Rudolph, Frosty, and Nestor the Long Eared Donkey. Just to name a few. Those are the better known characters of the Christmas stories told this time of year, characters that have captured the imagination of children world wide and continue to be sung about to this day. Well, except for Nestor...I can't think of too many songs about him.
But there are others who vied for the top spot in your heart as a beloved Christmas character. For some reason, time forgot these songs and the characters featured in these songs didn't get new songs done about them by subsequent generations nor did Rankin Bass decide to do an animated special about them.
But I've made a list. Perhaps not an exhaustive list...I am sure I will find even more as this blog goes on...but a healthy list for now. These are the Christmas characters that time has forgotten. Granted, the Christmas music lover/collector reading this will probably recognize most, if not all, these songs, but you're not going to hear these on your radio stations playing Christmas music this year. Nope, you can't have these played anymore on the radio...they are forgotten Christmas characters.
The first on my list is Jingle-O the Brownie. I am not exactly sure what "Brownie" is...he builds toys, so he may be an elf. He can sing and dreams, so he's a sentient being. And apparently he helps compile the list of who is naughty or nice, as he traverses the world each year to check up on you. (HEY! I thought Santa saw when I was naughty or nice! What the heck is that gyp!) But he also shakes the clouds and makes it snow, so he's muscling in on Jack Frost's job as well.
What is he? I think he's the "affirmative action" elf and Santa was, well, not exactly politically correct when he called him "Brownie." That's my theory anyway. Which if we have a black president, then we can now have a Christmas special about the black elf.
Tennessee Ernie Ford-Jingle-O the Brownie
While on the topic of elves, here has got to be the most annoying elf ever. I'd kill this elf if I ever had to work with him. Bernard the Elf is one thing, but this dude needs to take some ADD pills or something. Wow.
Sonny Blochs Coralairs-Louie the Elf
One thing I LOVE about these forgotten Christmas characters are they often have overlapping jobs. I guess the economic recession made Santa lay them all off and that's why we don't hear about them anymore. Jingle-O made it snow. But so does Suzy Snowflake, so go figure. I guess Jingle-O shakes the clouds and Suzy falls out. Oh, I mean tumbles down.
Little Marcy-Suzy Snowflake
But who else helps Santa? He obviously can't do it all...he has to delegate some of the work. Elves and reindeer are what we best know, but there were filthy rodents as well. And when Santa had to decide a name for him he calls him "Santa Mouse." Real creative there, St. Nick. I guess I should have called my dog, "Jeff Dog." Is it any wonder?
Bob Morrison-Santa Mouse
Christy Christmas also helped him out. And Christy is a HE. And he's made of the wood of a Christmas tree, so I guess this is like an elf version of Pinocchio. It's his job to pick out all the presents and to load Santa's sleigh as well. Not bad work if you can get it. And I also like it that he brings me food, not just eats it like Santa does. Good job, Christy.
Brenda Lee-Christy Christmas
Angie, the Christmas Tree Angel helps Santa dress up the Christmas tree. Then he thanks her by imprisoning her on top of the tree. What thanks!
Andrews Sisters-The Christmas Tree Angel
Mrs. Claus gets a few songs here and there, but mostly joke parodies of other songs. Here's a genuinely fun one that's a good song about her tasks around the North Pole. Not a forgotten character, I suppose, but do we realize all she does? She feeds the reindeer, she wraps the gifts and packs the sleigh (so much for Christy Christmas! This was what I was talking about with the overlapping jobs!), she keeps his red suit looking nice, she's the one who advises Santa directly, and she also gives Brownies all their spice (the black elves????) You go girl! And she does so much more...every line of this song is like a line of her resumé!
Alma Coogen-Mrs. Santa Claus
And for all the other jobs, there are the Grasshoppers! Wait...Grasshoppers in the North Pole? WHAT???
And if you ever wondered where the idea for the Three's Company theme came from...I am actually not sure which came first.
The Grasshoppers-Santa Claus, Rudolph and Us
Not everybody is out to help Santa. Some are just out to freeload and stowaway, but Santa makes the best of it and puts the little brat to work.
The Golden Orchestra-Little Stowaway on Santa's Sleigh
Perhaps the most curious of the forgotten Christmas characters isn't a sentient being like an elf or a reindeer or an angel or the sort, but a bell. A freaking BELL. But an apparently sentient bell, as it realizes it can't jingle and is crying because it can't go on the sleigh. There were lots of drugs in the 60's, folks. That's the only thing that can explain this song to me.
I said all of these characters didn't get their own animated special. Could you even imagine an animated special about this bell?
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass-The Bell that Couldn't Jingle
As I said earlier, many songs were sung about Rudolph. Not so many about Vixen. If we had more about Vixen we might have had more about Twinkle Toes, the gay son of Rudolph and Vixen. At least that's why I figure they called a male deer TWINKLE TOES. He did not go on to go down in history like his dad, apparently. Shoot, I don't think he even got mentioned in any of the animated specials!
Dino Perrone-Twinkle Toes
And Frosty isn't the only snowman who vied for your attention either. There was The Littlest Snowman, and apparently what brought this snowman to life was a red candy heart. Just an odd story.
Captain Kangaroo-The Littlest Snowman
Frosty and the Littlest Snowman were both alive and apparently could do something about it. But the Lundstroms wrote of a snowman that their little daughter loved to torment. LaShawn Lundstrom dances and sings for the snowman who, unlike Frosty, is unable to come to life. Taunting him with her autonomy and being a fully sentient being, I have to wonder if the snowman feels as if he has been delivered to the bowels of an icy hell while he waits for the sweet relief of melting to come so he can escape his frozen mortal coil. Who knew the Lundstroms could make me ponder such deep topics?
The Lundstroms-Mr. Snowman
Well, that's all for now. I am sure I will find some more oddball characters as I listen to more Christmas music!
Thank you for reading and listening! Oh...and be sure to buy a copy of the Wayside Waifs CD!