Friday, December 1, 2023

Welcome to the Kitschmas Advent Calendar 2023 !!! T - 24 Days ... and Counting !!!

     Good morning and WELCOME to the 2023 edition of the K.A.C.! This is our 15th year of Holiday Hilarity, as we count down the days 'till Christmas. Last year in addition to our regular oddities, Justin von Bosau was giving us a blow-by-blow look at all the various versions of A Christmas Carol, right up to the year 1951. He's rather overwhelmed this year with his different jobs, so we'll pause his chronicles for now (but he's always welcome to take another shot at them when he's ready). Instead, we'll continue with a look at what were the strangest stories to come out of the following years, one a day, as I was doing with this year's Halloween Tidbits, beginning with the year 1952. Not to worry, though, as we'll keep you updated on all the NEW Santa Shenanigans taking place, as well as other timely treats sure to amuse (well, SOMEWHAT sure). But back to '52. SURELY there can't be anything strange to come out of that quiet, halcyon time, can there? To paraphrase Santa at left, "Hold my punch".
     Meet Mom, one of the Mabel Beaton Marionettes - Mom knows what Living Hell looks like, trapped as she is eternally in the Bell Telephone Systems' annual retelling of 'The Night Before Christmas', the first half of their puppet parade, THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS. Covering ALL the bases, Ma Bell starts with this tale, then rather deftly glides into a 'strings-and-all' retelling of 'The Nativity Story'. That half is very reverently well-done (except for the part where I can't get it out of my head that Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's THUNDERBIRDS aren't going to come swooping in at any moment to save Mary, Joseph and their Donkey --- "no room in the inn, my eye!").

     The first story, however, is the REAL reason to watch this. It makes Hardrock, Coco and Joe look like a sedate PBS special - it's magnificently unhinged right out of the gate from Frame 1 to the end. Where to start? Well, Santa's a maniac, he can't drive worth beans and should have been dead or in traction from the whiplash in that sleigh before he ever REACHES the house ... Mom here at least looks cheery, the rest of the family (especially the kids) look CREEPY AS F*** ! As the classic poem unfolds, the leap out of their beds and hovering, Linda Blair-style, to get downstairs is unsettling enough, but when Santa espys them peeking around the door, the look he gives them sends chills down the spine ... maybe it's the lighting. Judge for yourself as you watch the film below.

     Just to confuse things even further, the film is listed as being made in 1950, 1952, 1953 AND 1966! Tinsel Terror Through Time! Since the K.A.C. is starting this year with '52, we're embracing it for that year, so there. For more on the show, click here:

     Just in case you thought the terror was over for this year, heck, no ... it's just beginning! After reeling from all THAT Marionette Mayhem, maybe some light reading will calm your nerves. How about a ride in Santa's 'Ribbon Candy Rocket' with Betty, Billy and Caboose, and a whole ARK of animals from around the globe? It's all from Woolworth's annual Happy Time Christmas Book for 1952, their "No, really, it's a holiday comic book, NOT a shameless ploy to sell Woolworth toys and tchotchkes!" As you can see from the pictures here, the book has not aged well at all ... but you'll have to read the book , reproduced in full at the link below, to find out what 'Gems Of Glee' and other pleasures await!

     Finally, just so you don't think it's ALL hilarity here (wellll ......),
we'll end on a high note with a bit of history. 1952 was the inaugural year of Queen Elizabeth II's annual Christmas Broadcast to the nation and the world, after the death of King George IV in February. You can hear it below, along with the complete transcript of her speech, followed by a look at her speeches through her reign. 

     And with that, we'll end for the day. Like what you see? Then join us every day between now and Christmas to see what NEW Old Wonders are in store (or stores, as the case may be). Next up, a look at 1953 - see you then.





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