. I’ve included links below to all them:
We had some great news last year about a previously hard to find title:
From Wikipedia, we learn about David Rose:
I can confirm the album shown above (from Capitol Records) has the correct songs on it. And last year it was finally released on CD by a boutique label and can be purchased from Amazon.com (among other retailers):
One previously very hard to locate track, “Caroling, Caroling” by the Hollywood Pops Orchestra, was finally available a few years ago as an 89-cent WMA download from Wal*Mart’s online music store, but the store may no longer be available.
Now comes the hard part – finding the rest of those albums. (Younger folks may not remember we used to listen to music by dragging a needle over a spinning slab of vinyl. Some people, like Bette Midler, even made dapper hats out of them.)
John Gregory arranged and conducted it, and it was produced by Teo Macero. It isn’t easy to find on ebay (only promo singles from this LP seem to pop up), but if you look hard enough out there online (really hard!) you can probably find it.
While Lawrence Welk’s “Rudolph,” “Deck the Halls” and “Hark” tracks made it to CD, the other two songs from the original Dot catalog number DLP 25397 “Silent Night and 13 Other Best Loved Christmas Songs” can only be found on LP. (The album was later repackaged with the same title on the Ranwood label. Below is the original cover.)
eBay does offer some listings for this. The Lawrence Welk Christmas Website has terrific pages on the available CDs and also has a very complete listing of all the different versions of the many Christmas songs that were recorded by Welk and his performers over the years and what albums they landed on.
Here’s the listing for Raymond Lefevre from the SpaceAgePop.com website:
His 1968 “Merry Christmas” album was originally released on Kapp/4 Corners of the World catalog number FCS 4257 (the rather frisky cover above), and then reissued a few years later on Budda Records BDS-5099 with two songs removed. Of course one of the songs removed on the Budda album was “Petit Papa Noel” (French singer Tino Rossi had the original vocal hit) which makes getting the Budda disc moot.
Fortunately ebay’s listings for this album let you see which is which for the most part.
There is an almost identical arrangement of “Petit Papa Noel” by Paul Mauriat, which generated a lot of email each year from readers who felt that it was the correct track. When this article was first written, to my ears (after comparing them both with the actual loop) the Lefevre track was the one used.
In the last two years for the first time ever I heard a different arrangement of this tune on the loop, which may have been changed for upgrade or because of playback format reasons. It appears to be Mauriat’s arrangement, and after finally sitting down and comparing them even more closely, to my ears it is a little listless sounding in both performance and arrangement quality. (So if you want the version you heard before this change, pick Raymond; use the less impressive Mauriat track if you want to duplicate what is currently used.)
From the Felix Slatkin webpage:
HE LATER RECORDED SEVERAL ALBUMS FOR LIBERTY LEADING THE “FANTASTIC STRINGS” AT THE HEIGHT OF THE “STEREO ACTION” PERIOD. LIKE MANY STUDIO MUSICIANS, HE WAS ALSO VIRTUOSO PERFORMER IN HIS OWN RIGHT. HE RECORDED AS A CLASSICAL VIOLINIST, AND HE AND HIS WIFE, CELLIST ELEANOR ALLER — ALSO A STUDIO REGULAR FOR WHOM JOHN WILLIAMS WROTE A PROMINENT PART IN THE SCORE OF “CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND”– FOUNDED A LEGENDARY AMERICAN CLASSICAL GROUP, THE HOLLYWOOD STRING QUARTET. FELIX SLATKIN AND ELEANOR ALLER HAD TWO SONS. LEONARD SLATKIN IS CONDUCTOR LAUREATE OF THE ST.LOUIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. FREDERICK ZLOTKIN (FRED USES THE ORIGINAL RUSSIAN SPELLING OF THE FAMILY NAME) IS PRINCIPAL CELLIST FOR THE NEW YORK CITY BALLET AND IS THE CELLIST FOR THE LYRIC PIANO QUARTET.
The 1961 “Seasons Greetings” red album shown above (Liberty LMM-13013/LSS-14013) has an interesting history, detailed on the following webpage:
INCIDENTALLY, IF YOU WANTED TO ADD THE INFORMATION TO YOUR SITE, THE REISSUE THAT I HAVE IS FROM 1980, TITLED “SEASONS GREETINGS, THE FANTASTIC STRINGS OF FELIX SLATKIN (NOT THE “HOLIDAY” STRINGS AS ON THE SUNSET REISSUE), CONTAINS TEN CUTS AND CARRIES THE CATALOG NUMBER OF LM-1070. (IT ELIMINATES “O HOLY NIGHT” AND “AWAY IN A MANGER” WHICH WERE LISTED ON THE ORIGINAL). THE REISSUE IS STEREO EVEN THOUGH IT HAS THE “LM” NUMBER WHICH COULD BE INTERPRETED AS “MONO” FOR THE “M”.
Finally, the last track “Carol of the Bells” by the Hollywood Bowl Symphony is on “The Music of Christmas” album. It’s available from ArkivMusic in a licensed CD-R release, or via an out-of-print CD on Amazon, link below.
One thing I learned from this project is that Google is only half the search – you gotta use eBay for the rest of it.
Editor Note: Something that is not included in this version that I have seen before is the Rita Ford Music Box Christmas selections.
Here is the Amazon Link to the CD: https://www.amazon.com/Music-Box-Christmas-Rita-Ford/dp/B0000024R5
The Two Gay Geeks and our Staff are taking a much needed break from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, but we still wanted to have content for you to read during that time. As such we got busy and watched all of our favorite holiday videos. Some are classics and others are off-beat and loosely associated with the holidays. We hope you enjoy our offerings and that you holiday season is safe, sane, and satisfying.
Let us know what you think about our content in our webcast as well as our website. Please use the comment form below. Please be sure to read the Privacy / Terms and Conditions Of Use. Please remember to Play Nice.