Friday, December 27, 2019

Pokey!

Here's yet another album I should have gotten out during the height of the Christmas season. I'm afraid I don't know too much about the provenance of this album, it just kinda showed up one day.  The jacket is completely blank on the back, and there are no credits on side 1 of the label. Side 2 is credited to Jack Parker, so I put that name on the big long story on side 1 as well. Poking around the internet doesn't yield any results for this album, but there does appear to have been a Christmas special on the radio from 1957 by the same name. Digging deeper and adding the Jack Parker name yields a copyright entry from 1949 to a radio drama by the same name. I'm guessing this is a recording of that radio play, maybe not the original, but something perhaps recorded by Mr. Parker in later years. I could be way off base, but I'm guessing he pressed up some copies of his old radio show, added some more modern stuff he recorded, and then gave out copies to friends and family for Christmas.  Or maybe he tried to sell the shows somewhere.  I'm hoping someone out there knows a little something about this and they'll stumble across this post one day.  If you're reading this and you know the story behind the story, please leave a comment.  In the meantime, give a listen to Jack Parker-Pokey The Christmas Elf (Northpole Records 148, Mono). My sleeve looked like some of the ink was smeared as it rolled through the printing press, but I cleaned it up as best I could.  Not much chance of finding another copy of this one.

1. The Story Of Pokey, The Christmas Elf
2. The Miniature Manger
3. The Christmas Tree
4. The Christmas Gift
5. The Story Of Hanukka
6. Christmas Around The World
7. Christmas Candles
8. Christmas Pageant
9. The Day After Christmas

MEGA

4 comments:

Rodney said...

Thanks for all your shares, Ernie!

This one is an interesting one, and I hope someone can provide additional information. I also did a quick look online, and found another version available, which stated it was a transcribed syndicated story from 1949.

Rich said...

Thank you, Ernie, for all the treasures you shared with us this year. I hoped you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year.

Rich

barba said...

this was the best of the season for me. pokey will never be “an institution” either. but it captured my imagination long enough to actually listen to the whole thing at one go. yes, some aspects are amateurish (nose flute sound effects, saccharine dialogue and voices). but taken as a whole, it’s rather well done. i got a bit tired of pokey’s relentless self-doubt and remorse. parallels with rudolph are unmistakable. but there’s a lot of good stuff. some of the production music is unusual, even dissonant… not the typical fare of these things. you get to see some of the inner workings of how toys are delivered (santa takes the private residences with chimneys, the elves take “the tall buildings without chimneys”). best of all, santa owns a “supersonic television set” that allows him to see all over the world. (i used to own a panasonic television set, but that’s not nearly as good.)

i concur with most of your speculations on the origins of this production. but to my ears, it sounds more like a re-recording from around 1957 and not the actual 1949 production. the music and the sped-up dave seville voices of the elves make me think this. however, i’m probably wrong. i eventually found this blurb buried on page 42 of the december 1949 issue of Broadcasting – The Newsweekly of Radio and Television:

“Standard Radio Transcript Services Inc, Hollywood, is distributing as a Christmas gift to all subscriber stations, a half-hour dramatic fantasy, Pokey the Christmas Elf. Program can be used as sustainer or sold locally by individual stations.“

there are google images from newspapers that have listings for various christmas radio programs using pokey from the early 1950s through the mid 1960s. so i guess that accounts for how it was distributed. whether jack parker sold the work to the radio service or whether they hired him to do it or what, i have no idea.

Kwork said...

Love this one. Thank you!