Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who is Carol and why is she at Spinet?

 I am convinced that a child wrote the lyrics to "We Need a Little Christmas". I mean, who else could sing "Right this very minute!" with nary a hint of sarcasm? "Candles in the windows" would be sure to burn the entire place down. Every dry pine needle on the tree would serve as tinder and the tighly wrapped Pillow Pets might as well double as a yule log. Yes, lighting candles in the windows would be magical for a child. An adult would find it terrifying.

The second verse proclaims: "Slice up the fruitcake, It's time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough, For I've grown a little leaner..."

This really gives the gig away. Only a child would grow leaner during the holiday season. For some reason, the restraint we place on our children to not eat the holiday cakes, candies, pies and other fattening foods does not apply to the adults enforcing the rules.

Not only that, but when an adult hears the word "fruitcake", it usually conjures up images of people in white straightjackets. A child, on the other hand, focuses on the "cake" part, and demands (yet again) a slice. Add to that all the exitement and sneaking around trying to find Christmas gifts and holiday cookies, and those little ones are sure to lose some weight. Yes, I'm definitely on to something here.

Finally, "carols at the spinet" dooms the child writer to be discovered. After much research (OK, one lousy Google search and a click to Wikipedia) I found that a spinet is a small version of a piano, with inferior sound. Exactly something one would purchase for a child who was not yet old enough to handle the responsibility of a full blown, expensive piano. Yet this particular child was gifted enough to craft a song that adults would sing for generations. Maybe her parents should have purchased her a Baby Grand instead?

Okay, so "We Need A Little Christmas" was actually written by a guy named Jerry Herman. Yeah, I have no idea who he is either. But I do know who Angela Lansbury is, and she was the first person to perform the song in public! Yep, this song has only been around since 1966. It was created for the musical "Mame", an adaptation of the novel Auntie Mame.

Auntie Mame follows the adventures of a young boy in the care of his eccentric, wealthy aunt. The two live through The Great Depression and World War II, all the while inspired by Auntie Mame's famous motto "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." Sounds like a woman who would light candles in the windows and demand Christmas come early.

The novel was turned into a Broadway play, then a film, then a musical. So if you're looking for something a little different this year to spark the Christmas spirit, try Auntie Mame. It has nothing to do with Christmas, but your kids will probably understand every word!

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