Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

TigerBlog was in the car last night when Karen Carpenter's voice came on the radio, singing one of the classics, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

It's actually not a Christmas carol per se, as it originally is from another classic, which TB will get to in a second.

Late last week, TB heard Gary Walters sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" in the hallway and asked him if he knew what show that it was originally from. He did not come up with "Meet Me In St. Louis." TigerBlog was almost positive that Walters would, in an attempt at humor, say "Fiddler on the Roof" and was actually a bit disappointed that he didn't.

A few minutes after TB heard Carpenter on the radio, he was home, where he found "Meet Me In St. Louis" on Turner Classic Movies. It was in the middle of the movie, when Tootie - the youngest of the Smith children - heads off for Halloween.

He stayed with it until the end, which means he got to see Judy Garland's original version of the song, which Garland sings to a very upset Tootie, who like the rest of the Smith family has to move to New York because of Mr. Smith's promotion, something that will force them to leave their hometown and miss the 1904 World's Fair.

Not to ruin it for you, but it all works out in the end for everyone.

Here's something (from Wikipedia, at least) about the song TB didn't know, even after hearing versions by, among others, Carpenter, Garland and Walters in a one-week span:
Some of the original lyrics that were penned by Martin were rejected before the show began. They were: "Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last/ Next year we may all be living in the past / Have yourself a merry little Christmas / Pop that champagne cork / Next year we may all be living in New York.When presented with the original draft lyric, Garland, her co-star Tom Drake and director Vincente Minnelli criticized the song as depressing, and asked Martin to change the lyrics. Though he initially resisted, Martin made several changes to make the song more upbeat. For example, the lines "It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past" became "Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight." Garland's version of the song, which was also released as a single by Decca Records, became popular among United States troops serving in World War II; her performance at the Hollywood Canteen brought many soldiers to tears.

TigerBlog doesn't think of "Meet Me In St. Louis" as a Christmas movie.

When he thinks of Christmas movies, he thinks of tonight at 8, when "It's A Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" both come on. The difference is that "A Christmas Story" will continue 11 more times after its first go-round.

"It's A Wonderful Life" stars Jimmy Stewart, Princeton Class of 1932. Stewart was a cheerleader and the member of the Triangle Club at Princeton.

In the movie, Stewart plays George Bailey, who lives in Beford Falls, near Buffalo. His lifelong dream is to get out of Bedford Falls, of course, since all he wants is to see the world. At least that's what he thinks he wants.

It's not until Clarence, his guardian angel, jumps into the freezing waters below the bridge and shows George the impact his life has had on all of those around him and what Bedford Falls would have become had he never been born that George finally gets it.

Sometime around 10:50 tonight, Harry Bailey will say "to my big brother George, the richest man in town," and TB will get a bit misty.

By then, he'll also have seen Ralphie do all kinds of hilarious things, like drop the "F dash dash dash" word on the side of the road while his father is changing the tire, panic when it comes time to tell Santa what he wants and sit with his family while a duck meets a rather sad fate in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas night.

Then he'll watch those things 11 more times. Well, maybe not 11, but multiple.

Princeton Athletics is made up of athletes, coaches and staff who come from all over the country and in some cases the world.
For some, getting home means a very short car ride. For others, it means long drives or flights.

It's not often that most, if not all, of them find their way home. Today and tomorrow is probably as close as it gets.

The Tigers are scattered now. They'll be back soon, back in orange and black, back on campus, back practicing and competing, not to mention studying for and taking first semester exams. Or, in the case of those who work here, doing all the things that they do every day to make the experience for the athletes the best it can be, and to enable Princeton to put on its events.

Well, not every day. Not today or tomorrow.

It's Christmas Eve, which to everyone means something different. More than any other time, people seem to have a tradition that they follow for the next 36 hours, one that doesn't vary from year to year to year.

The more TB asks people what they do for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the more he realizes that these traditions are pretty much etched in stone. There's something incredibly special about that.

Whatever yours is - even if it's Chinese food and the movies - TigerBlog wishes you and your family a very merry Christmas.

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