Good morning! Our theme today (for # 11 in our '13 Strangest Christmas Shorts' competition) is Musical Mistletoes. Our first performer is the lovely Canadian songstress Gisele Mackenzie (who I'm sure many, if not most, of you young pups have never heard of ... fame is fleeting!) - this clip is from 1954, from the TV show YOUR HIT PARADE - it's a cute holiday rendition of "Papa Loves Mambo" ... is it wrong to have lecherous feelings towards reindeer?
That's was only the appetizer for our main course - Christmas at Liberace's! Lee Liberace was the consummate pianist and showman, whose career spanned many decades. He had a long-running television series which consisted of him playing the popular tunes and classics of the day on his piano, with musical guest stars coming in. As hard as that may seem on today's jump-cut-editing, don't-show-anything-for-more-than-a-second TV shows, his shows were hugely popular and he was adored by a legion of fans (my mother being one of them).
True story: I got to meet Liberace once - it was during the early 1970s, when my mother and I went to see the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island on a day trip one weekend during the summer. Liberace was filming a TV special at one of the mansions we were visiting and tourists were allowed to watch, as long as we were quiet. He played some classical pieces on one of the magnificent grand pianos there and they took a break for new camera setups. This was before the days of teams of security around celebrities, and my Mom was spazzing out over him and how close we were to him. She told me, "Go get his autograph!" I said, "No ... YOU go get his autograph!", as I had NO idea who he was! :) Well, you guessed it, I got strong-armed over there and polite as could be asked him for his autograph. He was very gracious and talked with me for a bit and gave it to me (with a small drawing of a piano!) - I thanked him and off we went.
For my ignorance, Every Single Time he was on TV after that, I was sat down and had to watch him! (Sadly, it turned out he was a guest villain on BATMAN back in the '60s ... now THAT would have impressed the Hell out of me, if only I'd known!) - anyways, here are some holiday clips (also from 1954) of Lee Liberace, PLUS as an added treat, a clip of him stumping the panel on WHAT'S MY LINE? - I am including that so you can see his signature which opens the show ... just like the one I got!
That's it! Tune in tomorrow for our Final Five!