Posts tagged ‘christmas’

Happy Hubba Hubba Holidays! [1962]


Wouldn’t you rather be at a warm beach for the Holidays?

Meriam De Shazo and Kenna Morris sure did in this Florida promo from 1962!  Here they decorate a Christmas Tree on a Pensacola beach in Florida in this photo by Jim Stokes.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians [1964]

It has been called “one of the worst films ever.”

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians tells the story of Martian children who have been watching “Earth TV” and are now pining for Santa Claus to visit their planet with toys and happiness.  The tale is told through the magic of hardware-store sets and Halloween-quality makeup.  I first saw this film on a cold December Saturday in 197, when I was a mere ten years old – in glorious black and white.  Even as a kid I remember thinking to myself, “What the hell am I watching?” It insulted my senses, and just seemed to be a horrible spectacle done in cardboard.

In the 1990s it was given the MST Treatment on Mystery Science Theater 3000, with the program’s signature humor commentary added to the movie.

Of course Santa wins out with his kindness and the bad Martians are defeated for the betterment of the entire Red Planet.  Goofy Dropo (Bill McCutcheon), the Jar Jar Binks character in the movie, becomes the new Martian Santa Claus after he takes a somewhat-awkward liking to the Big Man’s red suit, trying it on in secret.  Then all the kids sing “Hooray for Santee Claus” and the world spins normally once more.

Now thanks to a recent rights release into the Public Domain, you can watch the movie in its entirety above for free, courtesy of Hulu!  The film’s makers did not renew the rights (wonder why), so it is ready for us all to…umm…enjoy.


What Martian would be legit without tubes coming out of their helmets?


Voldar (Vincent Beck, on left), has the best mustache in the movie.  As one of the Martian children, the film also stars a very young Pia Zadora, who now entertains audiences from the stages of Las Vegas.


Hoo-Ray for Santee Claus!


Christmas Party [1952]

Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

Straight from the City of Seattle file cabinets comes this gem of vintage holiday goodness!

The bare tree in the background says it all: It’s Christmas in the Public Sector. Look at the executives in suits, men in working linemen attire and “the office girl” in her stylish skirt and blouse; they’re just having a good time over coffee and cookies.  No doubt there’s ashtrays on those tables, filled with stubbed-out Pall Malls.

Hard to believe this picture is sixty years old! For more vintage public awesomeness, check out their photostream on Flickr.

Merry Christmas from Wall Of Retro!

Christmas 1968

This is me with my darling sisters on Christmas Morning, 1968. Wishing all Retronauts a safe and happy Christmas and Holiday weekend!

Have a Disco Christmas – Joy To The World [1978]

It’s like the chintzy dish in the kitchen that you can’t resist using every December.

I found Christmas Disco from The Mistletoe Disco Band at Goodwill, nestled between other Christmas albums (Please note: there is always a huge selection of Christmas music at Goodwill on vinyl – year round).  The album had many elements which made it perfect for Wall Of Retro; the record was 25 years or older, had cheesy graphics, and tapped into a trend that divided a nation.

Back in the day we did a lot of moaning and groaning about Disco, and how it seemed to be taking over every segment of society.  I even had a t-shirt made with iron-on letters to say, “Disco: ignore it and maybe it will go away.”  But as time went on Disco self-imploded, becoming engorged on its own contribution to society while pumping out gems of non-necessity – like Christmas Disco. Now, thirty three years later, it’s a retro diversion from the other seasonal music – one that was probably recorded in all seriousness but comes off as a goofy alternative to Andy Williams or Burl Ives.

The tracks are upbeat and – according to my wife – the perfect tempo for walking.

Yes, there’s lots of cymbal, walking bass, and wah wah pedal.  Yes, there are some weird 70s synthesizer sounds mixed in with the backing harmonies, horns, and strings.  But while I would not sit down and listen to this album note for note, it is a work that could be on while I do other stuff.  Perfectly suited as background music, with the occasional toe-tapping that comes automatically with almost every track.

As I get older, I still think that Disco sucked back then; but now I realize that is wasn’t necessarily because of the music.  Rather, it was the lifestyle and the elitism (around these parts anyway) surrounding Disco that ruined the genre for those of us who couldn’t dance – or afford the wardrobe and the cover charge at the club.  Many Disco tracks have actually weathered the decades, and have become – dare I say “timeless?” – icons of a bygone era;  I admit to enjoying songs from the Bee Gees, ABBA, Gloria Gaynor, and Donna Summer from time to time.  Their work was well crafted, deftly written, and still hold the listener’s attention.  Other songs from the 70s – like those from Christmas Disco – didn’t weather the years all that well; many sound like little more than excuses to get something Disco-ey in the rack at the record store, like adding fur seat covers to an AMC Gremlin. But despite their dubious place in history, these Disco remakes are still fun to pull out as a way to reminisce about how some things are better now.  The chintzy dish once again graces our season with cheesiness.

Best 49 cents I spent this week…

Check out Joy To The World on MP3.


Christmas 1972

Me and older sister standing in front of the tree.  Love the yellow shawl and shiny suit jacket.  I shared my memories of this moment and the year surrounding it on Intersect.

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