Monday, December 17, 2012

White Christmas

White Christmas, the Bing Crosby classic that always classic
I am intrigued by old-time radio and music of earlier 20th century periods (cue my wife's eyes rolling on Sunday evenings when I tune in sometimes to "The Big Broadcast" on WAMU public radio in the DC area).  There is something about the tonal quality and richness of the notches of records and phonographs from that period - not to mention the differences in slang, intonation, and accents in how we talked at that time.

The height of this period was the "Golden Age", that stretch right after the Great Depression and leading up to World War II, where mass media found its stride in film and radio.  Movies were the thing to do when going out on a Friday night, and radio was thing to tune in when at home.  Television was still a decade away, and it was the cinema that captivated our imagination with the imagery, double features, newsreels, cartoons, and grand stars of the time (Humphrey Bogart, Carey Grant, Clark Gable, Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, even Mickey Mouse!).    

This is the proper backdrop for the song playing on Pandora currently (way to fast-forward, right?) - White Christmas, by Bing Crosby.  Highest-selling record of all time (check out Lost City for a great rundown of this and other classic holiday song origins), the classic Bing Crosby croon always puts me in the mood for the holiday season.  Incidentally, Bing went on to record another smash holiday hit - "I'll Be Home for Christmas", which had special poignancy back in 1943 when it really meant something to the soldiers serving far away overseas. 

With all the resonance, memories, and connections to the past, I like to pause for a moment when I hear this song and allow myself to dream of a white christmas, where the treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.
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