Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmastime Is Here!

I'm back! I am a bit delayed at beginning this blog for Christmas, but I have begun celebrating already. I spent 13 hours shopping on Black Friday and spent yesterday with my family at the Ohio Theatre watching A Christmas Carol.

I read the book this year. Of course I've seen countless movie versions (1938, 1951, 1992, 2009) so I knew the story well, but it was a great delight to read, and it is very short so I could easily be read during the busy holiday season. I recommend everyone do so at least once; after all, it is a classic.

The stage version we saw yesterday was amusing. The most impressive effect they utilized was with Jacob Marley. He was shaded with a green gel spotlight and introduced through the fireplace which was engulfed in smoke. His dusty-looking costume made his ghost eerie and otherworldly, whereas the other spirits were more lifelike and traditional in red and green velvet. Seeing it was a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Be sure to revisit the great old time radio programs which coincide with the holiday season. My favorite is the charming Cinnamon Bear which takes two children on a journey to find the silver star for the top of their tree just in time for Christmas.

Jump Jump and the Ice Queen can be streamed here:
Jonathan Thomas and His Christmas on the Moon can be streamed here:  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Irving Berlin sang his own song, "Oh, How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning" in This Is the Army. This is one of my favorite songs from the war. It gets stuck in my head most mornings during the week, and it provided a lightheartedness to the war that helped soldiers to escape their troubles by complaining about the minor discomforts of being in the military.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

WWI really changed the way youth saw the world and themselves. While their parents may have lived in the same house their whole lives and never left their home states, these men and women saw foreign countries, met people from different backgrounds, and became jaded by the horrors of war. Subsequently, returning soldiers and nurses were too restless to stay and fulfill the life that had previously been destined for them. Many flocked to big cities or tried their hand at new careers.

How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)? perfectly illustrates this phenomenon.

Monday, November 3, 2014

It was common for the soldiers of WWI to take up with the local women in the towns where they were stationed. As a result, there are a variety of songs about French women written during the war. Here is one called "Oh Frenchy" which I own the sheet music to.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Billy Murray's humorous I'd Feel at Home if They Let Me Join the Army

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tribute to WWI

It has been 100 years since WWI started and kicked off the transformation of the United States into the nation it is today. In spite of this, it is severely neglected in public education and few people know much more about it other than the fact that it was begun by the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand by Serbian nationalists.

I must admit that my knowledge is also limited, but my love for the time period, especially the culture, has given me a deep appreciation for the war which was supposed to end all wars.

I intend to spotlight WWI through the music of the period and miscellaneous entries about a variety of aspects of the war.

Let us begin with Over There, sung by Enrico Caruso, a popular singer at that time.