Childhood memories and well-researched facts are combined in this memoir by the daughter of Hecky Krasnow, the Columbia Records producer of such classic children's songs as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Frosty the Snowman," Here Comes Santa Claus," Smokey the Bear," and The Little Engine That Could." These rich, never-before-told anecdotes explore the life of a progressive musical genius and detail the fascinating children's entertainment industry, one of the biggest businesses of the mid-20th century. Pop culture after World War II is also covered in this remarkable account which shares stories of entertainment icons and Krasnow family friends—Gene Autry, Dinah Shore, Burl Ives, and Captain Kangaroo—who transformed the entertainment industry.
Rudolph, Frosty, and Captain Kangaroo Author: Judy G. Krasnow Table of Contents Table of Contents Chapter 1: A Gut Instinct Produces a Classic Chapter 2: The Violin and the Fiddler Chapter 3: A Collaboration Begins Chapter 4: A Profession for the Fiddler Chapter 5: Pink for Her and Blue for Him Chapter 6: Success Creates A Market Chapter 7: A Rhino Named Rhumpy, A Tuba Named Tubby Chapter 8: "Rosie" Becomes a Household Name Chapter 9: A Bitter Divorce Chapter 10: Broadway and Television Chapter 11: Book Worms Chapter 12: Tribute at the Rodeo Chapter 13: Teddy Bears and Baseball Bats Chapter 14: Payola Chapter 15: Westward Ho! Chapter 16: Here Comes Santa Claus Chapter 17: Celebrity Chapter 18: Carney, Spock, and Fulton Sheen Chapter 19: Captain Kangaroo Chapter 20: Riding the Crest of the Wave Chapter 21: What Goes Up Must Come Down Chapter 22: A Sudden Announcement Chapter 23: The $64,000 Question Chapter 24: Gobbledegoook Chapter 25: Changes Chapter 26: Bright Prospects at Colpix Chapter 27: The Stars They Are A-Changing Chapter 28: The Wedding Song Chapter 29: Lullaby at the Zoo Chapter 30: The Fiddler Returns to His Fiddle Chapter 31: Looking Back Epilogue: Rudolph Says, "Konichiwa" Description Childhood memories and well-researched facts are combined in this memoir by the daughter of Hecky Krasnow, the Columbia Records producer of such classic children’s songs as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Smokey the Bear,” and “The Little Engine That Could.” These rich, never-before-told anecdotes explore the life of a progressive musical genius and detail the fascinating children’s entertainment industry, one of the biggest businesses of the mid-20th century. Pop culture after World War II is also covered in this remarkable account which shares stories of entertainment icons and Krasnow family friends—Gene Autry, Dinah Shore, Burl Ives, and Captain Kangaroo—who transformed the entertainment industry. Excerpt Hecky Krasnow’s new life began in the spring of 1949.He was three days into his job as head of Columbia’s children’s records department, or kid-disks as they were called. As the artists and repertoire (A&R)man, he was to select what was and wasn’t to be recorded, who would sing, act, narrate, and play musical instruments on these records while also producing, directing, and engineering the recording sessions.The sheet music and acetate demo for a new song, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” sat on his desk. Every A&R man, and hence every major record company in the country, had already rejected it. But my father liked it. It had a simple and sweet melody, and a message that appealed to his years of fighting for the underdog. His instinct told him that many people all across America would like it, too.“Are you crazy, Hecky?” Columbia Records vice president Goddard Lieberson asked. “Doesn’t the fact that it was rejected by Decca, Mercury, RCA, Capital—every damned record company in the country—tell you something?”“Yes. It does. It tells me that they are wrong,” my father dared to answer. “You are fully aware, I am sure, that MontgomeryWard, an absolutely huge department store chain, asked one of its copywriters, Robert L.May, to write a storybook for Ward to give to customers as a gift from the store. His little book is thestory of a red-nosed reindeer, teased because of his red nose.He ultimately helps Santa and is accepted and loved by all.”“Yes, I know, I know. Six million copies of this illustrated story are already in the hands of Ward’s customers, and there would be more copies, except for the paper shortage that WWII caused when the little book was printed.” Lieberson sounded impatient. He wanted to get on with the point he wished to make: that the song didn’t merit recording.Hecky realized he had to argue this one like a lawyer, “Doesn’t six million copies tell you something? Namely that people like this rednosed reindeer?”“Hecky, if we handed out records as a free gift, whether people liked them or not would be inconsequential. People always like to get something for nothing.”“But there is already an inbuilt audience for the song,” my father continued his case.Lieberson interrupted, “Look, Hecky. Montgomery Ward gave the copyright to Robert May in Christmas of 1947, an extraordinarily magnanimous gesture for a corporation: that is to give the copyright to an employee. But that has to tell you something too. IfWard thoughtmoney was to be made from it, do you thinkMay would now be the sole owner of the copyright? Then,May asks his brother-in-law, this JohnnyMarks, to write a song. He thinks he can make some money off of his idea.”“Well, wouldn’t you?” my father asked. “He likes his little story and knows that out of those sixmillion customers, lots of themmust like it too.”“People want holidays like Christmas to remain the same each year—the same Santa with the same Mrs. Santa, the same eight—not nine—reindeer, the same elves for heaven’s sake! Maybe the book with its pictures is cute—and remember free—but the song is far too simple, I mean plain—no spice—nothing catchy, no hook that would make people want to sing or hear it.”My father refused to give up. “Goddard, I just... Author Bio Judy G. Krasnow Judy Gail Krasnow is a professional storyteller, a performer, and a musician. The younger daughter of Hecky Krasnow, Judy was involved in many recordings at Columbia Records. She is the author of the award-winning Day of the Moon Shadow: Tales With Ancient Answers to Scientific Questions. She lives in Miami, Florida. Reviews "In her fond and frequently fascinating memoir . . . Ms. Krasnow's childhood memories ring vividly true."
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