See my post on the 1956 Line Material booklet for history about the company and a brief overview of these book/record combos.
This is the sixth of the Line Material Christmas booklets that I’ll be sharing out this season.
It seems that the books came to increasingly rely on longer stories as the series progressed. The earlier books seem to have more short pieces and whimsical illustrations. The books seem to have become more serious as time progressed. There is a reliance on some of the same authors (and even some of the same pieces) used in previous books. This is the third time that we meet Charles Tazewell’s “Littlest Snowman”. A bit of research shows that there were some books/comics of these stories released at the time. Tazewell is better known for his story “The Littlest Angel” which made its way to record and film. Also included here is an excerpt from the autobiography of the famous muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Littlest Snowman (story) – Charles Tazewell
The Night Before Christmas (poem) – Clement Clark Moore
Belsnickel (poem) – Arthur Guiterman
Christmas with the Conways (story) – D.C. Duncan
The Toy Strewn House (poem) – Edgar A. Guest
Merry Christmas in 10 Pieces (story) – Robert M. Yoder
A Miserable Merry Christmas (story) – Lincoln Steffens
Father Comes Home (story) Helen Louise Weshimer
A Catch by the Hearth (lyrics) – Old Yule Song
Christmas Bells (poem) – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Christmas Everywhere (poem) – Phillips Brooks
Let’s Trim the Christmas Tree (song) – Lyrics and music by John McCarthy, a David Carroll arrangement.
Click the images below to browse a few of the pages of the booklet and see the quality of the great mid-century modern illustrations. (There’s way more to be found in the PDF download below.)
So, these booklets were sent out to employees and customers of The Line Material company, which made equipment for electrical transmission (wire, transformers, etc.). With my copy of the 1959 booklet, I was lucky to have the original mailing envelope included. This booklet came with the letter that would have accompanied this mailing back in 1962. It is reproduced below:
This year’s record takes a turn more towards music than narration or story. This time the words are not by Hugo Bauch, as in the previous years, but by the composer John McCarthy. The song is a great ode to the steps we all have to go through to make the tree just perfect (as well as what happens when we forget a step…). Now, as usual none of the voices are credited, but I am nearly positive that the main singer is Tom Glazer (perhaps best known these days for the series of Singing Science records of the late 50s/early 60s). It’s a fun tune. Take a listen:
And there’s a change of pace here. Instead of the flipside being the original track from the 1957 booklet, Santa’s North Pole Band, here we get a rerun of the 1958 track, The Sounds of Christmas.
From what I have been able to determine, the 1962 booklet is the last one produced by Line Material in a tradition that went back to at least 1943. Of course Christmas 1963 followed shortly after the assassination of JFK. I have seen and heard stories of it being an especially somber holiday. Perhaps the company held back something that was in production. Or perhaps the economics of producing such professional materials became less friendly to such outlays. Whatever reason, this is the final time that Line Materials shared with the world their Christmas spirit.
I want to once again express my gratitude to Lee over at Music You (Possibly) Won’t Hear Anyplace Else. He allowed me to attach some of his original recordings of these records to my posts. Check out his post of the Line Material music (including some that I didn’t share here) and check out lots of other great old Christmas music that he’s shared there.
Click the image below to download a zip file with the complete booklet and music. And while you’re there pick up the others that I’ve shared.