(October 26, 2007)
F. "CHIP" ARCURI
Owner/Webmaster of The Yule Log.com
Happy autumn greetings gang! The long, hot summer is finally at an end, and the overbearing heat is all but a memory. For those of you who lament this change, you can always follow our good friend Heat Miser down south to the Tropic of Capricorn – where he has taken refuge. However, for the rest of us, we can now bask in the splendor of moderate fall days and cool, crisp nights – unless of course, we’re hit with a late India summer – then our goose will be cooked again! Ugh!
I suggest you fasten your seatbelts and get ready, because in quick succession will be the 3 biggest holidays of the year: Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course, the granddaddy of them all…Christmas! Perhaps we can look at it as our reward for surviving the sweltering heat of the season that has just passed.
It is typically at this time of the year that we begin to find out what new Christmas CD reissues the record companies will be coming out with for the upcoming season. Regrettably, there are still far too many classic Christmas albums that have never been reissued on CD. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the only new CD re-release worth mentioning that I can announce is Walter Schumann’s 1955 RCA Victor LP, “The Voices Of Christmas.” This was Mr. Schumann’s second Christmas album (and his best). Collector’s Choice Music has reissued it, and the CD includes the original RCA album cover artwork:
As previously announced on the Yule Log.com message board, the publication of the Yule Log book has been rescheduled for September 2008. Therefore, as a result, the deadline for submitting Yule Log stories for the book has been extended to January 31, 2008. Please don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of this wonderful project – I encourage you to share with us your most favorite memories of the Yule Log. Information on how to submit your story can be found on the homepage of the website. Let your voices be heard!
Several years ago, one of my brothers introduced me to a restaurant in Manhattan that is quite worthy here of a Chip’s Tip: it’s called Rolf’s, and it’s located at 281 3rd Avenue – near Gramercy Park. For those lucky enough to live in the New York City metropolitan area, or for those of you who plan to visit the area sometime in the near future, I strongly recommend it – especially at Christmastime. Their Christmas holiday display is simply spectacular: a veritable cornucopia of a wide variety of lavish Christmas decorations wall-to-wall – it’s tantamount to being in a Christmas fantasyland. Oh, and by the way – the food is great too! They specialize in German cuisine such as Spaetzle, Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Goulash, Potato Pancakes, Apple Strudel, Black Forest cake, and much more. It’s best to make reservations though, as they do get quite crowded – especially during the holidays. Hey, maybe I’ll see you there!
Concomitant with the return of the oldies format to WCBS-FM here in New York, will also hopefully be the return of their Christmas programming for the holidays as well. With the demise of the great WPAT and WRFM, the metropolitan area was left bereft of a forum on the radio for classic Christmas music during the holiday season. Sorry folks, but WLTW’s Christmas programming just doesn’t quite cut it: first of all, their play list is far too small, and second, only a very small percentage of these are the classics. In the case of CBS-FM though, be prepared to expect changes to whatever Christmas lineup they may have, as the station is now playing music from the 80s, in addition to the 60s and 70s, and has all but jettisoned music from the 50s. It is because of this reticence to playing music from the 50s (except on Sunday night, or an occasional hall-of-fame spotlight moment), it is likely that any future Christmas programming will inevitably include far fewer classics. But then again, who knows? Perhaps they’ll surprise us all, and suspend this programming policy during the holiday season – let’s hope, anyway. As far as their regular format is concerned, they seem to be putting more of an emphasis on music from the 70s and 80s, and less on the 60s – I guess this is their way of appealing to a younger demographic. Notwithstanding this however, I’m still glad they’re back.
Last year, after we restored the Yule Log to its original form for its 40th anniversary, we were hoping the publicity it generated would be enough incentive for WPIX/Tribune Broadcasting to bite the financial bullet, and finally release the program for retail sale on DVD. However, the prospect of that happening now appears unlikely – at least for anytime soon in the foreseeable future. Apparently, the expense of this endeavor is just too prohibitive. The main sticking point: the licensing fees for the music. Therefore, I would strongly suggest that you purchase a DVD recorder (if you don’t already have one), and burn it to a disc yourself. This way, in the event that it is never commercially released, or if someday down the line, Tribune airs the program in an abridged form – or even worse, ceases to air it altogether (although I can’t see that happening), you’ll have a copy for posterity.
Well brood, I wish you all a very pleasant autumn, filled with the vibrant colors and joy this special season brings. Our favorite time of the year lies just around the corner and will be here before you know it, but let’s not forget to enjoy all the stops along the way…
Lawrence F. “Chip” Arcuri