As I've said, what I like to do with the Holiday Music Fest is offer unknown but very nice Christmas songs or recordings, and this today is a seriously unknown Christmas song from a musicals -- expect for those who remember it from Holiday's Past, since this is an annual. It's from the TV musical, The Stingiest Man in Town, a 1956 special on the Alcoa Hour based on Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Many of the names involved might no longer be household ones, but as you can see from the album cover below, for the day it was a respectable cast, with a couple of full-fledged opera stars in it (Patrice Munsel and Robert Weebe), as well as pop stars. And one Hollywood legend as Scrooge.
The score by Fred Spielman and Janice Torre isn't especially memorable, but there are some nice things in it. And I like this one, as much for it being sung by none other than Basil Rathbone (famous for playing Sherlock Holmes in the movies from 1936-1946), as for the song itself. He's no singer at all, but handles the number effectively.
As I've noted in the past, I like it when songs are written from famous lines in literature, as this is. This number comes from late in the show, after Scrooge has learned his lesson. It takes its title from a line from Dickens when Scrooge has met the Ghost of Jacob Marley and told his former partner that he was always a good man of business, and the specter admonishes him. And so, here, Scrooge has learned that lesson. "Mankind Should Be My Business."
And, okay, here's a bonus song from The Stingiest Man in Town. It's fairly typical of the score, not especially memorable, but pleasant-enough, "An Old Fashion Christmas. It's song by Johnny Desmond, who was a popular singer at the time -- and even did a bit of acting, such as in the Broadway musical, Say, Darling. Here, he played Scrooge's nephew, Fred, who invites his uncle to Christmas dinner and gets a "Bah, humbug," but the old man eventually shows up at the end.
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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