A Merry Green Chri$tma$
It's just not possible to let Christmas go by without the wonderful classic from Stan Freberg -- the great, "Green Chri$tma$." This was done in 1958, and at the time it was very controversial. Some radio stations wouldn't even play it. That was largely due to outrage from advertisers. Some advertisers were all right with it being played -- but had the condition that their own ads couldn't be run within 15 minutes of it.
Oddly enough, within about six months of the release of "Green Chri$tma$," two of the companies that are clearly satirized in the piece -- Coca Cola and Marlboro -- each asked Freberg about dong ad campaigns for them. He accepted Coke, but turned down the cigarette company. (Freberg, an acclaimed maker of satirical ads, in addition to his work as a humorist, had no problem with advertising. In fact his first-hand knowledge of advertising helps make "Green Chri$tma$" so effective. His issue was the commercialization of Christmas.)
The single transcended the protests, and went on to have a healthy, long life. Today, half a century of mass-marketing later, it has an almost genteel quality to it. Yet, it's still pointed -- and even poignant -- and still wonderful.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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