Saturday, December 2, 2023

K.A.C. 2023 - T - 23 Days ...


     1953 - the year Santa scrapped the sleigh and reindeers and rode the sky on a glowing, engorged .... ummm, set of Christmas lights! NO MORE NOG, SANTA! No, no, don't pay any attention to him - he's just embarrassing himself. Instead, why don't you have a look at today's offerings.

     Item # 1: In our ever-widening search for Forgotten Christmas Mascots, we've come across a brand-new one. Long-time readers of the K.A.C. will remember our telling of how Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer came about, as a promotional item in 1939 for the Montgomery Wards department stores - those who need a refresher can find my post here:  - it became a national treasure with a hit song that got trooped out year after year ... other stores took note and tried with various degrees of success to come up with their own mascots to bring the kids in (along with Mom & Dad, of course, to PAY for all the sparkly toys!) - fast forward to the 1940s, as Chicago area kids are introduced to 'Uncle Mistletoe', Christmas mascot for the Marshall Fields stores. Listed as (courtesy of the Christmas Every Day website) "a black-browed, winged sprite, wearing a cape and top hat, he lived with his wife Aunt Holly in Cozy Cloud Cottage (the creation of store designer Homer Sharp) on the eighth floor. Uncle Mistletoe attracted a loyal following of children who joined his “Happiness Clubs” and he even made television appearances in cartoon form during the holiday season. In 1951 the Three Suns issued a 45 rpm recording entitled “Uncle Mistletoe” and he was the subject of a children’s book. Collectibles of Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly are still a hot item." He was described as 'Santa's office manager', the one who put together that list of who's been naughty or nice - so now who know who to vent your spleen to as to why you didn't get that much-wished-for toy from long ago! 
     Ol' Unc had a total earwig of a theme song, too - you can hear it at the YouTube link below, along with a festive montage of photos ... I'm not quite sure how Bettie Page got in there, but I'm sure Unc's not complaining!

     Where does the 1953 part of his story come in? From his Little Golden Book from '53 - I was trying to find the whole thing online to show you the pages, but no dice. Instead I found something better - from 2016: 'Aunt Rachel reads Uncle Mistletoe to Zachary' (and YOU!):


     Item # 2: 1953 was also the year of 'The World’s Largest Santa & The Christmas Tragedy' in Dallas, Texas. Urban myth, you say? Oh, no, it's quite real - with photos and videos to boot. Paula Bosse tells you all about it in this Flashback: Dallas article below:

     Yikes - umm, how about we look at a nice Christmas catalog cover instead, to end this on a more cheery note? The 1953 Western Auto Xmas book has something for everyone in the family - Susie's got a new doll, Billy's got a trike, Mom's got a ... toaster and ... mixing  - bowl ... and Dad's got ... ummm - (Note to self: Stick with the SEARS catalog for the rest of this year!!!) 

     Back tomorrow with a look at 1954!

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