Boris Karloff

The Year Without a Santa Claus

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In 1956 Phyllis McGinley published a rhymed children’s story called The Year Without a Santa Claus in Good Housekeeping magazine, and the piece generated a lot of positive interest, enough to facilitate it being printed in book form the following year in 1957 (the same year that Dr. Seuss’ similar How The Grinch Stole Christmas first appeared). In 1968 actor Boris Karloff recorded a narrated version of the story for a promotional Capitol Records LP which also featured various Christmas songs from the the label's catalog on the flip side. Karloff’s reading is warm, vibrant and perfectly nuanced, and very similar to the feel he brought to his classic narration of the How the Grinch Stole Christmas television classic. It was also one of Karloff’s last performances -- he died a few months later in February of 1969. [Capitol reissued this rare promotional album in CD format much later, although the disc features different cover art than the original LP, and, except for Peggy Lee’s “Don’t Forget to Feed the Reindeer,” entirely different Christmas songs from the Capitol catalog. The centerpiece is Karloff’s recitation, though, so the gist of the original release is here, and that’s what really matters.]

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