The Holiday Music Fest 2019
Well, since the other day I posted the classic Berlin Wall hand ballet from Burr Tillstrom, the creator of Kukla, Fran and Ollie, I thought it only right to post some holiday videos and songs from KF&O themselves. Here then is Fran singing to Kukla and Ollie, "Christmas is a Time." It's not my favorite of holiday songs, though has a sweetness that's the hallmark of the show. What I like most about this clip is something that occurred often in the show -- Kukla just flopping on Ollie's head and laying there in adoring friendship.
And as a holiday bonus, here's a medley of Christmas songs that the Kuklapolitans sing. (With a little help from Burr Tillstrom, of course...) Most of this is not TV footage, but comes from an album they put out, but it's wonderfully edited with appropriate photos. And then it does end with color footage of them that comes from a Carpenters Holiday Special.
This last footage is the special treat, since the song they sing is what I was specifically looking for. It's their version of "Deck the Halls." (Deck the halls with boughs of holly. Hang the mistletoe for Ollie..) And of course you get to see them in color. (They did do the last few years of the show in color, by the way. I just haven't shown any of that footage.)
But why it's a particular joy for me is that the sequence includes a rare appearance by my favorite Kuklapolitan (who I talked about in the original article), Cecil Bill -- pronounced Sess-uhl. He's the one third from the left. Cecil Bill is a bit lunatic and speaks in a language unknown to man, but which the others all understand perfectly, merely different incarnations of "toi ta toi toi toi." And yes, as a results, it's perfect that he's the one who gets to sing the fa-la-las...
And...y'know, we're going to throw in one more bonus video - because this is the 50th anniversary to the day when it aired on ABC's The Hollywood Palace on December 20, 1969!! It's Kukla and Ollie on the Christmas Show with Perry Como hosting. Alas, there's no Fran (she was still around, and would be for another 20 years, but for whatever reason she was unavailable) but instead guest Diahann Carroll (then starring in the TV series Julia) briefly fills in, of a sort. The sketch leads into one of the Kuklapolitan's traditional oddity songs, "Ril-tilly-bill-bob" and at the end you get to see Burr Tillstrom step out for a bow.
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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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