Green Christmas

Album: Comedy Christmas Classics (1958)
Charted: 44
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  • With the official title "Green Chri$tma$," this is about the over-commercialization of the Christmas Holiday. The song uses characters from the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol in Prose. Freberg used Ebenezer Scrooge as an advertising executive, and humble Bob Crachit, as the owner of a spice company trying to keep the true spirit of the holiday. There is a board meeting headed up by Mr. Scrooge, the CEO of an unnamed advertising agency. A lot of the conversation held in the meeting discusses plans to tie their products in with the Christmas holiday. Such advertisements not-so-subtlely referenced include Coca-Cola and Chesterfield Cigarettes.
  • Freberg was a popular disc jockey, and sponsors of his radio show were miffed when this was released. Some sponsors refused to pay for any commercials aired within 5 minutes of the song being played when it first came out. Since radio and advertising were so critical, the song received no commercial airplay until after 1983. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Patrick - Bremen, GA, for above 2
  • As reported by UPI on December 27, 1958, the day after Christmas of 1958, Stan Freberg presented a check for $1,000 to the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California as his royalties from the first year's release of "Green Chri$tma$." He gave all the proceeds from the song to charity, defusing any criticism that he was hypocritically profiting from the subject of his satire. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 3

  • Patrick from Wahiawa, HiI'd heard this song from time to time, but finally found it in "Dr. Demento" bin at Jelly's. I play it at least once each Christmas season to put things into perspective and remind me not to pass Salvation Army kettles without contributing to others.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer:
    Satirist Stan Freberg passed away Tuesday morning (April 7th, 2015) in a Santa Monica, California hospital at the age of 88. The Pasadena native got off a bus right out of high school and walked in to a Hollywood talent agency and a job at Warner Brothers. As a voice-over actor, he was heard in many WB and Disney cartoons, but was probably best-known for his work in "Time For Beany", the children's TV show featuring the title character and Cecil, the sea-sick serpent. In radio, Stan hosted the medium's last original comedy program when his self-titled summer replacement show for Jack Benny aired in 1957. By then, Stan was known for his biting satire (often at the expense of the advertising community) which kept him from getting the sponsorship to continue the show after the short run. Ironically, Stan became known for inventive and creative TV and radio commercials in the '60s-- including Jeno's Pizza Rolls (with the Lone Ranger), Contadina Tomato Paste ("Who put 8 great tomatoes in that little bitty can?") and Sunsweet Prunes ("Today the pits-- tomorrow the wrinkles"). Of course he will always be remembered for his recordings, including parodies of "Sh-Boom" (#14-1954), "The Banana Boat Song" (#25-1957) and "Heartbreak Hotel" (#79-1956). His original take-offs on radio's popular "Dragnet" series ("St. George And The Dragonet"-- #1-1953-- and "Christmas Dragnet"-- #13-1953) led Jack Webb himself to lend him the 4-note opening to the real drama. Stan's irreverent Christmas comedy recording, "Green Chri$tma$" was a #44 hit in 1958 despite being banned by many radio stations for its "anti-commercialization of Christmas" subject matter. His classic album, "Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America" in 1961 led to an eventual sequel in 1996. He continued to appear in television roles, including shots on "The Monkees" and a recurring role in "Roseanne." He was elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. His autobiography, "It Only Hurts When I Laugh," was published in 1988.
  • Ted from Phoenix, Az"Green Christmas," is one of two songs that I believe that everyone should hear at least once, whether or not they actually like the song. The commercialization of the Christmas holiday is really the U.S. economic model in a nutshell. As a broadcasting class professor told me and other class members in the summer of 1981, the events and motivations described in this tune, though done satirically, are really how the U.S. free market system functions.
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